Days 147, 148, & 149… Bifanas, caramel cake, and the end of Mira Mar’s regular season.

Day One Hundred Forty Seven (dia um centena de quarenta e sete)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

28 Fevereiro 2014

Friday marked the end of another week in Portugal, and it brought with it the blazing sun. It was so hot! I took Romeo for a walk and quickly realized that even in my tank-and-shorts I was going to be really warm. Uncomfortably warm. I sweat my tush off for 5 miles, changed, and then John and I were off to the gym to meet Kori (Ken&Tori = Kori). Friday: Circuit Day. And for those of you who care; we did 20 reps, 4 rounds:

  • SB knee tuck to push up
  • DB push press
  • Thrust frogs
  • Box jumps
  • Plate swings

Tori hung back with me and I showed her what all of that meant. After John and I had rattled off the exercises, reps and rounds, she looked at me and said “Ok, that is like gibberish to me,”. I know, Tori. It’s gibberish to half the people who read my blog.

After we finished our four rounds, we walked to Pic Nic where there were no seats available, inside or outside. We hovered awkwardly for a few minutes until a table outside opened up. We settled in and enjoyed our cafe grandes (I am officially OFF the galaoes!)

John and I headed home where I finished off my pink popcorn and ate some leftover hummus. John went to meet Mira Mar’s president so he could (finally) get paid. Then he met Ken and they walked down to rent a car in the pet shop. The juniors had a game in Nordeste on Saturday, we wanted to take Tori to the natural hot pools in Furnas, and Ken had to drive Tori to the airport on Tuesday. We are going to have wheels for four whole days. We are as excited as kids at Christmas.

I walked down to Antonio’s and the fruit market. I bought what I thought was a big piece of cantaloupe at Antonio’s. Read on for what it really is when I try to eat it on Sunday.

By the time I got home it was almost 6:00pm. I quickly got my things together and headed off to teach at ALKE.


When I got to the gym I asked Ernesto if we were going to Ribeira Quente for dinner; we have been trying to plan a night to go back for bifanas and wings (and McDonald-like french fries) since we went with Bobby in October. The boys had practice that night, so Ernesto just had to see if they would serve us at 11:00pm. They said they would, so Ernesto would take us for dinner. I worked out with the ladies in preparation for bifanas and chicken wings. On top of all that deliciousness I was going to eat in Ribeira Quente, Leila had stopped in Furnas and bought me FOUR slices of the torta de caramelo she knows I love:


After class I went home to eat a gigantic tray of veggies (as if I could wait to eat until 11:00pm!!), took Romeo for a walk to grab Tori, and then Ernesto scooped us up and took us to Mira Mar’s practice.

IMG_2012 IMG_2013 IMG_2014

Even though Ernesto goes to watch their practices most nights, I have not been once since we arrived on Sao Miguel. We stood on the field and watched as they finished up one drill and then scrimmaged for the rest of the practice. We waited for the boys to shower, I saw someone’s bare ass, and we piled back into Ernie’s car for the trip to Ribeira Quente.

We drove through Furnas towards Ribeira Quente and the restaurant where you sit outside in a tent, where Lina, Luisa, and Emanuel were already sitting at a long pic-nic table. Wine was passed around and stories were told before a regular at the gym brought over chicken wings, bifanas, and french fries. We laughed and ate and drank until we couldn’t anymore. Ernesto drove us home.

ribque ribque2


Day One Hundred Forty Eight (dim um centena de quarenta e oito)

Saturday (Sabado)

1 Março 2014

I woke up, got ready, and headed out for my long run. It has been sunny every single day since Sunday, and this day was no different. I took Romeo for the first loop, we saw John and Ken driving the rental car, I dropped Romeo off, and I headed for the lombas to finish 12 miles. I didn’t make quite as good time as I had the week before, but I felt great and was only a few seconds/mile slower. When I got back I buzzed around making my post-run pancakes, meatballs for dinner, and showering to look like a (semi-)normal human being.

IMG_2017They had strawberries at the fruit market so I pureed some with honey to put on top of my pancakes.

We were driving to the juniors’ game in Nordeste, but following Pedro in his van because we weren’t sure how to get to the field. Like most other destinations on this island, there is only road to Nordeste, so we could make it that far. Turns out there is only one turn once you get into Nordeste to find the field. We arrived early and Tori and I secured posts in the sunshine.


It was another beautiful day, which marked the 7th of its kind in a row. We stood on the field until the policia asked us to move to the other side of the cement wall. We stood the whole game which was much nicer than sitting on the dilapidated seating available. Two of John’s starting players were still on red card suspensions, at least one kid was sick, and one kid was failing so badly in school he had to stay home and study. The youngest senior player offered to play with the juniors, but even with Marco playing, this still left John and Ken with one available sub. They played very well, dominated possession of the ball, and had several opportunities to score. Nordeste scored twice in the first half on two of their only opportunities. Mira Mar finished the first half 2-0.


They came back stronger in the second half and Saco (my darling little Saco who took his shirt off when he scored the winning goal against Maritimo, and who I decided I adore so much because he reminds me of John) scored twice in the second half. Once on a penalty kick, and once on a solo run. After the second goal he took his shirt off. But unlike last time, he didn’t run and slide toward the fans, he ran straight into John’s arms for a bear hug. They held Nordeste off from scoring any more and finished the game 2-2.

While Tori and I were waiting in the car for John and Ken to be ready to leave, John went off to the side of the parking lot to pee. While he was relieving himself, he found a dead bird which he put on the windshield using some branches.


Tori and I laughed hysterically and I accidentally hit the wiper wand on the steering wheel. Rather than knock the bird off the car, I lodged it inside the well at the bottom of the windshield. Pedro quickly grabbed it and tossed it back into the woods.

