Thursday 7 March, 8 degrees and in Cork there is no hint of spring.
“Spring is here again” for nothing at all, I play with the filaments of my scarf and get warm with a hot chocolate bought at the O’Conaill Chocolate Shop, a stone’s throw from the Training Vision Ireland office, where I will meet two students from Portugal – Carolina and José – who are living in Cork since the 4th of February.
I brush up on my Portuguese learned in Spain during my Erasmus experience in… Barcelona and after a briefing with my conscience, I decide that its safer to take refuge in English.
I think about the road to go back home and give up on the muffin thinking of my nutritionist’s angry look; and while I am thinking and giving up, oh here are Jose and Carolina.
Both with an umbrella
and a shy smile, they sit and look around with curiosity.
I immediately ask for an opinion on a famous Portuguese … and no, dear readers, I am not referring to Pessoa, Magellano or Saramago … I’m talking about Cristiano Ronaldo.
Carolina laughs and tells me she is not a football fan; José shows me a picture of him together with the Portuguese player; “A wonderful day,” he smiles in admiration.
Both from the Escola Secundaria Alfonso Lopes Pereira, they have been living in Cork for a month and will stay there until the 4th of April.
They are doing an internship as marketing assistants at the travel agency Dawson Travel, at 35 of Princes Street.
During lunch breaks, they usually go to the nearby restaurant where they have made friends with Tom, the owner: despite his thick (but not at all hostile) accent they can talk about everything, especially about Tom’s son,who works as a lawyer in Dublin.
José loves Cork, its history and Irish culture in general. At the beginning he had some problems at gettinug used to the differences from Portugal but after only 4 weeks he feels at ease as he walks through the streets of the city.
Carolina is also fascinated by Cork: the shops, the buildings in the center, the kindness of people. The only thing she doesn’t like is the rain, which is very common here. I take the chance to ask both titles of songs with “rain” and they surprise me by quoting “Purple Rain” by Prince and “Red Rain” by Peter Gabriel. While I think of another color for the rain, I ask if they have plans for the future, without bearing in mind that for a boy and a girl of 19 and 17 the future is nothing but the present with a 2 seconds delay.
And in fact, Carolina and José have no precise ideas about the future … they will certainly continue to study marketing, making the most of the month that remains in Cork and then who knows, maybe they will start a travel agency together and learn to sing in the rain (from Singing in the rain, another song about the rain)