Sunday, February 26th
It's definitely not the same as watching them live, but the recorded version of the Oscars was fun to see in Portugal, since we usually don't get the awards shows broadcasted here. What a great show! (Though after seeing both "The Help" and "The Artist", I think "The Help" should have won by a landslide!)
Monday, February 27th
For the last few months we've been in the middle of a very confusing process of getting my bachelor's degree equivalency in Portugal. I was unaware that I had to do this until about December, and apparently Portugal does not have an equivalent degree to mine, so we're jumping around from University to University, trying to find something that matches. Thankfully my husband is patient and can read well in Portuguese, because he was a great help late into the night tonight as we researched a bunch of new information we received today!
Tuesday, February 28th
Through a great program called European Voluntary Service, our organization will be receiving 4 European volunteers this week for a 6-month project called "Holding Hands with Other Abitilties", which we host at the APCC. It is partly funded by the European Union and exists in any countries that want to participate in Europe. The volunteers candidate for different projects and when they get accepted, their transportation is covered by the organization, along with accomodation, meals and spending money during the project. I have been blown away at how popular the idea of volunteering is here in Europe... we get applications for people interested in participating almost every day! This project is a big part of my job, considering all the communication -- with volunteers, with partner sending organizations, many papers and final reports -- are all done in English, since it is usually the only common language between the other organization and ours. Last June we welcomed our first group of volunteers, and when they left in December, it was hard not to shed a tear, because they had become like family to us! We are looking forward to another great 6 months with a new group, starting this week! Tonight was another long night, but a lot more fun... making welcome banners in each of the volunteer's native language! Can you guess which language this is?
Wednesday, February 29th
One last walk through at the volunteer's apartment, and the hanging of the last sign! The languages are Portuguese, German, Hungarian, Spanish, and Turkish. (A big high-five for the first person to tell me which sign has a letter out of order! Whoops! Would you believe that I just noticed it as I'm writing this? Oh well... can't go back now!)
Thursday, March 1st
They're here! Kata, from Hungary... Adriana, from Spain... Christian, from Germany... and Ata, from Turkey. If they look tired, it's because they had been traveling all day, from their home countries to Portugal, then from Lisbon to Coimbra. We welcomed them all at 11.30 that night, so it was quite a long, yet fulfilling, day for everyone!
Friday, March 2nd
This is my friend Paulo, a client of APCC and in general, just an all-around goofy guy. He used to play soccer with the Portuguese team and actually befriended me through Yahoo messenger back in the day before Luis and I were even married, without even meeting me in person! He was at the Rehab Center early this morning for a training class and stopped by our office to say hi. I couldn't help but notice that his sweatshirt said "South Dakota", and even smaller underneath that, "Aberdeen". Shout out to my new American friend Naomi, who I believe may actually be from Aberdeen! When I asked where he got the sweatshirt, he couldn't remember, and definitely didn't know about our dear Amerian state South Dakota. Considering he loves heavy metal music and often has clothing advertising that fact, maybe he thought it was a band??
Saturday, March 3rd
It was only after we went to our little American friend Henry's basketball game (where his dad Michael and other parents played on the teams WITH the kids!) and had a great lunch at our house with their family, did I realize that I didn't even take one photo the whole day! It was only during a Skype call with my dear friend Anna that night did I think to take a screen shot of our conversation as my photo of the day! Anna (affectionately known to me as AB, "Anna Banana") and I were great friends in high school, participated in choir, theater, and various classes together, and thankfully have been able to keep in touch throughout the years and across the miles! We've shared quite a few life experiences together, considering that she took a job teaching in Tiawan and was there for the last 6 years! Even being 6 hours apart now that she's back in the States make it a bit difficult to connect, so we specifically planned this Skype call to talk about her upcoming wedding!!!! We even have similar stories when it comes to engagement and marriage, as she got engaged overseas as well (he's a teacher in Taiwan, also) and is planning a wedding in the States while he is continuing to teach there until summer, when they will marry in the States. For those of you who know our story, this one mirrors it pretty well! Both being people who have a natural "second-guessing nature", we shared a lot of ups and downs throughout each of our relationships, which made this [5 hour!] chat quite a celebratory experience, as you can see by our evident laughter in the photo below. :) Here's to happy endings!