How was your day?

conversations with hank


Pai: (walking out of the living room, frazzled) Molly’s up. I am running late. Can you somehow manage to get her dressed, fed and her lunch packed in about 20 minutes?

Me: (calm, cool and collected) No problem.

Pai: (dashing off to get ready) Thanks, sorry, you’re the best.

Me: (entering the living room)

Molly: (rolled into a blanket on the sofa with a major case of bedhead)

Me: Good morning, MaGoo.

Molly: Good morning. I hungry.

Me: I’ll go fetch you a yogurt and be right back.

Molly: WAIT!

Me: Yes?

Molly: Wait, mama. How your day, mama? How your day?

Me: I am having a lovely morning, thank you. How is your day so far, Amália?

Molly: (gigantic yawn) I wake up. I no faz chi-chi (pee) in my fralda (diaper). I hungry. I go to Tia’s house (Nanny’s). (nodding)

Me: That sounds like an excellent day, lovie.

Molly: Yah, egg-sealent.

Me: Shall I get your breakfast now?

Molly: No.

Me: But papa is in a rush this morning. He has class. We’ve gotta hustle.

Molly: Me, too? Me too, have class with papa? I go to school?

Me: You will go to school in September.

Molly: September tomorrow?

Me: Not quite.

Molly: (fat tears tumble down her face) NO! School tomorrow! School tomorrow, okay mama?

Me: (walking over to the sofa) I am sorry school isn’t tomorrow, MaGoo.

Molly: (crying into my fleece bathrobe)

Me: BUT at Tia’s house you can play school! You can pretend school with Ariana!

Molly: Yah?

Me: Yah. One of you can be the teacher and the other the student and then you switch.

Molly: I the teacher, mama. Me! I teacher.

Me: Alright, you can be the teacher.

Molly: I teacher skeletons.

Me: You’re going to teach Ariana about skeletons?

Molly: Yah. I hungry.

Me: Would you like to come to the kitchen with me and teach me how to open your yogurt?

Molly: (delighted) YAH! I misk it! I misk it, mama.

Me: Perfect.

Molly: (toddling off, curls bouncing) Come on, mama! Papa rush. Come on! We hustle!


Molly’s Christmas Wish

Molly's Letter for Pai Natal (Santa): For Christmas I would like candies and Chocolate and Halloween and Happiness.

Molly’s Letter for Pai Natal (Santa): For Christmas I would like candies and Chocolate and Halloween and Happiness.


Molly: (chirping in her bed, awake but not ready to get up)

Me: MaGoo?

Molly: Mama?

Me: Is it you?

Molly: It me, mama. It me!

Me: (turning on the light, walking over to turn off the space heater) Good morning, lovie.

Molly: (throwing an arm over her face to shield her eyes from the sudden light) Good morning.

Me: Well, you’ve done it again. You’re backwards and have no blankets!

Molly: It me!

Me: How do you do this?

Molly: I dreaming. I swimming.

Me: Oh, well, okay. That is a logical explanation, thank you.

Molly: (singing) You’re welcome!

Me: And how was your swimming dream? (walking over to open the curtains and the shades)

Molly: I swim with Chuva (which means rain and is the name of Molly’s favorite stuffed duck toy).

Me: I bet Chuva is a wonderful swimming partner, but tell me, do you get cold in the night?

Molly: (nodding)

Me: Well, my darling girl, when you and Chuva get cold in your swimming dreams you need to say to yourself, “Wake up! Wake up!” and when you wake up you need to reach out and find covers and blankets and pull them on top of you, because no matter how hard I tuck you in at night you always break free by the morning.

Molly: Okay.

Me: Can you show me how strong you are? Can you pull a blanket on top of you?

Molly: (with much grunting and effort pulls her comforter from the floor on top of herself) I did it!

Me: Well done! Bravo!

Molly: I strong, mama.

Me: You are. Now, MaGoo we have a job to do for Tia Adriana (Molly’s Nanny).

Molly: Okay.

Me: Do you know who Pai Natal is?

Molly: Santa.

Me: Very good and who is Santa?

Molly: He Christmas.

Me: Yes, he is magical and inspired the spirit of giving and some Christmas traditions and you know Pai Natal (Santa) doesn’t come to our house. Mama and mano (brother) told you all about that.

