For the first time since getting back from Israel, I actually spent most of yesterday out of the house, which came as a welcome change. In the morning, I went in to the university to watch Gabe playing with his airplane, which is getting really close to operational (see pics below.) Despite the fact that it looked like it was diving straight for me more than once, it was fun to watch.

We then went on to have a lovely lunch with his colleagues, all of whom I have grown fond of and am going to miss when we leave. During lunch, our Italian friend told me a funny story about coming home on the tube Sunday night during the Benfica soccer celebrations. He said every time the doors opened at the metro stop, a huge wall of noise would come in, and then stop just as suddenly when they closed. This happened at every stop all the way down the line: train stops, doors open, sound of massive crowds yelling. Doors close, silence. Repeat. Hilarious.

Also hilarious was having to explain to him the distinction between “passed out” and “passed away,” which arose when I said that I hadn’t heard the fireworks because I was “passed out.” He was quite alarmed by this, and even more so by my description of how Gabe could see the fireworks in the reflection of the building opposite. That behavior would have seemed very callous indeed if I had in fact “passed away!” Oh, the tricks of our language. They are endlessly entertaining.

After lunch, I walked up to my hairdresser’s, as it wasn’t raining and I was glad for the chance to get outside. Now that I know where that damn railroad bridge is, it’s not as hard to get up there from this side of the tracks! Crossing the bridge, I was reminded of the first time I went to see her back in February, when it was raining and I got thoroughly lost and soaked through. That was already 3 months ago now… which is more time than remains to us here. It really doesn’t seem like it’s been that long.

Hair newly coiffed, I walked back down to meet Gabe at the cinema via a stroll through the gardens of the Gulbenkian Museum. The sound of rushing water drew me to the artificial stream flowing through the middle of the park, which I soon realized reminded me of one of my favorite places at home. In the state park that I like to run in, there’s a spot just a little way off the trail where you can sit on the bank of the river and watch it rush by, totally removed from other people on the trail and the rest of the world.

I visited that spot often when my dad was sick, as it always brought me a sense of peace and perspective. I think my feet led me to that stream in the Gulbenkian for a reason yesterday, and I felt much more centered and relaxed after sitting by it for a while — never mind the people walking by and the two streets with roaring traffic on either side of the park.

The movie we saw was mindless, terrible fun, perfect brain candy, and we came home to make dinner and chill out before bed. And so goes our year, one day of normal everyday life after another, until suddenly, you look up and it’s almost gone. Amazing how that happens.

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