The Portugal Years: Year Four – Spring Has Sprung!

Portugal spring

From the dark, cold and wet winter, springs emerges with hope in Portugal. Slowly, layer by layer, the warm clothing withdraws into dresser drawers and armários. Pallid arms turn to bronze from the sun’s warm kisses. The aroma of the lemon trees fills the air. Spring is the planting and growing season.

Bethy always liked playing  out-of-doors. She was right beside me when I was hanging up the laundry in the back yard and spent her time examining the garden our landlady had planted. Vanessa, our landlady’s daughter, often came over to play with Bethy.

One day when Bethy was outside in the garden while I was fixing lunch, she came into the house with bright eyes and said. “Mommy! Mommy! I found a “tattole.” I mentally checked the vocabularies of my English and Portuguese languages and asked her if it was any of the things I could think of. No. It was not.

When Harry came home, I told her to ask Daddy what it was.  No  bells  rang for  him, either.  He asked her where it was. She took him by the hand, down the steps and into the back yard. In the yard, she made a beeline for the fence. She pointed to something on it. As we advanced, she said, “See? Tattole!!” And there it was. A large caracol, called a snail in English, with a shell about the size of a quarter was slowly ascending the fence.

Yes, it was a season of growing, planting and hope. Our little rosebud was thriving. And in that season of hope, we were nurturing another hope that would bloom sometime after Christmas.

Bethy and Vanessa on the stairway up to our apartment in Loures.

Bethy and Vanessa on the stairway up to our apartment in Loures.

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31 comments

  1. Kevin Spencer · ·

    A beautiful, wonderfully written story of spring having sprung. And of being fruitful and multiplying. I loved it — tattoles, indeed.

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    1. Thank you, Kevin. That photo triggered a cataract of memories. One of the things that came to me was that she was literally learning two languages at once. She was eight when we moved back to the states, and she brought a lot of her Portuguese culture with her; it remains to this day.

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  2. I’ll be over later, Susan. xx Amy

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    1. Sounds good to me! :D

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        1. I replied! :D

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  3. You know, it must be cool. Bethy grew up learning two languages. That’s special. You should have taken the snail indoors to be a pet. I would have, you know.

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    1. Erm…the snail might not appreciate it. :D Yes, it is cool, speaking two languages. She was a wonder and a half. This post triggered a bunch of memories which will be explored in the next installment.

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      1. Yes, I’d like to hear all about it, please.

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        1. I will spinning them out as I go. Memory Lane has some lovely stops.

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  4. Susan, these stories are so heart warming. So normal. They give me a sense of stability and HOPE. Thank you, my friend, for writing these stories from your life. Thank you. Love, Amy

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    1. Thank you, Amy. Those years were precious to me. Some days I miss Portugal so much. We were at home there. The Portuguese, for the most part, treated us better than most of the Americans with whom we worked. He was the business manager, and if the field director had listened to my Aspie husband and his insights into finances, we might all still be there. I was content there. I was away from my insane family members and had space to grow. I am very thankful for those years, and I thank you for loving them with me. Love you much! XOXO Susie

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      1. Susie, I need a space now in my life away from the insanity. I am now Dreaming of a place of Peace and Tranquility near the ocean where I can create to my Heart’s content. I need this like I need the air to breathe. Love, Amy

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        1. I hear you, girlfriend. That’s what a beach is for. Praying for you to find what you need to do what you do. Love you Amy.

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          1. I will take every prayer I can get right now. I need a beach. And a different life. Love, Amy

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            1. Much love, Amy dear.

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              1. Thank you, Susan. I am pulling the nose of the plane up. I have been nose diving due to the person I live with. I claim my right to PEACE now! Love you! Amy

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                1. Sure do understand concept of nose diving. Huggles

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                  1. SusieQ, we both have very challenging lives. Rusty done did me in on top of dealing with hubs’ daily shinanigans. Whatever. Now I have pulled back up and up I stay. *big sigh* Speaking of men, I’m kinda tiffed at P cause he didn’t even say anything like “oh I hope everything is going to be OK.” I am not playing with him right now. He can go find somebody else to play with. HURRUMPH! xx Amester

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                    1. True that is, Amester. I wouldn’t take P’s lack of reply to heart. He may be going through some stuff of his own and since he has chosen to be a mystery blogger, he can’t well tell his followers about his stuff he is going through. and sometimes the mens people don’t know what to say. So they don’t say anything.

                      Anyhoo, here’s to a better day and some encouraging events for you. Love you!XOXO

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                    2. Thanks for the pep talk, Susan. I’ll keep in mind what you said, and furgive and furget. Now that I got that off my chest, here is to a better day!!! Love you! Amester

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                    3. Love you, Amester!

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                    4. I really am grateful to you for saying what you did. All I could “see” was my hurt, and not the other guy’s. Hey, I am human after all, it seems. I owe you for speaking Truth and helping me out. I LOVE YOU! Thank you! xx Amester

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                    5. Both of us are more than human, Amester. We just need a nudge now and then to remind us Whose children we are. I have my days as you know. the really cool thing is that God uses us to life up one another. Real friends speak the truth IN LOVE. I love you. Susie-Q

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                    6. I LOVE YOU too, Susie-Q. And what the really cool thing is, real friends listen and accept, acknowledge, are grateful versus getting defensive and angry. You are teaching me the definition of friend. I had that with my best friend Carol, who died in 2006. That is what I Loved most about her, I could speak Truthfully and she could with me as well. I am so lucky to have you in my life, and I really mean that. You are a very wise woman, if you already did not know that. I am blessed for that wisdom. (((HUGS))) Ames

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  5. i know what you mean about feeling content there. That’s how I felt living abroad.

    I agree the snail probably would prefer not to be brought in. Although it might be rude not to at least offer him the chance.

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    1. I think the snail was heading toward the greens in the garden. Quite frankly, I think he preferred that.

      I would go back in a heartbeat if I could.

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  6. Oh how sweet! I thought a tattole would end up being a tadpole! LOL! :D

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    1. Well, she was working on her Portuguese there. But my we were puzzled for awhile.

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      1. LOL! I bet! :D

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