THE END

Day One Hundred Seventy Four (um cento setenta e quatro)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

28 Março 2014

Friday morning: 5 miles. I took Romeo with me for the first mile, which always slows me down, but after dropping him off I almost caught up with my time from the previous day. The store that was Barraca has been under construction for about a week now. They did a complete remodel, but finished it quickly because they had people working 24 hours a day.

Sometime during the construction, I figured out it was going to be a Sol-Mar (think Star Market), which is good for the people who live here but probably bad for other store owners like Fatima. I heard the guy who owned Barraca (I don’t know his name, but he was very nice the one day I went in there back in October. I tried to tell him, Oh, we moved here because– “yeah, I know,” he said, “because your boyfriend plays for Mira Mar”). He always wave when I run by.

They had a grand opening Friday at 10am, so the middle of the vila was a nightmare. There is no parking there anyway, and there were people across the entire street waiting to get in.

When I got home John was still sleeping, so I grabbed my wallet and my passport and headed for the Pet Shop; we were renting a car for the day.

We only needed the car to go to Ribeira Grande (or Santana…maybe it was Rabo de Peixe –literal translation: fish butt) to take Romeo to the vet; He needed to get his Pet Passport signed. However, you only get the 18€/day price if you rent it for two days or more. So, for one day it would’ve been 44€, and for two days 36€. We took it for two days.

I went down to the pet shop where we are basically regulars now. Teresa joked with me about always running and still not speaking Portuguese while the blonde girl copied my license and passport info down. Even though they are not open Sundays, Teresa is going to meet me at 11:00am so I can return the car. #ilovetheislandlife

Because of Sol-Mar’s opening I had to drive around the vila twice before I found a spot to park our tiny little rental car.

John, Ken, and I were originally planning on going to the gym for circuit day before we left for the vet, but when John wouldn’t get out of bed I asked him how important that was to him. He said he didn’t care about going, and neither did I so I hopped in the shower. Ken’s response when John texted him about skipping the gym: ‘Thank F*&*K’.

John and I finished getting ready and headed outside. We put Romeo in the back seat, grabbed Ken and went to Pic Nic. Luckily, I found one tiny little parallel spot outside the hardware store; the middle of the vila was still packed. The four of us sat outside.

After we had our coffees we got back in the car and Romeo walked on and got fur all over Ken. I said I’d sit in the back seat on the way home. Romeo is an idiot:

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Carla had given me explicit directions on how to get to the vet, and I knew exactly where she was talking about. Originally, we were going to have the vet come to us, but the one that makes house calls is not working until August, so to the clinic we went. It is in Ribeira Grande, almost all the way to Ponta Delgada. In addition to explaining to me a few times how to get there, Carla also drew me an awesome map.

At the last rotary before the city (there is some urban legend that rotaries/roundabouts only exist in New England.. but I’m here to squash that. There are a ton here on Sao Miguel), we usually take a left, but to go to the vet we went straight towards Rabo de Peixe and Santana (you can actually get to the city this way, too, which is what John and I did the first time we rented a car). We took the only right turn after the gas station toward Rabo de Peixe and Santana. I followed that pot-hole-filled road to the end and then took another right. John pointed towards a giant (fake) cow on the left, “There it is!” he said. I didn’t believe him, because there are some milk factories on this part of the island, too, but sure enough it was the Clinica Veterinaria Santana. I reversed a dozen feet or so and pulled into the parking lot.

We didn’t have an appointment, because that’s not how they do things here. When Carla called for us they said you just show up and wait if there is anyone in front of you. There weren’t any other cars in the parking lot, so I figured we were golden. We were; there weren’t any other people (or pets) inside either. It was a large, clean, fairly new-looking facility. I asked the woman at the desk if she spoke English, which she did. Carla also asked about that, too, when she called, and they assured her they had English speaking vets.

Someone tweeted me a few weeks ago about tips for the Azores because he is traveling to Sao Miguel, and apparently, he reads my blog. The first (and only) tip I gave him was that everyone speaks English (or, more accurately, everywhere you go you can find someone who speaks English). This woman turned out to be German.

