I’m sure many self-builders or restorers can tell you about the sacrifices that have to be made when you choose to build or develop your own house. Since you’re not dealing with a fixed sum, your rainy day fund has to be alive and well, so in the interests of not breaking the budget, we’ve decided to stay in Portugal this holiday season. Inevitably there are moments of homesickness, especially when the rain keeps coming down for days on end. Of course feeling homesick makes no sense, because aren’t we home already? Technically, yes, but despite the fact that we already love this country very much, I think we’re still working our way towards feeling like it is truly home.
Fortunately there are consolation prizes: evenings in front of the fireplace, port wine, too much excellent food and best of all, a gigantic hole in the ground. We’re still very much in love with that hole, purely because of its transformation from hill to hole. Our infatuation with the changing land means that we drive to the property every few days, even when we know most builders are on holiday and that real work will only start in January. The gods were smiling through the rain showers, however, and we received an early Christmas present when a crane arrived on the property.
When that enormous crane first swung into action, I looked up and caught myself wondering “Who on earth would take on a project like this?” closely followed by “Oh wait, this is our crane, our project, our madness!” closely followed by another thought which I couldn’t possibly write here.
Anyway, so now we’re in love with both the hole and the crane. We don’t expect much else to happen in the next ten days or so and when we’ve eaten all we can and restlessness sets in, I only hope that we remember (and heed) the recent advice of a foreigner who has lived here for almost thirty years: in Portugal you have to be forgiving.
Yes, chill, take a deep breath and forgive the lateness, the missed deadlines and the laid-back pace. Not only does it seem like sage advice, but right this moment it seems do-able. But what if someone puts the supporting pillars in the wrong place, forgets crucial elements of the insulation material or installs equipment upside down? Will we be able to understand, forgive and look forward again? For our own sanity I hope so, but who knows? Either way, we’ll find out if we stay strong or disintegrate. I’ll let you know.