Day One Hundred Twenty Six (dia um centena de vinte e seis)
7 Fevereiro 2014
We woke up (early for us means before 8:00am) and it was raining. I had picked up the rental car the night before and Romeo had an appointment at 10:00am to get groomed (#thankyejesus). John and I got ready and picked Ken up.
We were planning on dropping Romeo off, going to the mall to shop at Continente, and having a nice lunch, before picking Romeo up and heading back to Povoacao (I had 8 miles to log !!) We drove through the rain and fog and got off the highway at the mall exit. I had been to the groomer’s once before with Carla to drop off her Honey, and I was pretty sure I knew where it was. I had showed it to John and Ken on google maps and they were sure they had walked by it a million times when they had been staying in Ponta Delgada. We took a right turn after the mall and quickly the boys pointed out the (wrong!) groomer. I told them that wasn’t it and then began giggling uncontrollably. “What?” they wanted to know, was so funny. “Well, we’re screwed”. We have no phone, no internet, and no idea where this place is. It was 10:05am.
Luckily, after a few laps around the surrounding blocks I saw it. We got Romeo out of the car and walked into the groomer’s. The groomer was a really sweet 20-something-year-old guy with shaggy hair. He was showing us into the room where he would groom Romeo when he asked, “Romeo is a dog, right?” John, used to this question, responded with “Yeah! He’s a dog–not a wolf, haha”. But then I remembered that in Portuguese they have two words for “dog”: “cao” and “cadela“. A cao is a male dog, and a cadela is a female dog (put it in google translate and it actually says “bitch”). “Yes, he’s a boy!” We all laughed and then we left. Romeo cried for a few minutes once he’d been chained to his table (sounds WAY less humane than it actually looks) but he was fine. The groomer said it would only take him 45 minutes. Forty-five minutes?! In the States it always took upwards of 4 hours.
We sped over to the mall where John and Ken got breakfast-bifanas, which are just like regular bifanas except you eat them at 10:30am. We scooted down to Continente where I bought some stuff for Carla (dog food and cereal bars) and some veggies and nuts for my new cavegirl diet. I also got some sesame nougat crackers, because I was starving and wasn’t going to eat a breakfast-bifana. Ken stocked up on Kinder Buenos and we headed back to the groomers. Romeo looked great, except he was still all wet. The guy was just finishing him up when we got there; he sprayed some deodorant on Romeo, clipped just his fifth nails on his front legs, and rung me up. Fifteen euros. Fifteen! I couldn’t believe it. I also couldn’t believe how much fur was still falling off of him.
I had put Romeo’s choke collar and leash back on but had handed him to John when I was paying. As soon as we got outside, Romeo shook his newly-clean fur and his collar crashed to the ground. Romeo turned around and gave us a look of realization before he took off into the street. John and Ken sprinted after him and I got in our rental car and peeled out after them.
Luckily for us, Romeo stopped to poop and John caught him. All three of the boys piled back in the car. We decided to stop by the cafe that John and Ken had gone to with their team before one of their last games. It was a Pao do Rei! Not the one that Lina, Carla, and I usually go to, but one of the other chains. We all got galaoes and the boys got some treats. We got back in the car, and sort of by accident (three people who think they know where they’re going) ended up driving home on the south side of the island.
It was so foggy that for a while I could hardly see 30 meters in front of me, but it had mostly stopped raining. When we got back to Povoacao, we dropped Ken off and it started to rain again. I had a power snack and put my game face on to go run.
I wanted to hit-up the bread van, too, so my dad could enjoy the fresh papos secos when he got here. I got all geared up and walked to the square, but the bread van wasn’t there. I put a euro in my tights with my key, just in case I saw him while I was running.