She weighed Romeo first and he had gained 1kg since we’ve been here. Then she made a photo-copy of the Pet Passport form, and filled out the one I brought. They don’t have rabies here, and he’s been vaccinated, so she didn’t actually examine Romeo. She scanned his microchip and matched the numbers up. She kept calling him “she”, but lots of Portuguese people mess up pronouns, so I didn’t think too much of it. She even told me she weighed “her” because they worry about “spayed females” gaining weight. She said this while looking at his rabies vaccine certificate which refers to him as a “neutered male”. I was still not concerned.

She finished filling out the form and told us to have a safe trip. Just as we were exiting the exam room, Romeo spotted a sign and sniffed it. He lifted his leg and PEED on it. John gave Romeo to Ken and asked him to take him outside, quick, while John grabbed paper towels and apologized profusely. The woman behind the desk kept telling him not to worry, it happens all the time, they would grab a mop, while my German vet friend said, “I need that form back. I filled it out wrong: I said that she was female!”

After she fixed the form, John cleaned up the floor, and I paid 7€ (Carla said it was only 25€ to have the vet come to you—and administer shots—so I had a feeling it was going to be cheap) we all got back in the car to head to the city for lunch.

We had decided to go to Portas do Mar for lunch because we could sit outside with Romeo. John voiced concerns that Romeo wasn’t allowed there, but both Ken and I said it was public, and blah blah blah, not to worry. We parked on the street and walked to the bowling alley. The sun was shining and we sat outside. No one else was outside, so we weren’t worried about Romeo bothering anyone. Our waiter didn’t say anything about Romeo either, so we ordered. About halfway through eating our meals, a security guard came over and told us that dogs were not allowed on that side of the port. But he told us we could finish eating. We finished our meals (I gave Romeo lots of french fries, because aside from peeing inside the vet, he had been a very good boy), and had cafes. I made John and Ken walk all the way down to the other end of the port so I could get the maracuja ice cream that I have been thinking about since we came with Vitor.

Ken and I stopped in the public bathrooms before getting back in the car. The ladies’ room was being cleaned so Ken stood look-out for me while I used the men’s. We got back in the car, this time with John driving and me sitting in the back with Romeo.

We got back to Povoacao in the afternoon and hung out for a little while before I headed off to class and John headed off to pay FIFA at Ken’s before practice.

Lina had told me the night before that she is still closed for take-out. John had wanted pizza again before we leave, and she said she was turning the oven on Saturday for a birthday party, so if we wanted pizzas she would make them then for us. I told Lina we would definitely get pizza and I invited Leila, who got a little bit too excited. After I invited her she ran over to Lina and they spoke in Portuguese whispers. I disregarded this.

I had Lucy’s leftover bacalhau for dinner and then Leila picked me up for coffee. We drove to 3 Bicas in Furnas, which is always empty. It was empty again until her brother Philip showed up with Berina (who comes to my classes) and another couple. They came to sing karaoke, which if you know me is one of my most-favorite things. They actually did have a good selection of English songs (the Beatles, Pink, Papa Roach, Celine Dion, and of course, Britney), but I didn’t sing. I wasn’t drinking and I had 12 miles to run in the morning. #idratherberunning

After we enjoyed Philip’s version of “Like a Virgin”, Leila and I took off.

Day One Hundred Seventy Five (um cento setenta e cinco)

Saturday (Sabado)

29 Março 2014

I woke up, took Romeo for a walk, and left for my long run before John woke up. My calves were still tight, but it was bearable and I finished with my best time yet for a 12-mile solo run. It was cold when I went out, but when I dropped Romeo off I dropped off my ¾ sleeves because the sun was strong. Another loop around the vila and it started to sprinkle, so I went back and grabbed it again. It never did really rain on my run, but I was glad I had grabbed it.

When I got home I made sweet potato pancakes with almond flour and Lucy’s leftovers. I went to meet John at Pic Nic for a cafe but I found him walking back. I got him to turn around and we went to Pic Nic where we found a female stray dog who had quite clearly just had puppies (John said “check out those nipples”). She looked skinny, tired, and sad. John bought a papos secos from Pic Nic and tried to feed her, but she only liked the soft inside. She followed us home.

John and I got our stuff together to go to the big hot pool at Parque Terra Nostra and Ken came over. We changed and piled into our tiny rental car, stopped by Pic Nic to pick up Majid, and then drove to Furnas.

