Kissed by the Sun

Posted By: Nyasha Sarju
Posted On: January 17th, 2017
Attending: Ulster University

Have you ever seen from above the descent of the sun as it hides its face away behind the vanishing point? From the perspective above it makes you wonder how and where it goes when it seems to be heading below you. But when you reach your own descent it is no where to be found. The sun makes its way down slowly but surely and in its wake leaves traces of pink and red and yellow reminding you that it was there, staining you like a lipstick kiss on a cheek even after the lips are gone. And when you too begin your descent you wonder did you leave the same imprint in the sky? Can the clouds still see you even when you depart them?

We began our descent from the sky around the same time that the sun kissed my glimpse with its setting. I could feel a difference in my body. An exhale. A much needed escape, descent, metaphorical kiss to keep me going on a path whose merit I am constantly questioning. I arrived in Lisbon, Portugal to a man holding a sign with my name on it. The kind of thing you see in the movies. I was escorted to my car and driven by a lovely man to the neighborhood of Santo Amaro, where a dear friend of my father’s and her husband awaited me. Upon arrival I felt instantly at home. I don’t know if it was the welcoming arms of Laura or the snuggles of her dog Sienna or the sweet taste of Portuguese wine and appetizing conversation on their couch, but I know that what I felt was like that of the sun leaving its kiss on the sky, I too had peaked my head away and arrived in a setting that felt familiar despite its newness.

I don’t know if you can picture or feel the emotion I am trying to relay but I went to sleep that night with a smile on my face, not a big beaming one, but the kind that is soft and wraps its arms around you like a teddy bear, saying “welcome home”. The next morning I arose at a much earlier hour than normal, so that I could embark on an adventure all over Lisbon. Laura, an adventurer as well, graciously shared with me her enjoyment of the walk along the Rio Tejo that takes you to the historic area of Belém. The sun. It beamed on my face as I walked along the river. I half longed for the sunglasses I had forgot I would need at this time of year (As I have been in Belfast for the year and do not need them) but I also half loved the sun as it pelted my eyes and said “Wake up! Live!”. I could feel the sun speaking to me.

Along the Rio Tejo is a new modern art museum with a rooftop that visitors can walk up on. The architecture is stunning and the view of the city from atop the the building is quite vast. Further down along the river is the Torre de Belém which when constructed was built to shield Lisbon from sea bound attacks. Its beauty reflects much influence from North Africa and its watch towers are of Moorish design. After touring Belém I caught a tram to Cais do Sodré, an urban area full of both history and people. I made my way from Cais do Sodré up the hill towards Baixa, then to Principe Real and finally back to Santo Amaro; however, somewhere along the way my mobile device died. The sun though, remained, providing all the energy I needed to inquire in broken Portuguese how to get back to Santo Amaro. But I have not told you much about Lisbon. Its hard to put pen to paper and capture the emotion I felt as I made my way through cobblestone streets, watching underwear hang from wires of colorful buildings, witnessing old ladies in superb shape trekking up mountainous hills. The view. Remember the sun? The view was like the sun. The best part about hilly cities is that there are so many points at which everyone can be afforded a magnificent view. The Miradouras around the city provided this view.

I arrived home to Laura, Anton and Sienna, delicious tacos that reminded me of Mexican food in America, five euro red wine that tasted like a million bucks, and stimulating conversation into the wee hours of the night. It had been one day. One day that encompassed so much. And though I was to leave the next day, I eagerly awaited my return. I had seen the sun and though it left me for a time, its kiss remained in my heart like a tattoo. I had seen Lisbon, and though it left me for a time, its kiss remained in my heart like a tattoo.


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