Friday, March 22, 2013

# remember when

Remember When????

It's Friday.  Yay!

I always feel relief when I wake up and realize it's a Friday morning.  Somehow all the craziness that has gone on the whole week seems to come to a screeching halt, and it's as if my body and mind scream out "So and So happened......who cares???  It's Friday!!!".

It also means that I'm going to tell you another story.  Last week I had woken up thinking about a time when we moved to Portugal, and I proceed to tell you all about it.  Many of you really enjoyed it and so I thought that I would continue with this feature every Friday, telling you more about me, where I've lived, things I've done.  I have so many stories, that I think I'll have enough posts for quite a while.

Back in 2006, I used to do a Friday feature called "Remember When?", in which I told you all some funny stories about my family.   You can go back and read those if you wish.  (just check under the March 2006 menu in the archives)

Remember When?

When we first moved to Portugal, it was in the 70's and right after the big Independence war in Mozambique, where I was born.

We left with nothing.

First fleeing to Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe), and then hopping a plane to Lisbon, Portugal.

I was but 2 years old, I didn't know what was going on, why we had to leave so suddenly and why we were now living in a completely different country. 

Things were not easy. 

For the first few months or a year that we lived in Portugal, the only place my parents could afford was this tiny little room in one of Lisbon's buildings.  Rua Sebastiao Saraiva Lima.

It's funny how I remember so many details even though I was really young at the time, but I think that some things are so deeply etched into your heart and memory that you will recollect them for many years to come.

One of the things I most remember was the front door to the building.  This massive wooden door, it always made me feel like I was walking into a castle.

The buildings foyer was huge.  It had staircases on the left and the right going up to other rooms, but ours was on the bottom floor, almost as if in the basement.

I remember walking in, and turning to the right, going down these little stairs and then a hallway with a few doors.  Our room was there, behind one of those old wooden doors.

There were 6 of us in that bedroom.  My parents, me, my 2 older brothers and my baby brother who was but a few months old.

The two of us slept on the floor on a mattress, I would sleep right next to his bassinet and it didn't bother me that I was on the floor, I didn't know any better, I didn't think anything was wrong.  I kind of liked sleeping right next to the baby.

The only thing that I didn't like and would drive my parents insane, is that there were mice all over, and I would sometimes lay in the dark hearing their little feet scrambling across the floors, praying and praying that they wouldn't come anywhere near me.  For the most part, they stayed outside of the room, but there was the one night where not only did they come into the room, they ran right across me, onto the bassinet and across my baby brother.  GROSS!!!

During the day, my dad would go to work, and my stepmom would stay home with us.  There wasn't much to do, but we found ways of staying busy.  We pulled out pots and pans and would take them to the backyard of the building.  If you can call it a backyard.  It wasn't much of one, just a little area surrounded by big stone walls, a few potted plants and chickens.

Oh the chickens.  The smell is so unique that I have never forgotten it.

One could say that we were poor, but I don't think we were.  We were just starting out, in a new country, my parents desperately trying to plant roots, and start a good life for us all. 

Lisbon was a busy place.  Beautiful, old, full of history.

There was never a dull moment and we never ran out of places to see and visit.  All you had to do was take a walk in any direction and you were surrounded with cafes, shopping, museums etc.


These are the kind of streets I remember. 

The kind of places I visited.

And my favorite thing on earth to ride???  Carro Electrico.  The Tram Cars. 

These Trams have been in operation since 1873 and a huge favorite for tourists.  I was always fascinated with them and if we had to go anywhere, I would ask if we could ride those instead of taking a cab.

Another favorite of mine, were the big markets.  We would go once a week for the fresh produce, fish, eat etc.  The smell was indescribable, it assaulted your senses.  On the one hand you had the smell of fresh fish, but then you had hot coffee, and flowers, and fruit and vegetables.  It was a kaleidoscope of scents.

The tiny streets that only fit one car going one way.

The alleyways between the buildings, stairs that seem to go on forever, and the hanging clothes above.

There was always so much to see, and as a child I don't think I need to tell you how exciting it was.

There's something magical about Lisbon.  The sights, the scents, the people.  It's such a gorgeous city and I'll always remember my times spent there, not only as a young child, but as a young adult when I returned to visit.

I only hope that one day I can my children and my husband to Portugal.  For now, I'll continue to tell them about my life there, what I did, where I went, what I saw, and maybe they can live vicariously through me, at least for the moment.  :)


  1. Oh Sandra, what a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing this with us. Amazing and helps us to know you even more and understand how you became such an inspiring woman. Thank you and Bless you!

  2. What a beautiful place! I enjoy reading about your memories in other countries! My experience with other countries is very minimal, so this is interesting to me!

    Have a great weekend!

  3. Such an interesting childhood. Portugal looks beautiful.

  4. I love your Portugal stories...tanta saudade! I also,looove the blue earthenware bowl with the little chick, so cute! We have a tea business up here called David's Tea, amazing loose leaf tea, the smell is heavenly, anyway, just watched a video of theirs on Youtube, and they suggest to use hot, not boiling water for loose leaf tea, because, you are actually burning the leaf with the boiling water, so, essentially drinking burned tea, who knew? I thought that was a neat tip.

  5. Maravilha Sandra,Saudades desses tempos,está a dar na RTP1 uma serie nova,conta a historia de todos os retornados e os refugiados de Africa depois do 25 de abril,irás gostar de ver ... so dá ao Domingo a noite,e os episodios estão no site da RTP
    Ve e vais ver...

  6. What a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing your memories. I'm looking forward to your next friday posts :).

  7. beautiful <3 :-)


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