In just a few weeks I will be leaving Portugal and start living in Norway. This, up to a certain point, explains why I have been neglecting my blog for so long. I have been busy making arrangements, taking care of different things, but mostly it’s that I have been using the small amount of time that I have left to do things that will not be possible once I start living in Norway, namely, spending as much time as possible with friends and family and also spending as much time as possible at the beach, taking as much sun as possible before I move to a place where in winter time there are only three or four hours of sun light.
As I am getting ready to leave, I find myself being sometimes touched by this nostalgic feeling that in portuguese is called saudade. This word, we are often told, has no accurate translation in foreign languages. I really don’t know if this is so, only that in the foreign languages that I know I can’t find any appropriate equivalent.
Saudade is supposed to be something very deep and distinctively Portuguese in character, but its importance is, I always thought, greatly magnified, and that, in turn, keeps people too much attached to the past – or rather to an idealized past made only of pleasant memories- and implies a certain amount of fatalism, as if what the future might bring us could never match that past. This feeling is strongly connected with the act of leaving and is cultivated by the Portuguese as a way to keep a link to their roots, since we are traditionally a people of emigrants and travellers. It is an ambivalent feeling, both positive and negative, and it is that blend that provides its deepness and subtlety. However, as far as I perceive it, it has been too much influenced by the excessive value that is attributed to suffering, something that is culturally induced by the catholic religion, which overloads this feeling. Those who leave are supposed to be making a great sacrifice, while for me to leave means rather an opportunity to improve one’s life and expand one’s knowedge and worldview.
Until now, I could only experience the saudade felt by those who stay, and only after I leave I will really grasp what does it mean. I’m not particularly worried about that, but still, just in case, I am pre-emptively engaging in what we call portuguese ‘matar saudades’, killing this feeling, by enjoying the things that I will have to give up when I leave, like the sun, the mild weather, the tasty food, the company of people I love, while already looking forward the new experiences that this change in my life will bring me.
With this post I am resuming my regular blogging. I want to thank my readers for the nice messages that they wrote during my absense.