Welcome to my amizade, a place to share the gifts of friendship. Amizade is the Portuguese word for friendship, and this site is a place to gather together and share that world of camaraderie, spirit and love that really makes the world go around. Amizade is the force that helps people enjoy, endure, heal and thrive, and makes the whole trip worthwhile no matter what language you speak or where you come from.
I remember seeing the bracelet and how it captivated me. A delicate tarnished silver chain attached to a 3/4-inch-long oval with AMIZADE inscribed on it, tucked among my mother's mementos. She said it was a gift from her father to her mother. I asked her what amizade meant and she said, "friendship." They and their families were friends back in the "old country," Sao Miguel island of the Azores off the coast of Portugal.
Holding it carefully, I ran the chain over my fingers, looked at the word, felt hushed and quietly connected to my grandmother, my Avo. I wished I could have known my Vovo, but she passed away well before I was born, before my parents were even married; this woman who did so much for her family, who I wouldn't be here without, who I have since found out I have a lot in common with.
She wore this token of friendship, maybe daily, maybe on special occasions. She had held this same bracelet, looked at it and thought about my grandfather and how she felt about him--first friendship, then love and marriage, and a family of their own.
That friendship, amizade, was at the heart of their relationship, is at the heart and the root of our family and the Portuguese community they joined in New Bedford, Massachusetts. We have carried it within us as we moved, much like they did. It has helped us endure all the ups and downs most families face. It helped them help each other as they courageously set sail for a new land, helped them survive and thrive in a place where they didn't know the language, where they worked incredibly hard, often in harsh conditions to make a better life for their children; who then did the same for my cousins, siblings and I; and we now do for our children, and now another generation.
That Portuguese hospitality is something our family shares today whenever, wherever, however we can. Guiding principles for us are "Help each other out," and "Try to leave the world a little better than you found it."
my amizade is about the caring ways we respond in times of crisis or need; it is about the love that trumps the times of war, violence and greed; it is about the bonds that transcend space and time. This is a place to come together, discuss friendship and how important it is in our daily lives. It is a place to find gifts for friends and loved ones at special times in their lives, or to make an ordinary day a little more special.
my amizade is a place and a space to share thoughts on friendship with a blog in "my amizade musings," to gather together and share stories of friendship here and around the world in "my amizade cafe," to honor true friends in "my amizade angels," share encouraging words, and find inspirational quotes, poems, photos and gifts in "my amizade ink."
"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive,
and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
Our friends are incredibly dear. They enhance our lives by sharing special occasions, and making ordinary days extraordinary with their humor, understanding and love. Different friends bring out different qualities in us and help us be our best--heal, laugh, learn and grow. There are even times when their caring saves our lives.
So it is in the spirit of gratitude for and in honor of all that friendship has added to my life, whether through family, friends or even pets, that I created my amizade. That's my amizade's story so far, I invite you to be part of creating the next chapters and helping spread the spirit of amizade.