I was thinking back to some of my time in Lisbon. More specifically, I was thinking of my last day there. I decided to take the metro to Parque das Nações, a stretch of restaurants, walkways and gardens along the Rio Tejo.
It is very beautiful. Every day that I was in Lisbon it was completely sunny and 60 degrees (in December). I was incredibly lucky in that respect. Walking on the boardwalk along the Rio Tejo was so peaceful. Looking over the water, you could barely make out another piece of land. Then when I looked up the river, I could see the very long expanse of the bridge providing connection from one side of Lisbon to the other.
Runners passed by me quite frequently, taking advantage of the cool, perfect weather. I was walking slowly trying to absorb every single thing I saw, smelled, tasted or felt. I took this trip by myself, but I never felt lonely. There was so much beauty around me.
After a little walk, I decided to take a break on a bench that overlooked the river. One half of my body was in the sun and other wasn’t. It was the perfect combination since the shaded air was cool and the sun-filled air felt like a warm, cozy blanket. I was content.
Just then, a group of grade-school-aged girls came up to me speaking in Portuguese. It was fairly obvious that they were trying to sell me something, but I wasn’t sure what exactly. I smiled and said to them, “Não falo português” (“I don’t speak Portuguese”). They looked a little confused and then I said, “Falo inglês” (I speak English).
The girls understood this and one of them ran to get another girl who apparently did speak English. The girl who knew English ran over and started speaking before she had even caught her breath. She asked me, “Do you want to buy this calendar for my church?” I regretfully told her that I did not have much money on me because it was my last day, so I couldn’t purchase one. She smiled and told me to have a Merry Christmas, then skipped away to the next potential sale.
Even those little interactions bring so much happiness. This tiny moment in those girls’ lives has now become a life-long memory in mine. Traveling alone allows you to see everything around you without distraction or interference. This memory is mine and mine alone. It contains all of my thoughts and feelings, every color, every sound, every smell. It is all mine. And I love them all.