The title of this final post detailing my experience in Portugal is fitting. Acabado means finished in Portuguese. But, am I finished with Portugal? Most definitely not. Although I cannot determine my own future, my goals for it have changed. I’d like to think that maybe the other proper term for this post should be começado, because I’ve only really just started.
It is now less than 10 days until I set foot on American soil again. I have spent the last 98 days based in Portugal. It has been an eventful 98 days of adventure, of meeting new people, of trying new foods, of exploring new places. I wouldn’t give back a single moment of it. But, now, I face the reality that I will have to give up a lot within the next 10 days. I will have to say goodbye to so many people that have made this experience worth it, some that I may see again, some that I may not. I will be saying goodbye to places that have become part of my routine. I will also be saying goodbye to some things I won’t really miss. Nevertheless, no matter who or what I am saying goodbye to, it doesn’t make any of these goodbyes any easier. Goodbyes hurt.
Emma and I sit down and make our morning coffee (or hot coco) with powdered milk, and instant Nescafe from packets. The maid, Binta, comes in with 2 baguettes purchased at the boutique two doors over. We gingerly sip the coco and eat the bread with nutella, or sometimes jam or La Vache Qui Rit (Laughing Cow). We always find time moving faster than it should, and we dash off to school.
The walk to school takes about 15 minutes. We walk past the Police School a corner that borders a round about that is almost always at a standstill with traffic. Every taxi that passes us honks as if to say, « White girls walking in this neighborhood? They must be lost. » We avoid eye contact with the drivers, and nod off the ones who still think we need a ride.
Saying a prayer, or disregarding ones own life, we cross the road and take a shortcut through the Teachers college. « Do these guys even go to school? » Emma remarks, as we walk past the soccer players warming up in the field. There is almost always people playing there, except in the high heat of the day. Sometimes in formalized practices, sometimes just who ever wants to play.
We strolled through the beautiful Venetian streets capturing great photos and memories of our time there. My dreams coming true right before my eyes, seeing the spectacular city. I was so giddy that I didn’t care about only having four hours of sleep on the sixteen hour plane ride it took to get over here. My first flight was great! I was right behind first class, aisle seat next to two gentlemen who were very kind. That plane ride was only about five hours so I decided to stay awake so that I could sleep on my next flight that would be nine and a half hours. My layover was in Philadelphia and that airport is HUGE! I had to walk from one side to the other and it was about fifteen minutes (I’m guessing) and that whole walk was through a MALL! Serious! There was a GAP , Victoria Secret, Nike store, and more! That was crazy fun to walk through, but I didn’t want to stop to buy things, knowing I was going to Italy. My layover was two and a half hours, so I enjoyed a glass of wine while I waited. There was this big commotion going on where the planes got mixed up on us. We ended up getting a smaller plane than was planned. So they kept announcing over the airport intercom that there weren’t enough seats for everyone on the plane and that they were willing to give airfare credit and accommodations to a hotel and food in order to catch the next flight out the next morning. They needed five people to give up their seats and no one seemed to be taking the offer. The amount they were offering jumped from $500 to $1,000 for airfare credits. I almost took the offer, except I had plans to keep.
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