Holidays; Portugal has a ton of them. Last Saturday was Portugal Day, Tuesday was St. Anthony’s Day, and Thursday was Corpus Christi, all of which are huge celebrations for the Portuguese people. We got Tuesday and Thursday off of work, which made the week relaxing and short. My boyfriend, Joey, and I roamed the streets late on St. Anthony’s Day, which were packed with crowds of people drinking and dancing and chatting. The buildings were decorated with bright colors and the streams and packs of people were spotted with small carts selling glasses of beer for a euro each. It was a little like the biggest Fourth-of-July-post-firework street party you can imagine, but without the red, white, and blue. And no grills either. It was neat to see how the Portuguese get down (which, by the way, is hard).
The next night, there was a dinner party for my university’s psychology department. There was a buffet with Portuguese appetizers, entrees, and desserts; all which looked great, but few that I touched. I had salad, some bread, and some more salad, and then lots of desserts, because *everything* here has meat/fish, and, me being the local RC kid that I am, I don’t eat meat. Unfortunately, I did take a bite of some pasta salad, and then immediately and somewhat discreetly (I tried) deposited the surprise chunk of fish into my napkin behind Joey’s back so nobody would see. We weren’t really sure of the etiquette-norm for Portuguese dinners, but apparently we broke it when we ate dessert before our entree. The guy seated next to me looked appalled, and hit me with that, “You’re on the dessert already??!!” Yes, sir, I am. Sorry that you’re not, that must suck.
The best part about that dinner (besides the dessert) was the dancing. I love dancing!! And so do the Portuguese! They even have their own version of the Macarena. Hilarious, I’m telling ya. But, they dance until fricken 7am, and my sleeping schedule does not allow for that. The night life here is crazy, even by UMich standards. They honestly don’t stop until sunrise. The clubs don’t even have a closing time, they just lock the door when the last person leaves. And I’m not cracking jokes here, they go all night, and if they’re feeling like going extra hard, they party until 1 or 2 PM!!! It’s crazy. I don’t have the endurance for that!! So, Joey and I said goodbye around midnight, and went home for the night.
The second week went well. It was relaxing and I feel like I’m in the groove of things now. It’s been REALLY hot here the past couple of days (104 degrees), and there was a terrible forest fire northeast of Lisbon that resulted from a dry storm. The country is in mourning, and my family is in worrying. But from the best of my knowledge, it’s contained now, and there is no threat to the city. I’m excited to progress in my work and my explorations. Next weekend, Joey and I are going to an island off the coast of Portugal for the weekend and I am beyond excited. It’s a beautiful island with gorgeous fresh lakes and incredible hiking trails. We both are very nature-oriented, so it’ll be a much needed break from the city life.
Until next weekend, tchau!