Sauntering through streets, can be anywhere, I always wonder what life looks like behind the doors of these houses. Tuning my imagination with the ambiance outside. Life in big, beautiful houses must be wealthy and luxury, but are these people happy? More fascinated I am in fact when I try to paint a picture of ones life behind doors of a traditional, small Portugese house. How they live? How they think? How they work? What's their life about?
During the week
Portugal isn't a rich country. An 'average' Portugese family deals with very basic conditons, especially comparing to a Dutch average family. With luck, both parents have a fulltime job, parttime doesn't excist here. With even more luck they win a bit more than a minimum salary of about € 565,- With the age of three, children go to school, from half past eight till half past five. Although I still have some difficulties to find it normal (and healthy) that I child with age of four goes to bed at ten at night, I do understand the reasons for this. It's the only part of the day the family can spend some hours together. Besides that, with dinnertime after eight, late bedtime is unavoidable.
Fim de semana - the weekend
Weekend is specially reserved for family. That means grandparents with their children and grandchildren. It's not unusual to spend full days together, without doing anything special. Weekly shopping, watching tv and having lunch at home. Sometimes they go out for a coffee or a little walk. Sunday is traditionally considered as day of rest. They go out for a late breakfast at the bakery (padaria), or for lunch. Some of the older generation go out by car, park in front of beach or boulevard and spending some hours (or even the whole day) sitting, sleeping, looking around or occasionally reading or knitting. Inside the car! Funny to see.
In Portugal it's very usual to bring children everywhere you go. In Holland for example, you will rarely see young children joining their parents going out for dinner. It's even considered more and less as 'not-done' to bring your toddler to a restaurant. Here in Portugal it's 'not-done' to let them home with a babysit (or at least grandparents). This might be one of the reasons why in a traditional Portugese restaurant you'll find a very casual and free ambiance. And as the children are already used to late bedtimes, no one is in a rush to go home 'in time'.
A familia Portugesa!
Weekends pass in a regular, calm pattern. Simple but comfortable, I would call it subdued. Living the life by the moment. Thousand books have been written about this. But a família Portuguesa has this in her blood, by the looks of it. I could still learn a lot from them ;-)