Seasons of Change in Portugal

We return to our Portugal stories after the wheelchair soccer world cup ended.

I wrote earlier that I felt somewhat adrift after they left, as if there was no longer any point. On the other hand, I was changing.

My ideas and perspectives were shifting. The way I considered my place in the world was no longer so sure. I spoke a half-dozen languages daily (some much better than others). I celebrated holidays and traditions from the world over.

The season in Portugal was also changing from the hot summer to the cool, crisp autumn.

Each faculty or individual degree program put on parties, called convivios. They were held at the university buildings themselves, or in the city botanic gardens or other parks around town. These were sanctioned events by the school and they were an absolute blast.

They were also quite well attended. One night at a convivio, several thousand people managed to cram themselves into a small courtyard with one small bar. Booming drum and bass music reverberated from the walls as the sweaty crowd undulated with the strobe lights.

Then an absolute deluge began. People ran for the exits.

Those who remained got a special treat. The rain was cool and invigorating. With most of the people having left, the space opened up and we danced like maniacs in the pouring rain; the refreshing water washing over us like manna from heaven.

I remember looking up at the lights, feeling the pulsing of the music and thinking I would never forget that moment.

I haven’t. And I hope I never do.

But cracks were also beginning to show in my armor.

Tomorrow: A Thanksgiving to Remember

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