1 day. In 1 day a lot can happen. I hope nothing much happens in the next day, because that would just be a nuisance. My flight to Lisbon (via Dublin) leaves in 1 day. (FINALLY!)
18 hours. That’s how long I will be traveling before I get to Lisbon. 12 hours of flying. 6 hours of layover. Also, I cannot forget about the 8 hours of time I will skip! It will be the closest to being Marty McFly I will ever get. My layover will be situated in Dublin. I hope to get into town and find a pub to keep me awake, as despite leaving Seattle at 7:30 pm, it will be noon when I arrive. As I hold a pint of Guinness, I’ll say, “Cheers to missing out on 8 hours of the day! Hopefully I will meet you again someday!” (Probably somewhere in Greenland, or should I say, a future part of the United States?)
15 weeks. That’s how long I am going to be in this wonderful country. I hope to learn as much from its people and about its people and history as I can. I hope to eventually lead my daily life there like a local would, knowing the best place to pick up a glass of vinho, or even better, becoming a pastel de nata snob (and hopefully not becoming fat in the process).
9 decades. That is how long it has been since my grandpa Joseph, along with his family, emigrated from Faial, Portugal, through Ellis Island, to San Francisco. I want to be able to imagine how my great-grandparents, and the many generations before them, lived their daily lives. I also want to learn how Portugal has changed in the last 9 decades, and how it has remained the same. My goal is to become comfortable enough with Lisbon to consider it home, just as my family once considered Portugal their home. It is a home that I will have to unfortunately leave after 15 weeks. I wish it were more. But, I am excited for what I have.
10 months. That is how long I have been waiting and preparing for this trip. I have especially spent time this summer learning as much as I can about the country. I have read as many guidebooks, news articles, and blogs as I can handle (which meant I inhaled everything I could get my greedy hands on). It feels important for me to know what to expect, and yet these guidebooks most definitely are not a true replacement for the real thing. I am excited to actually experience everything I have been reading about. I will admit, I am worried immensely about my ability to communicate. Portuguese is not an easy language to learn, especially online (by that I mean for free). As I browsed through language learning apps, all of the free apps only had Brazilian Portuguese, which is vastly different from its European counterpart. As I started learning, I discovered that its similarities to Spanish were not helping doing me any favors. At least Spanish speakers pronounce every letter. For example, vamos lá ( which means Let’s go!) is pronounced “vemslaw” (makes perfect sense, right?). It seems to me that the Portuguese language has a vendetta against following any norms on pronunciation. It is a mystery to me about when to pronounce a letter, or when not to, or when to slur the word beyond recognition. I hope that the part of my brain that helps me with foreign language pronunciation levels up from “Spanish” (level 1) to “Portuguese” (level 1000).
0 minutes. That’s how long I’m going to let my fear of mispronouncing something get in the way during my time there. They say that doing something wrong is the way to learn how to do it right. I will be surrounded by people who will care enough to help me learn the language. The university I am attending is an international university, with students from all over, many of them bilingual. Getting to know these people will help me learn. This is also the way for me to make friends, and then teach them all the hot American slang in return (that’s lit, am I right?). I know that a typical person might let their lack of language skills hold them back from traveling on their own. I cannot let that happen. I am going to do solo traveling early in my time in Portugal. Not only will these travel experiences be fulfilling, they will teach me much faster than any app or book can. Throw yourself into the fire, they say. I’m ready to get burned beyond recognition. Bring it on!
1 day. That is how long until my patience disappears. I’m beyond ready. I’m ready to live, breathe, and be Portugal. I’m ready to stare all the potential problems in the face, and throw them into the Rio Tejo. Tomorrow could not come faster. Vemslaw! (Sorry, *cough* Vamos lá)