Days 131-135.. Valentine’s Day, Nordeste, and Mufasa the puppy.

Day One Hundred Thirty One (dia um centena de trinta e uma)

Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

12 Fevereiro 2014

I knew I was going to sleep in—I was so completely exhausted from our weekend of fun. I got up around 8:00am only because Romeo was freaking out. I walked him around one block in the rain, trying to hide my bedhead and raccoon eyes with the umbrella—this one block includes the high school at drop off and I looked like I was doing the walk of shame. Fortunately it was raining, otherwise the umbrella would’ve looked weird. 

I got back in bed expecting to roll around for a while but I must’ve fallen back asleep because the next thing I knew it was noon. Noon! John sounded like crap and said he felt similar. I started folding the laundry from the night before, making John tea, putting away the extra bedding, when I realized…. I forgot to return the rental car! I am falling victim to island time.

I grabbed the keys and my wallet and went screaming for the door. I still had to put gas in it to return it the way I had picked it up. I scooted around the vila to the gas station, put 10 euros in, and then finished the loop to 7 Lombas rent-a-car. Closed. It was lunch time.

I left the car outside the pet shop and walked over to the Farmacia where the man working modestly told me he spoke a little bit of English but then spoke better than I can most days. He helped me buy a cold and sinus medication for John, and also more pain killers because I had just given John our last two Aleve (the man made me promise I wouldn’t take them together). Six euros later I was walking home.

I finished my dilly-dallying and then took off for my 6 mile Fartlek. This one was a little harder than last week’s because instead of running hard for 3 minutes and easing off for 2, my intervals were 4 and 1. I felt a little slow to start, but I ended up having a great run, aside from one small factor.

It was kind of chilly when I took off, and was threatening to rain. I had thrown on a long sleeve shirt and my Red Sox hat but had to ditch them both back at home almost immediately as the sun came out. I had thrown my long sleeve over my pajama top—something I refuse to wear in public because it breaks my cardinal rule. Which doesn’t deal with wearing pj’s in public—I have a dog, I don’t always get dressed to take him out—but deals with wearing shirts that say obnoxious things. I finished my Fartlek wearing my leopard print “Look like a Beauty, Train like a Beast” tank top. #killme

When I got back I walked back to the rental car/pet shop which I made sure was open when I was finishing my run. The woman did not look pleased with me, and she gave me a very motherly-yet-stern look as she said “Yesterday. I thought you were returning the car yesterday.” I explained that we hadn’t gotten back from the city until 6:00pm and she told me she likes to leave by 5:00pm… she told me she had waited until 7:00pm for me! I was beginning to feel badly when she ‘fessed up that she had actually left to pick her daughters up and stopped by again for a little while before 7:00pm to see if I was there. She didn’t seem that mad and she didn’t charge me for an extra day. She just asked me if my parents had a nice time. Oh, Sao Miguel.

John had gotten up and said he was feeling better. We decided to go to the gym at 4:00pm. The boys had done leg day when we got back from Ribeira Grande the day before, but I had gone to teach class. They did some biceps and triceps and I struggled through legs:

  • front squats to box blasts
  • reverse lunge to Romanian deadlift

We finished up about the same time, so we reunited for core. Three rounds of :45 work/:15 rest:

  • navy seals
  • stability ball roll outs
  • weighted Russian twists

It was after 5:00pm by the time we got done, and I still wanted to hit the fruit market. The boys had double practices again so I was on my own for dinner. I bought peppers and zucchinis, and cooked them with the rest of the eggplant I had gotten in the city. I also made a giant bag of chicken legs so John could reheat the rest when he got home. I was going to shower before I headed back to ALKE, but I didn’t prioritize well enough.


After class I went home and indulged in my veggie platter. I tried to catch up on blogging, but that took me days longer. I made my first attempt at homemade Larabars and made some more Chia Almond PB balls. I didn’t follow the chia protein bar/Larabar recipe to a T: I used 1 cup of almonds (I didn’t have any pistachios), I omitted the protein powder, I used prunes instead of dates, I quadrupled the chia seeds and I used honey instead of coconut oil. They didn’t come out quite as solid as a regular Larabar would, but I thought they were really good.IMG_1843


I have been wondering how Leslie from Real Deal Snacks makes her PB balls into perfect little balls that aren’t sticky, so I tried putting oil on my hands and forming them into balls before baking them. Success.

