Here we are, almost a month into our leap to Portugal. There have been a hundred and one blog posts I've written in my head, and even a handful that partially made it down on paper, but instead of posting any of them, I've focused my energy this past month on trying to figure out if these are chicken nuggets or fish nuggets...?
I would assume chicken, based on the picture, but that Capitao Iglo up top has me really wondering. And yes, I know I could just pull up my Google Translate (thanks to 11-year old Quincy for showing me how to navigate that app...I'm getting too old for this,) but what fun is that? Instead, I've literally spent the last three weeks with this bag in my tiny European freezer wondering what the hell I purchased on my very first Portuguese grocery run.
An abbreviated list of some of the other things here that I haven't figured out yet:
1. Don't get me wrong - our house here is truly special. Clean, plenty of natural light, and a three-minute walk to the beach, topped off with this view:
So yeah, our house is straight-up awesome. If you have 13 minutes to kill and want the full tour of it, given by 7-year old Pearl, here it is. You're welcome.
But, for as great at it is, I still have no idea why there are mirrors everywhere.
...and I mean everywhere...
There are also creepy statue babies crawling up our outside wall...
But whatever nightmares that gives us, they're all canceled out by how stunning it is here. Like, truly. I'll do a picture dump at the bottom of the post, just to prove it.
2. The language barrier is real. Sure, most people here speak at least some level of English and are beyond patient and kind when there's a language gap, but that doesn't mean things don't still go wrong. For example, when I tried to get candles for Bill's birthday cake from the Pasteleria. The convo went something like this:
Baker: "How old will he be?"
And that's when he brought out two candles for me.
3. I (Bill) finally found a place that will make me a real iced tea instead of just a can of Lipton tea!!! That in and of itself deserves a round of applause. It's so interesting how even when we find food or brands that seems normal to us, it still tastes quite different. I now frequent grocery stores almost daily, like there's no tomorrow. Partially because our fridge is so dang small, we can only fit enough for a day or two worth of food for all of us. Partially because I'm a nerd and gig out on perusing different grocery stores. But, in large part it's just because I still can't for the life of me find baking soda or measuring cups anywhere (update - a new friend just gifted me both baking soda AND measuring cups!! I'm the happiest person in the world right now!)
So yeah, still figuring things out, but doing it in style and with a smile, as we do. And now, as promised (I know you're eager,) the pictures that say a thousand words:
Olive being called to her water roots. Visiting the beach is an almost-daily practice for us here. Not too shabby.
Visiting castles and palaces and such in Sintra. There's a TON of them, all different and full of history. And check out the tile of that fountain room! Those tiles are on the walls everywhere here, creating a super cool visual anywhere you go.
The girls cooking us dinner for a change at a Portuguese woman's house! We've been loving doing all sorts of Airbnb experiences to get to know the area through locals. From scavenger hunts to cooking classes, it's been an awesome way to explore.
Pearl getting ready to try out her mad pastry skills. We went to this adorable family-owned pastelaria to learn to make the famous Portuguese pastry, Pastel de Nata, from the owner himself!
Picnic time at another Sintra Palace
We capped off the summer - and celebrated Bill's birthday - with some boat time on an overnight to Algarve, the southern most tip of Portugal. Turns out, our boat driver moonlights (err...daylights?) as a cop who patrols the seas for people trying to smuggle drugs in from Africa, so... there's that.
And now, we're onto our next chapter and shifting even further from tourist to local... starting school - complete with uniforms and everything!!
Pearl (2nd grade,) Olive (4th grade,) and Quincy (6th grade.)
Go Tasis Knights!!