This Life Is Sweet

Festival set up in the blazing sun
It’s a joy to volunteer.
Turns out hard work can be fun
and plus they give you beer.

This life is sweet.
I’m a big fan.
One thing would make it sweeter, love
I want to hold your hand.

Sunset hues and crescent moon
A man plays guitar on the dock.
The remnants of labor settled by
An evening swim and a walk.

This life is sweet.
I’m a big fan.
One thing would make it sweeter, love
I want to hold your hand.

Guitar and fiddle and banjo
Waves of song wash over me.
Story as lighthouse, the chorus safe harbor
My blanket a raft in this musical sea.

This life is sweet.
I’m a big fan.
One thing would make it sweeter, love
I want to hold your hand.
If you were here by my side, my love And if you would hold my hand.

Comforts

That’s the food court at this local mall. There’s free wifi. There’s a McDonald’s but also a Sabadores do Porto. I’m eating Indian because I’ve been craving it since not having it in England. With beer, because it’s a food court that has beer.

I was freezing earlier because it’s raining and cold and the apartment has no heat and my big cardigan got stolen. I was hungry and beyond frustrated over passwords and banking. I was concerned for what’s next. I was grumpy from so many causes that it seemed insurmountable. It was time to seek some comfort.

Walking to the mall while the rain took a break got me some exercise and got me to some heat – both needed comforts. Additionally I saw interesting things, like a Nutella cafe, and engaging curiosity always feels good. Bought a lovely and warm scarf, check, that was on my to do list. Love checking those items off! Next was food which was probably more of a need than a comfort. As a sidenote, I’ve mostly stopped feeling “hungry” anymore. It’s like my body clock has just given up. I discovered today that for some reason my phone didn’t switch over to Portugal time. I was an hour ahead for two days and it didn’t matter at all.

Lists and plans comfort me. I was fine for the last two months of floating around without a plan. It’s exhausting though, and expensive and inefficient. I want to travel for the rest of my life but not aimlessly nor non-stop. And preferably not always alone. The delights in life are heightened by sharing them. I’ll be looking for travel buddies. Don’t worry, I won’t be a stickler for the plan. Changing plans is just as good as having them.

It’s amazing how some warmth and some food can turn everything around. As the Desiderata cautions:

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.”

I’m coughing and sniffling with a cold so I don’t want to go make friends today. I don’t have the energy to dance or make jokes or even ask very interesting questions. I’m grateful every day for social media and for my friends sending me love and encouragement. It helps get me through until my perspective returns.

Soon I need to find a warm hoodie to snuggle into at the apartment, take some cold meds when I get there and if the internet is back, watch some Netflix. Netflix and… warmth.

I’m home for December to have Christmas with my family and friends and to seek comfort during the first Christmas without visiting my mother.

Then I might hop in my car and brave the United States, if it’s still there. If the vote today doesn’t make things worse. That’d be the bravest adventure yet! If my son can do it then so can I! Although, last we heard he was snowed in at a mountain village. But having a great time! Though entirely without a plan. But with his good friend! I wonder maybe instead of trying to decide if a situation is overall good or not, it’s best to just decide it’s good and then strive to make it even better. Yes. That decides it. I’ll look for a hot chocolate place on the walk home.

Oh Honourable Thief

I resolved last night to accept that my things were gone. I cancelled my bank cards, changed pertinent passwords, got new hostel keys, and activated the lost iPad locking. I spent a bit of time feeling violated and fearful, then I went out to MAD About You improv in English. They have two guests per show who they interview and the answers become the offers to create the improv – one per half. I was selected and so I told the room about my backpack being stolen. It’s always good to talk these things out! It was the Hallowe’en show so the questions centred mostly around fear. To a question about nightmares I answered “I recently had a nightmare where I disappointed some important people in my life terribly and I woke up crying.” I love how theatre = therapy. The show was really excellent and the players were great people.

In the morning I got a message that the police had found my credit cards, driver’s license, and hostel keys! They had been left out and a citizen had returned them – I think the thief wasn’t going to sell or use them and wanted them to be returned to me. Jorge of the Lindyhoppers said petty thieves will never use the cards for fear of being tracked and are too unsophisticated for fraud. Unsophisticated but also thoughtful to leave them out to be returned. I wasn’t sure how to get back to the police station so I looked at Google Maps to see if it keeps a running record of everywhere I’ve been and it does, of course. So Maps took me back to the policia and on the way I got to thinking how I can recreate most of my journal from the Cloud. Google knows every restaurant I’ve eaten at, every place I’ve lingered and wandered. Every photo I’ve taken is somewhere on Samsung and Google. I’ve sent emails and Messenger messages and texts and WhatApp notes and I’ve posted on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. Really everything I’ve experienced is somehow documented on the Cloud. And so I came to terms with the loss of the journal.

That combined with the sunshine and the return of all my ID and my hostel keys made me so much lighter. My natural state is one of general joy with bursts of excitement. I had forgotten that fact until I returned to it after quitting the bank. I was so excited about the future! Then my Mom’s illness became more demanding and then, of course, she died. And the joy was gone, it was all grey and really I went to the UK because I was afraid if I didn’t do something rash I would wake up and find that I’d gone back to the bank and that twenty years had passed.

Somehow in struggling with the loss of all these things, I’ve found my way back to the joy. During this trip I’ve mostly been happy. Engaged, interested and on occasion excited and deeply contented with highlights of joy. There has been so very much beauty and I’ve been often moved, at times to tears. Walking along the street today I was able to be “in the moment”: joyful, excited about the future, and thrilled by the moment. It was good to be back.

I bought a little notebook that I really like and will carry in my new hip bag that prevents me from having to put my stuff down when I dance. Long journal entries I can do at home: the notebook is for jotting down things like “the cashier says Luton is not England… not anymore” but also things like the list of what to bring the NEXT time I’m on a red-eye flight.

Late this afternoon, I got a Twitter message from a new Jorge saying he thought he had found my journal! The photocopy of my passport was still in it and he used it to find me on Twitter. We made plans to meet up at a bar called “Oh My Game” – like a Canadian games cafe. I felt a bit nervous of course, so I used the Messenger location-sharing feature to share my whereabouts with an actress from the improv group and apprised her of my plan. There was no need for concern though – Jorge #2 was a pleasant young man who was out playing games and drinking beer with his friends. He had found the journal discarded in a public area.

The other items I’m sure are now being sold and I’m quite fine with that. The robber identified the items I most required back and left them to be found. I’m grateful to this honourable thief for the lesson, and for not making it sting too badly.

And I’m grateful for the dancers, actors and gamers who are out there being good souls. And for my many friends who sent me messages of love and support. All these people make this a world where joy is possible.