Today was a buzzing day at work–though not as buzzing as tomorrow will be, I’m sure, because there’s an event after work that I’m helping out with that I’m not sure how long it will last. I’ll be taking photos and greeting people, so that’ll be fun. Laura and I realized that while we’ve now been here for 21 full days (we arrived on the same day), we only had 12 work days so far. It’s funny because it’s felt so much longer than that, because every day is so fulfilling and filled with action and activities and the page in my journal where I keep track of what I produce is getting full. But maybe that’s more apparent on my blog, where half the days seem to be me just having a blast around Lisbon, while the other half are more boring posts like this.

But today at work we had a rehearsal for the July 4th party, where we intend to line dance. We’ve been having weekly practices for this occasion and it’s been great fun dancing and whistling and pretending I have a belt buckle to loop my hands on. I’m reminded how much the diverse community at the embassy can identify with certain things–the flag, hot dogs, chocolate chip cookies, and so much more. Just the other day we were bonding over how paper towels outside of the US really aren’t the same and don’t absorb nearly as much, no matter where you get them.

yeehaw 🙂

Many thanks again to Sebastiao for the photos–I don’t know how many times I will be doing the Boot Scootin’ boogie in full Business Casual garb in the future, so it’s good to have a record of it. Also–this outfit is completely made by Mama, which I haven’t gotten the chance to tell people enough. Only the other New Mexican Intern (from GALLUP! how cool is that?!) compliments me on my clothes. It might be a New Mexico thing? who knows. But maybe it’s just that people have been outside of the US for so long that they forgot that it’s a totally normal cultural thing to give compliments, because even when I do it to others, they seem kind of awkward about accepting it. Maybe I’m the crazy one.

This evening I made something that I really really love that my family makes back home sometimes: Lemony Lentils. It’s super easy and super simple, and I now have lunch for the next several days. It’s tough sometimes to feel like I’m eating healthily with the very greasy but delicious meals at the embassy (today there was seafood soup and it was truly wonderful). But lentils are healthy and pack a lot of protein and fiber into one. Plus, this recipe that I used ( ) with a little bit of parsely and cayenne and double the garlic and ginger is actually intensely flavorful. I’m a nut for spiced food, and I like the tangy savoryness of these lentils and their acidity. I remember as a kid I hated lentils, but the ones with lemon I really really enjoy.

Not pictured: the garlic and the copious amounts of butter 😛 hehe

I had promised at the beginning of the summer that this might be a bit of a food blog–and well, maybe it is. But I am learning a bit and I feel so at home in the kitchen here (I mean, yes, I don’t have freezer space or really all that much fridge space, so I mostly shop day-to-day) that I am genuinely surprised at myself. I baked cookies! I bought bouillon cubes! I swear I have never felt more like an adult. That definitely sounds silly, but it is what it is. Harvard treats us like boarding school children and at home I’m lucky to not have to do much of the cooking and planning and shopping and cleaning.

I am so in love with what I am doing and though I know that this lifestyle isn’t what life is always like–I love my house and housemates, I live close to everything I need, I have immediate access to one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and I find my work fulfilling and I learn something new every day, to name a few things–I am extremely grateful for where I am and what has allowed me to be here. It’s not always going to be this easy or this fun, and at some point the pressures that I’m already starting to feel at the embassy–to stay later and finish editing a paper, to read more cables from Washington after the workday is over–will interfere with the work life balance I find so enjoyable here. But until then, I will live on.

Much love!