The Portuguese can be a quiet bunch on a bus, nurturing individual invisible thought bubbles. Alma likes to say they're a nation of daydreamers. She prefers to rewind the day's events as she sits beside me, and she does so until she catches on that I've stopped responding. I'm a dreamer, too. I prefer my own quiet as the grunting of the engine and the rattling of the bus windows become distant background music to the passing city. Block after block, the sight of newspaper kiosks reminds me I forgot to buy a paper today, reminds me of the challenge I set myself whenever I approach a newsstand: standing a few feet away, I'll silently repeat the polished phrases I've worked out word by word, hoping to mimic the local accent. This little game derives from my fragile wish to sustain, if only for a moment, the illusion that I'm Portuguese, though I really can't say why, since I do and don't feel at home here—just as a particle becomes a wave function becomes a particle becomes a wave, I oscillate between comfort and unease. And, anyway, the odds are tipped against me, because after nearly a year I'm still stalled at the "Me Tarzan, you Jane" stage of language proficiency.
Excerto da última crónica de Philip Graham para a McSweeney's sobre o seu ano a viver em Lisboa. Tenho pena de só ter descoberto as suas crónicas agora que está prestes a regressar com a família ao Illinois.