Day 36: Flying back to Lisbon

Today, I bid my family farewell and made my way back to Lisbon after a yummy lunch of spaghetti and a car ride that I accidentally dozed off in. I tried to sleep on the plane but my back and neck hurt so much that regardless of the position, I was uncomfortable. This means I probably got enough sleep in the days prior--only when I am pretty sleep deprived can I manage to fall asleep on planes. Instead, I read and finished Tiny Beautiful Things, which, though it is a book that is better experienced in small pieces than in one fell swoop, made me cry heartily as the Danish couple next to me pretended not to glance over in concern. I don't know. It just made me remember all the things I have to be grateful for but also all the things that make life so sad. I miss people so much. Here is a handful of miniature Haribo that was so cute it also made me cry about how small it was. Maybe I just really needed to cry today and any reason was taken.

Enough. It was a little bizarre to fly back into Lisbon on the same flight path over the city as I took just over one month ago. Now I recognized landmarks like the Christ statue, the Lx Factory, the Necesidades park and palace, the Basilica Estrela and the adjacent park, and of course larger land marks like Marques de pombal and the Parque Eduardo VII, Praca do commercio, and the St. Jorge Castel. On one hand it's nice that I can see and recognize so much of the sites in Lisbon from the plane. On the other hand, though, it means that the planes are really close to the city and the air can be noisy. Flip sides to everything.

A word to the wise: (and also to those who anticipate coming to Lisbon to travel) the airport metro stop is probably the worst place in all of Lisbon to buy a metro ticket. There were over 100 people in line for the machines that dispense and recharge the tickets, where in normal metro stops these machines sit alone in a corner. I don't know what I advise instead--perhaps Uber--but the time that I was in the Aeroporto metro stop today made me extremely happy I had a card and it didn't need to be recharged. Anyway, I emerged from the metro into the Gulbenkian park and walked home from there, and it was so nice and sunny and warm out that I almost--almost! but not quite!--ate ice cream. *note: the tunnel shown below is not the metro exit, it was just a nice photo. Please don't use this photo as a guide to the metro stop.

Today for dinner I wanted to make something filling and fast. Instead, I meticulously chose my veggies and seasonings to make this summery bowl of Ramen dressed up with cilantro, vegetables and a lime-vinaigrette, which was filling but far from fast. Oh, and an egg. whoops. It was pretty good but maybe a bit too much work to be considered an easy dinner--boiling the noodles, frying the egg, chopping everything up, flash cooking the bean sprouts and then seasoning everything did take some time, but maybe with more people it would feel more easy than doing all that for one bowl. I also bought beer for myself for the first time. Well, maybe not really beer, but a Radler, which is beer mixed with lemonade and it's a nice refreshing summer drink.

Much Love!

Day 35: the Ruhr, Kemnader lake, and Yugoslavian food.

Yes, I know Yugoslavia doesn't exist any more. More on that later.

We started the day off leisurely eating breakfast again, and then we went  for a small stroll (but mostly boat ride) near where my family lives, on the Kemnader See and the Ruhr. Then I took two (2!) naps and ate cake. It was overall a great day.

We walked along the river and did some bird watching--here's a swan with two of her babies! they were big and looked so fluffy. There were, of course, also a lot of Canadian Geese around.

This is the boat we would get on! it stopped at the other side of the river first though.

Boarding the boat!


A little light house!

Even though it was a bit overcast and a touch chilly, it was fun to see all the people out and about, going paddle boarding and windsurfing, and the rolling green hills along both sides of the lake. It was just nice to feel the wind in my hair and ride on the smooth, still water. It made me miss the ocean a little and BC (British Columbia) Ferries even more.

Then we went and ate at this restaurant for lunch. It was Yugoslavian food when it opened in 1990, but since the solution of the Yugoslavian state in 1992 into Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia, as well as two autonomous provinces, the origin of this food is a little shaky. Nonetheless, it was very, very good, not unlike greek food, but with more rice and different flavors. It was very meat heavy, though.

Salald! with a heap of olives of course.

A dramatic table photo (Bionade is my new favorite drink, btw. It's not too sweet and it's really refreshing).

Cevapcici (a spiced sausage that was really yummy) and Raznjici (pork on a skewer), as well as Djuvec Rice, which had peppers and a variety of other vegetables mixed in.

The whole family! <3

After scooting/walking around, everyone was so tired that we all settled into a nap of various kinds. I laid down outside, fell asleep, and woke up extremely tired, so I went inside and had my second nap straight away. It was truly a nap in two Acts--but I woke up and got to enjoy some cake and Rummikub, which was great.

I am slowly realizing that I kinda need a haircut, though--a task for the upcoming week, as well as booking some travel to Sintra!

Much love!

Day 34: Relaxing in Germany, and also a music festival!

Today was the first of my 2.5 days in Germany with my family, which was really nice. We started with a leisurely breakfast immediately followed by drawing and toenail painting.

I taught Henny and Laule how to use the Mandala-circle stencil to create mandala designs, which is always fun and relaxing.

Then, we painted toes. I did some fancy rainbow-ombre stuff for the other two but I was happy with plain blue for now.

We enjoyed a lunch of schnitzel, fries, and salad together, followed by what looks like potatoes.

However, even though we are German, let me assure you, we weren't simply eating hunks of potatoes; this was a yellow watermelon.

After lunch, Henny and I had fun spinning plates. It's tricky at first, but the trick is to spin the plate slowly around the stick at first and then gradually built up speed and vigor, until the plate is balanced at the center and can be tossed!

Sometimes the tosses are more for show than for real catching though--good thing the plates are plastic. ;)


After that, we went to Bochum Total, a rock-music festival open to the public on the streets of Bochum. Since this is basically a food blog, here are some food photos. This is a spiral-cut and deep fried potato on a stick.

This is curry wurst with pommes and a healthy serving of mayo, a meal which no trip to Germany is complete without.

This is just a slushy. :)

We walked around for a bit and enjoyed the sites and the atmosphere downtown for a good while. However, the weather atmosphere decided to start raining, so we headed home for the night a while ago.

Here we are enjoying some drinks near a stage shortly before the rain fell, though. :)

Much love!

Day 33: Political parties, African Affairs, and Germany!

Today started off as a normal day of work--whatever that means. I came to the embassy and soon, me and some other interns were shuttled off to attend a speech that the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs was giving at the University of Lisbon Institute for Political and Social Sciences. In the car ride on the way there, I got to listen to a lively debate about Portuguese politics, which is vastly interesting from the outside perspective, having been raised in a two-party system. topics ranged from student activism to bull fighting, which was fascinating. Anyway, the speech given by Ambassador Nagy was very high-level and broad, but his ability to make the Q&A session afterward work for him and for the United States even when questions were pointedly accusatory or aggressive or tangential or not even really questions, just commentary, was extremely impressive.

See link to the Embassy facebook post here

Anyway, later in the day, on my way to the airport, I saw this sign, which is for the Left Block party about climate efforts. It fit well with the political themes of the day.

Then, it was tchau to Lisbon and Hallo to Dusseldorf as I am spending this weekend with my family in Germany. It was kind of weird to watch the ocean and sunshine world of Lisbon fade away and emerge, two and a half hours later, in a forested/agriculture/city area where the roofs aren't all red. So here are the obligatory plane photos ;)

The airport :)

The ocean in Lisbon--the other side of the Tagus is pictured (this is the side the Jesus statue is on, but it's just barely out of the frame of this photo)

Coming into Dusseldorf

I am so happy I managed to see my family here--it almost didn't work out with days off--and so these weekend blog posts may be a tad briefer as I spend time with everyone here.

Much love!