Week 11 was one of huge ups and downs. On the bright side, I am still loving Lisbon and signed a contract for a new job! And hey, my sister is in town now for a visit!
On the other side, I received the most tragic phone call from my closest friend. I keep explaining this year as a dream, like a fake reality. I am incredibly lucky to be working and exploring all of these new places with 35 amazing people. However, this news reminded me that real life is still happening. I cried, I probably will a lot more, and I hurt in every way knowing that I can’t be there in person as she navigates the difficult time. Yes, I could fly home for a visit, but as my mom pointed out, she is going to need support for a long time trying to get back to any kind of normalcy. So, I ache from here…and hope that technology can hold us together. And I count my blessings for the people in my life that I love.
- I knew that soccer/futebol was important here, but I had no idea how much of a role it plays in everyday life. I watch the news every morning at the gym and I kid you not, there are 2 minutes of news for every 10 minutes of soccer highlights and practice videos. When Benfica or Sporting or really any game is on, every restaurant/bar/laundromat/gas station/café has it on the TV. Not complaining, in fact, hey this is even more the place for me…but priorities?
- Building on that, I asked two different people what people in Portugal are passionate about, social issues wise. We’d seen protests in Morocco and Cape Town about politics, wage gaps, gender equality, so I was curious what those important issues are here. In all seriousness, one of them replied “Futebol…hmmm animal rights? They did ban animals from the circus…but really just futebol” and the other responded “Benfica.” Mind you neither of these people were soccer people. All of this goes to show that Portuguese people tend to complain and voice their opinions, but social activism is only slowly starting to become present. I would say general complacency is a good way to describe it.
- Em Abril águas mil. (In April, thousands of waters). Apparently April showers bring May flowers here too. I’ve learned to just always carry a rain coat because even when it’s bright and sunny, it will just start spitting rain out of nowhere. There have only been a few total washouts, but it’s amazing how random the precipitation is.
- Nothing too crazy, but did scope out a few thrift stores and walk to them (there’s a chain called Humana). You know how
in America, you go to a thrift store and you see something and go “who the heck ever bought this??” Well, that happens a lot less here. Thank goodness for European style. I’ve found some pretty awesome stuff!
- Plus, I love a good excuse for a walk. Just love the daily life in and around the markets and
- Monday workday
- Coffee date with a dear remote. I appreciate the 1-1 connections I’ve had and this was no exception. Lovely human.
- Had the crazy experience of buying tickets to a soccer match. Trying to buy 12 tickets when the entire country is on lunch break and also trying to buy tickets is stressful! Long story short, I ended up in the Benfica store and got tickets to a game. Woot woot!
- Birthday celebrations for Lindsay! Club going UP on a Tuesday…
- Late morning and chill day…needed it.
- Walked to Eduardo VII Park in a part of the city I don’t spend much time. Really nice at sunset, nice bit of greenery in the city.
- Dinner with a local at this beautifully authentic restaurant. Packed us in so you are practically eating with the people at the tables to the left and right of you. Filled with locals. Had a meal of “frango com cogumelos” (chicken with mushrooms), white rice, and French fries paired with the house wine and my favorite soda, Sumol. So classic to have two carbs in one dish. Anyway, felt like home.
- A two hour “let’s talk about our feelings” meeting with Parea. I just LOVED every second….ya no, it kind of set me off. I like and appreciate everyone in the program, just cut the bullshit and be kind to each other.
- Positive Impact meeting and decision on our year-long project of raising money for an organization called Kiva and leveraging that relationship to get hands on with a refugee organization in South America. Excited to see what we can do together. Highly recommend checking out Kiva, it’s a really cool microfinancing tool that gives small loans to individuals around the world.
- Beautiful sunny and 70 degree day in Lisbon. Take a two hour wander by myself and soak it all in.
- Ran into a lady that handed me two train tickets. She was from Marblehead, MA. Small world.
- Tried to get myself lost but damn my good sense of direction. Anyway, wandered along the water to the main square then up and around the Alfama neighborhood again.
- Set out for a fun day of off-roading for Tracks Weekend with Remote Year, riding in a caravan of 6 remodeled UMM army jeeps, I was in a jeep of 4 with a great leader. Tour through Safari Flamingo company.
- Receive the saddest phone call of my life so far. Will never forget it.
- Power on through the day towards the west coast of Portugal, navigating on dirt paths in and around Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais.
- Stopped at a few overlooks for views of the coast before stopping for lunch at Refugio do Ciclista in a little mountain town. Was a large group of people in a small place, but another yummy traditional Portuguese meal.
- Set out to Cabo da Roca- the western most point of Portugal. Super touristy spot so the drivers then brought us to a
place only accessible by offroading. AMAZING coastal overlook.
- Last stop of the day: Praia da Adraga, a little beach action. Followed by a missed train in Cintra and an Uber home.
- Overall, a really fun experience but clouded definitely by the news. The people in my jeep were incredibly supportive and we shared a ton of laughs over cheetah print blankets, wine, and crazy rides.
- Quick turnaround to pick up Calen and Tessa (sister and friend) from the airport!!! Good timing honestly.
- Dinner at Time Out Market before bed.
- Slow start to the morning, trying to learn how to not go a million miles an hour.
- Introduce C&T to Lisbon with a winding walk up to Castelo de Sao Jorge. Really nice views of the city below and not too far from city center. Saw lots of peacocks, who knew?!
- Make our way to a lookout and back down the graffiti stairs I’d been to before. Nice to spend time with them for sure.
- Quickly cook dinner at apartment (cuz we cheap) and meet up with a bunch of Remotes for THE GAME!!
- Uber drops us off on the wrong side of the stadium and I kid you not, we follow a bunch of people to walk on the side of the highway (!!) to get to the other side. Tailgate for a couple hours and soak it all in. There are food trucks, cheap scarves, beer, people chanting, and a sea of red outside the stadium. Such a good atmosphere!! (also let’s not forget the Nutella food truck)
- Benfica beat Setubal 4-2, so lots of goals made for lots of cheering and scarf twirling. Soccer is just better here. Nice stadium too.
This week is bound to be another busy one. Making sure to keep myself in check and thankful to have my sister here <3