Friday, July 28, 2006

Beach Blues

There are places… corners of heaven on earth where one is meant to feel at peace.
It's these places that people go when they seek out their solace and equilibrium.
For some it's the mountains, other's it's the sea…
Your bedroom, a rooftop, a meadow…
Places you go to listen to your soul.

The ocean…
Powerful… Majestic…
Yet made by single drops of water…
It soothes… It surrounds…
It demands both admiration and respect
And when I feel like my soul is in turmoil;
The waves wash away the noise, calming my heart into hearing its own voice.

Stretching out a towel on the warm sand, I was grateful for the sun's embrace and wondered where my mind was when I considered trading in the warm sunshine for the artificial light of office lamps…
Spreading cream on snow white skin, I prayed for some colour despite the sunscreen I was defending myself with.
I usually only vary between two tones: White and Lobster.
Taking in my surroundings, I smiled at the two girls competing for mum's approval, showing off their cartwheels for anyone that would look.
There were two surfers in the distance waiting for the perfect wave that probably would never come in the stillness that the ocean was in.
There was a man with a heavy duffel bag selling potatoe chips and two towels to my right was a woman with baked brown skin that looked like she camped out on the beach for a living.

With little or no patience to attack the book I was reading, I took deep breaths of the salty air and beseeched my body to relax…
Any minute now…
My muscles would give in to the zen of the atmosphere, melting into the towel below me…
Right about now…
I should feel my body surrender to relaxation...
Sitting upstraight, irritation has the opposite effect
Why can't I relax?!

Opening my eyes, I'm suffocated with the image my eyes soak up…
Bright Blue…
Deep Blue…
Infinite Blue…
The ocean, the sky… Blue.
And inside my chest, my heart chokes and drowns in blue.
A tear runs down my right cheek and I get the sensation that had I looked in the mirror, it too would've looked blue.
From the corner of my eye, I spot a plane in the distance with a blue tail.
Air France.
The sight of it should make me happy… and yet…
I felt blue.

Do you believe that when you ignore your heart's will, your soul becomes disturbed?

Mind over matter!
If you focus on what you're trying to avoid, you'll only make it stronger!
Ignoring the accusing cry of a seagull taking flight, I grabbed my book from my duffel bag and lost myself in words and sentences and paragraphs and pages…

The final burst of heat and colour before succumbing to darkness.
The end of a day…
Too late for those that didn't grab the opportunity to feel it's warmth…
To early for those that prey off the shadows of the late hour.
One big star gives way to all the little ones…
An ocean of blue gives way to tones of pink, purple, orange and gold….
In moments… all will be dark.
For some it's the end, for other's a beginning.

As the sun went down on my day, I sighed in resolution that all was as it was meant to be.
I wasn't alone… but most importantly, I didn't feel alone.

Inner peace isn't found in the places where God poured out his imagination… the tranquility that one seeks comes within.
You can run in a million directions, arrive at a million destinations and still feel that you haven’t gone far enough…
Because you can't escape what you can't control and the taming of the beast within requires no more than the strength of spirit.

What have you done lately to put your soul at ease?
I'd stay and share my experience… but I'm late for a date with myself on the beach…

Monday, July 24, 2006

Destination: Unimportant

(Photo taken from

On every occasion there's a catch phrase that marks that moment forever.
Looking out into the sunset, I was asked a question I'd never been asked before:
“How many kisses have you given? And how many have you taken?”

But before you lose yourself in reminiscing… let me tell you about a day I most certainly will never forget:

I could tell you about the places I saw; Boca do Inferno, Farol Cabo das Rocas, Praia das Maças, Azenhas do Mar, Ericeira and the beautiful scenery to, from and all around these magical places…
But all I would be describing to you is what I saw, and what you see doesn't determine the magic… it's who you're with and how that makes you feel.
You could be standing at heaven's gate and it would mean nothing if you were standing there alone…

Life has a way of turning things around, of taking you places you never thought you'd see, getting you to do things you swore you’d never do and living moments you only dreamed of. While this all adds to the excitement and purpose of life, when it comes to people… the stakes are much higher.
You meet people you never thought existed, get along with characters you thought you’d never understand, fall in love with those that you warn your best friends against and find best friends with the people you thought you’d probably never get close to…

Unlikely friends…

That's what we were just a few months before. Not because of the differences in our personalities or life experiences but due to the circumstances that we met under.
Have you ever met someone, looked them in the eyes and knew that under different circumstances, the nature of your relationship with that person would be totally different?

