Columns | Susana Wessling | November 2013

It was a sunny day (sunny for Vienna, at least), so on my way home I decided to stop in for a minute at the MQ, and soak in the rays. Back home in Portugal it had been raining cats and dogs, my mother had told me on the phone, and I found myself laughing at the idea that for once the weather was warmer here.

My smile didn’t last long; I miss Portugal. A sense of longing tugged at me, as I contemplated the smoke revolving around the tip of my cigarette… Suddenly a couple in the corner of my eye caught my attention. Tourists. That was obvious from the camera and the wonder in their faces. And the height and dark hair… they might be southerners!

As they approached, I started listening more carefully, …the tone of their laughter, the melody in their voices… maybe...

Oh damn! It was Italian, and no closer to me than an Austrian.  Still, with all these people, who knows?

As I walked the rest of the way home, I kept on listening: A not so tall, not so blond young man on his cell phone turned out to be speaking French; a group of smiley tourists were listening to a guide… in Spanish. The other couple over there was, I think, Greek.

Searching for Portuguese speakers has become a habit that I’ve acquired over the last two months.

But so far, the only thing I’ve got out of it is an uncanny talent for eavesdropping... and occasional disappointment.

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