I couldn’t find any spots open at the hotel, and since the roads are all one-way (and I don’t know my way around very well), I had to loop around the whole Furnas again to park near the Vale Formoso stadium. We paid the 5€/person to be admitted to the park. Majid went off to change and we all quickly got in. Majid admitted to not knowing how to swim, but luckily this pool is probably 5 feet at its deepest. While we were there it sprinkled and stopped, sprinkled and stopped, sprinkled and stopped. We left in time for Ken to watch Arsenal play at 4:30pm.

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We were ordering pizza from Toronto Nights for the last time, and I was going to make a salad with the lettuce that Nedia had given me. We were also planning on having people over the next day for the first—and last—time, so I decided to check out the new Sol-Mar: Ew.

First of all, it was totally packed. And while they did blow out some walls from what it was when it was Barraca, because they shoved so many more shelves and crap in there, it actually felt smaller. I did find some sweet gluten-free products (like rice and tapioca flours), but I left with a giant case of American-grocery-shopper rage. I saw Catarina and her husband and she laughed when I tried to read the farinha de mandioca bag (I know farinha is flour and it said gluten-free, and it had a picture of what looked like a carrot on the front). I tried to google “mandioca” but Sol-Mar’s “free” wi-fi has a password. Assholes.

It turned out to be tapioca flour, which I figured out when I got home later. I tried to buy a 12-pack of Super Bock and one of the managers told me it was my lucky day: buy-one-get-one-free! Ok, I’ll take 12 free beers.

So, I walked back and grabbed another case. Oh no, she said. They have packs where they are attached with saran wrap. In a different part of the store. Great, I said. Can you get that for me? Since now you’ve made this far more complicated that it needed to be. She walked me over to the other display and I grabbed one. No, she said, you take two: Buy TWENTY-FOUR beers and get TWENTY-FOUR free. Oh, god. Just give them to me.

So, instead of 12 beers, I bought 48. How was I supposed to carry these home? And it was raining. and I hate Sol-Mar and I hate this lady. Damn you, lady.

I got home and started to make some gluten-free cookies with my gluten-free farinhas. I didn’t have time to bake them before I had to pick Leila up. Since she and her brother are both coming for pizza, I told her I’d take the rental car to pick her up for a coffee, then they wouldn’t have two cars.

We parked at Pic Nic and sat down with John and Ken, who were already drinking beers. I told them to stay thirsty, so they could drink the many, many beers I had bought. Ken said he was going home and then would meet us at Toronto. I told him that wasn’t really necessary, surely Leila and I could carry the pizzas. John went home to change, too. I told Leila I hadn’t made the salad yet and she said “Don’t worry, we have time.” Why is everyone acting so strange?

Just before 8:00pm, John texted me asking if I was coming home before going to Toronto. No, I wasn’t planning on it. “Come home and I’ll walk over with you,” he replied. Wow, everyone really wants to walk to Toronto with me, I did not think. When we got to the apartment, John was wearing a button down shirt and a sweater, that I had already packed to go home. “You’re dressed up,” I commented. “Yeah, I just wanted to wear it one more time,” he replied. Leila was also wearing a dress, tights, and a cardigan. I didn’t find this odd.

John said he would sweep the stairs before we got home, which he didn’t do. “Why did you want me to do that?” he said, “Because we’re having people over,” I said. Or, so I thought.

We walked over to Toronto where the blue uplighting was on. Leila kept bumping into me on the steps up, running in her dress. She’s in a hurry! I thought.

Once at the top of the stairs I saw two men sitting on the couch (Toronto is closed). “Oh, Ken’s already here!” I said. “And Joe… and Philip… you fuckers!” As I walked into the restaurant I saw Lina, Carla, Dina, Berina, Alexandra, Liliana, Lucy, Luisa… everyone was there!

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No one actually said “Surprise”, but it was implied. There was a table with a picture frame, “We will be NUTS without you” with peanuts.

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There was another table with desserts, cupcakes that read “We will miss you”.

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There was a picture of me on the podium in Ribeira Grande which everyone signed later.

Lina had even hired her employee, Marina (who is my FB friend) for the occasion. Marina, immediately upon my arrival began serving shots. All liquor in Portugal is sweet and I don’t like it. I took a little sip before placing it on a table somewhere, abandoned.

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Everyone was so dressed up and lovely looking (John & Ken included) and I had my jeans rolled up and my sneaks on! I begged John to go home and get my Chinese boots.

