Incorporating the Past into My Dreams for Our Future Home

Mindelo, Sao Vicente (Cape Verde) Mindelo, Sao Vicente (Cape Verde)

Cape Verdean children

Cape Verdean children

Cape Verdean children

Cape Verdean children

 

As Thomas and I delve further into our dream of winning the Urban Oasis (and subsequently, taking the cash option), we plot more and more about how we’d make a builder grade home our “dream home.”

I know one of the things that really matters to me is that our home represents our world travels.  Aside from our stateside adventures in California, Wyoming, and now (as a couple) Arizona,  we have both been privileged to enjoy overseas travel courtesy of our time as active duty Marines.  As veterans, I want to find some way to pay homage to that experience, especially in my home.
Arabic McDonalds

Humvee driving test day

Iraqi sign

As well, I also think fondly of another place that I’ve traveled to:  Cape Verde.

My host brother, Hermano, and I

My host brother, Hermano, and I

In high school, I was fortunate enough to go on a three week student exchange program.  We enjoyed a brief layover in Lisbon, Portugal and enjoyed a terrific lunch there. I really should have gotten a photo of our food!  Let me tell you, Americans have nothing on European butter;  I don’t know what the animals eat, but the butter there is much better than anything I’ve found in the States.

Lisbon restaurant

Lisbon restaurant

I was pretty much a foodie back then, too. I blew a lot of my souvenir money on Ritter candybars (Who knew you could find them here in the States?!). My host mom was wonderful and cooked so many wonderful things for us. She made this dish, Altun, the first night I was there. I still need to learn to make it for my own family; I think they might appreciate it as much as I did.

Altun (Hermano's mom made this dish and it was fantastic!)

Altun (Hermano’s mom made this dish and it was fantastic!)

I thoroughly enjoyed the variety that is seen in Cape Verdean houses.  One of the things that caught my eye in particular was the azulejo tile on the exterior of some homes.  It’s amazing!

Azulejo

Azulejo

Hermano’s home was three stories tall, but I only had a disposable camera on me and was unable to capture the height of the building. While the interior would be considered Spartan, by American standards, it was much more cozy and family-oriented than American homes. There wasn’t a t.v. taking up precious space in every room and the lack of clutter was impressive. I loved how the Cape Verdean people were so much more relaxed and free from possessions compared to Americans. They really seemed to spend more time enjoying each other’s company and the simple things in life that matter most.

Hermano's home

Hermano’s home

Now this is going to sound silly, but I think my favorite part of the house was the courtyard. I loved the idea of having this patio space tucked away within the walls of the house. It was the first time I had seen such a space designed this way, but it was so convenient. I love how it really makes everything about the home a private space (especially those moments when your laundry is hanging out on the line). It wasn’t a very large space but because it was intimately enveloped by the rest of the home, I found it to be one of the most inviting spaces to be within the residence.

Courtyard in Hermano's home

Courtyard in Hermano’s home

So, as a tribute to my own travels, I was thinking that I would really like some Middle Eastern inspired tile and azulejo tile adorning our home in some aspect. 

Portuguese azulejo tile (Ebay photo)

Portuguese azulejo tile (Ebay photo)

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Beveled Arabeque (Up in Smoke) tile (photo from Mission Stone Tile)

Beveled Arabeque (Up in Smoke) tile (photo from Mission Stone Tile)

Moroccan tile (image from Mosaic House)

Moroccan tile (image from Mosaic House)

There is also a particular photo I took in Cape Verde that I want to have blown up and framed in my family’s dining room.  We had gone to a grogue (a type of alcohol) factory and I took this photo:

 

Grogue factory

Grogue factory

Some day, I hope to take my family to Cape Verde. I think they would enjoy it as much as I did. I do need to learn Portuguese before I go out there though; I didn’t know it back then, but honestly, I really should. Foreign languages are my Achilles heel when it comes learning!

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