I didn’t have many expectations of Portugal. It’s not a country I expected to visit, at least anytime soon. Then when this workshop on visual storytelling (learning the ins and outs of videography and telling people’s stories) practically fell into my lap I was overjoyed! What an extraordinary, delightful gift from God!
And their houses! They’re just one happy shade of pastel after another. Or, like the apartment-filled neighborhood down the hill from us, the homes are cloud-white accented with walls and trim of bold green, red, blue and yellow. If you spot a building not painted in some cheery color there’s a good chance its adorned from head to toe in hand painted tiles, usually blue and white or sometimes with a touch of yellow.
Such bright, lively buildings make for bright, lively people. I found myself boosted with an extra dose of joy due to the surrounding environment. No, and not just because I was out of the country traveling, which ignites in me some of the greatest joy I ever experience. I can tell the verdant landscape and the assorted colored buildings had a positive effect on me because I managed to be less bothered by all the litter strewn along the roadsides. Yes, I would say litter is Portugal’s greatest aesthetic downfall. I’m a trash picker-upper, everywhere I go. Litter really bothers me. Whether I’m out for runs, in a parking lot or strolling through a neighborhood I can’t help but do something. Even picking up one measly little piece is worth it to me. It could mean one less piece of trash swept down the storm drain into the ocean and caught in a fish’s throat. It always means one more gesture of gratitude to our earth which takes such good care of us. It also means one more square foot of space of restored beauty for our eyes… and spirits.
All this to say, our environments have such a powerful affect on us. So, if we’re wise enough to tap into this truth and increase our value of this source of influence we can create more beautiful, pleasant and happy lives for ourselves.