It’s coming up on a year… a whole YEAR… since I’ve moved to Portugal. It has been a crazy year.
Since I just went back to the states for a visit I thought I’d reflect on what I thought, what changed, how I felt, etc. In no particular order:
- Traffic has gotten really bad. It wasn’t just me. Bri felt it too and everyone whom I’ve asked there said it had gotten bad. We ran into traffic three different times coming back from Uncle George’s on a Wednesday.
- Beer is expensive. I kept paying like $8 or $9 for a beer. WTF? Portugal a caneca (a mug; close to a liter) is 2.5€ during happy hours. At most 4€. In the states at Silver Branch it was $8.50 for a token and two tokens was a liter (so $17!!!). Unbelievable.
- On that note, we spent more than $1,000 when there! My Portuguese friend, Glenn, gave me $92 in “dirty money” and it was gone really fast. Bri also found some USD and we spent it.
- We had an awesome time at the wedding. It was soooo good to see people and dance and have a good time. I really hope to see them again.
- Not a lot of people have anything new or different in their lives since I left. Sure people have a few things going on here and there but nothing like life changing had happened. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or what but I got a lot of “same ol’, same ol'” when I was asking how people were.
- A lot of people showed up to the happy hours that I wasn’t expecting to see. People I haven’t seen in years. My friend, Arlene, came up from Florida. My friend, Angela, and her baby came up all the way from Anne Arundel County (like two counties away from where we had the happy hour). Mel and Jim came out. We saw Helen every happy hour (#superfriend)! One of my friends boyfriend came who we’ve never met before came. My sister, her boyfriend, and Matt all came down from New York!
- The final happy hour at Brookeville felt like one of our parties we used to have in Rockville. A lot of people came out. There was different groups of people but I saw and was able to spend a little time with everyone. Everyone had someone to talk to. Everyone was so cool and was sharing pizza and drinking and just good vibes. It went by so fast.
- It feel like when you’re in the states and you’re working, you live for the weekends. (We tried not to live that way when we lived there as we were always up for doing stuff during the work week.)
- We were bored Thursday and Friday during the day. I guess I didn’t plan anything for those days for some “down time” but we found ourselves just playing pinochle with Bri’s parents.
- I was scared every day not having health insurance there. If something happened we would be fucked. I was also scared of shootings. Probably illogical but still… that shit doesn’t happen here.
- I kept speaking Portuguese. I couldn’t turn it off. Some of my family even got mad at me for doing it. Waiters and waitresses looked at me funny but I think they knew what I was trying to say.
- I really do miss my American friends. I got some good friends in the states. Great people. I really miss them.
- Sometimes it felt like nothing changed; like we were back from a long vacation. It just clicked to be back.
- I already knew this but just to reiterate: JETLAG SUCKS. I was up by 6:30 AM every day (that’s 11:30 Portugal time). I only got like 4 or 5 hours of sleep most nights. Now back in Portugal I’m having trouble getting to sleep by 1 or 2 AM Portugal time.
- My stomach doesn’t like the US food anymore. My stomach hurt nearly every day. I had to keep taking Pepto. Around Tuesday is when I didn’t need to take it any more but I still took it pre-emptively on some occasions. Portuguese food is just better.
- I drank every day but I never got drunk. Maybe slightly buzzed on a few occasions but I watched myself and never drank in excess.
- We didn’t want to drive by our old house.
I had taken my Portuguese friend, Sam’s advice going to the states. She’s from the U.K. and she said make people come to you instead of you running around trying to please/see everyone. That was good advice. It allowed for more time. Many people wanted me to come to them but I just couldn’t. It was either too far or not enough time. I feel bad but I don’t see that changing the next time I visit.
For some things I’d do different next time:
- Bri wanted to see his family who live in different states. Maybe we would do that… I don’t know but then I think…
- I don’t think I could go all the way to North Carolina to see Uncle George again. It was too much driving and time. However, it was during the week when most people were working anyway but it just sucked spending 11+ hours of the trip being in a car. I don’t know what I would do about that though. We did have a lot of fun down there. We got crabs which I hadn’t had in years. We saw the family that was there. They just live really far away from anyone we could possibly make two mini-trips out of.