To trust fate, is to know that life will bring about the opportunity for you to get to know a person at the level you first imagined you could reach.
What you do with that opportunity is your sole responsibility.
Sitting side by side with my new best friend, I was grateful for a higher power that knows better than me and keeps proving me wrong.
I somehow felt more relieved and confident about all my other friendships and future in general…

To look out at the ocean and strain to find the furthest point possible;
To contemplate on the waves and find perfection in each of their movements;
To watch from above the surface of the ocean and to know which current causes it's design.
To look up at a lighthouse and imagine the conversation that two friends would've had a hundred years ago.
To feel the breeze through your hair and not care how it messes it up.
To feel blessed by the heat of the sun on your skin.
To know that no other moment matters.

It felt good to sit on a wall and talk…
Happy Talk…
Sad Talk…
Naughty Talk…
General Talk…
No pressures or judgement,
Just talk and respect.
That’s how you know you've found a best friend.

Did you know that the albatross chooses one mate for life? He migrates and flies the equivalency of traveling around the world and he will come back to only that one mate and no other…
The things you learn with the people you know…
This is why we should choose our friends wisely:
They add the trimmings to the tree we become.

It is one thing to look at a person and imagine all the colours beneath their surface…
It is another thing to watch those colours come out.
It is one thing to trust someone,
It is another thing, to trust them with your heart.
When this happens, you know you've found a best friend.

I could tell you about the walk on the beach,
The country roads we drove on,
The seafood dinner with the exquisite wine
And euphoric feeling of a day well lived
But those are just moments…
That can be recreated and lived by anyone,
What matters most are the feelings,
Because those cannot ever be replicated or fabricated or lived at the same intensity by anyone else but those involved.
Some friendships are forbidden,
Some friendships don't make sense,
Looking at my new best friend’s face, I could tell that I wasn't the only one glad to have taken the chance.
I felt lucky to have found someone that understands me,
And blessed that on a Saturday night, I wasn't alone.

How many kisses have you given?
How many have you taken?

Would a stranger care to ask this question? No
But your friends would… they would want to know how
And you best friend would want to know why.

I wish I could paint a portrait of the places I saw, the beauty I witnessed…
I felt light… and happy… and inspired…
My worries and doubts melted away
My faith revived.
But none of this would I have felt,
If I hadn't a friend to share it with.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Confess or Hide?

Everyone knows that feeling… that churning sensation in your stomach when what you feel for another person causes a strong magnetic pull of your lips to theirs and you realize that you've been caught hook line and sinker!
Now what?
When you're sure of your symptoms and you're in too deep to play cat and mouse?

I sat and listened to a friend confess how she’d found the courage to pull the man of her dreams aside and tell him how she felt about him. Having a girlfriend, the results of such a proclamation were initially doomed for the worst and yet… I couldn't help but smiling as she maturely concluded that despite a few changes in tactic, she would've still proclaimed her sentiments. Heartbreak is nothing compared to living in doubt, at least heartbreak is something you get over. Doubt eats away at you…

This is the advice I'd give my best friend…

And yet… Lately I've questioned if revelation is the best option.
What is the use in telling someone that they touch you ways that they shouldn't because you're not touching them in the same way?
If the object of your affections doesn't feel the way you do, why bother?
Sure, it might help get over them quickly…
But won't you get over them eventually in any case?

So I sound like a coward…
Maybe I am, or maybe I've just hurt enough to want to avoid putting my soul through unnecessary turmoil. Life is hard enough it without your emotions giving you more motives to cry. The way I see it, love involves two souls and so if it's meant to be, something will happen… Why put my heart at risk prematurely? There’s plenty of time for things to get complicated…
And yet… tell that to your heart whose sole desire will is to march up to the man that occupies your thoughts, grab him bye both arms, look him in the eyes and speak directly to his soul saying:
“Tell me that you're feeling this too!”

Some will say that biding ones time is hiding from the inevitable; others will think it a wise tactic which could bring the best results if you give time the chance to bring you closer before revealing your heart's intentions. This is probably the most intelligent of the two options… but I've never been one for tactic and I've opted for my fair share of confessions… none of which I regret, but many of which I wonder of the results had I held on for a better timing.