I declined to take Romeo with me (hell, he’d already gotten his run in!). After about a mile, I decided to drop my outer-most-layer off at home, because by this point it was so wet it wasn’t doing anything except weighing me down. When I got to our apartment I saw the bread van on the next block. I ran to it, bought 6 papos secos and ran back home with them. For at least two of my miles it didn’t rain, but the other 6 were pretty wet. When I got home I left all my clothes at the bottom of the stairs and took the hot shower I’d been promising myself. I was supposed to pick up some more papers from 7 Lombas rent-a-car and I wanted to fill up on gas so I wouldn’t have to do it in the morning, but it was so cold and nasty that I did neither.
What I did instead was make unsweetened applesauce which was super easy and made our apartment smell like apple pie. I stored it in some honey jars I’d been saving and using for chia seed pudding. I am over the chia seed pudding at the moment and totally addicted to whole oats with a spoonful of PB and cinnamon.
When I went off to teach class it had basically stopped raining.
John was having more leftovers for dinner, so I just made some veggies with brown/cauliflower “rice” mixed in with the tofu I bought with Lina. It didn’t really taste like anything, so with the veggies and rice it was really just added protein. It comes dehydrated so I had to soak it for thirty minutes before I could cook it. I made my couve soup and cleaned for my parents. I got into bed early to read and rest before another early, even earlier, start tomorrow.
Day One Hundred Twenty Seven (dia um centena de vinte e sete)
8 Fevereiro 2014
John and I woke up at the ungodly hour of 5:30am. A time we have not seen since we arrived here (even on New Years I think we fell asleep at 5:00am). We got ready and headed to the aeroporto. The weather was slightly better than the day before, but it was still a little foggy. I had checked Sata.pt/en before we left and saw that my parents’ flight had left Boston on time, but when we got to the airport they had actually been waiting about 45 minutes.
We rejoiced at each others’ presence and then got back in the teeny-tiny rental Hyundai which John had tried to clean Romeo’s fur out of. We went home via the north side of the island but then I missed the exit for Furnas, and we nearly ran out of gas. John was the one who noticed my missed-turn and we were able to get back on track, but not before we made my dad super-nervous, “Did you say you were lost?” It’s pretty hard to get lost on an island, but if anyone could do it it would be me. Or my mom. However, when there is only one road to Furnas, it’s almost impossible. We turned around, made the correct exit, and traveled through Furnas without further confusion. We stopped for gas.
As soon as we got home and I put fresh sheets on our bed both my parents took a nap. And John went into our makeshift bed-on-the-floor-in-our-loft-living-room and passed out, too. Then Romeo fell asleep and I was alone. I took advantage of the time and blogged before everyone woke back up. I had changed up my running schedule (and gotten off track of my Nike Plus!!) so I wouldn’t have a run today, but it turned out that I had a few hours to spare.
Once everyone arose from their respective naps, John headed to Pic Nic for the Arsenal game (they were already down 2-0!) and the rest of us set off to walk the vila and then meet him at Pic-Nic. It was raining. Before we walked anywhere we went into Carla’s salon so my parents could meet her. I had remembered to tell my parents some Portuguese things (like to pack your own toilet paper for the soccer game), but I had forgotten to mention the kiss-kiss greetings they would surely receive. Fortunately, Carla broke them in gently.
We were going to take a little walking tour, but it was crummy out so we just walked to Pic Nic and my parents and I got cafes. I still have not mastered at-home coffee brewing so I bought some instant before they arrived. They are not really instant-coffee-people, but it was better than nothing. My dad did some surgery on my tablespoon-tea-bag-filter on Sunday and tried to make Dunkin’s, but it wasn’t quite a win. Yet.
After our coffees at Pic-Nic John joined us as we walked to Antonio’s to grab some snacks. My parents poked around the Portuguese-style supermarket and we bought rose wine, butter biscuits, cashews, dog food and a Kinder Bueno for my dad to try. We headed home again. We were getting pizza from Toronto Night’s at 5:30pm before John and Ken got picked up for their game at 6:30pm.
