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January 10, 2011


I was so distracted with "dressing up" that I didn't even think to ask what was in the envelope

And I had a feeling he wanted to keep it a surprise. 

I haven't had many occasions to really get dressed up here in Portugal... and I brought a fair amount of dresses!  I also have bought some fabulous boots on major sale this winter (one of two times per year that sales happen!) so I was itching for a chance to pull one or all of them out!

Of course we were a bit hurried, due to our intense relaxing as of late (it's a really healthy habit, folks), and of course, due to my incessant need to always spend an hour getting ready.  We hit the road and my first hint was given as we drove into Figuera da Foz, a great little city on the ocean, and home of the beach we frequent as often as possible.

[Please forgive the dark, grainy, slightly foggy photo I took from inside the car while moving... ]

I was thinking the surprise might be a show at the casino, which is super swanky and not at all slimy or dirty, as one [American] might assume a casino to be.  When Luis Miguel told me that the reason for our hurry was also because he wasn't exactly sure where the place was, I knew it couldn't be where I first thought.

Rather than guessing, I decided to enjoy the gorgeous sunset over the ocean... again, completely diluted in this terrible picture from a moving car, but you get the idea:  sunset.  ocean.  bliss.

As we drove around the quaint central squares and narrow streets, I was reminded of what a privilege it is to have such an amazing life experience living in another culture!  As we pulled into the drive of the large building that looked like a gallery of some sort, Luis asked me, "So, did you see the sign???"

"Umm... the poster?  Outside?  It looked like a dancer of some sort... a ballet dancer, maybe?"


And as we're walking in, "Really?  The ballet?  My husband brought me to the ballet?  The same husband who is crazy about soccer and loves nothing more than watching athletic events?  He's going to go with me!?!??"  And yes, I did verbalize all these things.  Out loud.

And he confirmed it.  (Amazing!)  Being the wonderful "learner" that he is, as we walked in, past another of the large posters, he had to ask "So, can you read it?  Do you know what it is?"

I see "Lago", which I know is "lake".  The rest is a blur of letters in random order to me.  My eyes catch "Tchaikovsky" and the only ballet I can think of is the legendary Swan Lake.

"Swan Lake?!!?!?" 
"And you're really going with me?!?!" 
"Well, yeah!" 
"You know it's a ballet?" 
"You like the ballet?" 
"Well, I can't say it's my favorite thing... but since it's such a classic show, I thought it would be a good thing to see.  I like doing things like this every once in a while...."  [and the surprises continue]

While we waited for the doors to open (which means we got there in time even though I took an hour to get ready), we browsed a gallery with amazing photos, which I believe was just the cherry on top, since it was unbeknownst even to the event planner himself... an unexpected joy!

Another unexpected surprise were these sculptures that greeted us on our way in... please ignore the fact that they aren't wearing clothes and note their amazingly large feet!!

In the medium sized theater, our seats were great... and clearly I'm happy enough to sport a cheesy grin for the blog...

... and my darling rule-following husband quickly lost his when he realized the serious danger his darling wife could put herself in if she shot a photo during the show, which was clearly not allowed.  See his serious face?

The last sentence out of his mouth... before I shot the photo that was not allowed to be taken inside the theater was... "You're not going to take photos inside the theater, are you?"

Ba hah.

The only two I could sneak in during the show are terribly blurry and almost worthless, and for some reason I had this strange hissing in my ear that sounded something like "Don't let anyone see you take those! You're not supposed to take photos!"... but, it had become apparent that I could not attend Swan Lake and return without a photo of the swans!  So, without further ado... swans:

I'm not even going to post the other one because it's such a terrible photo. Believe me.  My hand was probably shaking due to the whispering in my ear.

I'm thankful for that whispering, though, because he translated the program for me during that parts that may have brought a few questions.  "Was that them getting married?  Does her sparkly headpiece mean she's married?  Did they really even get married?"  Questions like that.  Which are clearly important.  Clearly.

The show was fabulous, complete with Russian dancers and an Ukranian orchestra, which makes it feel all the more "authentic". 

We hurried out, this time also my fault, because my phenomenal Packers were playing their first playoff game, and I wasn't the only one who wanted to watch it!  That, of course, didn't stop us from getting some really delicious ice cream on the way home...

... and if you look really closely, you might be able to see the ocean behind us!  (It's not the sign lit up in red and white... that's the post office).  And yes, in this family, ice cream is always appropriate, regardless of the season.

We finished the night cheering on the Green & Gold, decked out in our Christmas gifts from my brother -- Packers jerseys!  Though I fell asleep in the middle of the 3rd, I think the Pack felt our loyalty, even across the ocean, because they pulled out a fantastic win against the Seahawks... and the Falcons will be just another bird in that lineup next week!    V for victory!

Overall, it was a super fabulous day, complete with a great date night that was worth every minute of waiting!  I'm so thankful for a husband who is becoming more and more thoughtful, and a country to discover more and more each day.  And to think, this is only the beginning... !


  1. LOVED your date story - how fun is that?!? AND I am also enjoying that the Packs beat the Seahawks in your blog ... even though we both know who they really beat ... ;) HUGS!

  2. Oh no...!!! I mean the Eagles! The Packers beat the EAGLES!!!! The Seahawks beat the Saints! I told you I fell asleep for a bit during the 3rd quarter! :)

  3. It was the perfect day:
    Sermon day right after get up; delicious lunch (spaghetti with meet sauce) cooked by my lovely wife; drive to Figueira da Foz for a date (Ballet); our soccer team (S.L.Benfica) won 3-0 and our American Football team (Packers) won 21-16!
    I don't think a man can ask for a better day :)

    Love you, KIM!