a layne post

We are here!

The journey was good. As Jon has mentioned, it was sort of “half” our regular journey, so really no prob. Neither of us slept much on the London flight, so we crashed hard on the 2 hour Portugal flight. After taking a taxi to our apartment, and thankfully finding it, it was time to meet our host! Maria is precious. She is round (is that a nice way of putting it?) and joyful. She speaks very little English, which make our conversations quite comical. Many laughs and strange looks. Soon though, we should be understanding more and more.


The apartment is small, but nice. Our bathroom is good. Hot water. The bed reminds me of a slab concrete. =) No air conditioning. Very humid. A lovely balcony coming off our bedroom, over looking a bit of a noisy street. (Fun during the day, loud at night) The temperature highs are in the 70’s. It is great, even a little chilly in the evenings and mornings. Buildings are old. They like tile, and the fronts of buildings have their own flair. Shops typically line the bottom floor and apartments and more shops on top. Our apartment happens to be on top of “Sublime Lingerie”. Ha! It is no longer open though. =) Right next door is a little shop full of veggies and fruit, which is great. And one more door down is a little internet cafe with free Wi-fi. Awesome!!

Getting to school was an adventure. Because Maria speaks such little English, it really was a joke trying to get directions. We got that we needed to take bus 701 or 702 and then walk to the school. From what we understood, you need a pass, but could pay cash. We took a leap of faith, and got on the bus we thought. Jon attempted to ask the driver about the stops or how much, but for now, we do not speak Portuguese… The driver = not friendly. He grumbled something, pointed to the back, and starting driving. Jon and I scurried to find a bar to hang on to and not fall over. Well, that ride was free. Ha!

We hopped off and then started walking. Where? We didn’t know. Finally we decided to ask. We know how to say “excuse me”, and we knew the address of the school, so we could ask where the street was. Okay! We got a few directions. A little fuzzy, but we could ask when we knew we were a little closer. Walk, walk, walk. Confused. We ask a very friendly man, who did not know, but was determined to find out. We were at the right road! Walking a little further, we found it! The 5th floor… boo! We had been walking all over, uphill! I am thinking we are going to get in better shape. =)

We walked in and they were waiting… speaking English! How nice. We chatted and laughed a bit, which felt nice to be understood. Off to our room for lessons! Our teacher, Ana Rachel (pronounced more like Raquel), is just wonderful. She is 27 and married, so it is a nice fit for us. According to her, we had a great first day and we are moving faster than most. Normally she does not speak much Portuguese on the first day, but she was able to speak quite a bit. We follow OK. Speaking is alright. The “sh” sound is all over. It will just be a matter of practicing. I am sure our Spanish and French backgrounds are helping. We have been promised we will be speaking well by September. Encouraging!

After lunch, we went to lunch with the other students (from England and Holland) and teachers from the school and had a traditional famous Portuguese sandwich. It was pretty good. Two pieces of bread, a piece of cheese on top, lots of meat… some that I am not sure what they were, and a sauce poured over the top.

This afternoon we napped and read, and now we are e-mailing.

First two days = Success!