   IMG_1845 IMG_1847


Day One Hundred Thirty Two (dia um centena de trinta e duas)

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

13 Fevereiro 2014

I got up to more wind and rain. I tried one of my homemade almond Larabars (delicious!) and John tried one, too. He told me he didn’t like this new diet I was on, and gave me the second half of his to finish (gladly). I told him that was bull shit and that I would enjoy my delicious Larbars and I’d make him some good, old fashioned, Toll House chocolate chip cookies. Then I wouldn’t have to share my treats.

I decided to run later, so John and I headed to the gym. Ken didn’t respond to our pleas to meet us (sleeping), so it was just the two of us. Back day:

  • 30 pull ups
  • single arm bent row @ 4 rounds
  • lat pull downs @ 4 rounds
  • reverse fly (I did back extensions) @ 4 rounds
  • 30 inverted rows

 We had decided to do all core for our Friday circuit training, so John didn’t want to do any today. I did three 1:00 planks and we called it a day. We headed off to Pic Nic quickly before I went running. I only had 3 miles to do, and I declined to take Romeo. When I got back I made chocolate chip cookies for John. Win-win.

I wasn’t teaching class because of Girlfriend’s day. A bunch of the ladies from my class (along with Carla and Paula) were having dinner at Toronto Night’s at 7:30pm followed by karaoke and a massive dance party. Sometime in the middle of the afternoon, the municipal of Povoacao announced a Red Alert. The winds were so intense they closed all of the schools early (along with Mira Mar’s practice). I got nervous that no one would go to Toronto, but Carla picked me up and everyone was present.

Lola’s cousin and his girlfriend were visiting from the states and Lola brought along the American girlfriend for dinner. I was excited to have another English-speaking friend at dinner, but it became apparent almost immediately that the only thing we had in common besides knowing Lola was a native language. We commiserated once on how all Portuguese beer tastes like Bud Light (because it does) and got called American by some of my Portuguese friends because we were screaming at each other. At home, I call it “talking”. I thought Portuguese people were loud, but I was reminded that it really is Americans who take the cake.

This was my first “cheat” meal since I started my “diet”. I have the occasional galao and gluten indulgence, but at Girlfriend’s dinner I over-indulged. I had three plates of fish filets, salad, coleslaw (OMG), and goiaba, and then Lina’s long-awaited cheesecake (OMG).


After I sang (screamed?) Heartless and Single Ladies, the party (sadly) died down before midnight. I kept begging my amigas to stay, but everyone had to work the next day. Girls left one after another until I was actually the only one left. Luisa promised to make me gluten-free mallasadas (Portuguese fried dough.. swoon) because she makes it for her daughter who has Celiac. I tried to explain that one of the reasons I don’t eat gluten is because then I don’t eat junk food like fried dough covered in sugar, but it fell on deaf ears.

They locked the door behind me and I walked home where I would’ve ordered Chinese food—had that been an option—but instead ate a king size chocolate bar with hazelnuts and a half a bag of Portuguese biscuits just to top off my “cheat” “meal”.

Day One Hundred Thirty Three (dia um centena de trinta e tres)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

14 Fevereiro 2014

Valentine’s Day


I had made plans to meet my new American friend for a run at 10:00am at Pic Nic. After I got up and quickly walked Romeo, John scooted out sans-Romeo. He had told me the day before—because he is no good at surprises—that he had gotten something for me and could pick it up after 9:00am on Friday. He came back a few minutes later with a half-dozen red roses. He said he had hidden some other goodies for me, so after a few more minutes of drawer-rifling, he added to the bouquet two cards he had made out of pictures of us. He had gone through all our magazines and cut out words like “love”, “loved”, and phrases such as “united with love”. They were the best cards I ever got.

