I’m Not Quite Ready, Are You?

Happy Day of Portugal, Camões, and the Portuguese Communities (Dia de Camões, de Portugal e das Comunidades Portuguesas)! 

In addition to celebrating the Portuguese communities and Portugal in general, Portugal Day honors Luís Vaz de Camões, Portugal's patron poet-saint. Camões' most noted work is Os Lusíadas (aff. link), an epic poem that extolls the virtues and exploits of Portugal's past. 

Camões is legendary; he's Portugal's version of Homer, Virgil, and Shakespeare rolled into one. He died on June 10th in 1580; thus, Portugal Day is celebrated every June 10th to commemorate him. 

Now, on to your regularly scheduled newsletter content…

Not Ready

It's been heating up around here. Summer is breathing her sultry winds, and the sun's rays are intense. Tourism will be heating up, too, as there's news that Portugal will be opening to vaccinated Americans. Visitors must have had their second dose at least 14 days before their flights and show proof of such (or of the one-shot Jannsen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine). 

Someone hold me—I'm not quite ready for this. 

Although I've had my first jab, with the second one scheduled at the end of the month, I’m not looking forward to the floodgates opening—even to vaccinated tourists. My reasons for this are multi-fold, and no, disliking Americans is not one of them. Hey, some of my favorite people are American! :) 

I'm not ready because I've fallen into a comfortable and manageable routine of going out masked for my errands and occasionally meeting with people in my regular crew, Portuguese neighbors included, with a few new and masked individuals thrown in to keep it interesting.  

I'm not quite ready to un-mask and mingle with strangers, which makes it hard to meet new people, I know. 

There's an unintended benefit to wearing a mask—it’s like an invisibility cloak.

When wearing a face mask, I’m never concerned about what the lower half of my face is doing. I could be talking to myself under there, scowling at some ridiculous human endangering others with their driving maneuvers, or grinning like an idiot. No one knows. I'm just not ready to share the lower half of my face with the public. It feels too intimate to do so. 

So yes, the pandemic has made me even weirder than I was before, but that's fine. I'm comfortable with weird. 

Yikes, People!

I'm not ready for the crush of more humans in my familiar places and spaces. 

I know we need tourism and the boost to the economy that visitors bring—plus, I have clients who are waiting to come over and scope out Portugal’s regions as a part of their plan to move here. I know several who are already buying tickets and I look forward to meeting some of them in person (you know who you are!). 

Fortunately, Setúbal gets a manageable share of visitors, not the swarms that Lisbon attracts. Visitors to Setúbal are the intrepid ones who are either hungry for choco frito (I see you, Jeff) or who don't think Lisbon is synonymous with Portugal and want to get off the well-worn tourist trail. 

I’m seeing lots more people in town, already. When I went to my favorite café at the beginning of the week I had to wait for a table! Good for them, boo for me :)

It’s going to take a bit of adjusting, and unlike others, I’ve mentioned this before, I’m not waiting or hopeful for life to go back to normal, because the way we were living up to the pandemic was not sustainable.

I’m looking forward to a future where we stay cognizant of the decisions we make and how they impact our planet, and one where we prioritize people over profits. Anybody with me on this? 

For now, I’m reluctant to remove my armor, the simple face-covering that never became politicized (to any notable degree) here in Portugal, the mask that bestows anonymity when I’m out in the world. And if I don’t recognize you when I see you, don’t take it personal—it’s either my vision, or the mask you’re wearing. 


Thank you Alana, Ingrid, Rich, Bill, Jane, Kevin, Mark, and all the anonymous “someones” for your support. If you’d like to support me & life: examined, this weekly letter, you can do so though Buy Me a Coffee. I appreciate it!

—> and thanks to all who pointed out that the Buy Me a Coffee link in last week’s issue redirected to Apple—and I haven’t even been looking at their products! Maybe it should have been labeled Buy Me an iPad :)