My parents and I walked over to Toronto Nights where the got to meet Lina. We had gotten two fully loaded and one without cheese for me and my mom that also had half without meat (Lina is good people, so she deals with our annoying-ness). We walked home and Ken came over. My mom probably hasn’t had pizza in a decade but she loved it and my dad couldn’t get enough. John and Ken went off to get picked up for their game. I walked Romeo (still raining!) and we all got geared up for the Mira Mar vs. Vale Formoso game. This is their neighborhood rivalry (Vale Formoso is from Furnas), Mira Mar got smoked last time they played, and of course there was drama with the referees making terrible calls and all the Vale Formoso players diving excessively. Especially the captain. Vale Formoso is currently in 1st place and Mira Mar is in 5th, out of 7. This game was kind of a big deal.
When we arrived at the field (after DRIVING there! what a novelty) we settled into the box seating. Serenela and Glebiana were there with Mufasa the puppy.
It soon became apparent that the refs were considering cancelling the game due to the weather; there were giant bubbles in some spots, while in others there were air bubbles. The turf was a mess.
The refs were warming-up pretty seriously and didn’t seem perturbed by the conditions. The Vale Formoso officials were trying fervently to get them to see how bad it was. One official kept attempting to bounce a ball at half field and it would just land lamely with a thud. I think the Vale Formoso players and officials didn’t want to jeopardize their cushy 1st place position with shitty conditions, but that is just my opinion. After an HOUR, yes an hour, the refs started the game. But the one-hour rain delay (forcing a 9:00pm start time) wasn’t the only troubling thing. John was sitting on the bench through most of the discussions, while the rest of the team was sitting-pretty in the locker rooms. He stayed on that bench when the starting line-up took the field (he has never, since we arrived in October, not started a game), and didn’t play one minute of the game.
I asked Marcelo who had also come to sit in the box and he said he had no idea why John wasn’t playing. When Filipe came off the field in the second half, he too joined us in the box. He also said he had no idea why they weren’t playing John.
Mira Mar scored off a corner kick and held Vale Formoso at bay for all 90 minutes for a win. It was awesome that they had beat the 1st place team, at home, but it sucked that JB didn’t play. It also sucked that this weirdness happened while my parents were here. They have never seen John play.
When John and Ken came back after the game (to finish their pizza, of course) neither of them had any idea. Neither coach had said anything to John about why he hadn’t started, or even played, in the game. He took Romeo for his late-night stroll and stopped at Cesar’s to have some commiseration/celebration beers. Everyone was pumped they had beaten Vale Formoso. John forgot his key so he buzzed at some point and it took me a minute to figure out what the sound was before I got out of bed and fumbled to the buzzer.
Day One Hundred Twenty Eight (dia um centena de vinte e oito)
9 Fevereiro 2014
I woke up around 9:00am and everyone was still sleeping. I made my tea, had some oatmeal, and got ready to run. My mom got up and we had a little vila-lesson-involving-google-maps so she wouldn’t get lost. I found her around mile 4 staring at the “map” outside the zoo (it’s more like a picture of the east half of the island..helpful in no way whatsoever) and we went to the water closet together. I was here at least 3 months before I finally figured out what WC meant. And by “figured out” I mean I asked Ken. All the bathrooms in Portugal (and Spain, if I remember correctly) are marked “WC”. When John, Ken, and I flew to Lisbon together before Christmas I finally asked Ken, because I knew he would know. When I was telling this story to Lina later she admitted she never knew what it stood for, just that a WC was a bathroom. Bathrooms are funny because everyone calls them something different. Lina calls it going to the washroom. I mostly say bathroom, unless I’m trying to be less-crude and then I say restroom. Ken says toilet which makes for endless fun. “I was in the toilet,” he’ll say. “Really?” I’ll reply, “You were inside the toilet?”
After my mom and I used the impeccably clean WC, I took off to finish my 5 miles and she continued walking. When I got home I grabbed cash and quickly scooted up to Fatima’s before they closed at noon. We didn’t have any lettuce, were running out of instant coffee, and I wanted to grab some eggs. I saw my mom again and we discussed where the apartment was.
