One More Time

There’s something to be said for doing things more than once. It’s true for a lot of things.  I’m currently in The Azores, on Terceira Island specifically. 

This is at least my sixth time here, and I’ve walked away from every visit with a completely different impression of this culture that exists in its own microcosm. The islands reflect their Portuguese parentage, but because they exist out in the middle of the Atlantic, they also show elements of a myriad of other cultures.

I won’t bore you with history, but it’s worth a Google.

The first time I was here, I wasn’t blown away.  It was a quick in and out trip, marred by a brutal flight itinerary and godawful cyclonic weather. If I’d let myself stop there, I’d probably never have mentioned the place again. 

Over time, however, I’ve wandered this particular island from end to end. I’ve been deep into the volcanic caverns of Algar do Carvão and swam in frigid pools along the Biscoitos. I’ve let massive breakers hit the craggy rocks and soak me to the bone.  I’ve wandered the cobblestone streets of Angra do Heroísmo and looked out across the plateau from the dizzying heights of Serra do Cume.

And as of about an hour ago I can confidently say that I’ve run with the bulls in the streets of Praia. Did I mention this place is known for some of the best cattle in the world? But I would have known none of this if I’d stopped at my first impression.

These are the things I remind myself of as get ready to embark on new projects of my own.  I’m not letting myself stop at the first objection, or getting frustrated at the first sign of uncomfortableness. 

I’m staying in the water until my body adjusts.

Anything new is like that.  Stay with it. Don’t bail. Let the muddy waters settle and then see what it feels like at equilibrium.  You might be surprised at how wrong you were about things at first.

Now I’m going to grab a Sagres and wander the rainy festival streets, and I’m eager to try the foods I haven’t had yet and dance with strangers to music I don’t understand.

I’m here to celebrate all the things I would have missed if I’d let that first experience hang in my head.

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