We sat down to eat and Leila told me she had a surprise for me. She told me she couldn’t come to the pools earlier because she had work to do, but now she admitted to lying. I had a feeling it was a slideshow before she even gave the USB drive to Emanuel. I started crying before it was even loaded, and Emanuel tried to cheer me up by joking; “What are you crying for? It only says ‘80%’!”

Saozinha called me a cry baby, but I got my shit together once the video started. Leila had collected pictures from FB, other girls, and my blog. She put it to Beyonce’s “I was here” and Kelly Clarkson’s “A moment like this”. By the end of the video even John was holding back tears, but Saozinha was sobbing hysterical; she could barely even breathe. Who’s the cry baby now? I joked as I hugged her.

Everyone had brought dessert, too, and my Equilibrio brought the apple cake and cinnamon buns she knows I love. Lina made chocolate mousse and arroz doce, Lucy made a custard pie, and I forgot all about the gluten-free cookie dough sitting in my fridge.

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Me and my Equilibrio, aka Alexandra.

Once the video was over we continued drinking and eating desserts. Leila said she had one more thing for me. A group gift from the girls in my class.

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I’m not sure why John is laughing, but this is probably my favorite picture from the night.

I opened the jewelry store bag up and found two tissue paper packages inside with Pandora stickers on them. “I don’t have a Pandora!” I said, thinking they were both charms. One was a bracelet and the other a friendship knot charm, to remember all the friend I’d made in Povoacao. I cried and cried.

It turns out everyone has a Pandora bracelet, and Leila, Alexandra, Lina, and Liliana each showed me their charms. A few minutes later, Liliana cornered me and handed me her ananas charm. An Azorean pineapple. “This is the only charm I bought for myself,” she said, “All the others were a gift. I want to give this one to you for your bracelet.” I tried not to accept it, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer. I could hardly say thank you through my hysterical tears. I was so moved by everyone’s generosity.

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Leila thinks I’m an old lady (tea on a Friday night at karaoke?) and she didn’t want to go home at midnight. We decided to go to Guida, but no one else was really interested. Eventually we brought Leila, Philip, Berina, and Ken back to our apartment for one more beer (and another showing of my slideshow, no tears!). We got to see Daylight Saving’s Time end and everyone went home around 3:00am.

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Day One Hundred Seventy Six (um cento setenta e seis)

Sunday (Domingo)

30 Março 2014

I had set my alarm so I wouldn’t miss my rental-car-return time. I had woken up around 7:30am, sure I’d never fall asleep again. Sure enough, I woke up abruptly to the sound of my phone alarm at 10:30am.

Once I returned the rental to Teresa at 7 Lombas, I stopped by Fatima’s to buy onions. It was one thing I couldn’t find at Sol-Mar (where I refuse to go again), and I was sure Fatima’s business was hurting since Sol-Mar’s opening. Fatima used to be the only place open until 8:00pm Monday-Friday and she was the only store open on Sundays at all. Now Sol-Mar is open basically all the time, 7 days a week. I wanted to contribute, but I only needed 0.45¢ worth of cebolas.

I headed home and started to make chili. I knew Leila, Lola, and Alexandra would all bring food that night, so I was only planning on making chili, hummus, and gluten-free cookies (cookie dough was ready to go!). I had also bought cheese, crackers, and chips.

Once I started the chili and showered I took Romeo for a long stroll. John was still sleeping. The sun was shining, so Romeo and I sat outside at Pic Nic and I had a coffee in my tank top. I’m trying to enjoy what I can of this Azorean sunshine.

I got home around 1:00pm and John was just getting up. He got ready and we headed back to Pic Nic. I had talked to Pedro the day before about getting to Mira Mar’s game and, sure enough, he picked us up at 2:30pm. It was still sunny, but had definitely cooled down.

Mira Mar beat Maritimo 2-1. Vitor’s toe was still broken, so Ken took his goal kicks. He still punted the ball if he received it, and then jumped up and down in agony on his other foot. He will not play the following weekend. I sat outside the box with John until the wind picked up and then I moved inside where Serenela, Glebiana, and Mufasa were sitting. I love Mufasa, but he does not love my kisses. Romeo doesn’t even flinch when you smush his face down and smother him with love, but Mufasa wanted to eat my face. Desculpa.

