After 3,5 months in Portugal I would like to think I know a couple of things about Portuguese culture. Of course there are things you like the minute you arrive, things you will have to get used to and things that you will never be able to like, not even a tiny bit. Even though I’m pretty sure Portugal is not «my» country I like it a lot with all its positive and negative sides (well, not all of them, but…). Here are the things I will definitely miss when I go home:
Coffee: The first time I was introduced to Portuguese coffee I was so scared. I had never had an espresso and I thought it would be horrible and disgusting and a lot of other bad things, but it turned out to be ok. Most people put sugar in it, which makes it drinkeable. When I say a lot of sugar, I mean A LOT. I think some people actually drink sugar with coffee, haha! Every day halfway through my lunch, my body starts craving coffee because the Portuguese always drink it after lunch and I have gotten used to that as well! That leads me to my next point:
Lunch: Lunch has to be warm! Sandwich is not good enough anymore, I’m sorry, fellow Norwegians. Maybe in emergencies, but not really. I was home for a week earlier this month and every day around 1 pm I started thinking about warm food, which is only for dinner in Norway! I will definitely keep having dinner for lunch when I come back.
Time: I have adopted the (not so great) habit of not being very concerned about time. I would not say it’s a particular Portuguese habit, because the Spanish and the Latin Americans are so much worse! The Portuguese are actually quite early in comparison with the others, haha! Anyway, I tend to be late for everything, but it does not matter, because I’m still earlier than the Portuguese and sometimes the other foreigners as well…
Portuguese food: I will definitely miss some of the Portuguese food I have tried here. Even though I do not eat it that often, it’s nice to be able to have it, you know? Like an occasional francesinha, moelas, bifana, alheira, chouriço and of course nata. That made me think: maybe I should make a post about Portuguese food?
Frutaria: There is this small store close to my house where you can buy fruit, vegetables, legumes, olives and eggs. They have these small stores spread over the entire city and they are so cosy! Every time I go there the ladies who work there will greet me with a happy «bom dia» or «boa tarde» even if they are standing with their head deep in a sack of potatoes. It’s such a nice and relaxing place. They have started recognizing me and one of them really likes to practice her English with me even though she knows I speak Portuguese. As long my Portuguese is better than her English, I will not complain!
Clothes: I really like the way Portuguese women dress because they always look so elegant and pretty! And I keep falling in love with their shoes every day. Norwegians have this horrible habit of wearing sports pants whenever they want (yes, in public as well!), which I find kind of sad and ugly. I used to be one of them, but after my exchange year in Chile that changed. We were forced to use the school uniform during the week, so the weekend was for «dressing up» with our own clothes, and I could never leave that habit behind, I guess. So I really appreciate the Portuguese women’s style!
Satisfying my sweet tooth: If you have a sweet tooth, like me, you should absolutely come to Portugal! As soon as possible! I’m not sure if this is a positive or a negative thing, but everything is good in moderation, right? They have so many sweet things here (especially pastries) and I do not think I have tried them all yet, but my favorite is pastel de nata or just nata. It’s also called pastel de Belém because the original came from a pastry shop in the Belém neighbourhood of Lisbon. Anyway, this is an extremely popular custard pastry that you can have almost anywhere in Portugal. You can easily bribe me with a nata…
Fado: This music style is not something we listen to every day here (as far as I know), but it’s a very important part of Portuguese culture. When I was in Lisbon with some friends we went to a Fado concert/show and it was so beautiful. It was in a medium size restaurant and people had food or drinks while the fado group played their instruments and one of them sang. Fado is a very sad type of music with a lot of feelings. They say that you have to listen to fado to fully understand the meaning of the word saudade, which means something like «the feeling you get when you miss something or someone that will never come back». Like I said, you have to listen to fado to understand this completely, hehe!
These are the things I came up with for now, maybe I will add something else later. I will start taking pictures for the post about Portuguese food, so hopefully I will be able to post it soon. My exams start next week though, so maybe it will have to wait until mid June…
Have a nice afternoon, everyone!