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July 29, 2012

week 28.

Sunday, July 8th
Choosing clothes for vacation!  This habitual over-packer is trying to have a minimalist approach like her simplistic husband.... and that's not an easy feat!

Monday, July 9th
Kim: Hey Love, do you want to try out my new gummy fruit snack recipe that I found on Pinterest?

Luis: (silence)

Kim: (gets fruit snacks, takes them out of molds, tastes one) Mmm... try them! Want to try them? They're good!

Luis: (takes a bite; silence)

Kim: They are awesome! Tell me they're awesome! 

Luis: They are strange.

[The end].

Update: They are, in fact, strange. They taste like really really tough Jello jigglers. That didn't stop me from eating them, but when after eating 5 or 6, you realize you have eaten more than half of an entire pack of Jello gelatin, you rethink your decision...

Tuesday, July 10th
Break time with our volunteer event planning team... The cafe across the street had what looked like real American doughnuts, so my colleague Carina and I decided to split one.   Verdict: tasted pretty authentically American, but the consistency was pretty dry.  I'd be willing to try again though!  Reminded me of Saturday morning doughnuts with my dad in Milwaukee!  :)

Wednesday, July 11th
My super-thoughtful grandma, knowing how much I love Norman Rockwell, saw this cute reusable shopping bag and mailed it to me!  One side has one of Rockwell's famous baseball prints, and this side is a simple still life, which my grandma said "reminded her of Italy", so I should "take it on my trip in case we go shopping."  Love her!

Thursday, July 12th
As I have mentioned in other posts, a bit part of my job is working with European volunteers in a 6 month project through the program "European Voluntary Service" (EVS).  One of the parts of the project this year was to create an event that showcased the project and APCC at the same time.  We brought in 5ª Punkada, a band comprised of our disabled clients, a group of singers performing traditional Portuguese music, and a theater group.  Our volunteers hosted the show, created a video, and displayed a photo exhibition.  It was fabulous, as you can see in the "after" photo with some of our team that made the show possible!

Friday, July 15th
I think I will have to mark today on my calendar as the day when I made the most embarrassing cultural faux pas to date!  I will try to summarize concisely.  I have been having a recurring eye infection and decided to go to a well recommended doctor at a surgical center just outside of Coimbra.  Since apparently the 12.30 appt time they told me on the phone was really 12.20 (no way I messed that one up because of the Portuguese... "vinte" [20] and "e meia" [30] don't sound anything alike!), they let another client go ahead of me, so I knew I would have to wait.  I decided that using the restroom was a good idea since you never really know how long you have to wait at the doctor's office. Upon entering the restroom, I found myself in a small area with a sink and two more doors.  It is pretty common in Portugal that small restrooms like this have their own "rooms" (normal size stalls, just completely closed in) instead of stalls connected to the others with open tops and bottoms.  These rooms have doors that close completely, and since no light comes from the open top, they often have their own light switch.  Light switches in Portugal are often outside the door, but since I didn't see anything outside this door, I went in and looked on the wall inside. Nada. Glancing around, I noticed a cord hanging from the ceiling.  Now, I'm not sure if it's my American culture or if it's a universal rule, but in the dark, if you see a cord with a little ball on the end hanging from the ceiling, it is probably for a light bulb, right? Right. Or so I thought. After pulling it and not seeing anything happen, I exited the stall, just to see in front of me (which was to my back, next to the entrance, when I came in), another cord identical to this one, but it was only then that I noticed a small red sign next to the cord that said "Pull only in case of emergency". Though I didn't hear an alarm, I panicked and ran from the stall to the front desk around the corner, and very quickly explained to the nurse (who was already exiting her desk and telling someone else that there is an alarm going off) that there was not, in fact, an emergency, and that I had pulled the cord thinking it was a light.  She smiled and understood, but insisted on going back into the bathroom "just to make sure everything was ok", and then showed me that the light switch was actually directly beneath the paper towel holder (clearly designed by an engineer who loves his symmetry), and after turning it on, I could obviously see the emergency sign next to the cord in the stall.  I didn't notice the sign inside the bathroom earlier because... (wait for it...) there was no light on inside of there!!!  This post deserved two photos, because there was no way to show both the switch and the cord in the same photo.  You can't see the switch behind all those paper towels though, can you?  Yeah... I couldn't either.

Saturday, July 14th
Another note about EVS: Back in April, at a dinner hosted at our volunteers' apartment, Christian, from Germany, let us taste some of his dad's homemade raspberry jam that he brought from home before the project started.  Luis happened to love the jam as well... so much, in fact, that it prompted Christian to ask his dad to send a small jar when his brother came to visit this week.  Happy belated birthday to Luis, and happy dinner to me... peanut butter toast with German raspberry jelly on top!

Saturday, July 14th
Trying it out... though my Better Half will be the one carrying it!  We are using this instead of a suitcase because we have various train transfers that will make wheel-able luggage difficult to manage, not to mention a mere 3 hour stop in Pisa (including a train station stop, bus transfer, short walk to the Tower, short walk back, bus trip, then train trip!) which has unknown-to-us terrain.  We are hoping it's the right choice!

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