She never did get lost, but she probably would never have found our apartment if it wasn’t for Carla’s salon. She was on the street staring at our door and a few of our neighbor’s doors when she saw Kadu Instituto de Belza. She knocked loudly because she didn’t know which buzzer was ours.
John made his bomb-tastic hashbrowns for him and my dad and I made eggs. I just made ham and eggs for my dad, but I went all out for me and my mom: sauteed onions, peppers, zucchini, and to mine I added some cooked chicken I had in the fridge. We had our big fat brunch and then walked down to Pic Nic, where John was already watching a game. After we had coffees, my parents and I walked around the vila a little bit and then home where I started dinner.
I made meatballs for the boys and sauce with tofu and eggplant for me and my mom. Once I had nearly burned, but mostly finished our dinner, John and Ken came back and we left for Furnas. I drove us up through the lombas where I run so my parents could see it. We went up Lomba do Pos to Lomba do Alcaide and finally down Lomba do Loucao. Then we made our way to Furnas. We probably got to the pools (which we never would have found had there not been signs) around 5:00pm. We started in one of the larger pools and then made our way to the tiny, hot-tub-like pools where you can sit. I have never seen my dad so relaxed in my entire life. We got changed and then made our way to the place where you get the best bolos levedos ever.
We got a 5-pack of that (which we dug into right away), a few pieces of the incredible caramel cake, a pumpkin thing, and two fofas. We then drove back to Povoacao where John and Ken walked to Pic Nic to get beers. We ate dinner (the boys had their meatballs on the fresh bread van papos secos and my mom and I had our eggplant on zucchini “pasta”) and then indulged in the treats we had brought home. Once I start eating treats I can’t stop, so after I had half a fofa and a whole piece of caramel cake I went out to walk Romeo. When I got home we all started settling in for bed.
Day One Hundred Twenty Nine (dia um centena de vinte e novo)
10 Fevereiro 2014
We all got up a little earlier than we had the day before. My mom got ready to walk, and John, my dad, and I walked over to the gym to meet Ken. We did chest day:
- 30 push ups
- DB bench @ 4 rounds
- DB inclide@ 4 rounds
- Cable fly @ 4 rounds
- 30 push ups
My dad did his own thing, which happened to include 100 push ups. He also got on the bike and the treadmill and hung out with us until we were done. We were going to meet my mom at Pic Nic, but as we were walking down the driveway we found her coming down the stairs of Toronto Nights, “Mom!” She said she remembered that the gym was behind Toronto Nights. Ha. We walked to Pic Nic together and my parents indulged and got galaoes. It had started to rain, and only got worse as the day went on. My plan had been to go to the fish market and make fresh fish for dinner. I made some sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free oatmeal raisin cookies and then finally braved the rain. John and I walked Romeo to the fish market first, which was closed, and then to Antonio’s where we bought frozen salmon and more rose wine for my mom.
John ended up having double practices, so he took off with Ken (and the car!) and I took off for class.
My dad cooked the salmon while I was gone and we had it with roasted veggies and salad. It had cleared up outside, so after dinner the three of us took Romeo for a long walk by the water and enjoyed the warm, dry air. We all settled in for bed just as John got home–he still didn’t know what happened Saturday night.
Day One Hundred Thirty (dia um centena de trinta)
11 Fevererio 2014
Again, I woke up extremely early (before 7:00am) and went downstairs to wake up my mom. It is super dark here at that hour (actually, I bet it’s not quite as dark as it is in Massachusetts). I told my mom it was 7:00am. “What time is it?” she asked. “Well, it’s 3:00am,” I answered. She has been really confused about the time difference since she got here. “What?!” I explained that it was 7am here, but 3am at home (where she will be returning to today). We both meandered in the kitchen drinking tea and coffee (and I had a few PB balls) and then I headed out to run 6 miles. I was supposed to do my second Fartlek, but I didn’t read the details of my training run and just went out. That was probably just as well since I ran like a slug. I had another 6 mile run the next day, and I decided to do that one as my Fartlek to make up for it.
