A normal friend will invite you to eat at their place despite what football club you support.
A Portuguese friend will say,“até te convidava para jantar lá em casa, mas assim morre à fome lagarto(a) de um raio” (I would invite you to have dinner at my place, but die of hunger you bloody lizard), then have a plate ready for you on the table.
A normal friend will look at you disgusted when you use a toothpick to repetitively take a snail’s body boiled in oregano, piri-piri, and other condiments out of its shell and into your mouth with satisfaction.
A Portuguese friend will keep the imperiais coming so you keep eating.
A normal friend will tell you to call a plumber or replace the broken frame inside the flushing system when it snaps.
A Portuguese friend will look at the broken piece of plastic, heat up a nail until it turns bright red, stick the nail into the plastic, do the same procedure for the other side, glue it and tell you, “it should last a few more months”.
A normal friend will suggest going out for a meal when you do not feel like cooking.
A Portuguese friend will head to your kitchen, open your fridge, empty it and create a feast so you don’t have to cook.
A normal friend invites you for a meal and before you leave says, “I hope you enjoyed it.”
A Portuguese friend will put a queijo de azeitão on the table, homemade bread from Mafra or Alentejo, offer you Gambas à alhinho, open a bottle of Casal Garcia, serve Caldo Verde, follow it with barbecued sardines and carapaus, end it with a homemade flan and top it up with a glass of Licor beirão along with your coffee. And as you leave will say humbly, “desculpa lá qualquer coisinha, foi o que se pôde arranjar…” (I am sorry for anything you did not like, it was what we could put together…)
When a normal friend invites you to drink coffee at a bar around 9pm, you know you probably will be home around 11pm.
When a Portuguese friend invites you to the Café at the same time, you know the owner will offer a drink just to keep the conversation going at 1am, because he knows you will not leave before 3am.
A normal friend will call you when they misse you.
A Portuguese friend will see or do something you’d enjoy and automatically think back to you smiling several times over the course of five years. They’ll then call you, make a plan to meet up with you, welcome you with a huge grin, and say: “Então desaparecido(a)?” (What’s up, missing person?)
A normal friend will say they do not speak English very well.
A Portuguese friend will tell you about Portugal, the food you must have, the places you must see, her dreams, aspirations and impossible plans, discuss the European crisis and then apologise because their English is not very good.
When you mess up, a normal friend will be polite and say, “don’t worry about it”.
A Portuguese friend will say, “és mesmo muito totó” (you are such an idiot.)
When you call a normal friend crying and feeling nostalgic, he will try to snap you out of it and remind you it’s part of the past.
A Portuguese friend will stop what he’s doing, sit down, and talk to you, switch the phone from their right to their left ear several times, regularly reminding you of details and anecdotes you had long forgotten, and turn your tears in laughter.
A normal friend will send you home in a taxi when you’re too drunk to drive.
A Portuguese friend will take you home, carry you upstairs by your shirt’s collar, open your door, drag you to your bed and collapse on the floor exhausted because you are taller than him.
When a normal friend argues with you, he argues politely.
A Portuguese friend starts by tearing down the house and finish the argument with a hug and a drink.
A normal friend reminds you how you will gain weight if you keep eating so many cakes.
A Portuguese friend will take you to a pastelaria.
A normal friend will complain her hand aches.
A Portuguese friend will tell you her hand, wrist, and arm aches. Then other Portuguese people will hear and tell you how their feet, legs, hands, arms, wrists ache and they could not sleep all night long.
A normal friend will share this post because she has or would like to have a Portuguese friend.
A Portuguese friend will share it because she is proud of being a good friend.
Photo: Pedro Ribeiro Simoes