I spent yesterday at home, recovering from our social weekend and storing up alone time for the rest of the week, as our much-anticipated first guests arrive tomorrow morning. I went for a long run in the morning, did some grocery shopping on my way home, and spent the rest of the day working, reading, and cleaning the house. Very satisfactory.

On my way back from the grocery store, I walked back along the grand, tree-lined Avenida da Liberdade, which runs parallel to our street. I looked up through the drizzle to see one of the ubiquitous green neon signs telling me that it was 12:30 PM… and only 7 degrees C. That’s like 45 degrees F. In the middle of the day. What is that about?!

Nonetheless, I had to marvel at the fact that nearly everyone I passed was a tourist. I’m learning to spot them quite easily now, as even when they don’t have a map in their hands, their earnest, bewildered expressions and brightly colored waterproof shells are a dead giveaway. Even more so, they politely get out of your way when walking along the street, whereas Portuguese people never do! I remembered then that this is half-term for most of the schools in Britain (which is why my family’s coming this week), and even though it’s cold here, it’s still a hell of a lot warmer than it is there. I passed them all by, content in the knowledge that my grocery bags and hurried, blase expression would separate me from my fellow foreigners.

Now that we’re at the five month mark, we’re entering that weird no-man’s land between foreign and native, when you’ve lived in a place long enough that you don’t count as a tourist any more, but you still stand apart in many small, subtle ways. I think most expats never actually leave that land — the woman who cut my hair last week said that she’s been back here for nearly 20 years, and still doesn’t feel like she belongs. It’ll be especially interesting to see how having guests here and showing them around the city changes our perspective, as we’ll see it all anew through their eyes.

So I had a quiet day and evening, even though last night featured many Carnival festivities. But, since the temperature hadn’t broken 50 degrees all day and the rain hadn’t stopped in about 36 hours, we decided not to venture out. Even the Italian couple we were planning to go out with cancelled due to the weather — you know it’s bad when the Italians don’t want to party for Carnival!

Luckily, today we’re going to a parade with our French friends, so not all is lost in terms of Carnival.

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