Spring is coming to Portugal. I can feel it.

Now, I say that despite the fact that this week has been wickedly cold and windy. This is good, because it means I don’t mind being holed up in our nice warm office all day. However, it also means that I have to stay holed up in our warm office all day, because it’s the only place in our flat that is not completely freezing.

We’re on the ground floor of an old, thick-walled building, and since the front windows face the street, they are overshadowed by the buildings across from them. And, as I’ve mentioned before, our three heaters are all small and ineffective unless you’re sitting right on top of them — or if they only have a very small amount of air to heat. So I’ve discovered that if you close the office door and turn the heater on full blast, it actually makes for a nice cozy pocket of warmth. As soon as you step out into the rest of the flat though, it’s back to harsh reality.

Last night I huddled on the couch in the living room for as long as I could stand it, wrapped up in double layers, a beanie, and two blankets. I soon gave up and retreated to the relative warmth of our bed at an even earlier time than usual, and even then, I slept with too many layers and blankets on to count. At least I took my beanie off to sleep, unlike London, where I often slept with one on during the winter.

And yes, I might be cold-blooded. It hasn’t been officially proven yet, but suspicions are strong.

In fact that is one of the main reasons we came to southern Europe for our sabbatical — it was supposed to be (and probably is) warmer! Right. I think our next sabbatical will be somewhere in the southern hemisphere, where the summer months will make up the bulk of our year abroad.

Regardless, spring is starting to whisper sweet nothings in my ear. In Sintra last weekend, I was surprised to see the camellias in bloom, and have noticed a few more brave flowers starting during our walks around the city. Much more notably, the days are starting to get longer: I am waking up earlier, and when I got out of class the other night, it was still light outside. After my last class in December, it was fully dark by the time I got out. I know then that the hot, languid afternoons and long, mild evenings we enjoyed when we first arrived here are just around the corner, which will make it much harder to work but a lot easier to get outside and explore.

At the same time though, if spring is almost here, then summer is just over the horizon. And summer is when we move home again. Surprisingly, this makes me a lot less happy than it would have two or three months ago. It still feels like we’re just settling in to our time abroad, when in reality it is almost half way over.

But then I have to catch myself, as I know I’m always anticipating things too much. I must remind myself to remain in the here and now, to enjoy the quiet warmth of our office tempered by the occasional excursion into the chilly, bustling, hectic streets of Lisbon. (Where by the way I finally mailed my postcard yesterday! Ha! Take that, stamp machine!)

As my many layers attest, summer is still a long way off, and there is a lot of exploring yet to be done… starting with tomorrow morning, when we drive down to the southern coast of Portugal, the Algarve, for a long weekend away. Hopefully going south will produce warmer weather, although I’ll still bring my beanie — just in case!