Sunday, April 8th
Happy Easter! We are thankful that we were able to chat with my entire family via Google +, even though by the looks on our faces, this conversation with Grandma was a bit confusing! (I think Luis Miguel is trying to hide a smirk watching us trying to communicate... and in the same language, mind you!) My brother hooked something up to the TV so the family could see the screen better. If I remember correctly, I believe we were talking about a couple that is a family friend, David and JoAnn, who have a son, David, who also married a JoAnn. It was confusing, but funny. Guess you had to be there. She is the best grandma on the planet, and I'm so thankful for the technology that allows us to chat across the ocean... and take fabulous photos like this! Happy birthday, Grandma! (Upon special request, I may also consider sharing a video of Grandma "dancing" as we sang Happy Birthday to her in Portuguese... but I should probably get her permission first!)
Monday, April 9th
This is our "Madrinha", Luis's godmother who has been like a 3rd grandma to him for most of his life. While in Pinhel over the Easter holiday (so great that we had off today too!) we stopped by to see Mardrinha and Padrinho, and found them with their doors open, cutting X-shaped slits on the ends of lots and lots of homegrown olives. Upon asking why they were cutting them like this, they let us know a little secret: after soaking the olives in water for weeks to months, you then cut slits in the ends and let them sit in ashes (as in, from a fireplace after the fire has died) in order to sweeten them a bit and enhance their flavor. Then you wash them again and they are ready to be eaten. Who knew? Oh, the things I learn about homegrown food in Portugal!
Tuesday, April 10th
"Why yes, neighbor friend, I will glady accept the free, homemade wine that a friend of yours made and that you are offering me for no reason at all except that you are very nice! Thank you!"
Wednesday, April 11thThis pretty little field blooming with wildflowers right now is about a mile from my house. And yes, I did ask Luis to pull over so I could take a photo for my photo of the day... :)
Thursday, April 12th
There are a lot of snails in Portugal. Not sure why. There just are. Humidity maybe? Usually they are small, and you can find them randomly stuck on branches of bushes, poles of street signs, foliage in the road medians... just about anywhere. Rarely, if ever, do you see them come out of their shells, and unfortunately, many shells have been abandoned as their inhabitatnts have headed off to snail heaven. As we got out of the car this morning, we spotted this giant of a snail climbing up the half-wall separating the parking lot and the building. He was just taking his sweet ol' time crawling away, feelers out to the world! I used the macro setting on my point-and-shoot camera to get the detail, but I wish I would have left a little more of his surroundings so you could see how big he really was... I would say his shell was about the size of a large walnut or a half-dollar coin. Have you ever seen a snail up close?
Friday, April 13th
Look what came in the mail today! What great timing, considering we are currently planning a trip to Italy's coast this July! The second highlight was the article "Undiscovered Portugal", where the author passed through Coimbra (where we live!) on his drive to a small town in the north. I love it when our lovely little country gets featured in a magazine like this!
Saturday, April 14th
Today is special because it's the day one of my nearest and dearest friends was born. Shari adds joy to my life and is always encouraging me to just be ME, and reminding me that I'm the only one who can be exactly that! She'll add a fresh burst of life to anyone she meets, and her confidence in herself is always inspiring... I mean, she wears her hair like this because she wants to and she likes it... and isn't it stunning? This is one of my favorite photos of her -- it captures her funky style... signature hoop earrings... the only thing missing are her gorgeous eyes, but I love this photo so much even without them! Thanks for always encouraging me, Shar, even from across an ocean! I love you!