Blog, Expat Life, Inspiration

May 30, 2019
boat, douro river, porto

“There are things you can’t reach. But
You can reach out to them, and all day long.
The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of god.
And it can keep you busy as anything else, and happier.
I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.
Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around
As though with your arms open.”
– Mary Oliver

The east wind blew all night. The rattle of the windows woke me. My stomach rattled too, wanting more food during my five day fast.

As I lay awake I thought about the twenty-month-old boy I met last Sunday. Mateus and his mother sat next to me at Da Terra, the vegan restaurant near my apartment. He smiled and flirted as his mother fed him nourishing food. When she went to the bathroom he remained calm, certain of his mother’s love and her return.

It turned out we were neighbors so we walked home together. As the tram came down the tracks Mateus squealed in joy, Eeeeeeeee! He pointed to the tram and wanted to be certain I saw it also. Our eyes met. I pointed and returned his squeal of joy, Eeeeeeeeee! Yes, I see it too.

His mother said that he does this with trams, busses, boats, and planes. Sure enough as a bus went by the squeal of joy came again. And again when a plane flew overhead. When I made the Eeeeeeeee! sound with Mateus I felt like I was also twenty months old and seeing the world through his eyes.

In the darkness of the bedroom I made the squeal of joy sound in my head. Eeeeeeeee! I want to remain calm and certain of loving myself. I want to smile and flirt with life as I nourish my body, mind and spirit. I want to see myself through fresh new eyes.

Instead of cursing the wind I thanked it for waking me up. I thanked Mateus for reminding me that every single person I meet has a gift to share – especially twenty-month-old boys. And I thanked myself for being willing to wake up to new possibilities.

So much gratitude satiated my hunger and I drifted back to sleep while the wind still howled and the windows still rattled.

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