Preparing a salad in Portugal I was stopped mid-slice by a woman who put her hand on mine, and told me to stop wasting. I was shocked, hurt, and even offended. “Waste? I’m not wasting- I’m cutting an apple!”
Use smiles with caution. “you’re never fully dressed without a smile!” Ugh. just hearing that phrase makes me ill. Luckily, I’m not alone. I mean, for one, smiling at a dog is baring your teeth and that’s a sign of aggression… but more importantly in many cultures a smile is an invitation, usually to a pants party.
So, in your four months did you happen to learn any Portuguese? Research the cuisine? Look in the back of your guidebook at the “simple Portuguese phrases”? …did you happen to put any effort at all into this vacation or were you simply planning to arrive in the country and treat it as if you were still at home?
I rested my head on the cold marble pillar of the club for a few seconds, gaining strength to open my eyes and face my new world. When I opened my eyes I realized exactly what this meant. I have no cash, I have no passport, I have no identification or means of getting money- in a word, I am screwed.
After this delicious little bite, we finished our glasses and set off for the next place in search of patatas bravas- but the bar was too crowded to get in the door, so we skipped it and headed for Pata Negro- a Jamonero. I thought about having a little jamon (since I am in Spain after all) but decided the blue cheese and tomato preserve bocadillo sounded better. It was ridiculously great. It deserved a moment of silence- it was that good.
I didn’t write down the address of my hostel before getting to the airport! That’s okay I said, and checked my internet in Athens Int’l. I started to write down walking directions, and then my ADHD kicked in. I don’t know what happened or how it happened, but my directions stopped in the center of an intersection, with no hostel in sight.
I will miss the sound of the checkers clacking on the worn wooden backgammon board, the laughter of the children playing tag in the streets, the sun sifting itself through the leaves of the elm at Tops cafe, and the sight of Katerina bumming cigarettes from tourists. This is my Olympia, and I will always return here and find exactly what I left- because it is intangible.
Now I realize my I am losing the English battle. When I wish to tell someone I am going to my house in English, it comes out as “I go house mine sleeping now”. Wow- a drunk 4 year old can do better. What happened? The sentence structure of nearly every other language I know has caught up to me. Nouns, verbs, adjectives, its a freaking free-for-all in my brain.
I adore cuisine from all over this world, and there is nothing like home made tsatziki and a Greek salad with fresh bread to satiate my mouth, but damnit- sometimes I want to feel the fire of Mexican food in my mouth, and the cooling creaminess of an avocado… yeah, I want that. Specifically the best avocados FROM….
4. Two men can hug and kiss without being gay – or drunk. Yup, and in public even. No insecurity about it, friends being friends. It’s beautiful!