He also gave me a pair of fuzzy socks which I had been saying I wanted for weeks now—not because I want to wear fuzzy socks, but because I think I can use them in lieu of booties for slideboard activities. They stretch a lot, so I think the ladies can put them on over their sneakers. John had missed the reason I wanted them, and kept telling me to wear them. When I finally obliged later in the day, we went into hysterics: they made me look like I had cankles.

After we had our morning Valentine’s day celebration, I ran over to Pic Nic. The weather was looking bleak and as soon as I got inside it started to hail. HAIL. I had been a little skeptical anyway that my new friend would show up, but now I was pretty certain she wouldn’t. I waited 10 minutes (which was actually enough time for the “Portuguese rain” to stop) and then went out for my 4-miler.

As soon as I got home from my run, the Azorean weather changed again and it began to pour. I had told John to meet me at Pic Nic in case my American friend did show up and we wanted a cafe post-run. I found him there with Ken, highly distressed because he couldn’t find his phone anywhere. He had already been to Ken’s to look around their apartment, where he had spent the evening before playing FIFA 2014 on Playstation while I was out drinking and screaming. He left Ken and I there to run home and look and then he ran to Ken’s again where he ultimately found it under the couch. #FIFAproblems

We walked to the gym in the freezing, sideways rain where I could not warm-up. I got on the bike (which I scarcely do) just to feel my toes again. We did 4 rounds of core:

  • 1:00 plank
  • 15 burpees
  • 15 sky divers
  • 15 hanging rotational knee tucks (each side)
  • 15 thread-the-needle planks (each side)
  • 15 sprinter’s crunches (each side)

 We headed home where John made me a bomb brunch of sauteed veggies and scrambled eggs.


We got in our sweatpants and were going to watch a movie but instead Facetimed with our friend Nicole and her son Alex. I almost lost an entire blog post and then found most of it and posted it. The movie would have to wait.

I had class (because people said they would come!) so I changed and headed out to teach (it had stopped raining). Leila and Daniella were the only ones who came. It was Daniela’s last class with me because she is returning to school on the continent on Monday. Leila is started an internship in Ponta Delgada on Monday, so I’m not sure how much she will be able to come.


I wasn’t planning on working out, but because it was them and it was their last class, we all worked out together.


Daniella told me that when we had been dancing the night before, I kept saying I just wanted to go home and eat cookies. Which is exactly what I did. While I was at class, John made a delicious dinner of pork with sauteed veggies (sempre) and sweet potato.


I had bought a box of strawberries at the fruit market the other day, but decided to put them on the counter instead of in the fridge. When I opened them up to cover them in chocolate on Friday, they looked more like my fuzzy socks than fruit. I cut up some bananas instead, which I covered in dark chocolate.


They weren’t that pretty, but they were delicious. We tried to watch About Time with Rachel McAdams, but the quality wasn’t that good. I fell asleep but John watched all of it and then told me what happened in the morning. This is the closest I’ve come to watching an entire movie in months. It was also the first Valentine’s Day I can remember that I didn’t put on make-up and I sat around in a pony and sweaties all day. Best.V-Day.Ever.


Day One Hundred Thirty Four (dia um centena de trinta e quatro)

Saturday (Sabado)

15 Fevereiro 2014

I got up, had a homemade Larabar and a banana, and took off for 10 miles in the warm sunshine (no more hail storms). Romeo came for a little while with me and when I dropped him off just before 2 miles, I was absolutely sure the sky was going to open and the rain was going to pour. However, by the time I took Romeo’s collar off, chugged some water, and turned around, the sun was shining again full-force.

I made it up lomba do Alcaide even though every week I doubt that I can. Instead of going down the tree-tunnel road, I turned around and went home the same way I had gone. I did one more lap around the vila and headed home.

One of the things I thought about while I was running (if you’ve never run for over an hour, by yourself, with no music, you’d be surprised what comes to mind when you do) was that I had no eggs for my post-run pancakes, and I should’ve asked John to get some while I was running.

