Day 6: Sorry for all the photos, don't Belém me!

Note: Belém is pronounced kinda like "be-LAYME" so it's a pun hehe.

So today I spent my first more vacation-y day in Lisbon, and it was amazing. Laura and I walked down Rua Augusta (among all the tourists, yeah), past the Praça do Comércio, taking photos and chatting.

Then, we ate a lunch at TimeOut Market, something recommended to me by my coworkers. It's essentially a big indoor market of a bunch of different mini restaurants from chefs all over lisbon, offering specialties.

I tried Croquettes (which are like deep fried mushy creamy something balls) which were really good and pretty filling

And Francesinha (which is like a cheese covered meaty sandwhich smothered in tomato soup)



And some much-improved Pasteis de Nata (and some espresso because mmm I must say I like a good afternoon coffee). These had a definite stronger cinnamon taste, though they were also very sweet. They were also freshly baked and still warm, and they earned the title of "best pasteis in Lisbon" by my co-workers. I think I still have to say that Chinese Dan ta have captured my heart and mind, and I don't know if I'll find a pasteis de Nata that's as eggy and creamy and filling as those. But that's okay! These are truly excellent.

Then, Laura and I hung out in Belém, and met up with another intern at the embassy--Michael. Together, we explored the tower of Belém and took lots of photos!

(Me, Laura, and Michael)

(The explorer's statue)

At the end of the day, we followed Michaels' boss' suggestion and ate some italian pizza at a nice restaurant, and it was extraordinary. We shared three pizzas and it was delicious.

Day 5: Lean in toward the light (and the scent of burning hazelnuts)

I realized I haven't posted a photo of my street yet--so here it is! it's a lovely street with lots of pastel colors and small restaurants--and I'm lucky to have housemates that know exactly which ones I should go to and which to avoid. I adore them, truly. I learn so much from being around them, and it's just so nice to have a social space that I can select myself into. If I want to blog, I can go upstairs and select my photos and type madly into the night, but if I want to talk to someone about Portugual and their travels or their work or why I'm here or any number of other things, I can, because people are just right downstairs in one of the many common areas, and that makes a world of difference. Last summer, I was often lonely, and that loneliness combined with a lack of truly challenging/demanding work made me an avid reader of books but also kind of sad. Here, I feel like my days are packed with action interspersed with periods of calm--I want to figure out how to better combine Portuguese exposure/photo opportunities with this sense of calm that I get when I am alone.

I also love the community of the kitchen in my house (for one thing, it's a beautiful kitchen with ample storage space for everyone); it's amazing to come home and talk to the few people hanging around (some eating their lunch at 5:30), and then cook for myself and chat with people slowly coming in. I am here for a relatively short time compared to some of the tenants--but everyone is so kind to me nonetheless. They don't even judge me (too much) for having a radio in my room (embassy-provided, for emergencies). I am honestly so grateful for the friendliness of my housemates--the groupchat never fails to explode while I'm at work, and even thought I live on a slightly different schedule, I still can chat and learn from the people around me. Their kindness and openness is truly a blessing for my summer, and I love meeting new people so much. We all sort of select into this sort of style of living, though. When talking to people, one guy said he has other options, but he likes this house not for its modernity or proximity or price, but because he has met some really good friends and interesting people, and it's a small eclectic community. I would agree--people at the embassy have tended to cringe when I say there are over 16 other people living in my building with me, but I think it's made my living in Lisbon feel so much more like a home.


okay okay enough sentimentality.

Today I also learned how to toast hazelnuts, which will really amp up my morning oatmeal. It's been day 4 of overnight oatmeal, and it's so efficient that I really don't want to switch to anything else, though I am wary of getting bored of it. I have these now as a mix in, as well as chia seeds, and I can purchase different berries/dry fruit if I need to. Sorry for the boring post, but tomorrow I'll go explore the city with two (maybe three!) of the other interns, and it should be more exciting!

Much love!

Day 4: Pasteis de Nata

Today was another day at work, a more quiet one. As I settle into a rhythm, I get used to the women in dresses and men in suits or uniforms, and the fountains and gardens and courtyard outside. I hear people say things like "this is the nicest city I've ever worked in", or "this is the best-run embassy I've ever been in", or even "this was my reward for several hardship posts", and it all makes sense. It's a beautiful embassy, extremely convenient for me to get to (even though it was raining today).

To get out of the rain, Laura and I had some Pasteis de Nata in my neighborhood bakery--I was awaiting something similar to Chinese Dan ta, but this was far more saccharin. It was indeed more like vanilla pudding in a pastery rather than an egg custard, so the sweetness was overpowering the richness of the custard and pastery, making it more like an american pudding donut than a eggy dessert. I'll have to try some more because these were not so exciting.

