Spring in Portugal

Portugal is on the same parallel as New York City. The climate, however, is mild  courtesy of the Gulf Stream which makes it a Mediterranean climate. That does not mean that spring is less welcome. The wet, chill rains of winters pelt the pavements from October through February.

The first harbinger of spring blossoms in the Algarve when the almond trees burst forth in January. The blossoms are like snow without the cold and wet. Slowly spring moves north and soon the warmth of the spring sun warms the country altogether.

Soon the winter vegetables give way to peas, lettuce and other warm weather delights. The school children take off their woolen clothing and exchange them for something lighter. Potted plants begin to stretch toward the sun and thoughts of the beach. I think spring was my favorite time in Portugal.

The almond trees in bloom, courtesy of Foz Côa Friends - Associação - find them on Facebook.
The almond trees in bloom, courtesy of Foz Côa Friends – Associação – find them on Facebook.

The Portugal Years: Great Expectations

Well, we all had some expectations after the flood. Bethy was expecting to watch the television after the rain let up, and we were back in our own home. Twelve days without electricity was a long time for a two-year to wait, but her expectation came to fruition and she was once again nestled in her chair  watching her Abelha  Maia.

Abelha Maia
Abelha Maia

Bethy also anticipated being able to ride her bike outside. That was also an expectation  fulfilled –  but only in part. The garden and the paving stones were in the process of being rehabilitated from the muck and slime. But, she did well on the front varanda safely over the the part of the neighbor’s farm that had come to rest at our abode.

Loving riding on the varanda.
Loving riding on the varanda.

Thanksgiving peeked around the corner and prompted our gratitude for all that we had in spite of the mess. Our house was intact, and we had an electric radiator that we could move from place to place in the cold winter temperature. The rooms all had doors that we could close to keep us warm in whatever we needed to do.

We were healthy, and had enough. Our salary was not generous, but we had enough for our daily bread and a little more. Our expectation was that our Heavenly Father would continue to provide – and He did. We had Elisabeth. Each day I marveled as I saw her growing and learning.

Soon our expectations of Christmas crept up on us. Money and presents arrived from family and friends in the states. It was only Bethy’s second Christmas, and she had few expectations. Nevertheless, we enjoyed shopping for her. We had decorated the tree shortly after Thanksgiving, and her eyes were wide with joy,  wonder and a bit of apprehension. But, we had another expectation in that Christmas tide.

'Twas the night before Christmas....
‘T was the night before Christmas….
Christmas Morning
Christmas Morning

Our other expectation was about a very young lady who had yet to show her face. She had a name (Sarah Susanna) and Harry’s expectation was that she would be born on his birthday, January 7th. The doctor said she could come at any time. With that expectation in mind, we bought Bethy a baby doll named Susie, and a crib to put her in. We hoped thought that it would help Bethy make the transition from only child to  big sister. The time was getting close, but not soon enough for me.

 

Elisabeth with the baby doll and the cradle.
Elisabeth with the baby doll and the cradle.