Monday, March 4, 2013

Portugese Love

Upon arriving to Portugal, Julie and I knew we were going to be hosted by a 25 year old guy named Tiago. What we didn't know was that we were going to be housed with his parents, and automatically become adopted into the family. What I didn't know was that I would once again meet some of the kindest people this world has to offer.

Tiago's family runs a small restaurant in Seixal, which is a small town across the water from Lisboa. It isn't an urban city, despite being so close to Lisboa. On our first two days, Tiago had work during the day, so we were picked up by Tiago's parents and driven straight to the restaurant. There, his parents made us sandwiches and coffee, and packed us extra food to take to the city. After eating we would be driven to the ferry. Tiago picked us up every night at the ferry when we wanted to return from Lisboa.

Me and Julie's morning sandwiches and coffee

We never could have expected so much. The family gave us all of this, and so much more.

Dinners were eating custom meals at the restaurant, or home cooked dishes from Tiago himself. At night we got to meet a lot of Tiago's lovely friends. I can say I went to an actual reggae concert now thanks to Tiago. And without speaking a word of english, our Portugese family still communicated and interacted with us in the most friendly way you can imagine. Kindness trumps language barriers.

On our last day, Julie and I got to explore Seixal with Tiago. It was an experience I would've missed had I stuck with the traditional, tourist-methodology. Tiago spent his entire Saturday driving us to his favorite beaches and scenic spots. It let me see just how beautiful Portugal can be beyond the usual images you see in commercials. Looking back, it would have been such a tragedy if I had missed those sights. Seixal is a breathtaking place.

Exploring a hidden cave in Seixal

Time and time again, I am stunned by the capacity humans have for love and kindness. I do not know what I could have done to deserve meeting such beautiful people, I just know that there is no possible way I could ever convey all the gratitude I feel.

Being greeted to hugs and kisses from this enthusiastic dog every time we entered the house was the best way to come home

Tiago cooking dinner for us

Home cooked dinner, equipped with the greatest sangria I've ever had. And I'm studying in Spain!

You know what gets me the most, though? After all of this, the family treats us with such excitement and joy, as if they are equally happy just to know us. I mentioned how they don't even speak english, right? 

On Friday morning, I was about to take a picture of the kitchen when one of the family members noticed, and proceeded to take my iphone and excitedly gather the entire family for a photo shoot session. I never would have interrupted everyone's work to take pictures, but she legitimately seemed to be having so much fun taking the pictures (hence all the pictures earlier in the post). The only picture I regret not getting was of Papa Beard. This is the nickname I coined for Tiago's father because he is, literally, the human reincarnation of Papa Beard.

It's unfortunate that I didn't get a picture, but here is a close enough substitute. Imagine being fed and spending time with this fellow here. Wouldn't you also just completely fall in love? 

And then on our last morning, after Tiago refused to let us call a taxi and drove us to the airport at 6:00 AM, it was time for the good byes. Tiago grabbed us into a hug, and told us how he was so lucky to have us as guests, and that he feels so happy to have gotten to know us


At that moment, my heart was about to explode. 

I just hope Tiago makes his way to the U.S soon so I can attempt to try and reciprocate a fraction of what he has given me: all the delicious food, great sight-seeing, so many new friends and family members, and an absolutely, incredibly, ridiculously unforgettable experience. Portugal can stand alone for its beautiful beaches and vibrant scenery. But honestly, it is these precious interactions that leave the deepest imprints on your life. 

Tiago showing his mom the present he helped us pick out for her!

Delicious restaurant dinner: steak and mushrooms. All cooked by Tiago's mom

Tony suggested we try some famous Porto wine I've ever had.

More restaurant dinner and sangria

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing! The warmth radiated into my heart too :)