- Maybe for more time Bri and I would go separately so I could stay there for like a few weeks. But I have no where to stay and no vehicle. Bri at least would have his parents. I don’t think I would like that though. The more time spent in the states is the more time without healthcare. Also, what do I do on the weekdays when people worked? Heidi took a day off to be with us but I’m not sure if some of my other friends can/would do the same.
- I’m not sure how to tackle this but a few of my other friends moved to different states. There is like no way we could spend time to travel to see them when there. They might have to be a special trip but I don’t know how that would work since I don’t want nor plan to visit the states that frequently. (Thinking the next time we visit will be in 2025!)
- Not plan so far in advance. I knew about the wedding months in advance but actually planning the week didn’t happen until about a month before travel. It was very stressful to me knowing our flight but not our schedule. It was difficult to wait that long to finally plan since I’m not the kind of person to give someone 3 or 4 months advance of when I’ll want to hang out. If there’s another wedding like this, I’m going to have to repeat this process which just caused me so much stress.
- Buy a sim card when I get off the plane (or try to). Fuck Lycamobile. They said my phone would work in the US but it didn’t and I was stranded. I put 40€ on that thing for overages for nothing. I had to buy a T-mobile sim card for $31 the next day.
A wedding was to happen! A wedding of two of my good friends! I had to go back for that! No way I was going to miss it. So I decided to plan an entire trip seeing friends and family in the states.
We have been living in Portugal for about a year so it was about time.
Below are all the things we did during the trip. Thanks to all of the people who made time to see me and thanks to the friends and family I saw along the way!
Thursday, September 7th, 2023
- Woke up before alarm & started moving
- Walked the kids and ran into Lorna
- Continued to get ready & close up
- Walked to bis station and ran into Brandon
- Bus to Lisbon
- Checked bags in
- Food court
- Waited for gate
- Flight to IAD
- Long customs line but we got through easily
- Met up with Heidi after we got bags
- Parking $12
- Dropped off stuff at Heidi’s & got Benji
- Went for drinks and fries and nachos at CraftHouse $37
- Back to Heidi’s for sleep
Friday, September 8th, 2023
- Bri kept waking me up
- Up at 5AM
- Heidi got up early & went to her appointment
- Made bread & coffee & packed up sheets
- When Heidi got back, Walked Benji around & ran into Heidi’s neighbors
- Tried to find & went to T mobile and got a sim card $31
- Dropped Benji off
- Went to Chipotle
- Went to Makers Union Pub and got a beer
- Back to Heidi’s to pack
- Heidi dropped us off Curtis & Wilma’s
- Hung out with Bri’s parents
- Went over Britney & Jason’s
- Played wildlife game
- Got Chinese & drank
- Drinking game
- Went back to Curtis & Wilma’s
Saturday, September 9th, 2023
- Got up early
- Went to Target $320
- Went to grocery store
- Went to bank
- Back to Curtis & Wilma’s
- Played a few hands of pinochle
- Drove to Rochy’s
- Hung out there & had seafood & drank a little
- Went to nearest hotel to Aaron & Sabrina’s & dropped Stacy & Charles off
- Went to Aaron & Sabrina’s & drank
- Picked up Stacy & Charles
- Matt arrived at Aaron & Sabrina’s
- Ordered Mama Lucia’s
- Played game & drank & pokemon & hangout
- Dropped Stacy & Charles off at hotel
- Hung out a little bit more & went to bed
Sunday, September 10th, 2023
- Got up early
- Matt on couch so couldn’t do Duolingo
- Bri got up so I did Duolingo
- Waited around
- Aaron & Sabrina got up around 9
- Had coffee & coffee cake & talked
- Picked up Stacy & Charles
