Perelhal, Portugal – Where we live

Miss Lora's Pix 104This post is for FringeGirl, who recently wrote about where she lives. I’m not trying to copy her or out-do her. She encouraged me to write this. Her father is Portuguese, and I would love to meet him one day.


Widows walk the cobblestone roads in all black where we live. They often carry heavy burdens. Sometimes it’s 30 pounds of potatoes atop their heads. Other times it’s the burden of loneliness upon their hearts.

Three or four generations often live in the same house where we live. Sometimes parents build a house for the kids right next door. Sometimes they just live in the house until Mom and Dad pass away, and their kids will do the same thing.

blueshutterhouseWhere we live, the stench of manure hovers like an all day trip to the zoo. On Saturdays chickens are slaughtered and ducks are raised to be served with rice. Where we live, my kids see rabbits “turned inside out.”

Perelhal, Portugal is where we live, and I call it the Mayberry of the north. Not all of Portugal is like this, but where we live is.

The pace is painfully slow. The people are great. Everyone knows everyone else and most of the kids in school are related in one way or another.

There’s a bank, a school, a restaurant, a cemetery, a gas station, two churches, two hardware stores, and three cafés. There are also countless little old ladies who will hem your pants for about $1.50. Some might even do it for free.

Where we live, houses are older than the Bill of Rights of our great nation.


People are generous. They are kind. They are unassuming. They are Catholic, and they are devoted.   window

Once a year a statue of the patron saint of the village is paraded through town, from the smaller chapel to the larger church. She’s followed by a rock concert, every night for 4 days, until 3 AM. The stage is a mere 200 yards from our bedroom window.

Where we live every holiday is preceded and followed by mortar style fireworks. They rattle our windows and debris lands in our yard. To a blind person, several times a year, our house might as well be just a little too far outside the Green Zone in Baghdad.

Where we live is a small village, even for Portuguese standards.

Perelhal is a safe place to live. It would be an ideal place for someone in witness protection. Most Portuguese people don’t even know that it exists. Sandwiched between Barcelos to the east and Esposende to the west, it serves as a refueling station for Sunday drivers coming or going to the quiet beach town.

On clear nights where we live, you can see stars. On foggy nights where we live, you can see for about 6 feet.

You may not think so, but where we live is awesome. It could only be better if more people knew Jesus. And there were less fireworks.


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  • Mom

    I am coming to where you live. I love the small, quaint village and the rural practices of living with your animals and garden. I can do without the wine vineards though they are beautiful. I love that citrus trees grow rampant in your back yard so that there are more than enough oranges for a family of 7. I love that your village is safe for my grandchildren. I could go on, but most of all I love those 7 people who live there and are shining the light of Jesus to a people who need Him so despirately. SEE YOU SATURDAY!!!!!

    • Dani Joy

      oh my made me cry! so precious! sooo sooo precious! – Dani

    • Michael

      Mom, we’re getting everything ready for you guys. See you in a few days.

  • The Domestic Fringe

    The patron saint party must have been quite shocking your first year there. It’s interesting that here in America, we don’t have any celebrations that go on for several days. Even Christmas is just Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

    I really enjoyed this post and the opportunity to know more about where you guys minister. One day, I would love to visit Portugal.

    You are all in my prayers.
    The Domestic Fringe recently posted..Banana Split Cake – A RecipeMy Profile

  • ladyofthemanse

    I enjoyed your post very much. I came over from Fringe Girl.

    Sounds like your town is a lovely place to be, and like in mine, the people need Jesus. May your work be fruitful.

    (an MK who grew up in Africa)
    ladyofthemanse recently posted..Catching UpMy Profile

    • Michael

      Karen, it is so wonderful to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by, and for the nice comment. I imagine you have some wonderful stories to tell about where you grew up too. Be sure to check out our recent posts about Third Culture Kids. I’d love to know your thoughts.

  • José Vale

    Well, I born in Perelhal and I live in Perelhal.
    Great description. Come everyone, visit us. 😀

    • Michael

      José, obrigado por ter passar por cá e pelo comentário também. É pena que não nos conhecemos ainda. Um dia destes temos que combinar para tomar um café. Um abraço e volte sempre.

  • José Fernando

    Sim, claro! Aceito esse cafe com agrado. Abraço!
    Anuncie quando será.

    • Michael

      Estou disponível depois de jantar (a partir dás 20h) no quarta-feira. Pode ser no café Sousa (ao lado de Santander)?

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