I value younger people's perspective on such subjects, they seem to have the less screwed up opinion due to a lesser accumulation of bad experiences.
The opinion that I got is that fate would've been the same regardless of the timing. I'm not sure if I agree, but somehow I can't disagree either which brings me back to the blunt truth – it usually gets to the results quicker and in doing so you don't delay the suffering that only snowballs with time.
Not everyone is lucky to overcome the feeling with time… sometimes it's necessary to hear the rejection in audible words in order to break the hope your heart refuses to let go of.

I grow tired of such obstacles… I'm hoping the next time I fall in love, it'll be something less complicated:
I like you, you like me… let's see where things go from here.
Life should be as simple as the feeling… it kills me sometimes that it isn't.
Is this maturity or am I getting old and yellow?

My youthful friend who still stands at the beginning of all beginnings… that yet has many times to invest his heart, many joys and tears to cry and more experiences to gain left me with one last thought: if you keep trying, someday you’ll get it right.

Regardless of the tragic results of my friend’s confession, I'm in awe of her courage. To have opened her heart in order to face what she was feelings. It was something easier done a couple of years ago, and something I'm not sure I'm capable of these days. To tell someone that when they speak, they speak directly to your heart… to give them that kind of access and power over your soul… it takes courage and a strong stomach!
Regardless of how differently things could’ve been done and said – I'm proud of her for the initiative and honestly people seldom have these days.

Love is a universal feeling although felt at different intensities and handled differently by each individual.
Is there a right way to handle your heart – or is there just the best that each of us can do? The wise and the experienced dispense their advice and how we should handle our emotions and yet how certain is their advice?
Advice is the recycling of old mistakes which are painted over to look like new. No one wants to be the fabrication of someone else’s moulding so why not listen to your heart and deal with whatever consequences come with the decisions you make?
If you are going to make a mistake… at least make it an original.
Are you really making the same mistake when you risk opening up to a person? Or with each wrong person you proclaim your love to, are you eliminating the wrongs before finding the right and deserving?
It's so easy to feel disappointed in ourselves and to punish ourselves when we allow ourselves to feel not good enough.
When was honesty ever wrong?

As one of my colleagues said to me today… sometimes taking a step back is the equivalency of taking two steps forward.
Maybe it's best to step forward, perhaps it's time to pause or even the point to surrender… no one can give you the answer; your head only knows what you've taught it and so only your heart can guide you in the right direction.
However way you handle your life, decisions and heart, remember that the only true mistake you can make is to give up.

Is this good advice? I don't know - I'm only sharing what I've learnt so far and I don't always recommend people to try walking in my footsteps. Walk your own.
The only solid advice I can truly give is:
Wear sunscreen.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Strength of a Man

Recently joking around with two colleagues, I promised one of them that when I went to South Africa I'd bring her back a tall Rugby player.
Being Portuguese, her only complaint is that she’d be too small compared to the extra large Rugby Players that South Africa generally cultivates...
Laughing, I told her that she had to look at the benefits of having a tall man in which one of them was feeling safe in the arms of someone who envelopes you in his embrace.
“Safe?! Men can't even protect themselves let alone protect a woman!” she protested!
With my most serious posture, I reminded her that chickens and ostriches can’t fly but that doesn't make them any less birds than those that do!

It was funny at the time and my argument was that even though I believe that there are true men out there that are capable of embracing and enfolding a woman in love and care, I hadn’t had the privilege of meeting the one.

This wasn't a fair statement.

I've met more than one man worthy of being called a man even if he wasn’t the one I was meant to be with… but that isn’t a confession meant for play time between friends.
It had been quite a while since I'd met one though and I was beginning to lose hope…perhaps they had gone extinct after all, these days it seems that men have forgotten what it means to be a man.

Even though we laughed and goofed around with the topic, I was nonetheless pulled apart by the male present and told not to think that way. Explaining that I was merely joking around, deep down I knew that I’d already begun to lose hope.
And then the day came that our theories were put to the test, and for brief moments, I was reminded again what it feels like to feel safe and protected in a man's arms.

I believe.

I don't normally publish other people's work, instead I take the inspiration from what I see, hear and learn to write my own perspective. Yet I couldn't put the message you've read in the images above in better words. I would've liked to be able to honour these wise sayings with its author. I hope they touch you in the same way they touched me.

Love Always,

Dark Night

When someone you love is in trouble and there’s nothing you can do.
It’s like screaming at the top of your lungs against a sound proof wall and knowing no one can hear you. They may even see you but there’s nothing anybody can do.
And when you feel that destiny is not in your hands…
You feel small… impotent and helpless.
Time stops.
The air becomes heavy and hard to breathe and no matter how hard you try and think straight, you can’t stop your head from spinning to the point you feel you’ll either scream or pass out.
Lost… desolate and desperate… I searched my mind for a face that could relieve the stress or tension that I was feeling and I could find none.
I wanted to run,
I needed to hide
But I was motionless, stuck in a moment with no escape.

