Generosity Beats Me

How do the Portuguese think? It beats me, it truly does. Next, will not be a big deal to some and I’ll say the following. Before I came to Portugal, I read about the generosity shown towards and between neighbours. The fact that they, the Portuguese were happy to share their crops with each other and willingly  give a helping hand as and when required, and that includes us newcomers to this wonderful land. I’ve experienced this, where my neighbour has given me his home grown and not just once either. It’s not just the neighbour either, I’ve received grátis fruit and vegetables from my local cafe come bar.

It honestly astounds me. I lived in the same house in the UK for around 28 years and I hardly ever saw my next door neighbour, and as for conversation, co-operation and help, forget it. I’m sure that over time, our conversations could not have been more than a couple of hours or so at most. What is is? A British thing to be so isolated and not give a damn about their fellow man.

I was prompted to write this post because, yet again, I’m bewildered as to the thinking of the Portuguese and to be frank, it’s something of a culture shock. Today, I visited my local town, Areias, to buy some fruit and vegetables, as if I needed to, given I’m growing my own, but at this time, not enough. I made my purchase and then trotted off to get a couple of pastel de natas. They are like an egg custard tart and I love them.

Areias is only a very small town and with the Sunday marked, everything happening all near enough in the same place, the local square. Anyway, I walked out of the cake shop and on doing so, a lone gentleman was pointing in my direction, as if wishing to draw attention. I looked around and there was nobody else that he could be pointing at. I pointed to myself, and he nodded. Yes it was me he was beckoning. I walked the short distance to him, that was, where I’d purchased my fruit and vegetables. Once there, he offered me, off the grocery stand where I’d made my purchase, a couple of courgettes at no cost. I took them and it goes without saying, thanked him. How is it, and why is the mentality of these people so different and wonderful compared to the UK? Perhaps it’s the lesser population and country lifestyle.

The courgettes have only a small value, but as the saying goes, it’s the thought that counts and it prompted me to write this post. As mentioned above, I’d read about such generosity and in some ways, I thought that the expats that made such mention, must have developed a terrific relationship with their neighbours etc. That’s obviously not the case I’ve come to learn. It’s just that the Portuguese, in these village settings are like this. If only there could be more caring between fellow humans throughout other parts of the world. Maybe, then, the world would be a far better place.

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2 thoughts on “Generosity Beats Me

  1. Ashley, my first comment in your revamped blog:
    The mentality of people in rural areas is (in general) very different from urban areas. Perhaps because it has to do with the spirit of survival that comes from the earliest times, life is harder, jobs are mainly related to agriculture and people share their things (goods, tools or just help themselves) and life it’s easier for everyone. In larger cities / towns, the neighbours are more or less as you described yours in the UK, so there are not many differences here.
    But I agree with you, with such genuine generosity, no one really knows what to say or do to thank.

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