Friday, June 17, 2011

Fitting in

I felt very out of place when I first got to Lisbon, but now that I’ve been here for a few days I’m starting to feel more like I fit in. However, I can’t escape the fact that I stick out like a sore thumb. I was talking with Margarida, my teacher, today saying that I was getting frustrated with so many random people walking up to me and speaking to me in English. Do I look so American that people can tell my nationality just by looking at me? Apparently I do. I told Margarida that I’ve seen people here just as tall as me, just as white as me, with my same hair color, and with blue eyes. She responded, “Yes, Benjamin, there are tall people in Portugal, and fair skinned people in Portugal, and people with brown hair in Portugal, and people with blue eyes in Portugal, but you’re the ONLY person in the whole country that has all four traits together.” I’ve been paying more attention and she appears to be correct.

Lately when I’ve looked at myself in the mirror I’ve thought, “Whoa, I am tall and my limbs are so unnaturally long.” I’ve gotten so used to seeing mostly short people that seeing a tall person like myself reminds me of looking at giraffe. I remember when I was on my mission and I was getting ready in the morning one day and noticed how blue my eyes were. I was so used to seeing dark brown eyes that seeing how blue my own eyes were was kind of surprising.

Yesterday I finally got my metro pass and I’ve been using the metro like crazy now that I don’t have to pay for each individual ride. I’ve gotten off at random stations and walked around just to see a different part of the city. It’s particularly fun because Lisbon is such a diverse city that I’ll walk out of the metro at one station and I’ll be at a super-modern mall and at another station I’ll be surrounded by crumbling buildings older than the US. It’s fun to be able to do that. But this is the main reason I like my metro pass—it makes me feel like I fit it. Almost everyone has a metro pass and people typically keep them in their wallets. Instead of removing the pass from their wallets, they just slide their entire wallets across the scanner to get on the metro. I do the same thing. It may sound weird, but it makes me feel like I fit in.

Even though I like my apartment, I don’t spend much time there during the day. The weather has been so nice that I usually just go to a random park to read for a few hours. When I get, I eat. When I get thirsty, I buy some water. When I get tired, I go home. I really do love all the time I have to read here and it’s so refreshing to read for fun.

I love my Kindle so much!

Crumbling buildings.

I was going to wait for that lady to walk out of the shot before I took the picture, but my impatience got the better of me.

This picture is just to prove that I'm actually in Portugal.


Jenny said...

Awesome use of your timer. What made you decide on the Kindle?

Allison said...

This looks awesome. Glad you're having such a good time!

Ben said...

Jenny, I got a Kindle because I don't like touch screens. I have really smudgy fingers and I don't like having a dirty screen.

Allison, I'm bummed that we missed each other by three hours. However, I'm glad that we were on the same continent for a day.

Joleen said...

This post makes me want to travel with you. A lot.

So....who is paying for you to have all this free time again? :)