My dad…
He was all I could think of, the way he would hug and kiss all my hurts away and the fact that I couldn’t provide that loving care in the moment he needed me the most.
I could see his face, feel his pain… but I was too far to even touch him.
Heart Wrenching... Heart Aching… Heart Breaking…
So this is how it feels to have the floor disappear from under your feet…
Worse than the suffocation was the fear of being seen falling apart and so I summoned the strength to get up and make my way to the bathroom. There I was meant to wash my face and find the force of mind to get myself out of the building without being seen…
But before I could leave the corridor…
I heard a voice, and suddenly I didn't want to deal with it on my own.

I tried to say the words but I couldn’t utter them… to hear them was to turn even more real a nightmare I desperate to wake up from.
I sensed two more presences around me but I couldn’t take in what they were saying.
I saw their worried glances; I could see their lips moving…
And even though I wanted to reach out to one of them, I was pulled back the strength of my grief. All I wanted was to see my dad, they couldn’t make that happen.

I don’t recall at which point it was that I got a grip on my senses although I know that the first solid sensation I felt, was a pair of blue eyes pulling me back to the present moment where I finally began seeing options and solutions.
There weren’t many… but there’s always something a person can do… even if it was just pack my suitcase for the worst case scenario.
The strength in an embrace pulled me back from despair and gave me courage to climb the stairs and hope.

Alone… that’s how you feel when things are wrong and you feel helpless.
Because there’s nothing anyone can do, and you don’t want their pity or words of encouragement… they are of no comfort.
There was no one I wanted to see, no one I wanted to talk to... just dad.
All I needed was silence, and someone to hold me.

They say when times are dark, friends are few…
That isn’t true.
I found that I have more friends than I had imagined…
Once the panic passed, I found comfort in the smiles and support of those that care about me.
When you need it the most… God sends you an angel to keep you from falling.
And then a couple more appear to help you back onto your feet.

Thank-You to those who shared with me kind words, smiles and hugs... it was your support that gave me the strength to pull through.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Teacher in Training

One of the quotes that have inspired me lately is: “When you’re looking for solutions, you must be ready for surprises.” (thanks cuz!)

I can’t say that that I was looking for answers, but I sure was trying to make some improvements, mainly in what related to the training I give. I was recently given a few hints on training and I decided that the next class would be as good as any to try them out. What happened though was beyond my expectations.

One hour… that’s the time I’ve got to pass on the necessary information.

The training itself has already been well pre-prepared and it’s not made out to last past the sixty minutes that you have. Sometimes I rush for time, other times I’m left with five or ten minutes to kill… this time however, after all the questions and doubts were answered, I still had a whole thirty five minutes to fill!

Nobody likes to leave early, this means they have to go straight to work and so I needed to come up with something to fill the gap.

To some people, teaching and training come naturally but I confess that deep down I feel small and intimidated in a classroom with fifteen pairs of eyes looking at me. I feel the heavy weight of the responsibility of getting the necessary information across clearly in order for them to do their job correctly and I put in a great amount of effort to get through to them. Preparation is 50% of the work but it didn't foresee a whole thirty five minutes.

Silence… I had gotten that quiet group again that doesn’t like to talk back…

And so… I took the opportunity to do something that has frightened ever since I began working with a sea of faces; I decided to converse with them. As simple as this may sound, it’s not an easy task to keep the attention of 15 people while focusing on one person’s issues. I asked them how the new things were going and what difficulties they were experiencing and so the feedback I got from one wasn’t necessarily to the interest of all and my goal was to maintain everyone’s attention.

One by one, the personal experiences were shared and suddenly people where trading ideas and solutions. I had most of the answers to the questions raised but I decided to throw them back to the group and allow some or other person who knew the answer to shine among his peers… that was another technique I'd learnt and it works!

Eventually, I came across that one person that makes all training sessions difficult… Mr, or in this case… Mrs. Negative.

This particular person is a position where she calls clients for corrections and receives the none-too-happy customer calls. Being in a position like that will teach you to do what clients to best: complain!

