The Portugal Years – Year Two: A Call In the Night

Year two gave me time to observe and practice the Portuguese language. One of the things that helped me with the language was reading Agatha Christie’s mysteries in Portuguese. It was especially helpful with the idioms.

agatha christie

There was a lot to learn about this country that had existed for hundreds of years, and I enjoyed every minute of learning. At one time, Portugal had a world-wide empire. The map shows all of the places the Portuguese claimed. 


In the 1970’s, Angola and Mozambique both fought a war for independence from Portugal and each followed it up with civil wars. You can read the details if you are interested here and here. One of the outcomes was that Portugal was flooded by immigrants from both of those countries. In the beginning, they were white immigrants, but as thousands of people were being killed, the black Africans also flooded Portugal. Many of them built a place to live out of wood and metal roofing. I was fascinated by their ability to make do and survive under such adverse conditions.


Watching the news on Portuguese television was a revelation, too. When you are accustomed to United States-centric news, it gives you a new perspective. The Portuguese news reporters also reported news from the US, but not usually in depth. When it came to the World Series, though, Harry had to buy copies of the International Herald Tribune. That year, 1980, was looking good for the Phillies as they played game six against the Kansas City Royals at Veterans Stadium.


There’s nothing quite as disturbing as a jangling phone ringing at 2 a.m. It is downright worrisome. Harry rolled out of bed, picked up the phone and said, “Está?” Then he started talking in English with a side of jubilee. His dad had called as soon as the game was over to let Harry know that the Phillies were the world champions. Of course, the next night we had a post World Series party.

Have you ever been awakened in the middle of the night?

14 thoughts on “The Portugal Years – Year Two: A Call In the Night

  1. It is tradition. Started in the early spring of 1982, and continued in 1993, 2005, and 2009, my father and I call to celebrate each University of North Carolina National Championship in college basketball. We would have celebrated the 1957 Championship too, but I just couldn’t get a line out from my mother’s womb. But I heard Dad cheering.


  2. Can you read like a Pirate? 😀 Yes, well my son-in-love is also a Pirate’s fan. And Steelers. And Red Sox. Things get really interesting when they are in the same room. Ai de mim.


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