Posted by: ButterflyMoms | July 7, 2010

SUMMERS OF MY YOUTH in PORTUGAL!….The Gateway for a life of PASSION!


I am in love with the country of my birth. The love is activated by the intoxicating smells of the land and the food. My heart opens up whenever I hear Portuguese spoken, especially when I least expect it. When I was a kid I spent many of my entire summers in Portugal. We would go to my Tia Olga, Tio Zé’s  and Mamé’s home in Lisboa (Americans write it “Lisbon”). Our family was small back then but we made up for it with “amigos do coração” (heart friends) that had become family to us over the years. Because no one had a lot of kids in that circle and there were four of us, we got tons and tons of attention. What kid does not LOVE that! “Mariazinha!!!” (Cultural Note: adding “inho” or “inha” to a name is like adding a “y” in English, example “Bill” into “Billy”. It is used as a form of endearment.:)) We visited with our wonderful family in Lisboa and then a month in the beaches of the Algarve in a town called Portimão for the month of August. By the time I was in my mid 20’s I had already traveled to 23 countries but nothing compared to the air, food, ocean, love, culture, sand, sun, connection I experienced  from the land of my birth, PORTUGAL! And for the record, I have been to many of the islands in the Açores (Americans write it “Azores”), Madeira and all over the mainland. I know some people try to separate it but to me it is all the land of my heart. It is all PORTUGAL! It is where I have formed the most priceless, happiest memories. There is something very magical about this place! As I sit here writing from Portugal, my children sleeping around me, just smelling the air activates a deep love I don’t quite understand but one to which I am deeply drawn. (ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….hope you can feel it because it feels great!!!!!!! 😉 )

The next generation of PASSION!!! :)!

We instinctually want to pass on to our kids what has had meaning to us in our lives. This summer I carved out the time to give my girls the same gift, the gift of spending the summer in Portugal! To do this now with children, especially when they are very young can be a logistical nightmare but there are other factors too in this “modern” world of family we know live in….step-parenting. 😉 I could not include our sweet Christopher because his mother would not allow him to come for that long…. (great future topic, or volume ;)!,  the trials and tribulations of being a step parent! 😉

When I was single I used to go to Portugal twice a year. People wondered how I did that but it’s really just about thinking outside the box and being creative with your money and time. I used to rent my house in San Francisco out for a month and then stay with family in Portugal. (I learned that trick from my “adopted” Tia Luisa who had a flat in London and in Portugal! THANKS TIA LUISA!!!!) It was actually cheaper for me to go to Portugal than to live in the States. The funny thing was that people thought I had to be  wealthy because I was always traveling. Little did they know I was just being creative with my laptop and my mortgage ;)…. In retrospect, now having four children and having to pay for EVERY “THING” for them I was a lot “wealthier” then because I was just paying for me! 😉 Now it’s like I travel with my very own posse, just like in the HBO series ENTOURAGE. Every trip involves paying for not just for my meals, airline tickets (that USED to be cheaper for kids back in the day now there is very little if any discount), activity passes, etc., but also those of five other souls. Even renting a car for example, we have to rent BIGGER otherwise the car seats don’t fit….and yes, we traveled with car seats. 😉

Me at four or five with my "little" brother João (Joãozinho).

There are soooooo many different roads I can take today’s blog. The lessons are many. The one that is coming up for me most is to share with you my wonderful ButterflyMoms is that AWARENESS in our own lives is the HEART OF OUR STORY! When we are on automatic pilot we miss the best part of our lives! My taking the time to write this has brought a deep awareness into my being which is bringing a deep THANKFULNESS. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I’ve been having trouble connecting to the internet here and it’s been hot….and with three jet-lagged little kids, well, let’s just say that I’ve had “moments” of CRANKY myself.  😦 Sitting down and writing this helps me to RE-SET my FOCUS METER on what is working in my life. 🙂

I invite you today to write what is working in your life. Start writing about what you liked from your summers as a child. Re-create what you liked for yourself and your kids (even if they are in their 60’s and far away). This is the first ASSIGNMENT I’ve ever really give out. I ask you to write back and let me/us know what came up for you. I have a FEELING that we have a lot to LEARN and LOVE from each other!

In the meantime, I will continue to share in the juiciest soul journeys here as they unfold!

Great big hugs,


PS If you liked today’s ButterflyMoms blog kindly share it with a friend!

PPS Nothing yet with the Oprah contest. I will keep you posted!


  1. You shared with me my thoughtful, inspirational and wonderful friend and now I will share with you. I grew up in Trinidad as you know, left when I was 18. My summers were spent climbing plum trees and eating mangoes under the mango trees. I used to walk everywhere without shoes on the “hot pitch roads” it was fun! I would get to vacation up north with a family who at the time was pretty wealthy and all I could remember was french toast in the morning and air conditioning! (Frech toast is very uncommon on the islands). Such innocence hard to find but when you sit to remember it’s right there beside you! Thanks for giving me the gift of memory hon. Love and hugs…Janelle (almost 15 weeks 🙂

    • Beautiful Janelle,

      I love what you described. You wear your childhood everywhere you go. It is the beauty you carry and for you it is crystal clear how magical it was, even if you had not described it. You are an amazing person and I’m honored we are in each other’s lives! Sending you much love as you enter your 16th week my love! All the bumps just equal the wonderful story your life is weaving for you!

      Sending you lots of happy baby energy,

  2. Great blog and great memories. Love and miss you all………

    • Thanks Bboo! We miss you too! Come play with us!!!!

  3. You are very lucky to be born in Portugal. I heard that it is a beautiful country. I hope I can visit it in the future.

  4. You reminded me of my time in Portugal summer of 1989, I traveled by train backpacking through Europe. I always will remember the beauty of the land and people’s spirits! One of the most memorable things was we were very lost in a small town in the Algarve after dinner trying to find our way back to the house with our room. An elderly woman who spoke no English looked at the address paper and motioned follow me. We walked uphill for more than 30 min. following her and she got us there with a nod you’re here. Where else would someone do that? When leaving the train station to go to Spain, we had very little local money left and went into a shop and I showed him what I had and asked what I could buy to eat with that. He motioned to the sandwiches and drinks and said you have what you want “its ok” I gave him what I had and he kept giving me more food to take! Amazing people! Now my dearest mutual friend Maria aka Tia Planta is from the Azores as well. I will always remember the magical feeling you describe and hope to revisit someday.
    Thanks for sharing your experience.
    Warmest regards, April

Leave a Reply to April Bradt Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: