Posted by: turtlebella | 28 July 2006

Why I clearly should have been Portuguese

  1. You can get freshly squeezed orange juice at any cafe. As far as I am concerned freshly sqeezed OJ is nectar from natural selection (in place of god).
  2. Also at a cafe they have a particular coffee drink that is EXACTLY how I like coffe. It’s called a galao and it’s half coffee, half hot milk. It’s not a latte. It’s not cafe au lait. It’s better. And it’s under 1 euro (take that, Starbucks).
  3. The Portugues love really cool modern furniture. Me too! Me too!
  4. Said modern furniture is paired with old (you know like mideval/ancient old not 1896 old) architecture and old houses with tile facades and ornate wrought iron balconies.
  5. I’ve always aspired to have a green thumb. Portuguese are famously excellent gardeners.
  6. Rice and potatoes are served with every meal. Usually fried (well, always fried when it comes to the rice…that is, fried in olive oil for brief period of time before water is added which is how Mexican do it too, I didn’t have steamed rice until I was in junior high school). The sqvirrel read somwhere that rice and potatoes are the official vegetables of Portugal. I say, RIGHT ON. Forget that USDA food pyramid or whatever shape it takes these days. Rice and potatoes. Perfectly wonderful vegetables as far as I am concerned.
  7. Grilled (on the barbecue) sardines. Forget those little fishy things in a tin. We’re talking whole fish, grilled as they are. These are divinely yummy.
  8. Portuguese are quite demonstrative with friends. I am too. In our culture this gets me in trouble. Apparently my putting my hand on someone’s arm while talking to them means I might be making a pass. I never got that memo. But watch any two Portuguese friends talking and they constantly reach out to each other. Little touches. I think it just further cements a relationship. And it serves to make a point anyway! Who says all conversation has to be verbal.
  9. The Portuguese are not afraid of expressing emotion. They cry tears of joy and sadness. I do that too. All the freakin’ time, too much according to some. And in general there is a term called saudad. Which is hard to translate but has to do with a sense of longing, kind of melancholic. “The famous saudade of the Portuguese is a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the present, a turning towards the past or towards the future; not an active discontent or poignant sadness but an indolent dreaming wistfulness” (AFG Bell 1912). That pretty much sounds like what my psychologists call my depression!

Reasons I’m not Portuguese…

  1. I don’t smoke.
  2. I don’t live with my parents. Also I’m 32 and I don’t have teenagers. Or children of any age.

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Responses

  1. mmmm…rice AND potatoes?!? and there are beautiful beaches there, too? Definitely a place to put on my list of travel destinations!

  2. Another possible reason (though this is more generally European than specifically Portuguese): you prefer to drive standard transmission cars, which makes you unusual in America, but completely normal over there…And of course there’s also the fact that you look Portuguese (or could pass at least)!

  3. The famous saudade of the Portuguese is a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the present, a turning towards the past or towards the future; not an active discontent or poignant sadness but an indolent dreaming wistfulness” (AFG Bell 1912

    sounds a lot like mexican theorist octavio pax, huh? (have you read him? in general a flaming horrible sexist jack a*s, but does say some generally interesting things about mexican dispositions)–

    (oh my gosh, i’m sooooo glad you’re posting again!!!! :-) you can only be portuguese if you live around a computer!!!!! :-)

  4. Hey turtlebella, I love your blog :) and I’m so glad you find the portuguese so fascinating. Although I was born in england, my parents are portuguese and I have been brought up entirely surrounded by the culture. I love all the things you mentioned and more. When I’m there I feel like I’m home and when I’m not there I have saudades. I don’t know if you got the chance to go to guincho beach but it’s an awesome place, high dunes at the base of a mountain range – beautiful! Take care. Sx


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