When I got back I almost ate-shit slipping on our front step. It was wet out, but I think it was my new sneaks since I have gone out a hundred times in the rain and never slipped here. I got nervous that my mom would fall too so I used Romeo’s towel to wipe it dry. Of course, she came home a minute later and didn’t slip at all. I took Romeo out quickly while I was still all wet. Romeo had gotten into my mom’s ear plugs (which she wears because my dad snores like… well, like I do). Both my parents along with John had searched high and low but only found one ear plug (a bright orange plunger-shaped foam thing) but when Romeo relieved himself that morning, I found the other one. And just like everything else that dogs eats, he hadn’t chewed it at all. I grabbed it for my mom, knowing full-well that she wouldn’t want it. I brought it back to the apartment in a littered gum wrapper. She didn’t want it.
We all got ready and left for the city. The rain had lightened up, but the fog was intense. I drove to the city via the south so we could show my parents the big lake in Furnas (Lagoa do Furnas). I wasn’t sure how to get to the highway that way, so we just followed the signs for the Lagoa and it was easy. By the time we got to the city, the sun was peaking out of the clouds. We parked on the street pretty easily and walked the Portas de Cidade. We sat down for lunch at a restaurant called Angel’s Bay (Baia do Anjo) where our waitress spoke almost-perfect English (this is where the cruise ships dock). Her English was really good, but then when she was asking what my mom would like to order she said, “And you, lady,” which sounded kind of rude, but she was being very polite.
We enjoyed our lunches–I had a giant (GIANT) shrimp omelet, my mom had a sailor’s salad, and both John and my dad had beafsteak with rice, salad, french fries, and, of course, two sunny side-up eggs. We finished our meal off with cafes and walked back to the teeny-tiny rental car. Just 10 minutes later we were at the airport saying our goodbyes. These were not as hard as when we moved to Portugal–when John and I moved we had no idea when we would see them again, and I had no idea what I was in for. This time we know exactly how many days until we see each other again, and it really isn’t very many.
After we dropped them off we scooted over to the mall where we were meeting Vitor, Mira Mar’s new goalie. I was hoping to do a little shopping, but we didn’t have enough time. We followed him to Ribeira Grande where he has the friend who does tattoos.
Vitor was getting one tattoo finished and getting another small one. This is where John & Ken came last week and got theirs, but I couldn’t go with them.
I talked to the guy about what I wanted but ultimately we didn’t enough time. Which was fine, because now he will spend a good amount of time drawing it up and not rushing. We made a plan to come back on Thursday. We followed Vitor back to Povoacao.
I ran up to Fatima’s because we didn’t have any food. I decided not to take the rental car because, seriously, it is three blocks away. Of course it was the one time I had a bag rip on my walk home, and then I was cursing my stubborn self. I put the groceries away (after I picked them up off the street) and hurried off to class.
When I got home I made a big salad and put salmon and chicken on it. John was at Pic Nic watching the Benfica game and he and Ken came home shortly after I got home because Pic Nic had been so packed. Once I finished eating the cleaning commenced. A bajillion loads of laundry, cleaning up the bed upstairs, and sweeping, sweeping, sweeping (Romeo’s fur is WORSE if at all possible!). It also became apparent while my parents were here that we have enough glasses/plates/bowls for two people to eat easily without a dishwasher, but four people (sometimes five) and no dishwasher meant a constant stream of dished being washed and/or dried for anyone to eat/drink something.
Once I was mostly done cleaning and down to just doing laundry, John went downstairs to give Vitor some money. He left the door cracked open which was all the invitation Romeo needed. As I was just getting settled in to finish my book This is Where I Leave You I heard John: “Romeo! ROMEO!” and then footsteps running down the street. John hopped in Vitor’s car and took off. I stood on the steps for a few minutes calling Romeo’s name until Ken messaged me saying that both John and Romeo were at his place. Goodnight.