I took a look at the calendar this morning — as I do — and realized that out of the eleven weeks we have left til we go home, only one of them is actually free of any and all obligations. Otherwise, starting next week, we have ten weeks of travel, guests, packing, and more travel. After that the real fun begins, when we move back into our house and get it ready in time for Gabe to start teaching again. Whew! I’m exhausted already.

But in the meantime, normal life continues day to day, and I’m trying not to let the anticipation of all this ruin my enjoyment of our last two months of living in Lisbon. Yesterday I went about my regular routine — write and work, eat lunch, then head down to the gym and the grocery store before going home to work some more before Gabe comes home for dinner. It’s a good routine, quiet and simple, and suits me just right.

One major difference I noticed yesterday — besides the sudden heat and how much longer it makes that walk feel, especially with groceries — was that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of tourists. The grocery store was filled with them, and for the first time, I actually heard the clerks there speaking English. I didn’t even know that they could!

What’s more, the clerk that rang me up actually spoke to me in English, which surprised me. Usually I try to travel incognito as much as possible, but apparently I had a sign on my forehead that said “estrangeiro,” or foreigner. I made a point of replying in Portuguese, and complimented her on her English. She proudly told me my total in English, which I admired and thanked her for. Go figure — we’ve lived here for nearly ten months, and now I find people who speak English just fine! Jeez. Where was she when I didn’t have any money at the other grocery store back in January?!

As I wove my way home between the earnest, lost-looking couples sporting sunburns and guidebooks, I marveled once more at how far we’ve come. Not so long ago, we were one of those couples, trying desperately to use a map to figure out how to get from one place to another. Little did we know how deceptive those maps could be, as none of them show you that the shortest way (i.e. up a hill) is not necessarily the fastest! Now I walk with confidence through these winding cobbled streets, avoiding hills where I can, knowing where I’m going and where I belong. It’s a good feeling.

Isn’t that always the way it goes… you realize you’re getting the hang of things just as you’re getting ready to leave. Sigh.

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