Halloween was spent largely at home, as neither of us had much energy to go further afield. Besides recovering from our respective maladies, I did a really long spin class in the morning, and was predictably exhausted for the rest of the day.

It was actually more like a thinly-disguised rave than an exercise class: techno music so loud my ears were ringing afterward; sweaty, scantily clad bodies riding high on endorphins; and — no joke — a black light. Despite all this silliness, everyone seemed to take themselves and their exercise very seriously, most of all the teacher. C’mon people, lighten up! If I were at home, I’d be riding my bike along the coast on a day like this! Why make it so grim?

But it was a lovely day, so we did get out of the house to take a short walk around Baixa, including a bit of shoe shopping (although no purchasing, since apparently my size 40 feet are too big for them to keep any stock in that size here!) We also stopped to have a coffee at the top of Pollux, the department store we found a few weeks ago, which has a cafe on the 9th floor and a balcony with amazing views over the city. (Pictures are included below, including one of the general vicinity of our house.)

It was a good, chill outing, but it was Halloween, and I felt very lame for staying home the whole night. We made up for some of our lameness by watching American Zombie, a “mockumentary” about, well, zombies, which was dryly hilarious. “We’re here, we’re dead, get used to it.” Ha! Still, I was incredibly homesick for most of the evening, thinking of all the shenanigans we were missing in downtown Santa Cruz.

All in all, this was a particularly rough week to be away from home, for any number of reasons. Most frustrating of all is that we completely lost a full week to one illness or another — last weekend we stayed home because Gabe was sick, then I got sick, then Gabe got his kidney stone. Since we’ve only been here five weeks, and only have another six left to go til we come home for the holidays, a week still feels like a large proportion of our time here.

Regardless, we survived our first full month in Portugal. It was definitely an eventful one — with some events far better than others. We learned a lot about our new city and neighborhood, we got a lot accomplished, and somewhere between the emergency room and the classroom, I even managed to learn a little Portuguese. Hopefully, November will be much more of the good kind of eventful rather than the bad.

So far, it’s off to a promising start, as tomorrow we go to Venice for our much-needed (and very rainy) getaway. I probably won’t be able to post for a while, as we may not have internet access til mid-week, but I will take lots of pictures and report in as soon as I’m able.

Til then… ciao!

(A few pictures from this week are below, including a couple from our anniversary celebrations, some shots from the balcony of Pollux yesterday, and one of me being uber-wired and teched-out on the couch last night. Enjoy.)

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