Yesterday was the last day of September. We have been in Tavira, Portugal, nearly two weeks. Today, which is Monday, is the day of decision: we leave in 16 days: do we relocate to Tavira semi permanently, or not?
We spent all day yesterday at the house; my old and aching knees needed to recover from walking up the steps that feel like a hundred feet straight up the hill where our rental is perched.
We discussed Tavira, and if she also wanted to live here, and then we watched the NY Jets lose badly on NFL Game Pass, and then I went down the hill to get us a pizza from the Pizzaria di Romma. Like the Mamma Mia one in town, they serve nice pizzas, with light, flaky crusts and homemade tomato sauce.
There are a lot of factors that come into play when making a big decision like this. I think what put the icing on the cake for me was watching the revolting spectacle of an alleged rapist being nominated for a justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, the same character who denied under oath his dirty little work in justifying torture and rendition during the Bush 2 administration or his sanctimonious hatchet job on Bill Clinton under Ken Starr in the late 90s.
I do not agree with anything that current fascist regime in America is doing, at any level, on any front, on any issue, domestic or international.
However, it is a complete waste of time to pen rancourous posts, that few will read, bewailing the lack of legitimacy of the current fascist junta in Washington.
I simply choose to vote with my feet: life is short, and I shall not spend what is left of my mine (I am in my 60s) rotting in Florida, surrounded by old right wind bigots who despise the very idea of Arab-Americans — which I am, and make no apologies for to anyone. You have a problem with that, go fuck yourself.
I realized that I was dreading returning to that poisonous place, and realized too that I was relaxed here, and enjoying my life again.
But I am not alone in making this decision: I have, after all, been married for 29 years.
So I asked my wife several times if she would want to live here, and the answer kept coming back yes — unlike her reaction in January of this year, when we were in Gouna, and where I spent 7 months, from late September, to mid April of this year.
As with the United States I cannot live in Egypt because I disagree totally with how the government operates there: I find its repressive polices abhorrent, and the absence of the right to free speech in Egypt precludes my ever considering living there: I like to speak my mind, without fear of Secret Service agents lurking in the underbrush.
Moreover, I find the persecution of women in Egypt to be a vile and disgusting reality of life in that country; and I will not live in a country that countenances sexual harassment and imprisons women who speak up against it. Finally, the notion of a sliver of a plutocracy calling all the shots in a desperately poor country, and imprisoning anyone who says otherwise is inimical to any pretense of democratic values one may claim to have.
My beloved uncle is battling cancer, I fear that I shall never see him again. He is the only remaining relative in Egypt whom I feel is true blood; with the rest of the crew there, such as the various aunts and cousins, well, it sorta feels more like ketchup: and they certainly will not lose any sleep if they never see me again.
Ditto the so-called childhood friends from when I was growing up in Cairo; while they certainly were nice enough to me there, and I deeply appreciate what Tarek N. in particular did in helping make my wife’s experience at Cairo International easier, I am afraid that far too much time has passed to make the resumption of old friendships a reality.
The good news in the Algarve is this: last weekend, I met my cousin, Karen, and her husband, Ian; they are both very pleasant and nice people. And Karen was so excited to finally meet a real flesh and blood cousin, albeit one she has not seen since the 70s.
We talked about Chelmsford and Stafford and growing up in the England of the 60s. It was marvelous. Now it turns out that Karen and Ian have rental properties here.
We are meeting again for dinner on Tuesday, and will discuss this in more depth. If it works out, I shall be leaving most of my stuff here, go back to benighted Florida for a few weeks, take care of some things there, then turn right back and spend the winter in Tavira.
So now it looks like — again, pending lodging arrangements — that I will be returning somewhere in the late November time frame. At that point I will have 4 months to establish residency via my UK/EU passport, unless the idiotic catastrophe that is known as Brexit falls through. Then around May or so of next year, I would return to the States, and take care of quite a few things that need to happen so that we can return to Portugal sometime in the summer to an already rented and waiting place, and see what it is like to live here year round.
There are drawbacks to living in th Algarve — the crushing heat and summer crowds being two main ones — but the overwhelming fact is that I find the notion of continuing to live in Trumplandia to be personally repellent, and I will not do it until the country wakes up — if it ever does — from this long right-wing fascist nightmare that has consumed the United States with barely concealed xenophobic hatred since well before 9-11.
Time to push the restart button, folks.
This is going to be it.