A day at the farm, Portugal

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On the final saturday of my trip (March 30), Connie’s family took me to their farm about 20 minutes outside of Porto.

IMG_4774It 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.

IMG_4687“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.

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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.

IMG_4754The house holds as many secrets – costumes from Connie’s childhood Carnivals and a modern, fully stocked library.

IMG_4753We 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.

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It’s time to explore

About a year ago, I purchased my second journal. It looks like this:

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I finished all 100 pages of my first one (it was panda themed, obviously) in less than three months and wanted to keep on going on. I was able to gain a lot of personal insight and vent out a lot of my frustrations through writing in these journals. It was certainly a time in my life where I needed to have a dialogue with myself.

I haven’t finished this journal (yet) but have obviously kept up the dialogue, just inviting you to join in the conversation this time around.

Anyways, that’s not the main point of this. When I was choosing my new journal, I saw this one’s cover and thought it was absolutely the right one for that point in my life. It was a time where I felt stuck, bored, and wanting more. Fortunately, in the time since then, I have actually gotten time to explore. In that time, I have traveled far past the boundaries of America and far past my comfort zone.

I’ve been back for over three months now, and it’s time to explore again. In two days, I’m taking off to visit a friend from London (Connie) in Portugal for the week. I know – I’m extremely lucky to be able to do something like this so soon. Thanks parents!

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My last quarter has been very down to business. It’s been cold, studious, and filled to the brim with applications and cover letters and resume-tweaking. And I know that it will all be worth it for the adventures that my life has in front of me, even just days away, whether those adventures are across the ocean, where I live, or within myself.

It’s always time to explore.