So much has happened in the 6 weeks since I last updated.
I went to Portugal on my spring break, for one thing. I feel all apologetic about it for some reason, like I have to explain how it all came about or how it didn't cost that much money (which would be an outright fabrication) or how I'm not one of these people who jets off to Europe all the time.
I AM A COMMONER, LIKE YOU.
A commoner who just happened to spend 8 days in Portugal recently.
Portugal rocks, y'all. Cancel that trip to Disneyland. Go to Portugal. I got a bed and breakfast for you in Lisbon that you will never want to leave. You will fall a little bit in love with tall, beautiful Pilar, the young receptionista. Her boss, Francisco, will sit with you in the morning for coffee and ask you about your family and tell you about his, and how he grew up in an apartment building that contained all his aunts, uncles, and cousins along with his own parents and siblings. And you will want to talk to him all day.
My sister Sarah and I thought we would die from the cuteness of laundry hanging from every window in Portugal. NO ONE in Portugal has their own washer and dryer, y'all.
(Please pause and feel spoiled. I did.)
We saw a lot of...stuff. True confession: I don't give a shit about castles, museums, or statues.
Here is what I liked:
The old men at the cafe tables, each one leaning in to hear the other, nodding and laughing.
The young waiters and waitresses, fluent in 2 or 3 languages.
The huge and immaculately tended community gardens on the outskirts of Lisbon and in all the small towns.
The couple on the subway with the toddler, cooing and singing songs to her in Portugese.
The tiny little grocery stores tucked into every block, where you could buy absolutely anything you needed.
Sitting at a table on a narrow winding street, drinking sangria.
Good Friday in Évora, where the entire town gathered at the church at around 10pm and lit candles for a somber parade.
And so much more. I would go back there in a heartbeat.
My sister and her husband. You guys wouldn't even believe how much we walked in Lisbon. The proportion of walking time to sitting around at a cafe table drinking sangria time was totally skewed in the wrong direction. My brother-in-law is a stern taskmaster when it comes to exploring a city.
In the small town of Comporta I was overcome with delight by the storks that were nesting everywhere.
Josh at the Moorish castle ruins in Sintra. He's the assistant manager of the worrrrrld!
A rather glum-looking lad, playing his accordion. Awfully young to be doing this, in my opinion. His father or grandfather was doing the same thing just down the street so I guess it's a family business? I gave him some euros and asked politely if I could take his picture, but he just didn't seem too happy about the whole arrangement. There were many people like this in Lisbon, doing some kind of entertainment for tourists.
Ah. Disaffected youth. Gotta love 'em.
We arrived home on Easter Sunday and work started for me on Tuesday. Since then I have been up, down, sideways, and occasionally in a fetal position. But I can say, cautiously, that I think I am feeling a little better, a little less bruised by the events of the past 9 months. A little less fearful of what lies ahead.
Thanks, as always, for your kind comments, emails, and prayers. There are days where they have made all the difference to me.