Today was pretty busy, considering I’m currently out of work. But my plan to start structuring my days and make sure I have plenty to keep me occupied seems to be working, because it was a really good day, and I’m looking forward to another busy one tomorrow.
I woke up, sent out my first official freelance query, swam for a blissful hour in a lane all by myself at the near-empty municipal pool, dealt with issues with my bank card (I finally have one that works, hurrah), hung my laundry to dry on the line and attended my first Portuguese class in Portimao, where I made a new friend.
Now I’m here winding down with some mint tea (given to me free of charge by the pharmacist the other day) so I can get a good night’s sleep for tomorrow. I have yoga class at 10 a.m. taught by a woman, D, who I’ve met online and on the phone but not yet in person, so I’m looking forward to that. In fact, she even IMed me on Facebook today to remind me, which I thought was awfully nice of her.
Then I am going to call around to my new friend K’s house. She’s originally from Nottingham, and she lives with her boyfriend not too far from me in a very old farmhouse. They have their own little farm, and I’ve offered to help her out, an offer that she accepted. Her boyfriend, who is Portuguese, is in the north of Spain until the end of the month, where he’s been working for the past eight months.
I’m really looking forward to checking her place and getting to know her and to do some honest labor at her little farm. (As a bonus, they grow strawberries that the Portuguese use to make their equivalent of firewater. Now that’s the kind of farm I like!)
Like me, K gave up a good job in England (she was a teacher) and moved to Portugal for a new way of life. Her parents were already living here, so she stayed with them on the south coast until she found her footing. That was about two years ago, and now she’s farming and living for free in a house owned by her boyfriend’s family.
Driving home from class tonight, smoking cigarettes (a nasty habit I get into when I’m in Europe; I really must stop), I felt really optimistic again. I thought it was a really good omen to meet a like-minded woman my first day of class, and after beating myself up all last week for my decision to give it all up and come here, now I don’t feel so bad about it.
Portuguese class was bloody hard, by the way. I’m in a class way too advanced for me; I’m probably somewhere between its level and the level of absolute beginners. I hung in there and did pretty well during tonight’s conversation class all things considered, and the teacher told me I’m doing great considering what little time I’ve spent overall in Portugal (everyone else in the class has lived here for at least a couple of years or more).
I could switch to a different class, but I think I’ll stick it out. I’ve always been a big fan of making things too hard for myself anyway, so I think the mental challenge — especially during this time when my mind has more idle time than its had in 12 years — will be good for me.