- Went back to Curtis & Wilma’s
- Family party! Wine & saw family
- Charles left then eventually Stacy & Matt
- Talked to Shawn after Eagles game
- Bri Bri Went out
- To sleep
Monday, September 11th, 2023
- Got up and got ready, took some sandwiches & drinks
- Got to Uncle Georges around 12:30
- Got in pool & had a few drinks
- James & family came over & hung out
- Steak dinner
- Watched a tiny bit of the game & went to bed
Tuesday, September 12th, 2023
- Got up about 6 & did Duolingo
- Bri slept on couch then after I got up slept in bed a bit
- Had shrimp salad for breakfast & coffee
- Left for beach around 10:30 AM
- Parked in Surf City free area & walked on beach for a bit
- Went to restaurant & got a beer & bang bang shrimp
- Drew on table paper & ate
- Went to get crabs & picked out live crabs
- Stopped at several places to find Coors Light in bottles
- Uncle George steamed crabs when we got back
- Went in pool for a while until crabs ready
- Brendly came over & had crab legs
- Patrick came home
- Everyone ate crabs for a while
- Patrick & Brenly got in pool & we followed
- In pool for a bit & Uncle George got in for a bit
- Kim drinking & dancing
- Went to sleep
Wednesday, September 13th 2023
- Kicked Bri out of bed because he kept moving around
- Got up & did Duolingo
- Uncle George got up
- Brenly left
- Had breakfast (sausage and waffles)
- Left Uncle George’s around 9:30 AM
- Ran into bad traffic
- Went to Target on way back
- Arrived around 4 PM
- Went to Streetcar 82
- Bryan S and Helen E showed up
- Drinks then went back to Bri’s parents
Thursday, September 14th, 2023
- Got up early & did Duolingo & took a bath
- Bri helped parents move safe
- Pinochle with Uncle Neil
- Went to dinner/lunch at Olive Garden
- Went to Silver Branch
- Met up with Alicia, Bryan S
- Arlene came!
- Helen came & we all drank
- Later Marc came & we moved inside
- Arlene & I went to car to retrieve wine and ran into Tony!
- Went back to Silver Branch but last call had happened but Hung out anyway & split last beer
- Said bye to Arlene & Tony
- Went over Marc’s place for a hang out
- Went back to Bri’s parents late
Friday, September 15th, 2023
- Got up early
- Bri’s mom made french toast when Bri got up
- Played pinochle a good part of the day
- Decided to ping Sabrina
- Went over Sabrina & Aaron’s around 3 and hung out for an hour and a half
- Went over to Helen’s place
- Ate pizza & drank a little
- Watched Barbarian
- Went back to Bri’s parents
Saturday, September 16th, 2023
- Got up early
- When Bri’s parents got up they took us to Bob Evans (I drove)
- After Bob Evans, back to Bri’s parents for pinochle for a while
- Started to get ready for the wedding around 2:30
- Left for the wedding & got there around 3:30ish
- Awkward at first, caught up with Paul’s family & some of their friends
- Wedding & ceremony happened where we were called out :)
- When time to go inside, had the honor of sitting at the same table as Paul, Becky, Shawn, & Jen :)
- Chipotle dinner & open bar
- Paul’s dad & his brothers came over to me to ask about Paul & Becky story
- Bri started talking to one of Paul’s uncles
- Caught up with a lot of people like Seth, Paul’s dad, others; hung out with Shawn & Jen
- Jen walked in on first dance
- Danced & talked & drank
- Helped clean up
- Decided to go home since it was so late & we couldn’t go anywhere else
Sunday, September 17th, 2023
- Got up early & started to pack
- Got ready & waited around for a while
- Finally got moving to the brewery around noon
- Lots of traffic!
- Stopped at Brew Belly for some beers but they didn’t have Sweet Baby Jesus or the cider Brian likes
- Finally arrived at Brookeville Beer Farm; the area changed!
- Eric & family & Chris were already there
- Got a bigger table
- Helen, Frank, Aaron & Sabrina, Tricia & Travis & family, Angela with Jasper showed up!
