Weeks 15 & 16/2022

This was already such a long time ago, but mid-April we flew to Portugal for a little over a week at home. We had a very tight schedule, even more than usual. We started off with a few days in Lousã, a little town very near all the Aldeias de Xisto. There are beautiful villages to visit, but our main purpose was to meet my friends, for a reunion that hadn’t taken place in… nearly 10 years?

During this time, we’ve lived in very different time zones, we’ve changed jobs several times, moved home, gone through major life changes, including having kids that hadn’t yet met. So, this was the time to meet up and just be together. We made cat tattoos and just hung out as if such a long time hadn’t passed, because despite the fact that we are all different in many ways, some things still remain the same.

We met baby E. for the first time, and Toddler was fascinated with her (especially when she was eating), as was the case with all the babies we met later in the week. The first few days were difficult for her, with several days of constipation which was challenging to manage. But she also had some highs, like developing a huge curiosity in letters and names, and asking anyone she felt comfortable with to write all sorts of things in her purple notebook.

After these precious days in Lousã, we dropped by at my aunt’s house, who has a fascinating garden, three dogs, three cats and a parakeet. She loves to feed us with our favourite foods and my uncle makes the best grills in the world, so we were spoiled rotten with farófias, very tender and succulent pork ribs that the Toddler devoured as if there was no tomorrow, and packed our bags with pineapple and ginger jam and geleia de marmelo.

Back North, we celebrated Z’s parents’ anniversary, my mother’s birthday, Easter… it was a long weekend full of celebrations, full of family and friends and being spoiled with food and attention. The weather was gorgeous most of the time, so we went to the park several times, we enjoyed the company of several dogs in the family, we had fun in all the gardens that our relatives have. We have always loved being outdoors, but now we appreciate more and more the preciousness of having an outdoor space at home.

I tried to help my mother cook the Easter lamb, but I definitely still need to work on my meat cooking skills. The meat was tender and falling off the bones, the taste was good, but I didn’t time the potatoes well, which means I had to crank up the oven in order to cook them in time, and ended up drying the meat more that I would’ve wanted. Cooking is always a learning process.

One of the highlights of going home is seeing my grandpa, who is well into his nineties. Despite his age, he still preserves a little of his sense of humour. He loves to play pranks with little children, and Toddler has a special admiration for him.

Our holidays at home never feel like real holidays, in the sense that we really do not get to relax and come back home (to the one in Switzerland, I mean – I’ve just realised I have no issues calling two places home) more exhausted than before. But it is the price to pay when being an emigrant, and we try to manage it as best we can, because it is definitely worth it.

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