When I got back home I was hoping he would run out for me, but he was just getting into the shower. He and Ken had to leave at 2:00pm for the juniors’ away game. It was already 1:00pm. So, I switched from sneaks to fit-flops and trudged down the street to Antonio’s. It is only a 5 minute walk down and back, but post-run it took me at least 15. I came home and made him regular buttermilk pancakes from the amazing Pinterest recipe I found when I was eating gluten, and then set out to make yet another gluten-free attempt at delicious pancakes for myself. I usually do this with some combination of banana and oats and peanut butter and eggs, but they end up very heavy. I bought almond flour when we went to the city last week and I had some corn flour. The result was sooooo delicious. It has made it’s way onto my Recipes page.


John took off for the game and I started my weekend cleaning binge. Romeo was still sleeping on our bed, which is the best place for him to be when I’m cleaning. Once I swept everywhere and wiped down all the surfaces, I mopped myself right out the door (coat on, purse in hand) and took my computer to Pic Nic while the floors dried.

My plan was to catch up on my blog, but soon after I arrived Majid came in to watch an English Premier League game. We ended up trading Valentine’s day stories and then I showed him my new love; Pinterest.

I went home and made sauce for me, John, and Ken for dinner. Once I had that all set, I took Romeo for a long walk. It was still so nice out and I needed to fill up a water jug, so I brought my phone and took pictures in one of my favorite spots above the river.

 IMG_1867 IMG_1872 IMG_1875

John and Ken got home from the juniors’ game (who lost 6-0 and were awarded 3 red cards) and I kept my eyes open long enough to shove my face full of zucchini pasta and then I went directly to bed.


Day One Hundred Thirty Five (dia um centena de trinta e cinco)

Sunday (Domingo)

16 Fevereiro 2014


Aside only from New Years’ Day, this was the laziest, least productive day I’ve spent on this island.

Sometimes when I am lazy and tired in the morning, all I want is for John to walk Romeo. However, knowing it was going to be my only exercise for the day, I wanted to take him. We both ended up going with Romeo for a long walk (another warm day!) that included cafes outside Pic Nic and a trip to Fatima’s for almonds and cashews.

When we got back we had breakfast and John got ready to go to his game, which was also away, in Nordeste. Ernesto said he was going, but I had forgotten that he and Lina were spending the weekend celebrating Valentine’s Day in the city. I asked Serenela if I could ride with her and Filipe and they said I could.

I have been meaning to try a CrossFit wall climb and a handstand push-up, so before John left we did some of those in the kitchen. I made chili for dinner and honey roasted chickpea trail mix for a “snack” during the game.

Filipe and Serenela picked me up and we drove the 30 minutes north to Nordeste (which literally translates to “Northeast”). Serenela is from Nordeste and what I could see of it was beautiful. The Azorean fog was working its way back onto the island and since Nordeste is very high up, it was especially bad there.

By the time we got to the field, it had started to sprinkle. After an extremely awkward bathroom trip (where the maintenance guy told me to use the Senhores room instead of the Senhoras because it was broken, but then the toilet-stall-full-of-leaves-but-lacking-toilet-paper in the men’s room wouldn’t flush either), we sat in the rain for no more than five minutes. The rain wasn’t so bad, but coupled with the wind, it just hits you right in the face. Serenela, Glebiana with Mufasa the puppy, along with another girl I don’t know, walked back to the side of the field where the cars were parked and asked Pedro if we could sit in the van until the game started. I learned that Glebiana speaks English! Serenela was having a hard time finding a word in English when Glebiana chimed in. All these weeks sitting at games together and I had no idea.


It was so warm and cozy in the van and after moving over one car spot, we had such a good view of the field that we stayed inside the rest of the game. John started and played about 80 minutes. Nordeste scored a fluke of a goal in the first half when the striker and our goalie ran into each other and toppled to the ground, Ken ran into the net to defend when the ball (aided by the incredible winds) bounced on his foot and into the net. Noooooo!


