To Neville

Neville Symington, who has been my supervisor for the past three years, is now dead. Throughout this time, we met every two weeks through Skype. Many times, because he traveled around the world, and was based in Australia, I reached him after a long work day, at awkward hours. My evenings were often his mornings, my winters, his summers - I remember well being uplifted by the refreshing views from his window through the garden in Sydney, when it was raining cats and dogs outside my study in Lisbon. 

When I felt it was difficult to say something without losing it’s original sense, every time I saw myself lost in translation, Neville (born in Portugal) would always help: “say it in Portuguese, Rita, I can manage”, and he did. He was never static or out of reach. He was relational in the total sense of the word. When I came to him he came to me. As I wrote to him the last time we exchanged emails two weeks ago, I will be forever grateful for his calming, wise and kind presence in my life for the past years. 

Abraços, dear Neville, as you have said and done, there is a demand in us for more than sheer survival.


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