In Portugal yet again - About perfect strangers.

As a child, I felt the world was pretty scary. I was afraid for the unknown, for the things I couldn’t apprehend and mostly for people I didn’t understand. This view on the world made me shy and holding on to the things I knew. 

Now I am 32 years old, quite extravert and I love meeting strangers. Every time I am connecting to a new human being, I find it’s exhilarating. It is like I am realizing every time again: ‘This specimen of the human race is a great one too!’ 

Luckily I was in Portugal last week. This is the perfect country to meet many new people in 11 days. 

Improv group Cardume invited me to work with them on 2 longform formats and they organized 2 open workshops on dancing and moving. During my stay I was generously invited to join both Cardume and (again) my friends from Improvio Armandi on the stage. 

The theme of it all was movies: first playing in an improvised disaster movie, then teaching (amongst others) Bollywood dancing, then performing as a horror director and teaching another workshop filled with action movie quests and chases. And to continue the theme I was invited by a girl who runs a well-known movie blog to join her and 2 friends to the pre-premiere of the new Will Smith movie

The movie happened on a day full of meeting new people. In the morning a wonderful woman at the bus stop helped me find my way by chaperoning me to the other side of the city. At Coworklisboa the owners (who only knew me from an email) let me host a networking session during their weekly brunch with a whole bunch of committed co-workers. A digital nomad invited me for coffee on the tiny, sunny balcony of the co-work space. A shop owner gave me his email so that if I wanted, I could listen to the music he makes. With another shop employee I talked about the challenges in her career. And that day ended with this movie date with 3 perfect strangers. 

I guess it is no wonder I -as an improviser- like strangers so much. When we step on stage in an improv scene, we are strangers to one another. We don’t know what the other person will do, will say, or even who (or what) that other person is. Might be my friend, might be the boogie monster. You don’t know!

The scene starts with enjoying the unknown and behaving like we do know/recognize/understand the other person. The scene then continues with getting to know each other and playing together. Not the one first, and then the other. But simultaneously: play and discovery. 

This game of getting acquainted while doing something together, I played that game a lot while in Lisbon. And I enjoyed it so very, very much. More than the shy girl could have ever imagined.  


Obrigada to all you amazing Portuguese! Cardume: Vera, Susana, Filipe, Gonçalo, Pedro, Elsa, Sara, both Andrés, João and the techs Sofia and Pedro. Improvio Armandi: 
André, Hugo, Juan, João, Paula and Vitor. Coworklisboa: Rita, Fernando, Ana, Artyom, Nynke, Fred and Sérgio. All the workshop participants, the show visitors and all the kind strangers I talked to in shops, buses, coffee places, Uber cars and airports. You all made me fly!