On the final saturday of my trip (March 30), Connie’s family took me to their farm about 20 minutes outside of Porto.
It sits on the side of a roaring river that occasionally floods up through the window of their side house, up the thin trunks of the few woody grape vines that rest close to the bank. A slight incline leads to fields of bare vines, held up on wooden posts, waiting until summer to become ripe with fruit.
“In the summer,” says Connie, “we sit and talk on the picnic tables, reaching just above our heads for fresh grapes to snack on.”
I meet the smiling, kind butcher, whose business card simply says “Killer” (in Portuguese, of course) and who cannot shake my hand because of the blood on his. The rest of the workers greet me with smiles and waves, foreign words lost in the air on all sides.
We take a short walk through the vineyards, past the fruit trees and along the river. We play with her enormous dog, the king of the farm, and her chickens come close to my camera, unafraid.
There is no internet at Connie’s farm, no communicating with anyone else. We walk and sit and talk for hours, outside when it is warm and sunny and by the wood-burning fireplace when the sun starts to set behind the clouds.
The house holds as many secrets – costumes from Connie’s childhood Carnivals and a modern, fully stocked library.
We eat a delicious dinner together, the milking pig, before driving back to Porto to sleep before I leave for America. I hope to come back in September one year so I can help with the grape harvest and stomping.
The quiet, lazy day at the farm was just what I needed to refresh myself before a new quarter at Northwestern.