Hunkering Down for the Winter
err, forgot the title when I sent this via email :/
life: examined is an invitation to get curious, a compendium of ideas, thoughts, and questions about living a creative, intentional life. Thank you for your support.
Hello from Portugal!
I’m back and mostly over jet lag. My friend, Andrew, is here from Scotland.
We are enjoying one another’s company, eating all the food, resting, laughing, and having great conversations.
As you may have read in last week's issue of life: examined, I had a lovely time with my mom, brother, and a few friends.
This visit was long overdue as it had been two years since I’d stepped foot, both feet, actually, in freedom land, err, the United States.
My focus for that trip was on family. There were other friends I wanted to see, but I didn't have time to do so. That's okay—next visit.
Now, back in Portugal, I'm feeling the chill of winter whirling around me as I wander along the calçadas and through side streets with Andrew.
My Bones Are Cold
Winter. She and I have a tumultuous relationship, but I love autumn.
Autumn is seductive—much more so than summer. In autumn, you can experience brisk mornings and bright, balmy days, bookended with scarf- and sweater-weather evenings.
Leaves fall and swirl, and an earthy quality descends over the city. The sweaty frivolous days of summer have passed, and autumn means to get down to serious business.
Winter, she is a brittle mistress. Cold, wet, and blustery, she gives her all in rain squalls, lightning flashes, and wind storms. But, last year, winter and I came to an understanding, and we have COVID to thank for this almost-truce.
Although I didn't feel any warmer last winter than previous winters (it was, in fact, colder), I was less bothered by winter's persistent presence.
Locked away for all but essential activities during the early days of the pandemic, I found, in-between the anxiety and boredom, a calm. A state of allowing where I could be okay with not going out and doing.
I wasn't missing out on anything—there was nothing to do!
I rarely experience FOMO, but most recently I felt a bit of it when I was in San Diego. I felt like I was missing out on things in Setúbal! That's funny as I’m typically more of a JOMO—Joy of Missing Out—kind of person, but it’s also a testament to how much I love being in Portugal.
When at home, I rarely go out to events or concerts and such. Sometimes, but I'm not much of a social butterfly. In the daytime, yes, meet me for coffee or lunch, but in the evening I have things to do, books to read, snacks to eat, papers to sort, snippets of poetry to pen, and essays to write—and I must do all these things from the comfort of my pajamas.
There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want. – Bill Watterson
As we head into a renewed state of calamity on December 1st, I'm not panicking.
Of course, I'm not thrilled, especially for the numerous small and local businesses that struggle to get through winter in regular times. Still, I'm not anxious about staying a bit more house-bound.
If you're curious, these are the tighter restrictions coming into force on December 1st:
Wearing a face mask will be mandatory in enclosed spaces;
A digital EU certificate proving vaccination or recovery from the virus must be shown to enter restaurants, cinemas, and hotels;
Inoculated people must have a negative test to visit hospitals, elderly care homes, sports events, nightclubs, and bars;
Anyone arriving on a flight from abroad must produce a negative test result; and
The Portuguese government recommends regular self-testing and working from home, if possible.
Let’s Get Cozy
I'm okay with hunkering down for the next several months, mainly staying indoors, sipping coffee & tea, writing, working, and trying to keep warm (have you heard about how cold in winter most Portuguese homes are?) as the calendar flips from this year to the new. Well, ask me again in January—I may be singing a different tune, then.
What will 2022 be like? Will we travel? Who knows, but I'm curious to see what happens next.
How about you—how will you spend winter where you live?
Favorite Portuguese to English Auto-Translation of the Week:
A slow fermentation bread:
- KEEP IN DRY AND SORRY PLACE UP TO 3 DAYS;
- CONGEL THE BREAD IF THE CONSUMPTION BE AFTER THAT PERIOD;
- FATHY IN THE THICK OF 1 FINGER (if not sliced)
And there you have it—the proper way to deal with slow fermentation bread. :)
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