Good morning friends, come on in, I have a pot full of coffee, which I certainly am going to need today.
You know I went through really bad insomnia for about a year, but I've been sleeping very well for a while, unfortunately last night was another one of the not so good nights for me. By the time the alarm went off this morning, I was not ready to get up.
It's also cloudy and rainy so the usual bright morning was shadowed by darkness, and what seemed like middle of the night.
Anyway, I'm back, and I have another story to tell you. I'm sorry for the lack of Story Time the past 2 weeks, but I did explain in a previous post :)
But let's get right on to our story for today. I had previously told this story on my blog, but I really want to include it in my Story Time Friday so that one day when I compile it all into one single book, I can have everything in one place :)
If you remember, we left Mozambique as refugees, first fleeing to Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) and then on to Portugal.
It was all so strange to me as a little child, here I was barely 2 years old, having already been through a parent divorce, fleeing a country, moving from place to place and now in a completely new city.
For the first few months or a year that we lived in Portugal, the only place my father and stepmother 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 building's 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. There were quite a few families renting in that building, and the owner was this tiny, sweet old lady who became a family friend. Actually on one of our trips to Portugal decades later, we went by to visit her and say hi. She really was such a pivotal person in our lives.
But, back to the building.....
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 are 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, meat 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.
We didn't stay in Lisbon for too long, we did eventually move to Povoa de Santa Iria, that is where I remember most of my young childhood, that's where I first went to school and where I have tons of memories. But that is for next week. :)