She complained about the system and the rules according to the topic we were discussing and I decided not to interrupt her. Once she was finished I took a minute to think about how I was going to respond to her attack and considering that I had time, I saw my window of opportunity to make a difference…

I started off by explaining the root and tip of the particular system so that she could understand why it had been organized as such and why it was the best system available even though I made it clear that any system has space for improvement. I went on to remind her where her suggestions could be fed in and how important they are if she was hoping to make improvements.

With my personal comparisons and odd joke, I managed to keep everyone’s attention while breaking down the girl’s complaint until I finally reached the source of the problem.

I decided to address her position and explained to all how difficult it is to deal with clients, especially those that are none too impressed. No amount of morale can withstand the innumerous complaints and after so much negative feedback, you can’t help but feel a little negative yourself and frustrated when you’re helpless do to more than you can to solve that client’s problem.

At first she looked at me with gratitude that I'd shown some compassion and understanding and continuing my light hearted technique, I decided to give back what I'd learnt with clients over the years.

I suggested that difficult clients are the most fun challenges and that the name of the game is “solve my problem”

I went on to remind them that their role is the most important of all due to the fact that they’re the ones that can link the problem to the solution. The solution might not depend on them, but without them it cannot be found.

A smile is heard over the phone and as a great philosopher once said: “We can defend ourselves from an attack, but we’re defenseless against a compliment”. To counter attack a client is to give him more reasons to complain, but to present solutions to his problem is to disarm him. With this, the whole class began interacting and if felt as if everyone was rearming and restocking for another night’s battle.

I wished everyone a good night’s work as they left the room with a smile on their faces and a positive energy charge. Switching off the overhead projector and the computer, I couldn’t help but smile at myself and I took the time to close my eyes and thank God for the miracle. It’s not always easy to get through and it’s a great feeling of accomplishment when you feel that you have. In twenty years from now, I think I’ll still feel this good if I’ve felt that not only have I done my job but I’ve gotten through. I might’ve made a difference that to some may only last the night, the week or with some luck, the following two weeks. However, I made the difference. And I keep the faith that the positive difference lasts them a lifetime.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Angels Are Hobo’s From The Street.

I sent an e-mail inviting everyone in the hopes that some would make time to join me on a special night to celebrate some of my favourite things: Madeira, bolo do caco and poncha!...
At first everyone was interested and almost everyone said they’d come…
But when pushed came to shove, the number of people decreased to zero.
At first I was hurt, then upset and then I remembered that the only guarantee in life is that people disappoint you sooner or later. Deciding not to let it bother me, I made my way home to change clothes and I'd go to the party on my own with a good mind to have a couple of drinks and maybe even make some new friends.
Distracted with my thoughts, I didn't even realize he was coming towards me until he was right in front of me, blocking my way.
At first I was shocked and took two steps back, his clothes were old and torn and his hair and beard hadn't seen a blade in the time it took to grow a good twenty centimeters.
I told him that I was in a hurry and was about to walk around him when he asked me not be frightened of him.
After getting mugged less than a month ago, common sense demanded that I keep walking but there was something sincere and almost fragile in his voice that made me stop and look straight at him.
“I know I look scruffy and you probably should be scared of me, but please don’t be. I just wanted to warn you that there’s a black man with black clothing walking in this park that has been snatching cellphones and purses and I thought you’d want to be careful considering that you’re walking all alone. There. That’s all I wanted to say, you can go now if you want.”
I had expected to ask me for money, perhaps something to eat but nothing had prepared me for this man’s approach.
Taking a closer look, I noticed his eyes of deep blue with deep lines of sun and age and a touch of tenderness. He reminded me of my grandfather and a very thin Santa Claus.
I put my hand on his skinny arm and thanked him.
He smiled and walked away before I could say anything else.

Change in plans.

I walked into the 24 hour service supermarket and bought a cheese and ham sandwich, a pear juice and an apple and decided that I owed this man dinner.
On a day where everything that could go wrong did, where my friends had disappointed me and where I’d faced more than one act of selfishness… This man had shown me the only act of kindness I'd received all day.
I found the man feeding a dog and putting bread on the floor for the pigeons. I saw the surprise register on his face as I sat next to him on the bench and asked him his name.
“So you’re not in a hurry after all” He said with a smirk
I shook my head bashfully and offered him the plastic bag with my good intentions. I was shocked when he refused to accept my kindness and felt embarrassed for having assumed that he needed my charity. He proceeded to explain that he had enough money to feed himself and that he didn’t roam the streets because he had to. My interested amounted as I realized that there was more to the man than his appearance.

