I’ve found a more or less “permanent” place to live in Lagos, Portugal, living a life full of used and borrowed things.
From my terrace of my borrowed house I can see the ocean, the sun, the moon and the stars. I drank coffee there the other morning and mused about how well things have turned out for me.
I have lived here five weeks now and I have friends, a used car, a used surfboard, a little house in a great neighborhood with a roof terrace with a view of the sea, and possibly even a dog.
The person renting the house, a guy called L, lives in Ireland; the owner perhaps too, or perhaps he’s here. L isn’t sure. It’s also L’s dog that may soon be mine, but that is a whole other story for which I don’t have time at the moment.
I’m paying L to be here and sleeping in a room full of his stuff until his Hungarian friend K moves to Lisbon next week. She is a nice girl very similar to me – arty, similar clothes, a Libra, takes photos – but nine years my junior and as pale as I am olive.
K is freshly mourning the loss of a relationship and nervous to move to a city after three and a half years in this little town, a situation I myself was in three and a half years ago before I moved to New York City. So I sympathize with her, and so far we are getting along just fine.
L is a friend of D’s, my friend whose house I stayed in for a month before moving here to Lagos. As I’ve mentioned before, D is the ex-wife of a man whose surf camp visited the first time I ever came to Portugal, which was also when I decided that someday I would live here.
But I didn’t meet L through D, nor vice versa. I met L through a former friend of mine named Aibhinn who lived in New York but was from Dublin and at one point dated L’s best friend, a guy called Brian, who died not long before I met L for the first time last November.
This is how things go here in this small worth of expatriates in the Algarve. The connections between us no longer surprise me. In fact, I am sure they will start to stack up in undesirable ways.
This town, Lagos, confuses me. It is just that — merely, a town — but always I get lost. I navigated my way around New York City for more than three years before I moved here and yet I still have trouble getting somewhere the same way twice.
I have walked alone through dozens of European cities without knowing the language, armed with only a map and my wits. Yet this little Algarve-ian village puzzles me. I’m, quite frankly, ashamed of my pathetic navigational skills.
But no matter; I’m sure I will learn my way around soon enough. And I am happy to be here, with several beautiful beaches to which I have already spent several mornings jogging, very close by.
It is strange to be so out of my element and my previous life in New York, but I try not to give that too much thought. My daily visits to the sea and preoccupation with logistical matters are keeping me busy enough that I try not to worry about when this life will feel like mine.
Until then, this borrowed one will have to do.