Saturday, September 25, 2010

Longing for Lisbon

As it would happen, I was asked to come down to Portugal to help out in a project. I protested that I was a bit busy and my current workload didn't quite allow me to take on other work, but, to cut a long story and several phone-calls short, in the end we settled on me doing a short two-day visit during which I would try to help out with current issues, do a sort of audit on the systems and basically consult with the local engineers where I could.

Now, last time I was here, during the summer of 2009 (See my older post "Weekend Late-Lunches"), the work was difficult, and hard, and hours long. But since I was here for about three months, I still managed to have a look around the city. To feel it's vibe and appreciate the sociable peoples here, who will chat with you over coffee even though you try to explain you don't understand Portuguese.

Coming back and visiting some of the places of that summer again, I couldn't help but think of the phrase

"it was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

While that summer was full of difficulty and extremely hard work, it also brought colleagues closer to being friends and the strong bonding experience of a common goal under stress. I can think of worse places to have an experience like that than Lisbon...

Now, packing up the few things I brought on the short trip, I feel a little bit sad for having to leave so soon. But also hopeful for the prospect of perhaps coming back here in the future. Would that constitute a mild case of what the Portuguese call "saudade"?

I still didn't find the entrance to the castle.