It began to rain just before the end of the game, and we walked quickly to the parking lot. Ernesto bought a new BMW from continent (it arrived by boat last week), and we rode in it for the first time on the way home from the game. It’s only a two-door, so John crawled in the back seat.

When we got home I began to pull the leftover desserts out of the fridge from the night before, make the hummus, and bake my cookies. Ken came over and we snacked a little before anyone came over. Ken went home to change and Leila and Philip showed up (with more than enough food for a whole party). Philip and John went to get coffees and wine. Ken came back, dressed up. I told him only to bring an empty stomach, and I hoped he was thirsty because I still had 47 beers.

Lola came by herself, but brought with her fruit and an enormous dessert. And plastic stools (because we only have 8 chairs). Alexandra, Helio, and their daughter Lara (who wanted to take Romeo home with her by the end of the night) showed up next and brought more than enough food for a whole party. Poor Helio thinks he might have Celiac disease. I was so excited to offer my gluten-free cookies, but he really didn’t want any. They sort of tasted like sand.

John was worried no one would come; we had a party the night before, and it was a Sunday night, but in the end only Joe and Carla bailed. Carla is 7 months pregnant and it was raining badly by the time people came over. We watched my slideshow one more time, because Lola hadn’t made it to the party the night before.

Lina, Emanuel, Luisa, Ernesto, and Julia had gone out to dinner in Furnas but they came over afterwards, around 9:30pm. Lina brought her strawberry cheesecake, which everyone enjoyed, no matter how full they were.

No one would take any food home with them, so I didn’t think I would need to go grocery shopping again. Ever.

Berina and Alexandra’s sister, Marcy, had messaged me earlier on FB saying she had farm fresh eggs for me. She is a firefighter and would be at the bombeiros after 7:00pm. Because we had people over, I hadn’t gone. I took Romeo for a walk around 12:30am, after everyone had gone home. We walked by the bombeiros and I wondered if they napped at night, or if they had to stay awake. All of a sudden the garage door opened and I heard Marcy say, “I have eggs for you.” And then, “I’m sorry my English isn’t very good, but if you ever need eggs tell me. I have 20 every day.” You’re English sounds pretty good to me, I thought as I took a bag of more than two dozen eggs.

When I got home, I gave Ken some food and half the eggs. Neither of us was going to have to go grocery shopping anytime soon.

Day One Hundred Seventy Seven (um cento setenta e sete)

Monday (Segunda-feira)

31 Março 2014

When I woke up, the weather couldn’t decide what it was doing. It would rain heavily for 10 or 15 minutes, then it would stop and the sun would shine brightly. Then it would happen again. I waited until I thought it was done raining and headed out sans-Romeo. It didn’t rain for the first minute-and-a-half, then it poured, and then it was sunny for the remainder. I kept stopping to stretch my crampy calves until finally I didn’t think I could pick my toes up. My anterior tibialis were spasming. On both legs. I ran to the gym, paused my watch at 2.75 miles, laid down on the floor, and threw my legs onto a bench. I laid there until I thought I could foam roll without crying. I foam rolled for probably twenty minutes, until I felt almost normal again. I finished the last 2.25 miles of my run without event.

When I got back, John suggested we go to the gym in an hour, so we made lunch. I warmed up some leftover chili and fried some of my firehouse eggs to eat alongside. It had been fun to serve chili and hummus, because most of our Portuguese friends hadn’t eaten either of those foods.

We headed to the gym for Chest Day. Only, I wasn’t really in the mood. I foam rolled (again), did one set of DB bench to plyo push up, four rounds. Then I did a little core and told the boys I was all done. I went home to shower before heading down to Carla’s salon; she was doing my nails as a goodbye gift.

After she did my nails (a luxury I missed, and I will start doing regularly once I’m employed again), I got ready for my class.

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After class I went back to the gym to foam roll one more time. Ernesto was bugging me about not having gone to the gym that day (Where is John and Ken? They no workout today?). He hadn’t been there when we were, but his intern Alexandre had been. “Alexandre,” I said, “Weren’t we here earlier? Me, John and Ken?” Yes, yes, he replied, they were here. A few other guys I know (not very well) were there, too, so I decided to try out some of my Portuguese words, “It was mamas dia”. I said. Breast Day. I don’t know the word for chest (preto? No, that’s black..) so I say mamas para cima (breasts up) when I want my ladies to lift their chests. The men in the gym died laughing: “Do you know what you said? That is not chest!” I know, I said, that is Liza being funny. The next day, one of them put this on my FB wall:

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Maminhas means boobies.

