Yesterday I took the day off. I was supposed to be working like a slave, but I had a good excuse. Technically speaking, I was working. I have a summer job on a Portuguese language course for Erasmus students. I am supposed to help the students train their oral skills. That means I am paid to chat with them! Just imagine, could there be a better job?
The salary is not much, but the experience s very rewarding, because I love my language and I would teach it for free to anyone who would be interested and committed to learn it (in fact I have already), and the students were subjected to a very demanding selection process, so all of them are intelligent, sensitive and hard-working. Plus, being with them is a good excuse to get my mind to rest from my real work (and how do I love to chat with intelligent, sensitive and funny people!!!).
On this photo, some of the students, Europeans of various nationalities, joined together to indulge in self-torture learn Portuguese.
So, yesterday we had a visit to the Museum of Ancient Art. This is one of the best european museums of this kind. It’s not too big, but on display you can find only the best of the best, including this painting, which by itself is worth the price of a trip to Lisbon. The students were quite bored, but i loved it!
The Museum is located in a very beautiful area and has a great view to the river. In case you never had the chance to visit Lisbon, the best in the city are the views. I have lived here all my life and I keep getting surprised by its beauty.
On this photo, the view from the Museum’s garden. It may not be the most beautiful view, there are other places far more impressive, but it is the one that is more meaningful to me. From all the places in Lisbon that are important to me it’s possible to see the bridge. At my parents home we had a spectacular view over it, and I loved very much to go to the balcony and look at it, while my father was smoking his cigarette. The cigarettes eventually killed him, but at least they also allowed me to have those precious moments when an adult is willing to listen to what a child has to say without making the child feel childish, but, on the contrary giving the child the illusion that she is speaking with equals.
In front it there is a garden where, as a child, my father used to take me and my younger sister. This is, thus, a place plenty with memories, mostly good memories, some not so good, but that’s how life is, there are always some unavoidable bad moments, but spending them in such a place made them slightly less painful.
(Old people playing cards in public gardens, a Lisbon classic. Many gamble their meagre pensions on the cars, to the dismay of their wives. Once a group of wives got tired of watching their husbands loose and denounced them to the police, who then raided the garden where they used to play and confiscated their cards…
Then, on the way home, look at who was smiling at me:
Pasteis de nata, the essence of national identity condensed is a small pastry.
Never am I more proud of being portuguese than when I eat a good pastel de nata.