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May 25, 2012

week 20.

Sunday, May 13th
Luis plays soccer on a weekly basis, just casual games with his club team in a city just outside of Coimbra, but since the games usually start at 9.30 or 10.00 pm, I don't go to watch much anymore, because really, who can concentrate at that hour of the night?  And worse, who wants to get home after midnight when you have to work the next morning?  Not I, said the Early Riser!  Sometimes, though, when the weather warms up, there is a tournament on the weekend, and the wives and kids can go watch! The day was in the 80s, and even at 6.00 pm we had to sit on the ground since it was the only spot of shade that we could find, and the sun was still hot at that hour! I'm sad that I didn't think to bring my nice DSLR camera, but my little point-and-shoot caught this action pretty fabulously!

Monday, May 14th
Heading back from Pinhel yesterday, I decided to take a break from my book and do a craft project, since we'd be in the car for two hours.  Proving difficult with all the bumps in the road, I finished it today.  Cute, eh?  It's a sailor's knot bracelet, all braided from one long 3.5m strand of cotton cord.  It was a project I found through Pinterest, and you can find the directions on the More Design Please blog.  I am tempted to not share it on here, since I plan to use them as presents and to sell them on my forthcoming Etsy site, but it was too fun not to share today!

Tuesday, May 15th
This photo and the story behind it deserves an entire blog, but since it's obvious that it takes me quite a while to get around to those, I am including it here. Dona María José and her husband, Sr. João, have one of the most amazing love stories ever! In a nutshell, when they were young, he was a Portuguese soldier in a war in Africa back in the day, and she was a "war godmother", one of the many women who volunteered to write letters to keep the soldiers company from afar during wartime. She wrote to many different soldiers, but one took quite a liking to her and began to correspond back and forth with her. Eventually he proposed to her - yes, across the miles and yes, through a hand-written letter - and they married shortly after he returned from the war.  That was 50-some years ago.  About 18 months ago, Dona María José had a stroke and has been coming to Luis's part-time clinic for rehabilitative therapy.  She has recovered quite well, can speak and walk on her own, and is always doted upon by her loving husband, who has the most spirited, can-do attitude that encourages all those around him to lift their spirit in the same way.  Sr. João is constantly speaking well of his wife, loving on her verbally, and holding her hand, which I absolutely adore.  I have started going with Luis on Tuesday afternoons so that I can chat with them, and today, I just so happened to have my camera with me, so I asked if I could shoot a few photos of them on their way out.  I think this one says it all...

Wednesday, May 16th
It is often said that spring in Portugal brings "snow", as the blossoms on some of the trees blow off and fly through the air for about a week, coating sidewalks and grass with a layer of white!  As we drove about this week, I kept thinking that I should stop on one of the covered sidewalks and take a photo, but never thought of it in time until today, when it has almost all blown away.  This photo barely does it justice!

Thursday, May 17th
I was at a dinner tonight where the story of this "espiga de milho" (ear of corn) bouquet was explained, and when someone gave me one to take, I heard that the tradition varies depending on which small village is celebrating. In years gone by in some small Portuguese villages, there was a certain day in May that was considered the day to celebrate the start of the crop-growing season.  People would go out into their fields, pick the leaves, grasses, and tall grains around the ears of corn, then hang them in their houses as a reminder of plenitude, peace, and abundance. The next morning, one of our soccer athletes brought me a bunch, and I was told to dry it upside down, so that's what I'm doing! (Please ignore the fact that Blogger is turning all my whites into beigey pinks...)

Friday, May 18th
I didn't realize how much I had missed the smell of a gynasium, the sound of screeching tires inside of it, or the tweet of a referee's whistle until today!  It has been extremely difficult to build a Powerchair Futebol (Soccer) program here in Portugal - at least outisde of our center -  due to lack of financing, difficulty finding accessible transportation, and a host of other reasons, so the small demonstration and training clinic that we did in Braga today was a breath of fresh air!  They had a team a few years ago that fizzled out due to aforementioned reasons, so now that they are getting a second wind, we are hoping to start another team there!

Saturday, May 19th
So... May 19th... I think it's about time to take the sweaters out of the closet, don't you?  We have had crazy variation in our weather lately... in the last week I have worn both a tank top and a long-sleeve sweater!  I am hoping the packing up of the sweaters will subliminally encourage the sun to keep shining!

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