I have to start making plans/dreams for the weekend, but I have been so busy between work and taking care of everyday logistics that I haven't really gotten the chance to reflect or brainstorm what I want to see and do on the weekends at all. I also haven't gotten to reflect on how meaningful I find my work. It's so effortless to be enthralled with what I'm doing and with what I'm assigned--security trainings aside--that I'm not sure if this is my brain making me love this because I thought I would love it, or if I actually thoroughly enjoy the amazing combination of day-to-day tasks and longer and shorter specialized projects that all strive towards a higher purpose. I don't know. I'll have to keep reflecting, certainly.

Much love!

Day 3: Blogception with Biang Biang Mian!

Laura, the other intern and I made Biang Biang Mian today for dinner! It was a lot of fun and very filling after a long day at work. We're hoping to cook more together since it just makes more sense to do it that way.

The process--I should have let the dough rest longer because our noodles were a little shrimpy and didn't stretch properly, but they still tasted good. :)

Sunset over the railroad tracks that are next to my house! it's loud during the day but once it's 11 pm everything quiets down and it's only the distant cars that still make noise.

sorry for such a brief post but it's past midnight and I have work tomorrow! Much love!

Day 2: Dinnertime is 9pm?!

Today was my first day at work, which was super exciting and exhausting and I have a blister already! But that's okay because I adore my co-workers, especially my fellow intern, who also had her first day today. The photos are all actually photos from her *beautiful* balcony with the wonderful tiles.

So yep, this is me! On her balcony! (Thank you for the photo!) Even though we just met today, we've spent the entire day together and I feel like I know her so well already (seriously, we met each other at 8:10 AM and didn't say goodbye until after dinner at around 10 pm).

We went out to dinner, at a restaurant near her apartment. I ordered Chicken and fries, and she had a piece of grilled salmon. I didn't take photos because it was really a very small place and it would have been obvious, but it was rather inexpensive yet filling. Our waiter kept bringing food we didn't order to the table--sausage, bread, etc--which was not free, so we didn't eat it, but I felt it was rather bizarre at first to keep sending the food away.

Anyways, I just took a melatonin so that I sleep better, and it's beginning to make me drowsy. Much love and good night!


Day 0/1: Point of Arrival

It felt unreal as I flew over the city this morning: after a battery of flights and delays, I was finally here! And all the roofs were red as I landed, and I could spot the railroad near my airBnB as well as million parks and green spaces I want to explore. The taxi driver from the airport was also super kind; we spoke in a sort of broken english and portuguese as he explained where I could get to work from my house via walking. Our route from the airport to my rented room even included both embassy entrances, which helped greatly with my sense of orientation. And then I was whisked away into the world of my 16-renter airBnB, complete with its own whatsapp group chat.

This is a photo of my room: it's on the top floor of 3 and it's fairly small, which is good, because I feel like I adequately fill the space here, unlike my room in Golm, which was hopelessly large (seriously: I could have fit two queen sized air mattresses in there if I wanted to, and the ceilings were tall, too). But this room is petite and furnished with what I need, and I brought some poster gum from college to affix the photos over my desk. I do, however, need to buy more hangers, so me and the other intern who arrived today are going to an everything sort of store to pick up those and some other essential items. Anyway, that's mostly it for today, except to note that, yes, indeed, airplanes fly over the house every 7 minutes or so, and trains pass by every 10 or so, and between those two, it's not the most quiet of places. However, convenience rules and this place was not only the closest, but also had the nicest set-up with loads of beautiful common spaces. Also, I have a delightfully diverse group of housemates--of the people I've met so far, it seems like everyone speaks Portuguese fluently, but they are from Portugal, Brazil, Italy, Angola, the Netherlands, and these are just the section of people that I met in the half-day I've been here. I look forward to practicing more with them on the terrace!

I have prepared all that I can--I made some overnight oatmeal for tomorrow morning after eating the very balanced meal of avocado toast and a peach for dinner (I'm on a different eating schedule I think, but that's okay, I have fruit and soy yogurt to realign my mealtimes) and I am excited for work tomorrow!

My last blog turned out to be such a food blog, so I hope this one can become one as well. So far my only exciting purchase of food was 3 peaches for 55 cents. Oh, and the flour. I went up and down the aisle of the nearest supermarket looking for flour so that I can make my own pasta as an experiment of humility, and could not find normal white flour. I knew the french word farine, and the spanish word harina, so I was looking for something in that family. I eventually found Farina Integral--but whole wheat is not so good for making pasta--and Farina de Trigo. I looked on the side of the Farine de Trigo package to try and figure out what trigo meant, and I was dismayed to see the ingredients included sugar and milk and other things I couldn't read. So I kept searching and searching, but I was so confused: why was the Faina de Trigo so inexpensive when it was like a pancake mix or something? I looked at the package again and realized: no, those weren't the ingredients to the content of the package, those were the ingredients to the scones that the package had a recipe for, using that flour.  Oh well.

Much love, and I'll keep y'all updated! good night!