February 6, 2014, by Guest blog

Coffee, nicotine and family…thats all a Lisboan needs

So after a brilliant (well needed) break in the UK, I am back in Lisbon for my last stint before I go to Madrid. I’m trying to take in as much Portuguese as I can before I switch to madrileno Castellano, which is seeing me almost disorientated. I really am enjoying the simple things though, which I feel is the Lisbon way. Lisboans do not do magnificence or much in grandeur. If they have their coffee throughout the day, get their nicotine fix and spend time with family then they are well on their way to contentment. I can relate to this very strongly, but do find myself clashing at other times.

The Portuguese notion of saudade, is still as eerie and foreign as it was at the beginning of my stay. To an outsider, many of these Lisboans seem miserable, almost depressed. Anthropologically speaking, I guess it kind of fits their character, the national mood. But it comes off hostile, cold and I do not feel any nation could thrive of such negativity, chronic melancholy as it is described by commentators. This aura, or atmosphere can be felt through the travessas of the bairro alto, and within the cafes of chiado. Even my friends have commented on how ‘miserable’ the Lisboans seem to be, and are surprised by their very blunt and dull nature. A certain painter on the street barely looked up at me when I inquired about a painting, charming! Aside from a few little niggles, I am enjoying myself thoroughly and will definitely miss it!

Off to the Bernabeu in a few weeks for part II, ate proximo!

Posted in Cultural challenges