How to Clean a Fish - And Other Adventures in Portugal by Esmeralda Cabral

How to Clean a Fish: And Other Adventures in Portugal

Esmeralda enthusiastically embraces the opportunity to live with her family in a beautiful fishing village near Lisbon. Sharing genuine conversation with folks she meets, exploring her love of fish, and constantly translating and interpreting for her husband and children, Esmeralda’s journey is rooted in an awareness of history and culture, and in the dilemma of belonging.

Maria Manuela Vaz Marujo, Professor Emerita, University of Toronto

Santa Iria adj

I was born on the island of São Miguel, in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores.

If you are searching for these islands on a map, look for nine dots in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean at about the same latitude as New York City. Some maps omit them altogether.

They are small, but stunningly beautiful.

When I was seven years old, my family emigrated to Canada and settled in Edmonton, Alberta.

This is where I learned how to speak English, shovel snow, skate on a lake and cross-country ski through trails in the woods.

I loved the land-locked beauty and the big sky, but as island people, we longed to live by the sea. Eventually, we all moved to the West Coast.

Vancouver is now my home.

Vancouver: View from False Creek
Vancouver: View from False Creek
Kayaking the West Coast: When I need to escape the city, the wilderness is not too far away.
Kayaking in Clayoquot Sound

Vancouver is located on the traditional and unceeded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Peoples. It is a bustling, diverse city, boasting a magnificent seaside location at the foot of the North Shore Mountains.

When I need to escape the city, the wilderness is not too far away.

I enjoy kayaking, canoeing and hiking and find that these activities inspire much of my writing.

My academic background includes Agriculture, and Environmental Studies and I worked for government and in consulting for many years. As interesting as these jobs were, my dream was always to be a writer.

After much deliberation, I retired from environmental work, and went back to school to study writing. I earned a Certificate in Creative Writing from The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University and later, an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Photo: Henryk Melcer
Photo: Henryk Melcer