Raining again, and feeling even crappier than I did yesterday. Huh? Not exactly the progression I was hoping for.

Yesterday gave us a welcome break from the rain at any rate — not so much from my cold. That didn’t deter us from getting outside though, as I literally felt like if I didn’t get outside, I would scream. Gabe didn’t seem to look too favorably on that idea, so out we went for a short wander. We soon discovered that it was not only was sunny, it was actually warm! Hooray! Had I been feeling better, I would’ve frolicked like a lamb.

Instead, we chose a more sedate celebration and sat down at a cafe to enjoy some beverages and our books in the sunshine. It was by then midday, but the river was still cloaked in heavy fog, and the Golden Gate look-a-like rose up out of the fog bank just as it does in San Francisco… with the slight addition of a giant statue of Jesus just to the left of it. There was a even a foghorn to complete the picture of home, which sounded just like the ones we can hear from our house in Santa Cruz. Ahh.

Near the cafe, we saw a stylish young European couple speaking a language neither of us recognized (Dutch? Norwegian?), with two of the most fabulously dressed little girls I’ve ever seen. They were probably about 18 months and 2 and a half years old, both towheaded, and dressed in slightly different but complementary outfits: both wore silver rain boots, with a bright red dress for the littler one, and a tan cotton dress for the older girl.

On top of that, the older one had a fantastic long coat with big mod-style black and white flowers on it, and they both had cool silver shades on — which of course matched their mum’s. The crowning glory was the older one’s über stylish haircut: a short pixie with baby bangs and longer curly bits at the ears. Wow. I tried to take a picture of how fabulous they were, but as I didn’t want to seem like a total stalker, I don’t know if it came out or not. (It did! See below for proof of my sly stalker skills!)

After our fellow cafe denizens had lit up one too many cigarettes for my lungs, we beat a hasty retreat back out into the streets. The cafe we’d chosen was at one of the miradouros overlooking the river on the south side of Lisbon, which we hadn’t been to since we first arrived here and were looking at flats nearby. It was sweltering then, and we couldn’t possibly have sat outside at this cafe without dying of heatstroke. Everything looked so different now, and I’m not sure if that was because of the change in weather or the change in my perspective. Back then, I just found it hot and sweaty, and all I could see were the graffiti and the unsavory characters loitering around the statue in the middle of the miradouro. I didn’t even notice the statue itself, which turned out to be quite lovely. Why did I not see all of this at first? What was I thinking?

On our slow wander home, we stopped at a fruiteria to stock up on various things we needed. The inside of the store was buzzing with a cloud of flies, but instead of being grossed out by them as I would’ve been six months ago, instead I just waved them aside and picked out what we needed. Every fruiteria here has flies in it, and you just have to wash your stuff off really well. Oh, how times have changed. (We will see just how much when we go to Africa in a few weeks’ time… that will be the true test of my supposed ruggedness! Ha!)

Later in the afternoon, after lunch and the siesta my cold has been requiring of me this week, I went back out again for my Portuguese lesson. My progress has certainly slowed in the past month, as I am feeling more and more like a short-timer and less compelled to master the language — especially now that I have enough to get by in any but the most dire of circumstances (i.e. post office incidents #s 1 through 20, or the grocery store with no money.)

Our next round of visitors and trips starts in about two weeks, at which point I’ll stop my lessons, perhaps for good. That thought makes me quite sad, as aside from Gabe and a quick hello to the people working at the gym, my tutor has become the main social interaction of my week. (Yes, I pay for my friends. I ain’t proud.) The saddest part of all is that she just adopted a cat over the weekend, so after studying with her for nearly four months, now she gets a cute cuddly animal for me to visit. Dangit. And yes, it is all about me. In case you didn’t know.

At some point during our lesson, we were talking about caretakers for sick people, and I said something about my dad having been sick. My tutor asked me how old my dad is, and when I started to say, “He was…” in Portuguese, she corrected me to “He IS.” I said, “No, WAS,” and explained that he had passed away last year. Really, honey. For once, that tense was not a mistake. She was quite embarrassed. Oh, the fun with language barriers continues!

So there you go — a random and unrelated set of snapshots from my day. Make of it what you will, as I am too stuffy headed to make it coherent in any way…

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