I’m in Lisbon!! One of the best things about this job is getting to attend CME conferences in places like Portugal! Not to be confused with a “vacation,” we spend long 9 hour days at the hotel listening to medical lectures given by specialists from the Cleveland Clinic. This year it was pharmacology, rheumatology, orthopedics, pediatrics, ENT, cardiovascular…. after five days of that we are all desperate to get out and MOVE, even if it means sacrificing sleep and ignoring our jet lag! So after a 30-hour journey in Economy class from Lusaka to Lisbon, a group of us met Sunday morning to go hiking in Sintra.
Lisa, Chris, Pamela, Glenda, Liesel, and John. We went out to the coast, marveled at Bear Rock (sorry I don’t remember the Portuguese, but I think the word “cabo” was in their somewhere), and ate huge ice cream cones. Mine was mint chip! Full of big chunks of chocolate! Seriously, we are such a weird group when we all get together. We don’t encounter normal things like “ice cream” in our daily lives, and we get as excited as little kids. Coffee! Pastries! Cheese! Olives! These rare treats make us giddy and loud, probably feeding an unkind European stereotype about Americans. I can just hear them thinking “why are those simple people so excited about ice cream cones? Why are they eating ice cream at 10 o’clock in the morning?” And then overhearing our conversations about how “We love it!” “Wow, look at that bus station!” “Europe is so charming and wonderful!!” Maybe they even see “the Americans” going to a Starbucks or a McDonalds. If only they knew!
Fueled by our ice cream, we hiked down to the beach, and this is me posing while Chris tries to get a photo of the naked guys wearing cameras in the background. Naked guys. With just cameras. Mike would be happy to know that one of them had on a shirt with his camera. Yes, we are in Europe!
Yes, I guess we’re a little immature.
Later we went to have lunch at a lovely cafe overlooking the ocean, with squid, prawns, fresh fish, and a pitcher of sangria. I wish we could blame the sangria for why we later got lost, but sadly I think it’s just because we had no idea even from the beginning where we were going. We never made it to the castle, but got to see this monastary on the way! Thanks for eventually asking for directions, Chris :).
The rest of the week was spent in deep concentration at the hotel, but that left our nights free to wander around, drink ginginha, dance to Brazilian pop music at an Iveto SIngalo concert, sample coconut cakes, and marvel at how beautiful and wonderful is the city of Lisbon. Here is my dinner one night. A bottle of vinho verde, olives and cheese, and a whole octopus:
Here are my dinner companions on another night at a restaurant with a little old lady chef in the kitchen, where we had salted codfish (the house specialty), and four more bottles of wine:
We worked it off with a trip to the castle!
This is why I love Lisbon!!
This was also the week that we got our Bid List for 2016. Is it really time to be thinking about this? Mike, I need you here! Where will the schools be good? Where will the boys be happy? Where will you be able to find a job? These are the things that are on my mind, as I look over these places and try to imagine calling one of them Home. At first, getting that list is always overwhelming. I don’t want to call any of them home, and I don’t want to start thinking about the day we leave. It’s a mental thing. As soon as you start thinking about leaving, your mind starts to exist somewhere other than the present. I don’t want to do that yet! But I’ve had a few days now to think it over, so family, it’s your job now to think it over too and help us figure it out. Where does KLM fly? Do visitors need visas? Can Dede go that far? How many R and Rs are there for us to get away?
I’ve narrowed it down to this:
Mike, I’m only 24 hours away now. Jake and Eli, I have Dottie and Wild Dog with me on the plane. I am so excited to see you again I can’t stand it!!!