Woke up this morning with the full intention of going to a morning pilates class… only to discover that it’s pouring down rain. A cold rain this time, unlike the other week, when it was still 70 degrees while raining. So instead I stayed inside with some oatmeal and a cup of coffee, and figured that was healthy enough.

I had a lovely quiet Monday by myself yesterday, as Gabe went into uni around noon. I worked on some Portuguese in the morning (why have two words for “to be”?!), and then decided to brave my first spin class in Portuguese. I’d put it off last week, a little out of my fear of the language barrier, but mostly from a feeling that it would somehow be disloyal to my class at home.

But the promise of endorphins soon won out, and there I was, sweating away without even the slightest comprehension of what the guy was saying. (The teachers all use these little microphones to amplify their voices over the music, which only serve to distort their voices and ruin any chances I have of understanding them.)

The class was the same, but different — a lot more intense and less fun than the class I take at home. There I know the teacher works hard to make the classes varied and yes, even fun, putting different kinds of music together and making an effort to pace the music with the various intervals in the workout. Not here, oh no. This guy was all techno, all the time, and he put the WORK into working out. He was dripping a huge pool of sweat onto the stage by the time we were 15 minutes into the class, as were the guys in front of me. They take their workouts seriously here apparently — no messing around!

Anyway, I had fun laughing at their intensity, and still got a great workout. Afterwards I walked around for the rest of the afternoon thinking, Oh yeah! That’s why I do that! It was a straight hit of endorphins to my bloodstream — like nothing else is capable of doing. I felt great, and went out in the afternoon to do some shopping and walking around by myself. I didn’t actually succeed in getting half the stuff I set out to buy, but it was nice to feel like I knew what I was doing, to walk around and know that I’m not just a tourist here — I live here, thankyouverymuch.

Which brings me to a break in our regularly scheduled blogging. Today marks one month that we’ve been in Lisbon, which is almost impossible to believe. Each day has been so full, and we have learned so much about the realities of living here — from getting residency to buying Metro passes; from learning where to buy groceries to how to walk on the cobblestones without falling down; from not knowing anyone to having the beginnings of a few friendships and community. I’m still working on the speaking thing, but I know now far more than I did when I arrived, and am learning more with each day (though not fast enough for my tastes, as people insist on speaking English with me when they hear I can’t speak Portuguese.)

A month ago, it all seemed so different that it moved me to tears when we first arrived. Now that which seemed so foreign has already become familiar, and the thought of what I left behind at home is what seems strange. If that’s how I feel after one month, imagine how I will feel after another ten! What a year this will be, and what an adventure. Thank you all for sharing it with us through this blog, even though you are far away!