Day One Hundred Seventy Eight (um cento setenta e oito)

Tuesday (Terça-feira)

1 Abril 2014

The weather was exactly as it had been the day before. Not in a hurry to go anywhere, I waited to go for my run. Which, today, was 10 miles. I waited until I thought the rain was over (at least temporarily) and took Romeo with me. What I usually do if he hasn’t gone out yet is walk with him for a few minutes before we start running.

After I started up my watch and began my (our) run, it started to rain. Suddenly and violently. Then it turned to hail. Romeo didn’t know what to do with that, so he ran in a zig-zag pattern on the side walk. Rather than finish our one-loop around the vila, I ran him straight home. Half a mile down, nine-and-a-half to go.

I changed out of my now-soaked t-shirt and put a new long-sleeve on, under my rain coat. After I dried Romeo off I headed back out. Oh, the sun. The sun was out now.

I took my arms out of my rain coat sleeves and tied it around my waist, with the bottom still zipped halfway. A few minutes later it started to rain again, so I untied my sleeves, threw my arms back in, and kept running. A few minutes later when the rain stopped and the sun came out, I reversed the process again. I continued along in this manner for the rest of my run.

The last 3 miles it didn’t rain at all, and by the time I finished, the sun was actually quite strong. I saw Rui about to pass my house when I was done. I stopped my watch and talked to him, “What are you doing?” I asked, and he said he was going to take a coffee. Aguenta: Wait here, I said, and I ran inside our apartment to drop my raincoat and grab my wallet and water.

John and Ken had already gone to the gym (no, no, don’t wait for me), but we saw them at Pic Nic. It was just after 1:00pm, so the place was packed. Rui and I got a two-person table on the side and enjoyed our cafes. I told him we were leaving on Friday and he told me a bunch of stuff I couldn’t understand. Not only is my Portuguese not that good, but he mumbles a lot (he has dentures), so I can’t understand anything the guy says. Lola came by our table and invited me to dinner the next night, while the boys played futsol. We were already going to Alexandra’s house that night for dinner, but I said yes anyway.

I needed to buy some peanuts, because John had finished all my homemade PB the night before. Rui followed me to Antonio’s. While I was there I remembered that John wanted cookies, so I bought chocolate-filled Maria’s and vanilla-filled Maria’s, and I also bought a bunch of candy to take home. And coconut biscuits, the kind that Lola and Dina make.

Because I had only gone in for peanuts, I hadn’t bothered to grab a basket. Of course, now my arms were full. Rui took my items, one by one, and settled them in his arms. I asked him if he wanted me to buy him any candy, “No, thank you.” or any gum, “No, thank you.” Nothing? I asked, “No, thank you.”

He grabbed my bag of groceries while I paid and he carried them home for me. Sweet little Rui. It makes me sad when people call him Cavarinha (pea brain).

When I got home I showered and packed and thought about (briefly, very briefly) going to the gym. John and I were going to bring our bags to the gym to weigh, but then John smartly suggested bringing the scale home instead. I walked over and Alexandre warned me that it might not be accurate. I know (from occasional use) that depending on where on the scale you stand, the scale could be up to 2kg different. I weigh less when I lean forward onto my toes.

I weighed our bags a few times to make sure I was pretty-close to knowing what they weighed. I really, really, really was planning to bring the scale back to the gym and workout before my class, but then it started to rain. Again.

I brought an empty suitcase filled with tupperware and dishes that had been filled with food but now had to be returned. The suitcase I ended up giving to Lina because I am not bringing it back to the states. Used only once: to get here. We didn’t even bring it to Spain.

I went just before 6:00pm when the rain stopped again, but then I only had time to foam roll and do one superset (decline sit ups to SB knee tucks) before heading over to teach.

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Leila’s brother Philip doesn’t come because he loves to work out. He likes to sit and socialize.

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When I got home I quickly Skyped with my cousin while I got ready for dinner. Leila picked me up and we went to Alexandra’s house, which was easier this time because we knew which house was hers. And which door to knock on. John and Ken were invited, but they had practice or futsol every night that week, so we made plans without them.

