I’m almost back home. I’ve spent three amazing days with my friend in Portugal, without a moment of awkwardness, at ease with each others preferences or silences or conversation.
I’ve visited Coimbra, which is a nice student city, famous for its historical university. We had coffee at a lively bar by the river while people from a dance school advertised their courses by dancing some African dance by the river bank in front of us.
I’ve met her the first day of a new job in 2009. I had accepted that job at the end of my PhD because, even if it was a temporary contract, it paid well, it was somewhere in Italy (nowhere near my home town though) and it was not a technical job. I needed to release the tension accumulated in three years of research for my PhD. With hindsight, it was a counter productive career move. And within six months there I had bought a brand new car and smashed it on the ring road around Milan. So much for releasing tension.
But I had met this friend. She helped me when I had the accident. She would leave her office and come to my place to fix me some lunch every day for almost a month. And we spent most of the time together chatting, telling each other everything about our lives. I had never had a friend like this before.
After a year and a half, I left and went back to the UK, but we managed to meet at least once a year. She visited me when I was doing the IVF cycle. She came to see Pallino a few months ago. No wonder I decided to see her now.
I’ve been in Portugal once before, with L. Now again I felt like home: the buildings, the people, everything is familiar and good. Shop assistants chat with you kindly, in the restaurants food is good and portions big.
We’ve visited Lisbon as well, and I met up with another guy I worked with a few years ago. We had a great dinner in Bairro Alto. I bought myself a few summer clothes that I will only be able to use when I go on holiday again, but it made feel good.
And I missed my little one and my lovely husband, who actually got me this holiday.
So long Portugal, I’m home now.