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February 21, 2012

week 7.

Sunday, January 12th
Since we have a hanging shoe rack on the back of our office/catch-all room, preventing the door from shutting all the way, so I had to hang a sign last week, informing Luis it was now my private crafting space, as I was finishing up his Valentine's day present.  Yes, I did also translate it into Portuguese, so he didn't have any excuses, and yes I did spend the majority of this afternoon here!

Monday, February 13th
This morning, one of our colleagues sadly informed us that her and her husband had returned from a romantic weekend away to find their house broken into.  Luckily the thieves only stole watches, but the broken ground-level window that they discovered late Sunday night put her on edge, preventing sleep and making for one restless night!  Thankfully, we are blessed to have an empty guest room in our house, so we offered it up to Carina and Marco so that they could sleep in peace, at least until the next day when they could arrange for the window to be fixed!  Marco just started playing on Luis's soccer team and Carina and I have initiated a twice a month movie night while our husbands are out, so this looks like the beginning of a great friendship!  (And I have really been missing having good couple-friends, as we only have a few here in Coimbra!)  (And yes, I did have pinkeye, and yes, you will probably see those glasses a lot more in the next week!)

Tuesday, February 14th
Since Luis Miguel is more of an "acts of service" person and less of a "gifts" person (more on that here), so, with his permission, I decided on a home-made gift this year, which would allow me to love him well -- through the act of service of making dinner!  In our first year living together, we haven't yet found a good system for planning dinners, and find ourselves arriving home at 7.30 saying "What do you want to make for dinner?"  "I don't know... what do you want to make?"  Annoying, right?  Being an avid Pinterest fan, I had found this idea linked from Claire's blog, and though I may have liked another idea better (I did zero research, and she did lots), I decided to run with it.  Our kitchen is navy blue and white, and I have started to accent with mustard yellow, so I thought it was a fun way to allow us to better plan our meals!  It's yet to be hung, since I would like to make a few edits to it... Lack of good materials here in Portugal left me a few items short... like letters, which I drew by hand and cut out, and fabric, which I sadly only had enough of to make horizontal stripes... but I really wanted vertical!  I ended up having almost everything I needed, though, so the total project only cost me 7€50 for the frame!  It'st still sitting on the living room floor in a box, but I'll let you know how the dinner system works out once we get it up!

Wednesday, February 15th
Inspired by a "Famous Couples" guessing game I had made for one of our dinners with friends a few weeks ago, Luis bought these cute (matching!) shirts for me as a Valentine's Day present... complete with a scavenger hunt to find them!  His shirt has the guys names and mine has the girls... sorry about the grainy photo... I set my camera on ISO 1600 (for shooting in dark situations), as we were trying to take a photo in front of the mirror in our bedroom, but after a few failed attempts, we moved in front of the living room bookshelf and I forgot to change the setting back.  Whoops!  Thankfully you can still read it!

Thursday, February 16th
After some post-work plans fell through, I decided to rendezvous alone downtown while waiting for Luis to finish at his part-time clinic.  I love the historic part of downtown with black and white stone sidewalks, old buildings, sidewalk cafes everywhere, and, almost always, some sort of street music!  Near the center square, I found two girls playing accordion and talked with them a few minutes... The music was so beautiful!  I love how unique the accordion is!

Friday, February 17th
My dear friend Suzete (the white-wigged creator of all costumes), who I am blessed to share a hallway with each day, is the art teacher for our students and clients at APCC, and is the perpetual encourager of my creative side.  Late Thursday afternoon, she asked if I planned to dress up for Carnaval, the Brazilian holiday that most all of Portugal celebrates (we're kind of like sister countries, you know...).  All the students were coming with costumes and some of the school staff and therapists were dressing up and throwing an impromptu Carnaval party Friday afternoon.  Normally, I would be the initiator of all things costume-related (after all, I was... ahem... the 4-year winner of most creative costume at the organization I worked for in the States!), but since I didn't bring any costumes with me to Portugal (as my husband assured me that very few adults dress up... SHAME!  This is untrue!), I didn't think I would be able to come up with something overnight.  In emergency costume cases though (which somehow tend to show up in my life in one way or another), I would usually resort to a pirate costume, as I own a lot of black and quite a few red scarves... so after Suzy picked up a sweet skeleton sword for me at the dollar store Thursday afternoon, I was set!  I threw together a scrappy skirt from some fabric she loaned me, and let me tell you... she was thrilled that I would be "wearing the same colors as their group" and could be the "protector of the "Angevils", which they were with horns and angel wings combined.  Leave it to the American to save the group!  I am so thankful for a friend like her and the other girls as well, who have all practically included me as one of their own.  I'm so blessed!

Satruday, February 18th
After showing up at Luis's parents' house in Pinhel dressed as a pirate (just in time for his mom's birthday dinner, which she thought was hilarious!), we relaxed a bit, then headed out to the local "State Fair" that they have, called "Feira das Tradições" (Tradition Fair).  Today, we had a casual lunch, complete with some conversation with a family of canaries that Jose and LuLu have had for about a year now.  (Note: the canaries are hard to see.  Don't mistake them for the big chunks of bread stuck into the sides of the cage! Those are bird snacks!) It is so great to not only hear Jose's special whistle (amazingly bird-like!) that he uses with them,  but to hear how they respond back!  At times we couldn't tell which song was his and which belonged to the canaries!  At one point on our last visit, we had tuned in to a classical orchestra concert on the television that is mounted on the wall directly above the birdcage, and after a few minutes, they all started singing, clearly recognizing the music, louder and louder until we had to increase the volume on the TV!  No wonder they named the papa bird Pavarotti... he definitely lives up to his name!

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