Molly: Yes.

Me: Because your mama, papa and mano (brother) want to make your Christmas magic, but this gives Pai Natal (Santa) more time at the homes of other Children who really need him.

Molly: Okay, yes.

Me: But Pai Natal (Santa) loves letters in his mailbox. He lives very far away where it is cold and there is lots of snow.

Molly: Cartões no correio (cards in the mail)!

Me: Exactly! And your Tia Adriana wants to send Pai Natal (Santa) some mail from you so he can hear what kind of magic you want papa, mano (brother) and I to make for you since he won’t be coming to our house.

Molly: Okay.

Me: So Amália Sofia, what would you like for Christmas?

Molly: Um… Ah… Ah… Candies and Chocolate and Halloween and Happy! (nodding)

Me: (beaming) What a magical Christmas wish!

Molly: (snuggling into her blankets, pulling them over her head, muffled) I wish. I Christmas wish!


Amália Madeira, The Only Little Girl in Aldeia da Pena

Aldeia da Pena, Portugal Photo Credit: Hank

Aldeia da Pena, Portugal.   Photo Credit: Hank


Molly: (splashing in a spring fed fountain in Aldeia da Pena one of the most remote villages in Portugal. Population: 8) I like it here, mama. I love it.

Me: You do?

Molly: Yah! I do.

Me: Shall we see more?

Molly: Yah, we on adventure.

Me: We are on an adventure.

Molly: Yah, I love adventure. I aventureira (an adventurer)! (taking my hand and walking down the road)

Me and Molly in Aldeia da Pena. Photo Credit: Hank

Me and Molly in Aldeia da Pena. Photo Credit: Hank


Me: You are, indeed. Did you know that only eight people live in this village. Although, I’ve been told more come home for Christmas and summer holidays.

Molly: Yah.

Me: That means today you are the only little girl in this village.

Molly: It me?

Me: Yes, just you.

Molly: Okay.

Me: Once there were many little girls, but now they live closer to school and town.

Molly: No one is home. Não esta em casa (Not at home).

Me: Well, that isn’t true. We met Senior Antonio and his wife; they live here and this is their home. And the family that runs the restaurant, but their daughters are grown, no one as small as you anymore.

Molly: (pointing) What’s that, mommy?

Photo 09-12-2017, 12 47 10

Me: (looking up to see a wooden statue of a little girl placed in the door of an old stone oven) Oh, well hello there.

Molly: (waving at the statue) Hello!

Me: I guess you aren’t the only little girl in this village after all.

Molly: Who’s that?

Me: Well, I don’t know. Do you know who she is?

Molly: Yes, her Amália! (bouncing)

Me: Her name is Amália, just like you?

Molly: Yah! Hello, Amália. (waving)

Me: I am very pleased to meet you Amália… Madeira (wood). My name is Joy and this is my daughter Amália Pereira (pear tree).

Molly: (covering her mouth to giggle when she heard their rhyming names) I Amália. I aventureira (adventurer)! Be my friend? Amália Madeira my friend, mommy?

Me: Oh yes. We shall be friends with Amália Madeira always and forever.

Molly: She come home with us?

Me: No, she lives here. If she came to live with us then Senior Antonio and his wife would be very lonely, I think.

Molly: Yah. She my friend. I love you, Amália Madeira.

Me: Me, too! I love you, Amália Madeira.

Molly: Awwwe, I give her hug?

Me: Blow her kisses and she will catch them.

Molly: (blowing kisses) She catch them, she catch them! I see! You see too, mommy?

Me: I did.

Molly: Amália Madeira my friend. She dances in my heart. I dance, too! (dancing in the rainy streets)

Me: (beaming) What else?

Molly: She little girl here. She the only little girl. Today, I here too! I make Amália Madeira happy. She make me happy. She make me sooooo happy, mommy.

Me: What a wonderful friend.

Molly: She my friend! She wonderful!

Aldeia da Pena is known as the village where “the dead kill the living.” Before the road was built the only way to access the village was by foot and if you wanted to bury your loved ones in consecrated ground you’d have to carry their remains out of the valley.  The journey was difficult and some died on along the way, hence the moniker.