Right now I can smell Autumn... cinnamon and nutmeg, and a faint hint of mulled wine.
Maybe it's because the last few mornings as I've opened the door to leave home I've been hit with a gust of morning chill and the signs that our long Lisbon summer days are ending.
It has been 31C here the last few days once the sun breaks through and beams down on you, smiling at you sweltering in your car in 30 degree heat, in late September!
Or maybe it's been the last few weeks of talks of flights home for Christmas, and my first sights of chestnuts in the shops and my first bites of juicy Permissons (diospiros).
Autumn and Christmas are my favourite times of year, by far.
You see the sea still exists here in winter. Now you just walk along the beach wrapped up in your scarf and boots and blink at the dazzling water, cooling in the winter sun.
I laugh again at the comparisons between England and a hot(ish) country. Everyone imagines England being so cold and freezing, and wet and drafty all the time. Yes it is, but then you can retreat inside, where it's cosy and warm, where it's comfy and there are fires and sofas that you sink into and cosy under a blanket on. Maybe my internal body clock is ringing but as I told a friend the other day, I'm ready for the cold now.
It's strange but there are distinct shifts in the air here (like the scenes you see in films). Though ask me again in February what my favourite season is, and I might tell you something different.
I have never felt so hot and over the heat and ready for winter or so chilled to the core and fed up of cold apartments and so ready for the summer as I have living here. Your body becomes synced to the changes and you feel ready for what's to come.
Or actually ask me this whilst I'm living in England, and I'd probably tell you something different also. The grass is always greener.
There has been another change in the air too. My sister and her family are starting a new stage of their lives in Germany, I see it with hope of holding onto our (loving) German background. I'm imagining already the Christmas market visits and their discovery of a new city and culture that we can share together. If there is anything I've learnt about being away from home, it's that you come to value what matters most in life, family, friends, love and support.
I've been battling against the shifting winds these last few months also. And it finally got me, it knocked me over and brought me down.
But I needed it. It made me look up and see the things all around me. Blowing them down around me together, clearing the way for what needs to be right now, regardless of whether I had been holding them in my head or closer to my heart.
I got up and picked up the parts to hold tighter right now, with the help of many hands and shoulders. I'm not leaving the other parts behind but just realizing that I can't hold them all now with equal strength.
I think sometimes change is good.
I'm looking forward to this time to sit a while and focus, deciding and discovering what's out there and what to explore first.
(The same goes to those over there in Germany too...)