A brief recap: Having felt that I ‘deserved’ a change, I relocated to the delightful town of Praia da Luz in the western Algarve. It is a decision that I am grateful for every day.
My view right now is gloriously Portuguese. I sit at a beach-side café against a backdrop of eternal blue. The sea glistens like a sheet of glass reflecting whatever colours the sky decides to throw at it. The gentle crash of a wave whispers to me enticingly, but for now I am not drawn in by their siren qualities. My dreamscape is paused by a smiling waitress who serves me a café galão and pastel de nata. I return the smile but she has already moved on to a different table, taking a fresh order.
In my hand is a pen and on the table a notebook. I stare pensively at the surrounding blue as I search for a word. Not just any word but my ‘word of the day’. I promised myself that from December 1st I would try to improve my scant Portuguese vocabulary and jot down a word each day that would put me in better stead for ‘Luz Life’.
I glare at a cloud as it briefly obstructs the sun but it senses my displeasure and quickly drifts off to annoy someone else. I remind myself that it is December and it’s only natural for a few clouds to blot out some of the blue. Reluctantly, I accept the odd break in sunshine in the knowledge that, on the whole, December has been a mild and sunny month.
I’m digressing from my task in hand – my word for the day. Now let’s see. I already know the words for sky and blue and sun and warm and hot. My page seems filled with positivity. However, I’m conscious that I don’t want this blog to come across as saccharine or superficial, which is why I’m staring, deep in thought, searching for something more suitable to describe my current Portuguese December scene.
Often when I require literary inspiration, I take a break and read a page of two from a novel, allowing someone else to give me food for thought. Of late, i’ve been fascinated by the works of Charles Darwin. Though not necessarily an easy read or something I would recommend before bed (unless you wish to wake up at 3am having had dreams of fantastical beasts), there is no doubt about the brilliance of his mind and the way his theories have changed the way we see the world.
In fact, some of his more profound quotes are idiomatic templates for the current state of the world. Though the context is different, I believe that he offers sage advice on how we can all adapt during these crazy times. A current favourite of mine is:
“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed” Charles Darwin
Collaboration and improvisation – I think we can all find truths within that. Getting through these difficult times together, but also being flexible on how we get there.
Unusually, I’m not sure that this has helped me find inspiration for my word of the day. I pay my bill and head back to Ocean Villas Luz to sit on the balcony and plan my weekend. A peaceful hush descends upon me, broken only by the waves and the birds. Ah, of course, it’s so simple. My word of the day – tranqüilidade.
I hope wherever you are for the festive period, you manage to find some ‘tranquillity’. Praia da Luz will be waiting for you on the other side with open arms.
Merry Christmas everybody and have a lovely new year. I’ll see you on the other side too
David – Digital (ish) Nomad