I’m afraid I haven’t been posting regularly during our travels this summer, and I do apologize, but we’ve been very busy exploring new cities, spending time with both old and new friends, and really getting a lot out of our first big traveling adventure together. The kid has blossomed. She’s learned a smattering of many languages, and now wants to be a polyglot. She’s seen things that none of her friends have ever seen, and has learned a new appreciation for how lucky she is. She definitely understands what a privilege it is to be able to see the world, and is also starting to think of it as an honor.
It dawns on me that many of our experiences this summer really can’t be shared with others. We can tell our loved ones about some of the places we’ve visited, and I will certainly write a lot more on this blog about our adventures. But some of it- the long bus rides, the views out of the window at completely foreign landscapes, even the differences in light and smells- those experiences really belong only to us. There’s too much to tell people. So much that is private, I think the only way to share the memories is after I’ve died, when the atoms of my body separate and become other things. Some of my memories feel so alive that there simply aren’t words. They’re a part of me, through and through.
Traveling, there are times when one day blends into the next. Yet not a single one of our days during our travels have felt monotonous. Today my girl had a little cough, so the two of us stayed home in our rented room in Lagos, Portugal. We napped, watched a movie, chatted about various things and cuddled. We ate sweet oranges, spent the evening with new friends, and I put my sweet girl to bed early. All of it was lovely, and all in the confines of a lively family home.
A few days ago, we stayed for four nights in a rather fancy hotel in Lagoa. We played ping pong, ordered the occasional drink, took insanely long showers and spent time either at the beach or next to the pool. It was lovely, but odd. We’re not accustomed to having people wait on us. In a strange way, I felt like I was an actor in a movie. It was the only time during our trip that I felt time slow to an almost uncomfortable pace. We had everything taken care of for us, and I have no complaints, and yet something felt missing.
Here in Lagos, however, staying in an apartment with another single mom and her two kids, eating big, wonderful messes of meals, talking late into the night about love and life and men, watching the kids play in the sand and the waves, I instantly felt better. The hotel, although wonderful, clean and hassle-free, was largely without life. It was too neat, utterly too orderly. It felt like a place where the Stepford Wives would’ve fit in perfectly. People seemed to be having fun, but no one laughed too loudly. It was a lesson- the finer things in life aren’t necessarily fancy. Give me a glass of wine, a book and a lot of laughter with great friends and family and I’m happy. You can keep the rest.
I promise that I’ll catch up on my posts. I’ll fill you in about our myriad of bus and train rides, the Uffizi Museum in Florence, seeing friends in Madrid, the cowboy-like openness of the land in Spain, the dirtiest and most appallingly disgusting apartment where we’ve ever hung our hats in Lisbon, the monuments, learning about the Age of Discoveries, the Oceanarium, castles, the town of Sintra, strange foods, wonderful people, adventures, hacking coughs, unusual cough syrups, gems of parks in the middle of ugly neighborhoods, going way outside of budget, getting back on budget, counting pennies, how to live on a dime and still travel like royalty, and all the other things that may interest you. For today, however, and probably tomorrow, too, we’re going to enjoy more of the little things. My girl is going to play with her new friends, we’ll head to the fish market, cook up a huge mess of a meal, and this evening, go to ride horses in the countryside. I’ll pick up my room, do some laundry, and go to bed. We’re going to enjoy the pace of Lagos. Life doesn’t get any better than this. This, folks, is what we left New York wanting to find. The realization that that life’s treasures really are contained in the little things will, I believe, sustain us wherever we end up.