Sunday, April 3, 2011


We met many people along the way and it has been our overwhelming experience that the Portuguese people are very kind and generous, you hold a very special place in our hearts. Thank you to all that helped us along the way. Thank you to Eduardo, who may or may not have seen me desperately cleaning Pika potty off of his floor, for carrying my suitcase up the 83 stairs to our apartment and for turning a blind eye if you were in fact a witness to the frantic cleaning. Thank you to the tiny little old lady with cartoon poultry on your chest for brightening our day with your lengthy Portuguese ramblings. Thank you to Fred for teaching us how to say towel (toalha) in Portuguese and giving us insight into how hard it is for you to say towel in English. Thank you to the French restaurant owner who translated our menu with exaggerated flourish and for taking such good care of us. Thank you to the nice lady at Verde for fresh greens in a land where it is hard to find crunchy veggies at restaurants and also thank you for all of the language lessons. Thank you to Poix Cafe for delicious café com leites and a comfy space to eat. Thank you bread guy for badgering me with your questions on why we are here and all of the delicious bread. Thank you to the fish lady for translating all of the fishes into English for me and for taking the time to stop in the middle (literally) of the street to show me the rug that you have been working on for ten years, and for the invitation to teach me how. Thank you to the chicken guy for your friendly smile and your little bit of broken English, and for teaching me how to say "two chicken legs" (dous perne frango). Thank you to the little old lady that helped the chicken guy with his lessons by grabbing my leg and saying "perne!" very loudly as you giggled away. Thank you to Dagmar who rented us the most amazing house equipped with everything we could possibly need including board games and for dropping off a cast-iron dutch oven when you learned that I was afraid of nonstick cookware even though most of your cookware was stainless steel. Thank you to the staff at Tasco for entertaining us with your infectiously, enthusiastic incompetence and disorganization. Thank you to the artist whose name I cannot remember for giving the boys a watercolor painting lesson, your brushstrokes were masterful. Thank you to the old lady in the tiny village in the middle of nowhere who walked by us and gave us the three best "Bom diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiia's" (good day) we have ever heard. Thank you to our waiter who taught us that football is the reason why there are no more wars in Europe, because the players are your warriors. Thank you to Noni who drove us to and from Campo Real and to the airport safely and sanely, and for teaching us the importance of family tradition when deciding which football team to support. Thank you to the grill guy for reverting to animal noises and movements including the realistic depiction of cow horns with your fingers to make sure that Jason understood what it was that he was ordering. Thank you to the tooth fairy for finding both Aaron and Isaac in Portugal. Thank you to the painter lady in the tile store for surprising me with an extra tile as a way to thank me for running down to get cash to pay you with and the cute way that you quietly say "yes." Thank you to Sandra and Paolo, our amazing new friends from Portugal, for your warm kindness, showering our children with your affection, teaching us how to greet friends properly in Portugal, sharing with us the most amazing kiwis and oranges we have ever tasted straight from your parents' harvest, and the wonderful, delicious and insightful lunch in your home. Thank you to the guard at the train station who let us out of the station without fining us when we botched our tickets and then beelining straight back to the café to finish your espresso in such a typically Portuguese way. We are sorry we interrupted one of your coffee breaks. Thank you to everyone for putting up with me mangling your beautiful language. Thank you to Mary, born-to-Portuguese-parents-in-Boston-but-moved-to-Portugal-ten-years-ago-owner of Saudade, our favorite café in Sintra, for inviting us in, even when you were closed, for tea and wonderful conversation, and for the care packages of cookies, hot chocolate and tea. I think Mary summarized what we love about Portugal best. She said she often asks herself why she lives in Portugal, she says "it can be hard. Really hard. There are no sidewalks, the drivers are crazy. Yes, it's beautiful here, but it's beautiful in the states too. What it comes down to is the people, the people are why I stay here." Thank you to everyone for your warm hospitality. We will miss you all while we are away.

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