Homesick – but surrounded by supportive friends and family

Moshe and Urso (the bear) on a cake to celebrate a third birthday.

So today, after a great day shooting with friends in the rifle range in the old volcano crater in Monte Brasil, we were invited to help the warden’s wonderful niece celebrate her daughter’s third birthday. Friends and family gathered, ate (a lot), and sang happy birthday.

Then we sat around and reminisced about many things, including the family’s visit to America for Christmas many winters ago in Michigan- and especially the shovelling snow, frozen lakes, and tobogganing.

Everyone laughed a lot (the Christmas visit to the states was the first and last time most of these folks had seen snow; the tales of shovelling, Christmas traditions, blizzards, and very very cold weather brought gasps of disbelief and reassurances – and laughter.

Surrounded by my “Portuguese Support Group” was comforting, but also made me very homesick. Born and raised in the snows of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, here they complain of cold when the rain brings clouds down from the nearby mountain peaks. For me, “cold” brings fond memories of a youth in minus-65 degree (f) weather on the banks of the Rat Root River with a wood stove and an outhouse.

Tonight emphasised a valuable coping skill I strongly recommend… Remember everything is relative, and you can’t step in the same river twice! Your life has changed, and you need to smile and remember your choices, value friends and family who can help you adjust, and enjoy tomorrow. Remembering the past is healthy (until you can no longer remember it:) – I dread that day) but when you move or retire, value tomorrow and the people who you are with now!

Walking for your health…and pure joy!

The waterfront in Porto Martins, Terceira on a fall day. The “mountain” is Capitao (Captain’s Mountain) and is the view from our front door, directly behind the mountain in this view. If you have to take a pleasant healthy walk every day, this is a perfect place to do it!

Even on bad weather days on Terceira, there is something about a long, leisurely walk holding your wife’s hand that is amazing. A few short . kilometers down the hill from our Casa da Sonho, we’re in Porto Martins, one of the most revered natural swimming pools on the island. Waves crashing (but not too much – this isn’t the north side of the island) and wind whipping. Warm sun, and each house you pass or person you meet says Boa Dia, we wave, catch up on jobs, children, honey-do projects….this is the life!

Balance – The Impatient Person’s Guide to Life After the Rat Race

We all know life has it’s “ups” and “downs.” For those of you who don’t know me, patience is NOT my forte. But as I’ve left The Rat Race behind, I find I have more time to contemplate life — as fewer people are counting on me to accomplish things in timelines controlled by yet others. With  very few exceptions (the wife, the warden, etc.) I control my timelines, deadlines, and that makes Life After The Rat Race more tolerable.

Today an apt illustration revealed itself to me — balance is everything.

Today our side of Terceira started with a windy, cold, rainy day. I say “our side” because, as I have known for years here, the south side of the island can be perfectly sunny and warm while the east side (where I’m writing this) is windy and downright chilly. I awoke to a “yucky day.”

We spent the day running errands, getting to know the new roads, traffic laws, vehicle, etc. and then we drove to the Serra Do Cume, a high mountain above our place. Wet cobblestones and ancient potholes made me really appreciate the new truck, and the high mountain road (singular, there is only one) looking out over green fields hedged by stone walls and cows and burros grazing was tranquil. Peaceful. Idyllic. (Forgive my style, Vince….:) and I thought “this is what life is like after The Rat Race. The warden (wonderful wife) sitting next to me agreed:)

Then it hit me. No, not lightening. Not a falling rock. The realization that I needed balance. The sun poked through and a rainbow arched out of the sky. We actually saw several on our drive. We’ve seen many rainbows in our lives, personally I’ve enjoyed rainbows on nearly every continent in nearly every environment. But this wasn’t just “a rainbow,” this was an enchanting rainbow.  This rainbow I could reach out and touch. This rainbow was a perfect arch, with a perfect spectrum of colors, and perfect density, right outside my windshield. I didn’t even pull over to take a photo or video…none would do it justice. Digits can’t capture the magic of this rainbow. This rainbow brought a feeling of grace.

The balance I realized is that rainy wet weather, high winds, cobblestone mountain roads with one lane and potholes, are sometimes not very inviting, but the same crummy weather brings rainbows.

Life after The Rat Race is gratifying. You get some things and you lose some things. But to balance the gains and losses takes time, patience, and introspection. When you think about what you left behind, remember, one of the things you have gained is the time to think about what you left behind…and time is truly one of the gifts we have to cherish!

Fall in the Azores…a glimpse of the future weather

Today is our first day not at the beach. Rain, Thunder, and Lightening, and some wind, not much. I love it, Bumper is under the bed every time the thunder comes:)  Chicken Cat!

So I’m researching more about learning WordPress, some more on my new Youtube channel (LATRR) and help with cleaning and washing. Got a bunch of curtains washed, and hung out to dry. It’s raining:) Other than that, just a few more appointments this afternoon and watch some movies.

No bull–actually four Bulls and Thousands of Neighbors

Picturesque village of Porto Martins, just down the hill from our new house, had a Bull Fight the other day. It Takes A Village…to have a great bullfight, great weather, warm ocean breeze, courageous young fools trying to outmaneuver a young bull, very large quantities of beer, lots of great conversation…just plain fun. For centuries, each village raises their money, hires four bulls (selecting the most entertaining ones is a special event in the mountains days before) and then everyone gathers for a few hours. As one new friend on the beach warned me the day before…be most careful of the fifth bull!” I didn’t know there were five….no, the doctor explained, the fifth bull is the invitation to dinner and drinking with all of the great food, delicacies, and of course wine, beer and Aguar Dente (homemade moonshine). Since you know I always listen to the doctor, I had to try out a little of everything. My favorite is a clear liquid diet…aguar dente:)

The entire village of Porto Martins (and many others) turn out for good times and watching daredevils try to outmaneuver the bulls