Alexandra is a great cook, and she made a delicious pork roast, and an octopus and bean salad, and coleslaw, with rice and salad, and a chocolate cake for dessert. I drank again, just to keep my streak going. Leila and I left around 11:00pm and I was so tired and full and not-feeling-good that I immediately messaged Lola and said that there was no way I was going to be able to have dinner at her house the next night. I couldn’t keep going out, and Philip was taking us out on Thursday. Deculpa, querida.

Day One Hundred Seventy Nine (um cento setenta e novo)

Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

2 Abril 2014

Apparently Mother Nature didn’t read my Facebook comment. I got up at 8:00am to run 7 miles. I didn’t have the same luxury as I did the two previous days; I couldn’t wait until it was not raining to run. I put on a long sleeve (because it wasn’t raining as hard) and dealt with rain, sun, rain, sun, rain, rain, sun. When I got home just before 10:00am, I was planning on taking Romeo out for a walk, but even he didn’t want to get out of bed. I hopped in the shower and began my getting-ready-rituals.

Lina was taking me to the airport to send some bags as cargo (much cheaper than bringing them on the flight with us). She picked me up at 11:00am and we drove to the SATA office in the old airport. We stopped on the way at the same vet we had gone to with Romeo the week before so Lina could ask about her cat. She had her spayed last week and the incision was a little red and swollen. That sweet German lady who thought Romeo was a girl told her not to worry, it was normal and Friday she was going back to the vet to have her little kitty stitches removed.

We found the SATA office pretty easily (we only went in one wrong office first, and we had left the bags in the car). The lady at the SATA office gave us a little attitude when we asked if we were in the right place, but she ended up being pretty nice. Once we brought the bags in, had them weighed and measured, gave lots of information, and paid, we left. Paying was the only part that was sort of eventful; the mean-turned-nice lady didn’t have a strong signal on her credit card machine, so she had to stand outside with it so it would go through. Luckily, it was sunny in the city.

We left the old airport and headed for the hospital. Leila was going to meet us for lunch, but we were still early and Lina needed to book a mammogram. Leila has been on her case about booking one, so Lina decided she really should have it done. We parked at least a ½ mile from the hospital entrance and walked (I was beginning to understand why Leila doesn’t leave the hospital for her lunch break—it’s not worth the trouble). It took us a while to find the imaging department, and we walked through a strange little cafeteria with a few people on stretchers next to people eating french fries. I was glad to learn later that there is a separate cafeteria for employees; I had been picturing Leila eating lunch in this sad little room.

Once we found imaging the receptionist told Lina that her prescription was for a private clinic, not a public hospital. She still didn’t make a mammogram appointment, but she was a lot closer.

Leila told us to wait outside cardiology for her to be done with her patient. Just before 1:30pm, Leila appeared and we retreated to the parking lot. She had a better spot than us, so she drove us to our car. Carla called from the Chinese restaurant and said she was starving. She wanted to see what to order, because she didn’t want to wait. This is reason #1 I love eating with pregnant women.

One appetizer was already on the table when we arrived to meet Carla, her mom, and her cousin Sandra (the one who dyed my hair the same color), and the rest of the food soon appeared. I wasn’t going to get dessert but then Carla asked me to split an ice cream with her. But when it arrived Carla deemed it too small and ordered another so we could each have our own. This is the second reason I love eating with pregnant women.

Lina, Leila, and I stopped at the American store after lunch where Lina stocked up on a few things. Me? I don’t need anything 🙂

We headed to the mall (and left Leila’s car behind) next to get a few things at Continente (I bought 10 packs of kinder buenos to bring back to the states). We went back to the car, got in, and went about 15 feet before Lina realized she forgot to buy her dad some pajamas. We parked, got out, and went back into the mall. We ran into Carla, her mom, and Sandra at the pajama store. We went back to Continente so Lina could buy shrimp; Ernesto wanted to have John and Ken over after futsol to say goodbye. And Ernresto had pictures made for John and Ken (and Bobby) that he had signed. Just like mine.

We piled back into the car again and Leila said she was tired and had a headache (probably from driving to the city and back every.single.day, next week she is going to start staying in Ponta Delgada at her family’s apartment). I offered to drive her car home for her, so she could relax. Which I did, but I don’t think she did very much relaxing. Lina drove us back to Leila’s car and we all went back to Povoacao.

