An abridged version reprinted with permission from Susan Smith and Joao Silva
Day 1: Departure
Today, I took the bravest step of my life. I boarded a plane in America, leaving behind a failed marriage that had long lost its love. With each mile that passed beneath the airplane’s wings, I felt a mixture of fear and excitement. Leaving was hard, but the promise of a new beginning in Portugal filled my heart with hope.
Day 5: Arrival in Lisbon
Lisbon greeted me with open arms and a warm, golden sun. The city’s vibrant energy and the smell of the sea brought tears to my eyes. I rented a cozy apartment and began my journey of rediscovering myself. The air here is different, lighter somehow, as if the burden I carried across the ocean had been left behind.
Day 14: Exploring the City
I wandered through the narrow streets of Alfama today, getting lost in its maze of colorful houses and echoing Fado music. In a bustling market, our eyes met – mine, filled with longing for a fresh start, and his, sparkling with kindness. His name is João, a Portuguese man with a heart as vast as the Atlantic. We shared a laugh over a mischievous street cat, and in that moment, I felt a connection that reached deep into my soul.
Day 30: Falling in Love
João has a smile that can brighten the darkest days and a sense of humor that makes my heart dance. With him, laughter comes easily, and the weight of my past seems to lift. We spend our days exploring Lisbon together, his hand in mine, and I am learning to love and trust again. His honor and kindness remind me that true love is not only a feeling but a choice, a daily commitment to making each other happy.
Day 60: Embracing Portuguese Culture
Today, João took me to a traditional Portuguese festival. We danced to the lively beat of vibrant Fado music, and I marveled at the colorful costumes and joyful spirit of the people. I’ve started learning the language, and every new word feels like a step towards a future with João. His family has welcomed me with open arms, and I am learning the beauty of Portuguese traditions, one custard tart at a time.
Day 94: A New Beginning
I never thought I could find love again, let alone in a foreign land. But in João’s arms, I’ve discovered a love deeper and more profound than I ever imagined. We’re planning a future together, one that includes both our dreams entwined. Leaving my old life behind was terrifying, but it led me to a love so pure and genuine that I am eternally grateful. Portugal is no longer just a place on the map; it’s the backdrop of my love story, a story of leaving the past behind and embracing a future filled with love, laughter, and endless possibilities.
… more updates to come.