His name is Luis Filipe,
He is 57 years old and when he was my age he had an adventure with a woman he didn’t love to spite the one that he did. She fell pregnant and he became the father of a little girl.
The mother of this child was independent and chose to raise the child on her own, only allowing his presence as an outsider.
He fell in love with this child that grew to be spoilt and mistreated her father and the one woman that treated him with love and respect, his mother, died only four months before. The woman he loved got married to someone else and he dedicated his life to the daughter that never accepted her father.
His daughter who is a selfish brat and yet whom is described with the utmost of love and care, after various mental problems decided to shut her father out six months before.
And so, Luis Filipe roams the streets of Lisbon, between Entrecampos, Campo Pequeno and Praça de Espanha… feeding the pigeons, watching children in the parks and watching families around him. Even though I knew the answer, I asked him in any case, why he’d chosen to stop and warn me.
“You were alone, you remind me of my daughter and I just wanted you to be safe”

I told Luis that if he wasn’t going to accept dinner, then we were going to have to give it to someone who needed it. He told me that the homeless man he knew wasn’t around anymore so I decided to go to the church where I knew another homeless man would be sleeping on the stairs. He asked me how I knew this and was surprised when I told him that sometimes I leave whatever I don’t finish for dinner on the stairs for him to eat when he wakes up. I felt guilty that I hadn’t left anything in a while, but times have been tough and I’ve had to work out a tight budget.
Luis told me that men like the one I left dinner to, often passed out in a drunken stupor and that it was good of me to leave some food rather than give him money, he’d only buy booze in any case and often he went through days without eating a thing.
I asked Luis if he drank and I was surprised when he told me that the only thing he did that I might disapprove of is that he messes with the garbage. He explained to me that people throw away good things that he sometimes made good use of and most importantly, he looked for bread for the pigeons and food for the stray dogs. He also told me that at two restaurants, the employee’s were good enough to separate some of that food for him.

Luis isn’t your average stereotyped hobo! He likes going to the museum on days that it’s for free; he’s present at every public event and he enjoys the free shows and musicals that the city provides for his entertainment. I was surprised to find out that he also goes into the coffee shop at Entrecampos station just to listen when someone plays piano. Luis isn’t a big soccer fan but he’s been watching the recent world cup matches on the different TV screens in pubs and restaurants and hopes Portugal will win. When I asked him what difference it would make to him whether or not Portugal won considering that he wasn’t a sports fan, he simply smiled and said people in the streets are happier and nicer when Portugal wins in the soccer. For a man with no education, he sure knows a lot about the world. I particularly enjoyed listening to his point of view on Fernando Pessoa whose poetry I only recently discovered.

As Luis Filipe walked me home, bystanders would look at me suspiciously. They must’ve found it strange that a young girl would walk side by side a stray man. Did they fear for my safety? It’s not like any of them would do something about it if I were in any real danger…
A security guard near the municipal library stepped in my direction as if to ask if I was being bothered. I felt Luis shrink in a mixture of fear and embarrassment next to me but I gave the security my warmest smile to let him now that my companion’s presence was welcome.
Against my common sense I put myself at risk allowing this man to walk me home, and yet, I don’t believe I’ve ever felt so safe in this city like I did with Luis walking by my side.

Luis surprised me by thanking me for letting him walk and talk with me; we’d spent two hours that more than made up for the whole day’s sour events. He told me that he didn’t have many friends and that even though he hadn’t expected me to have come back, he had thought I was an angel after I had looked in his eyes and touched his arm. Shocked, I touched his arm again and told him that he was as much my angel as I had been his.
I can’t think of a better way to have spent my evening than with Luis Filipe who relieved the weight of my disappointment in others, restoring my faith and renewing my hope.

The more we know, the less we seem to understand. We’re so quick to judge and to label that we don’t even realize when the true opportunities pass us by. Luis owed me nothing, and yet because I reminded him of his daughter, he chose to him me a word of care. I shouldn’t have stopped at night for a stranger, and yet ignoring my good sense to trust my heart started this entry that you’re reading. The smallest gesture can have a world of worth when you add the results up. I probably would’ve never met a friend like Luis in the bar I was headed to… and I’m glad I didn’t go.

Sometimes I fear that Lisbon is a city too cold to find any warmth, tenderness or happiness. And yet, angels like Luis Filipe show me that there’s still a lot of love around and that I’ll always be able to find it if I listen to my heart and keep the faith.