If ever there is a more welcoming way to arrive to a new country than by walking into a yarn store, I certainly can't think of it. With just a few hours sleep on our red-eye flight across the ocean, and only a few hours off the plane (long enough to deposit our bags and find coffee), we walked into Rosa Pomar's Retrosaria and were instantly greeted by open arms (and a lesson in the appropriate Portuguese greeting - both cheeks for kisses!). Warm and friendly faces, kind words and adorable babies instantly reminded me that we all share so much in common, really. No matter where we live, no matter the language. We had a lovely evening there and are so grateful to all who came to say hello. As Rosa reminded me, we are dinosaurs in the world of blogging, she and I! What a pleasure to spend time that evening and in subsequent time we spent together during my stay, talking all things family and work, life and love. And I'm so inspired by the work she is doing to honor Portuguese wool farmers, preserving tradition and bringing it all to a new generation.
Later in our stay, we ventured outside of Lisbon just a bit to the coastal town of Caiscais. There, we were so generously hosted by Virginia, Sasha and Martha (Virginia has some fun photos from our day together on her blog) - all wonderful ladies from the community around The Craft Company, another fabulous fiber and fabric shop doing good things in their community. We had a marvelous day together exploring their beautiful town - that actually quite reminded me of my own small coastal hometown. But then I'd turn a corner and be reminded that I was in another place entirely. Never have I seen a row of pink houses in South Portland, Maine. Or a tiled lighthouse, for that matter. (As Harper said when I showed him these photographs, "Mom, that is NOT a lighthouse! A lighthouse is round!" Oh, but it is, my love!) Once again, sitting around a table at lunch together, I found us all talking about our children's education, growing our own food, and how to (and whether to) regulate technology use. So universal these things are! And what a delight to share the conversation - and our day - with other moms who care so deeply.
I saw so many beautiful sights on our trip - such a gorgeous city Lisbon is, so rich with history and culture. We ate amazing food at every single meal. But I think what I come home feeling most grateful for are the moments of real and true connection that happened, that were never planned but happened everywhere we went. All the time we spent with these likeminded crafters and makers in their shops or homes. Or the beautiful couple we met from Paris and spent an unexpected meal together talking about all manner of things - their lives as exotic and wild to us as likely ours seemed strange to them, in such a different way we all live. The wise older gentleman who gave us an Uber ride and some encouraging words about our country when we were feeling low. The dear best friends, a set of Irish ladies a few decades ahead of us, on their own vacation, filling us with life tales and so much laughter just because we happened to sit next to them and strike up a conversation. Oh, and the week-long conversation that picks up and drops off and starts again with my own dearest friend and traveling companion. I suppose all of that is what I love most about traveling and vacation - that there is all the time in the world for such connections to happen, and in fact, that's the very thing we are desiring and seeking out. Oh, I hope I can continue to carry that reminder with me as we return to the rhythm of daily life at home. I may not be able to stop the rushing about or pause the schedule entirely, but I can choose to move through it all at a pace which is a little more human, and I can choose to connect with the people we come across in our days, however brief and fleeting that connection may be. For that, really, is what it's all about.
Wishing you all a wonderful start to your week! And in this, the busiest time of year, may we all find ways in which to walk through it at our own pace and encourage connection!