Wednesday, September 30, 2009

back from the island...

it's really late. and i should just go to sleep. but, the past few nights i've closed my eyes... and started thinking and thinking and thinking. so... perhaps a good 'ol post will get whatever is in my head out... and then sweet sleep will arrive quickly.

yes. i am back. i made it... all the way to the beautiful island of sao miguel and back! i don't even know where to start... or what to say about my time there. honestly, i kind of felt like we took off in toronto... and landed on an entirely different planet. i don't know if it was the everyone around me speaking in portuguese... and i only understood a handful of words. or, if it was the really narrow roads... the complete lack of vegetables... or, that children and babies were NEVER expected to be buckled into their car seats... and said car seats were never buckled into the car.

it was a gorgeous island. i was enthralled with the scenery when we were in cuba. but... sao miguel... was waaaaay more beautiful. it was green. and the buildings were so white. the hydrangeas were the most insane colours... blue, red, purple. the sand was black. aderito's friend down the road grew bananas, pineapples, limes, incense... i hadn't ever seen fruit in it's natural growing state!! especially pineapples. seriously... i had no idea how they grew until joao opened the door to the pineapple greenhouse... i was amazed. and slightly embarrassed by both my excitement... and by the number of pictures i had taken of a pineapple. i took over 1200 pictures during the 4 weeks we were there. and when i got back, and put them together... i was still a bit disappointed... and felt like there was a whole lot of the island i didn't capture.

it wasn't a quiet island. nope. loud. very loud. for various reasons. every day started with 3 different vehicles letting it be known that they were coming... they were outside your house... and they were leaving and going onto the next street. i think that the fruit/vegetable man came first. honking and playing music. then the bread man came... honking and playing music. and then the tinker... well... the man with the housewares, clothing, whatever-else-you-may-need. yes, he honked too... played music... and once in a while over is loud speaker announced that he had boxers! and socks! in portuguese! this was all before 9am. everyday. then because it was summer vaca... the nieces and nephews arrived shortly after the honking vehicles were gone. and the accompanying mothers. this was just all at his house!! when we left it was noisy everywhere too...

i was pretty excited when we finally agreed to rent a car... if only for a few days. i wanted to go somewhere!! i wanted to explore!! i wanted quiet!! i wanted to drriiiiive! so, we took the bus (which every time made me crazy pukey) into ponta delgada. i had asked for a compact car. for 2 reasons, my car is little... i'm used to little cars. and because the roads are so small, and right up against buildings. was the car that we picked up small? nope. it was huge... a european made ford focus station wagon... diesel! geez. i immediately decided that i was not going to be intimidated! i was going to be just fine. unfortunately aderito... turned into a very nervous old lady. he was so nervous... that he refused to speak to me while i was driving. we drove plenty. all the way around the island in one day. 8 hours of driving. with his mom... and niece patricia. the next day we went out and about by ourselves. with very little talking... the exception being aderito telling me that i was driving too close to the his side of the road. oh, and telling me to slow down. i'm fairly certain that unless i was going downhill i usually drove at about 40km/hr.

i know for certain that it was amazing seeing aderito in his... natural environment. watching him interact with his 4 sisters. watching him play and laugh with all his nieces and nephews. being there as he was reunited with old friends... and the rest of his enormous family. as much as i was occasionally frustrated that i didn't understand what was being said around me... it was nice for our roles to be reversed. he had to translate to me what was going on, what the menu said, where were we going next, why his sister just punched the other sister in the head. yes. that really did happen. he was just so relaxed. being with him on his home turf magnified a very generous side... there was only one homeless man that i saw on the island. he always sat along the water in ponta delgada... close to where the bus picks people up to take out of the city. everytime we saw this man, aderito asked when our bus would come and be sure to give him a handful of change. very sweet. i suggested that because the man was never wearing shoes that perhaps we should buy him a pair... aderito informed me that he doesn't like shoes. huh. ok. oh yes... for the entire time that aderito and i have been together, it's been pretty clear that he doesn't really like conflict. but, seeing him with his sisters, and mom... totally confirmed that he was the peacemaker. there was loads of family conflict that went down while were were there. aderito always made sure that after whoever was fighting, each side was ok... that they had their side heard... and to let them know that they just needed a few minutes to calm down and everything would fine. there was plenty of opportunity to see how much aderito babies and children. there were so many times when adults would gather and chat... aderito was generally with the kids... kicking around a soccer ball, flying them around like airplanes... or walking around the house trying to get 1 month old matilde to go to sleep. if matilde was laying down on our bed napping... aderito would usually tiptoe in, lay down and take a nap with her. oh goodness. no more talking about aderito and babies... my ovaries are getting itchy.

let's say to be continued for now.... i'll post a few pictures tomorrow... and perhaps tell a story or two...

ohhh... and and the food!! i can't forget about the food!