Saturday, September 25, 2010

September 25, 2010

So, I thought I'd start this off by telling you a funny story about Tanner, from the other day.   We were back at our temporary home and getting ready for bed.  Everyone had just gotten into their beds and Tanner comes into our room to use the bathroom.  He calls me from the bathroom to tell me that some yucky brown water is coming out of the faucet.  I asked him which faucet (meaning the hot water or cold water).  He says the one from the mini-sink.  I said "what mini-sink?"  He said "you know, the sink they wash puppies and babies in".  I started laughing - realizing I hadn't taught him what a bidet is.  We got a good laugh out of that.  By the way - we all think bidet's are gross.

Well, Rick just informed me he needs to use my computer - so I'll have to finish this at a later time.  We are in Porto at a hotel.  We spent all day yesterday driving the Douro River checking out the areas, trying to find a place to live.  LONG DAY!!!  Poor Kaylie was car sick - BADLY!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

1st week in Portugal

I am finally able to update this and let you all know what is going on in this little country known as Portugal.  Let me start at the beginning.  First of all - the flight.  Now that was an experience.  Let's just say - US Air is not what I would choose again.  CLAUSTROPHOBIA!!!  It felt like being on Southwest - can you imagine being on Southwest for 15 hours?  Not fun.  But one positive - no turbulence.  So we arrived safe and sound after 3 flights (SLC to Phoenix to Philly to Lisbon).  When we arrived at the airport (with our 7 HUGE duffle bags, 1 large suitcase, 1 rooftop carrier w/our pillowtopper in it, 3 small suitcases, 3 backpacks, 3 computer bags, and of course the misc stuff - purse, blanket, neck pillows, etc.) we were greeted by an amazingly nice Portuguese couple, Milu & Rogerio, and their friend Saldanha (Nick).  We had never met them before so I was surprised when this lady was waving her hands to get our attention and call us over.  We found out later that our other friend, Fatocha, had given her a picture of us - and Rick was wearing the same shirt as in the photo - FUNNY!! 

Well, with no lost luggage (amazing) we headed over to sign the papers for our rental car.  Rogerio had prearranged a rental car and his friend Nick had brought an enclosed truck for all of our stuff.  We headed to their home where they fed us, we all fell asleep on their couches (except for Rick), and then drove to the home we are staying in temporarily - about a 3 hour drive.  Rick was soooo tired.  I am amazed he was able to stay awake the whole time.  I guess that's what you do when you know you have to.  It has been a week and I haven't driven once.  Poor guy.  I am trying to learn the road signs so eventually I will be brave enough to drive.

The home we are staying in is in a little town called Ponte do Abade - VERY quaint.  It is everything I wanted for the first part of our trip.  Narrow cobblestone roads, old homes, an old family owned tiny market, a bread store (Rick's favorite part of Portugal) that sells fresh bread everyday, and friendly people who want to show you the unique parts of their town.  The daughter of the market owner gave us a little walking tour the other day and is planning on finishing it this week.  The home we are staying in is adorable.  Paulo refers to it has the "doll house".  I don't think he believed me when I said it was perfect and just what I was hoping for. It has 2 small bedrooms and a loft.  Devan and Tanner are sharing the loft, which is also being used to house most of our luggage.  The back of the home has soooo many fruit trees and grapes and you can walk right down to the river.  Right now there is very little water in it, but is perfect for frog and slug catching.

I am trying to learn how to do laundry here.  The washing machines hold less than a days worth of clothing (for 5 people) and most people don't have dryers.  So clothes lines are abundant.  Reading the machines can be a problem.  I have already added too much detergent and had to re-rinse all the clothes in the sink and have Rick ring them out before hanging them to dry.  I am learning that not knowing the language will make life a lot slower.  We spent about 5 hours in the big grocery store the other day (and we didn't all kill eachother) because we were trying to figure out what everything was - reading labels takes a looooooong time.

We have spent part of this week at our friends, Fatocha & Luis,  home outside of Coimbra (Anadia).  And then part at their friends home (Milu & Rogerio - the ones who picked us up at the airport).  We have been VERY WELL FED.  I am glad that I have not had a scale here.  Food and friends are very important to the Portuguese people.  Milu, Rogerio, Nick and several others were instant friends to us.  We have had a great experience so far.  The kids are doing amazingly well.  Devan went out with some of their kids the other night to a party and McDonalds for icecream.  Yes, they have McDonalds here now.  We are trying to avoid it, though, and sticking with Portuguese food.  Kaylie is a little more shy, but she is the one who is trying to learn the language and repeating lots of words.  Tanner is doing well and has expressed that he might want to go to public school so he can make friends.  I haven't asked Rick how he's "doing", but I'm sure he's feeling like he's back where he belongs.  He has missed Portugal since the day he came home from his mission.  As far as me - well, it's been great, but also a little frustrating/emotional.  I had a little melt down yesterday... what a baby.  We had gone for a drive with Fatocha, Luis, and Rogerio.  Rogerio has this crazy 4 wheel drive car that climbs CRAZY sand dunes near his home.  I thought we werejust taking a drive to the beach to look at an area to rent a home.  Turns out he wanted to show us what his car can do.  So...  he takes us to this area with these crazy steep sand hills...  takes 3 tries to get up this mountain... finally makes it...  and puts us at the top of this mountain and starts to head over...  me and Fatocha freak out... make him stop and let us out to walk...  I freak out at Rick to get out of the car because he is "not going to die and leave me alone with the kids in a country where I can't speak the language"...  He knows me well...  gets out... we walk down the sand dune... watch them go down (me having heart palpitations the whole time)... and call it a day with the sand dunes.  Well, so I'm sitting in this car driving to the beach, listening to Rick and everyone else speaking Portuguese to eachother, visualizing what would happen if Rick did die while we're in Portugal and here come the tears.  Oh my gosh!!!  How embarassing!!!  They are so nice, though.  They understood and said that they are my good friends and would try harder to speak some English to me so I didn't feel so isolated.  Good people!!

Well, I know this was a long post and I hope you are not too bored.  Just remember - you can always skim through (or not read it at all).  Hopefully by the next post we will be settled in a home and having a normal life.  Also, we have not had internet service very much, otherwise I would have tried to have several short posts, rather than one massive one.

Love you all & miss you (and my 2 washers & dryers)