- All talking & having a good time
- Mel & Jim showed up
- Heidi showed up then Dave
- Talked with everyone and had a good time
- People started leaving then we left around 5:30
- Heidi dropped us off at IAD very early (just in case of traffic)
- Got checked in & waited at gate for like two hours
- Got Five Guys
- Boarded plane
- Couldn’t sleep too much; kept waiting for food & uncomfortable
Monday, September 18th, 2023
- Didn’t sleep too much on flight
- Watched the last episode of Shameless
- Finally arrived in Lisbon
- Several minor incidents then got to bus station
- A few minor incidents then finally got on bus to Lagos
- Arrived in Lagos & started to unpack
- One of the beers had exploded in Bri’s suitcase
- Lorna dropped the boys off but Lando isn’t doing well with his nail
- Bri cooked dinner
- Tried to help Lando but he was in too much pain
- Sad night worrying about Lando
I haven’t had any friends prego in a while but every time I do I learn something new. Pregnant people get like weird changes in their bodies. Besides dietary restrictions (no sandwich meat, no sushi), constant peeing, and anything medical, there are just certain changes that are really scary or unpleasant. I’m glad I was never pregnant.
Anyway, I thought I would list all the strange things that I’ve heard from my pregnant friends on what goes on with their bodies.
- Your fingers swell up so you can’t wear a wedding ring.
- The baby sucks all the calcium out of you so your teeth and bones become weaker. A friend of mine said she got a lot of cavities while pregnant.
- Your ankles and feet swell.
- Weird hair growth.
More when I can think of them.
Sooo glad I decided not to have kids!
As I’m sitting here in BWI having a few to drink… what a perfect time to blog!
Recently (just in the past six months) my friend from work has been to (and officiated some) NINE weddings. NINE. I guess they all got delayed from years past?
Anyway it got me thinking… one, my coworker must be really popular and two, I don’t think I’ve gone to nine weddings in my entire life.
Counting them, yeah. Thought I would blog with a count.
- Young – I went to a wedding when I was like 5. My parents were still together. All I remember was staying in a hotel and dancing a lot.
- My own – I believe I was there at my own wedding to Bri. No one else was. Justice of the peace, baby.
- Tricia & Travis – Good friends from college got married. I was a bridesmaid! Very good wedding. Also was the same day as Shawn and Jen but we didn’t know them yet.
- Joe & Kate – My in-laws. Fun wedding up in New York. We had to stay at a different hotel from the rest since we had Candi. A few good stories from it.
- Seth & Meredith – Friend from college. Good time. He had karaoke and Taylor Swift songs.
- Leslie & Jason – Friend from college. Nice wedding up near Baltimore. Good food. I photocopied.
- Pablo – Uncle George’s friend had a nice little wedding at his home. I think Bri and I kind of crashed it but it was fun. Very low budget. Coors Light in Coolers.
- Mel & Jim – Right before covid. Friends I knew from Bernie’s campaign. Fun Jewish wedding.
We went to a few wedding receptions (Megan and Matt, Bri’s childhood friend), but we weren’t at the actual “I do” part.
Looking ahead, next year I will go to at least one, Bri’s cousin. I’m not sure who else is on the horizon…
My mom’s boyfriend, Kenny, was kind enough to give me his timeshare in Myrtle beach in June 2021. I originally wanted it to be a big girls trip with just Arlene, Becky, and I but I realized that wouldn’t be fair to our guys. When Arlene decided to get her own place, I made the move to have the guys there too all week.
We had an awesome time! We did breweries, wine tasting, lots of mini golf, pool, dinners and drinks, games, and (of course) the beach! I always wanted to do a trip like this with good friends. It was awesome.