Mira Mar scored around the 85th minute, I leaned over and beep-beep-beeeeeeped Pedro’s horn in celebration. I wished we could always sit in the van. We had the radio bumping and Pedro sang “What did the fox say?”

Because Serenela is from Nordeste and knows most of the players, she had a few moments where she was cheering for them. I threatened to kick her out of the van if she didn’t cut the shit. You must cheer for Mira Mar when you are sitting inside the Mira Mar van (or some other ghetto van that Mira Mar rents because their van is never in working condition). You must cheer for Nordeste outside.

After the game was over (1-1 was the final) Filipe, Serenela and I took a pit-stop at Serenela’s mom’s house in Nordeste. Because she is sweet, adorable, Portuguese, and older than me, Serenela’s mom just wanted to feed me. I tried to politely decline, explaining that for the first three months we were here all I did was eat bread. I did accept a Ferrero Rocher, because I didn’t want to be rude.

I finally got back to Povoacao after 7:00pm where I ate chili I had made in the morning. John and Ken came back from Pic Nic where Diogo had made them burgers with bacon. Ken went home and John and I took Romeo for one last long walk around the vila. I was so tired from doing absolutely nothing that I couldn’t even Skype with my parents and I went straight to bed when we got home.


Day Nineteen! Payback for Romeo.

Day Nineteen (decimo-nono dia)

After Romeo’s shenanigans yesterday and generally being a pain-in-the-ass now that he knows the world is bigger than our apartment, I punished him with a four-mile run.

Once I got home, Barbie&Ken stopped by and invited us for a walk down the beach. I had just gotten out of the shower and hadn’t eaten yet, so I told John to go without me. I had a minor freak-out after he left: I couldn’t find Romeo! Then I realized his leash was gone and ascertained that John had taken him. That pooch didn’t move for the rest of the day after that.

John came back and we went to Pic-Nic for galaos. I had been trying to cut back: before we moved I had not eaten any dairy (except for chocolate, which doesn’t count) in over 9 months. I am still not eating cheese, but I decided that Azorean milk would be OK. On Sunday night, I noticed a little rash on the left side of my chest. It wasn’t itchy or red, but just bumpy. I vowed to only have one galao per day, and if by the end of the week the hives were still there, I was going to have to cut out dairy again. I have been drinking a lot of verde cha (green tea). We saw Carla at Pic-Nic and we finalized our plans to head into Ponta Delgada on Wednesday. 

I know I have mentioned this before, but we live across from a church. A BIG church. A church with bells. These particular church bells rings every hour. They ring a shorter tune on the half hour. They ring once on the quarter hour. They don’t bother me–in fact, I am basically oblivious to their existence. On Saturday night at Lina’s, Carla’s husband asked us about them. Carla and Joe lived in our apartment for five years before they bought a house in lomba de loucao and started renting this apartment out. Apparently, the bells drove Joe crazy. “I like them,” I said, “I never notice them at night.” Lina said they don’t ring from 9:00pm-9:00am. They only added the bells a few years ago, and residents and business owners signed a petition to get rid of them! They drive people nuts. John said he hears them in the morning when he is trying to sleep, and they bother him enough to warrant shutting our bedroom window-doors. I remain completely oblivious to the bells, but when teenage hooligans walk down our rua at 4:30am, THAT I hear.

Because Mira Mar has a game on Wednesday this week, John had no practice Tuesday. After my class at ALKE, I met the guys at Pic-Nic to “watch the Arsenal game” i.e. work-on-my-blog. John and I went home after Arsenal lost (to who, I couldn’t tell you) to make our own Pic-Nic burgers. We toasted the papa secos (bun-like bread) and piled them high with two ¼ patties, a fried egg, and ham (and cheese for John) with ketchup and mayo. They were incredible. Lina had also left some fresh basil and oregano from her garden at the gym for us, so I cut up a tomato, two cloves of garlic, a whole bunch of basil, and covered it in olive oil before I went to my class earlier. We cut up another papa secos and had our bruschetta. It was also amazing.

I Skyped with Anna and we watched Stuck in Love and fell asleep. Boa Noite!