Fatima and Cristiano (70s) , São Jorge, Azores
Interview conducted in Velas
A boat is a very small space and sharing it with a married couple has its moments. Both the captain and Judy are kind souls, honest folks with good hearts. Their idiosyncrasies are easy to overlook and forgive but sometimes you need more pace than a 150 square foot vessel can provide. I love my solitude, perhaps too much, and the short walk to the cliffs which overlook the port is well worth it. I found peace. On my way back into town I passed an open garage door still inside my own head. Out of the corner of my eye I saw an old man and his wife caring for a beautiful old wooden boat. I walked another 20 feet before it stuck me I should go back and ask for a picture. Fatima smiled and invited me in. She was clearly the boss and dominated the conversation while Cristiano kept painting, nodding occasionally. Their (Fatima’s) words follow.
What is your favorite part of living in São Jorge?
I like the weather. We lived in Ottawa for a while but we moved back. My daughter moved back as well and she works as a secretary for the principle and the secondary school. I liked Canada a lot as well but it was too cold.
What is your least favorite part of living in São Jorge?
Do you see the changes in the natural world where you live?
Oh yes. We have summer in winter. It is too much humid and sometimes we have no rain. Sometime the sea comes in here. We board up these doors.
Is there anything you would like to ask or tell me?
I have a patio that overlooks the sea and the front of my house overlooks the church. We fish almost every day in this boat in the summer. We use those cane poles up there. I grew up in this town and there is nothing we don’t like and that is why we came back. Have you been to Faial, there is too much.
I smile at the time I spent talking Fatima and Cristiano. She was playful for her years. His name is Cristiano, like the football player, winking at him. They clearly loved the boat and enjoyed the caring for it together. It was a 45 year old wooden boat and was in immaculate condition. More apparent than their love for the boat was their love for each other. Life seems so simple on the less populated islands of the Azores. Some conversations must be kept simple to not detract from the true learning lesson of the moment. This was one of them and I am so grateful that Fatima and Cristiano invited me into their home, rescued me from my alone time and infected me with their love of each other and life.