Here’s the diary…
Friday, June 4, 2021
- Worked half day; got everything done
- Got stung by a plant
- Dropped dogs off at Bri’s parents
- Got hotel in NC
- Hardee’s for dinner; drank a big beer
Saturday, June 5, 2021
- Crappy breakfast
- Left hotel
- Got to Sands Beach Club
- Found car spot with electric parking
- Met up with mom & Kenny
- Drove to Ocean Annie’s
- Drank a lot of beer, live music
- Got food
- Went back to resort
- Room ready
- Kenny & mom showed us around room then left
- Went to hot tub & drank
- Becky texted & we met up with them
- Hot tub & pool with Paul & Becky
- Twisted Restaurant dinner
- I was plastered
- Back to room
- Arlene & Andy came by
Sunday, June 6, 2021
- Got up & Went to breakfast with Paul & Becky (good place)
- Went to Costco
- Came back to resort
- Walk on the beach
- Hit the pool with everyone
- Played with ball
- Back to room to chill and change
- Went to the pirate Voyage show
- Went back to our place for games
Monday, June 7, 2021
- Talked to Kenny but weather not good
- Went to the beach
- Went to the brewery, Andy & Arlene Met us up there
- Walked to golf but Went to a wine tasting place along the way
- Hung around wine place for a bit
- Paul drove us to alpha gold put put place
- Went to Arlene & Andy’s
- Got pizza
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
- Got up somewhat early to go boating
- Met Kenny & Mom at the marina
- Went to Bird Island
- Walked around a bit, did the ocean
- Got stranded on Bird Island because of the tide
- Had some beer
- Did more ocean and beach
- When we were able to get out, did a toast with wine
- Boated to LuLu’sâ€¦ bad service
- Had lunch, drinks
- Boated back to marina
- Everyone tired & Went to bed early
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
- No one wanted to go out to breakfast
- Bri & I went to blueberry grill for breakfast
- Went to Publix
- Back to hotel
- Went to the beach
- Met up with Arlene, flew kites
- Walked to Harry the hats for lunch
- Hung around hotel
- Hit up the boardwalk around 5
- Paul, Bri, Becky drank at Hurricanes (cat 5 Hurricane’s)
- Played the Mind, alcoholic slushi’s
- Rode the SkyWheel
- Met up with Arlene & Andy
- Went to some tiki bar (bad service) but shots and food
- Went into some shop
- All rode back in my car; everyone drunk
Thursday, June 10, 2021
- Everyone drank the night before
- Went to pancake house for breakfast
- Back to hotel
- Mini golf at two places
- Went swimming in pool
- Met cool guy by the pool
- Went to seafood place for dinner
- Checked out kite place before we ate
- Back to our place for games
- Everyone called it an early night
Friday, June 11, 2021
- Paul & Becky got up, packed and left
- Kind of sadness
- Waited for Mom to message me
- Got in the pool for a bit
- Went over Kenny’s
- Went out to lunch with Kenny & Mom
- Hung out with Kenny & mom for a bit
- Back to hotel
- Met up with Andy & Arlene and went to place next to Ocean Annie’s
- Back to our place & played rummy
- Went over to Arlene’s for their beer
- Watched half of a movie
Saturday, June 12, 2021
- Got up and cleaned and left
- Traffic a lot
- Picked up the kids
- Got home & watched movies
I decided my blogs needed some love. I’m looking at this blog and Syntax Notes. I’m installing new, crisp, clean WP themes on both this blog and Syntax Notes.
We’re also getting out a bit more (a bit). Every week or every other week we seem to do something with someone. We still maintain distance with them and wear masks. It’s nice to actually go places and see people. You need that.
I can’t wait for this bullshit to be over!
We’ve been social distancing now for about three weeks. I really miss my friends. I was able to do facetime with a friend the other day and I really enjoyed seeing them. These times are hard.
Anyway, I thought I’d share some cool websites we found to better connect us with our friends. These are primarily game websites since Bri and I are both big into board games. Here’s the list:
- dominion.games – This is Dominion online. We played this last night until like 3 AM. The free version just has the base set. It’s only like $5 a month. Totally worth it. One membership gets you all the Dominion sets as well as the ability to play with six people. You only need one membership for anyone to join you. It’s free to join.
- http://playingcards.io/ – This is a free, virtual card playing website. They have Cards Against Humanity! They also have a bunch of other games you’d usually play in gradeschool like Go Fish.
- https://jackboxgames.com – JackBox games are always fun! We started playing them years ago with friends. You play them with your phone. You can do them distance now as well. I recently played Drawful with coworkers. We shared his screen via Slack and all talked through Slack and drew on our phones. JackBox games do cost a bit of money though.
- https://www.trickstercards.com/game/ – A neat website you can play four player card games like Spades, Hearts, Bridge, and Pinochle.
I’ll update this post with more social distancing fun stuff when I find it.