Exactly one week from now, we will be taking off for London, saying goodbye to the red roofs and green trees of our adopted city as we gradually leave it behind. It will be ten months almost to the day since we first landed here, looking at those same roofs and trees and wondering which one we would live under (preferably the former and not the latter,) who we would meet, what stories we’d have to tell. As you can attest, there have been many many stories this year, and I thank you for sticking around to read them.

I’m not finished making them just yet though. Yesterday I decided that faffing about the apartment wasn’t doing me any good, so I went out for a touristy day on my own. I started with a museum called the Mae d’Agua, or mother of water, which is set in the cavernous cistern where the aqueduct ended, the center from which all the city’s water came. We had explored the other end of the water system with Gabe’s family when they were here, but I had to stay home and work when they visited the Mae D’Agua.

Just as they’d said, it was really something to behold, all lofty marble ceilings and still, dark water, with a constant stream coming out on top of a fountain made gruesome by centuries of bulbous calcium accumulation. I also walked back through the long channel of the aqueduct, and up onto the roof of the cistern, which afforded magnificent views over the city: to the bridge and the Cristo Rei on one side, and the castle on the other. I always forget how small this city actually is, since the hills mean that it takes forever to get anywhere!

I continued on my way through the small park outside of the Mae d’Agua, which is one of my favorites, and walked up the street to the Estrela park, which might be my all-time favorite. (Really, they’re all my favorites.)  There I had a nice quiet lunch sitting by the duck pond, remembering all the times I’d been there before — with Gabe’s family, with my mom, with my half-brother and his wife back in February. It was kind of a goodbye tour at this point, revisiting the memories I’ve made here, as I know I won’t be going back to these places before we leave.

For similar reasons, I hopped on the 28 tram to take me back down to Chiado, the shopping district. There I window shopped and strolled, then bought groceries — one task I definitely won’t miss doing! — and wandered home. It was a great outing, and I enjoyed playing the tourist on my own, saying goodbye to some of my favorite places.

It made me sad to do so, but then a friend on Facebook reminded me of all that is waiting for me at home: her new daughter, whom I’ve only met a handful of times; running with my brother; having barbecues with my family and Shabbat dinner with my in-laws; cottage cheese and peanut butter Puffins; the ocean, the redwoods, spin class… the list goes on and on. It’s nice to have people who know me so well and can bring me back down from my nostalgic reverie when I need it!

It’s a good thing, too, as tomorrow, the final pack begins. Onwards and upwards!

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