growing up in portugal

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raising Lily makes me look back into my own childhood often

and when i now look back on it, i could not have had a better childhood while growing up in portugal

i grew up living in a small townhouse with my mom and dad right across the street from my great grandmother and youngest aunt

my small school (four class rooms) was one block away. which i walked to and from on my own or with friends

during lunch time, i would walk to my great grandmother’s house where i would have lunch, return to school only to return back to her house after school

the rule was simple, stay in the yard. which most times i did. except for when i didn’t and then all hell broke loose once my mom got home

but, in my great grandmother’s yard i played most days after school until my mom returned from work and then we went to our home

hardly ever alone

there were a bunch of children in my neighborhood, most of us all the same age and so we would gather in my great grandmother’s yard

every now and again we would sneak out, have races around the blocks and give the poor old woman heart attacks (may her soul rest in peace)

when i wasn’t playing with my neighborhood friends, or on my own in the green shag room at our home, i was playing with my cousins

it seems like every weekend we were together either at my great grandmother’s house or we would go to their houses

things were simple then

there was a strong sense of family and community all around

these are the things i would like to raise Lily with

although Lily is not fortunate to have cousins near by, we now live in a neighborhood where there are many children and it seems like a strong sense of community is building

we often let Lily play on the side walk in front of our house (supervised of course) and more times than not, the boys next door join her

it feels good to be able to provide my daughter with a bit of childhood like my own

i must admit that raising Lily in flashy miami scares me a bit (i think i can speak for Will on this one too)

i often wonder if it would be better and wiser to raise her in a smaller place

smaller or not though, things just don’t seem as simple as when i was growing up

making my childhood even more worth cherishing

were you raised in a big or small town? with family around? are you raising your child the way you were raised?

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first picture: my great grandmother Delfina who i grew up with, my cousin Ana, my cousin Lena and me (yes, i had glasses)

second picture: family friends, my mom and my aunt Marilia (Lena’s mom) with us three girls (before the brothers came along)

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me with my usual crew in my great grandmother’s yard (i’m in the hat and glasses and my bf lucia in the bandana)

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my great grandmother and us girls in her yard (she used to make soap in that garage)

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in monte gordo (algarve) with my aunt Marilia my brother Ricky and my cousin Eugenio (they are only months apart)

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in monte gordo with our friend Sofia, my brother, my cousin Eugenio and my cousin Lena

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Lena, Eugenio, my brother Ricky and i were basically raised like siblings

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i think this was at my uncle’s farm (?). my late uncle Antonio Carlos (my mom’s brother), my aunt Fatima (my mom’s sister) and behind her my late uncle Victor. and of course all the cousins

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the cousins

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the cousins and my girl friends

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me and my best gf’s


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