Ken got in the car and John drove home. The drive to and from Nordeste is beautiful—it is straight north from Povoacao and it has the highest elevation on the island. Last time I drove up with Filipe and Serenela, the fog was so thick I didn’t get to enjoy it thoroughly. This time, the sky was clear and the drive was delightful.


We dropped Tori and Ken off to grab their bathing suits and went home where I finished making meatballs for dinner. I made a huge dish of lentils, tofu flakes, onion, zucchini, and cauliflower “rice”. I indulged for dessert when Tori and I split a leftover piece of Luisa’s red velvet cake from Carla’s shower. John and Ken ate the caramel cake that Leila gave to me. #cakesoncakesoncakes

Leila came over and we piled back into the car and Ken drove us to Furnas. We went to Poca de Beija where there was not one empty spot in the parking lot. The few other times I’ve gone there have been maybe two or three cars total in the lot. Apparently Saturday night is a busy time.

While there were many people in each pool, we found one with plenty of space. After a while we moved into the teeny-tiny pools where you can sit. Tori loved them and I got to talk to Leila more about her internship at the hospital. Leila and I are becoming very good friends and I am going to miss her. #cuethetears We’re not even gone yet and all I want to do is cry.

I thought Gloria Moniz and her bolos levedos were going to be closed when we left the pools after 9:30pm, but Leila suggested we drive by anyway. Between Leila and I, we figured out how to get there quicker than any other time I’ve tried to. Furnas is kind of like Povoacao; there are only three real roads, connected by myriad of crossroads, but most of them are one-ways. Sure enough, Gloria Moniz was open.

We got five bolos levedos and John, Ken, and Tori got caramel cake (yes, for the second time). I had left my pink camelbak water bottle at home, which 99% of the time is attached to my right hand. So I was almost as excited for the garrafa de agua as I was for the bolos. We piled back into the car and drove home, full and happy.


Day One Hundred Forty Nine (dia um centena de quarenta e novo)

Sunday (Domingo)

2 Março 2014

Sunday is supposed to be a Nike+ rest day, but since we are celebrating Carnaval Monday night—all night—I figured I would move my rest day. So when I got up, I ran five miles. Romeo got to come for the first mile. When I got back John was still sleeping. They were having a team lunch at Restaurante Jardim at 11:00am. I hopped into the shower and heard him get up. I walked up to Fatima’s to get detergent and couve so I could do laundry and make soup, respectively. After their team lunch, I drove John and Ken up to the complex for their 3:00pm game. On the way up, we saw Zeze (who flew like a bird in futsol) and I stopped to pick him up. I had just enough time to drive home, finish my soup, change the laundry, and then I was off to pick Tori up. What I thought on Friday was cantaloupe turned out to be pumpkin. I think. I will find out when I roast it on Tuesday.

Mufasa was at the game:


The boys were playing Micaelense in the last regular season game. If they won, Mira Mar would end in 4th place, securing a spot in the top half of the first round of post-season games. If they lost, they would finish the season in 5th place and secure a spot in the loser’s cup.


Micaelense plays hard, and unlike other Sao Miguel teams who dive to get cards, these guys prefer taking opponents out as often and as hard as possible. Luckily for Mira Mar, this meant being awarded several free kicks. However, Micaelense still scored first.

In the first half, their captain took Berto out inside the box (by grabbing his face and throwing him down onto the pitch). Berto was awarded a penalty kick while their captain argued the call (really?). Berto never misses a PK, so I thought we were golden. This would tie up the game. Did I say he never misses? Because he missed.

Mira Mar never did score, John got taken out shortly into the second half (and was so frustrated he left the field, showered, and joined us in the stands—something he never does and never would let a junior player do). They lost 1-0. Loser’s cup here we come.

While we waited for Ken to shower, I ran to the bathroom. When I got back outside, John was standing with Ernesto discussing the game. He asked me if we were waiting for Tori. I affirmed, “Yes. And Ken,”. “Ken?” he replied, confused, “I don’t think we can all fit in Ernesto’s car.” Ernesto’s car? “John. I have a car!” “Oh my god. I forgot,” he said as he grabbed his backpack out of Ernie’s trunk. We are so used to being dependent on the kindness of others. Ernie, Kevin, and Julia left and John, Tori, and I walked over to our rental. Ken met us and we drove to Pic Nic for post-game beers. And green tea. It was still beautiful out.


The boys and Tori had their beers and ordered Pic Nic burgers but I ran home to make dinner. I was going to Lola’s mom’s house for fresh bread so I wanted to pound some veggies first. Most of the team was outside of Cesar’s so while I cooked some eggplant I took Romeo for a walk. Along with most of the team, Serenela was at Cesar’s with Wendy and Glebiana was there with Mufasa. We let the puppies play for a few minutes before I went home to meet Lola.

I followed Lola up lomba do Botao in my rental so I could drive myself home after. We got to her mom’s house and she showed me the wood-burning stove outside where the bread was cooking. You couldn’t see anything in the dark, but you could tell that from Lola’s back porch she has an unobstructed view of the ocean.

Lola’s mom doesn’t speak English, and neither does her mother-in-law, but there were a lot of people I knew there. Alexandra from my class and her husband Helio, (Lola’s brother) who plays futsol with John and Ernie, were there. Marco’s brother Dino and his wife Liliana, who comes to my class, arrived shortly after. And then Lola’s cousin Telma and her boyfriend showed up, too. I shoved my face full of bread, bean & chorizo casserole, pudding, and malasadas. The bread was incredible. All the food was incredible. I drove myself home around 10:30pm where I found John eating a bolos levedos fried PB&J sandwich.


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