Leila was nervous that I was speeding, she was nervous that I was going too slow, she was nervous about everything. I tried to do my very best driving so she could relax, but when we got to Furnas (and stopped at Gloria’s to get caramel cakes for John and Ken, and a fofa for Lucy) she said she would drive the rest of the way.

When we got back I got ready for class, ran to Pic Nic for a coffee (now I had a headache!) and stopped at Sol-Mar to buy a pen. I had decided to give all my blue bands away (John gave the lighter black bands to Filipe for coaching) to the ladies in my class. I wanted to sign them, but I didn’t have a sharpie. Leila couldn’t find hers so I figured I would stop. Not only did Sol-Mar not have Sharpies (or anything like one) they didn’t even have regular pens. I hate this store.

I quickly foam rolled before class (although I felt much better doing 10 the day before, my 7 was kind of a drag), and then headed over to teach.

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I wasn’t sure if Ernesto inviting Ken and John over after futsol was supposed to be a surprise or not (and I wasn’t sure how to trick them into going over to Toronto) so I just told them. They stopped home briefly after coaching the juniors before futsol. I went down to watch them play for a little while (after I made myself dinner and relaxed at home, like I wanted to do), and then went to Toronto for a little while.

IMG_2422I’m not sure who is on the ground here.

Lina had made shrimp, chorizo, and pancakes. She joked about what a weird combination it was, but it sounded like southern food to me. Ernesto doesn’t eat shellfish, so Lina had made him pancakes, and who doesn’t love pancakes?

Day One Hundred Eighty (um cento oitenta)

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

3 Abril 2014

When I got up I ran 5 miles, knowing that I was probably going to skip the gym. When I got back I had five messages and one missed Facebook call (who knew you could make phone calls through FB?!) from Philip. Lucy made fish for lunch. He told me to meet him at the bank, where he works, at 11:55am and we would go eat lunch with Lucy. I was going to invite John, but he was asleep. It had started to ran, so I ran over to Pic Nic for a cafe before running into the bank. Liliana and Philip got ready and we shared an umbrella on the way to Liliana’s car. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but Lucy is a great cook.

IMG_2425 IMG_2426That is a whole fish.

After we ate fish, delicious cole slaw, and steamed veggies, Liliana drove us back down to the vila. I was going to wait at the house for Leila, but she wasn’t getting out of work until later. I settled in at home to finish packing while I waited for her. John and Ken came back from the gym just as I was putting some pistachio bites in the oven. I had been packing up the kitchen, and putting food in bags to give away, so I used up some nuts, seeds, and a banana to make healthy snacks for the next day.

When my treats were done cooking we went to Pic Nic for a cafe. Leila said she would be back by 4:30pm so at 4:05 I ran to the post office and Antonio’s (for more cookies to pack!). When I got back, the lady who works at Casa Campos (who I don’t even know!) told me that Leila was looking for me. What?

I got back in the door and began changing my laundry over when the doorbell rang. Leila! I was at the post office, I told her. “I know”, she said, the lady from Casa Campos told her I wasn’t home. Weird.

We got into her Fiat and drove to Furnas where we bought 15 bolos levedos for me to bring home. We stopped at Pic Nic for, you guessed it, more cafes. I went home to design my very last ALKE workout.

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I walked over with my bags of food and dog food for Lina. It had started to rain again and the door was locked, so I went inside ALKE for the key, where I found intern Alexandre with a camera. He was going to take pictures of my final class.

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This picture is of my core group, minus Lola. There were three other girls in attendance, but they had never come to any other classes, so they skipped out on this pic.

I wrote notes on my blue resistance bands and gave them away as parting gifts. I didn’t cry.

After class I went home to shower and get ready for dinner. Philip and Leila picked up me and John and then we picked up Ken so he didn’t have to walk in the rain. We headed back to Furnas to eat at Caldeiras.

When we arrived, Lina, Ernesto, and Liliana were already there (but otherwise, the restaurant was empty). We ordered wine and cheese (none for me!) and then I decided to have the fish, since last time I was there I had the chicken. Leila ordered for me, but then they brought me the chicken. Leila was upset and tried to tell the waitress that she had made a mistake, we had ordered fish (I wasn’t concerned–the chicken was delicious), and the waitress tried to argue with her. They don’t work for tips over here. I got a big fat piece of chocolate pie, too.

We enjoyed our last supper and tried not to be sad. We will be back someday.

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