Monday, March 30, 2009

So much I could say right now...

I like this blogging thing. I've just spent the past half an hour reading over previous posts, smiling at pictures from Sierra Leone, reminiscing about where I was when I wrote the different things I've written. Lots of amazing times. Lots of hard times. Lots of experiences that I'm glad I have chronicled.

When I look back on this past weekend I look forward to the smiles it will bring. (Note to future self... "Hey")

So I knew going home on Friday that the weekend was going to be jam packed. I actually wasn't sure that everything was going to happen that needed to happen but I was looking forward to all that was planned. So rather than going out with some friends whose Friday tradition is to go to a local pub I instead went to the new cafe that has opened a stone's throw from my house with a heavily burdened bookbag and began marking papers. I was still there marking when, an hour later, a man came in who was either drunk or not carrying a full deck. He proceded to walk around the cafe with drink in hand and talked to himself. At one point he came over to my table and started picking up some of the pictures my students had drawn and mumbling something in Portuguese. I waved off the horrified cafe worker as, at that point, he wasn't really hurting anything. Eventually he moved off, my stacks of paper none-the-worse for the experience and I went back to grading. As he was finally ready to leave a man in the cafe who was trying to help him to leave realized he didn't have enough money and the GNR (police) were called. At this point I worried a bit just because I was hoping they wouldn't ask me anything. I've picked up a bit (stress a bit here) of Portuguese but certainly wasn't up to explaining the odd behaviour of my fellow cafe patron. Luckily they didn't ask me anything and the evening ended uneventfully.

The next day I woke up early and went to meet my teammates for our trip up to Porto. Our club was going to play a rival club in a football match that has been going on for nearly thirty years (note the game hasn't been going on that long as games don't actually last for thirty years, rather the rivalry has been going on at least that long). Our trip up was great, I was able to get to know some of my teammates a lot better. Then we played our game and won! Which is good because our club hasn't won in a few years from what I understand. We played really well, worked well together, and were really aggresive. It was a lot of fun!

After the match we hung out for a few minutes before going to a World Cup qualifier match between Portugal and Sweden. On the way I managed to pick up a 76 euro ticket for not swiping my metro card at the appropriate place. I've since talked to a lawyer friend of mine here who seems to think I should be able to get out of it (let's all collectively cross our fingers right... NOW!). When I finally did get to the game it was amazing. The stadium was incredible and the players were amazing. We were crazy close to the game and I saw Christiano Ronaldo do ridiculous things with a football. Unfortunately we came away with a draw which is REALLY bad for Portugal. Craziest part of the game though was the teenage girls behind us who swore like sailors at the top of their voices throughout the game. I felt fortunate at my lack of Portuguese understanding but still understood enough to know that it was not good at all.

After the game we went for dinner and then drove back from Porto at three on Sunday morning. It was an uneventful trip despite the fact that our driver was bent on breaking land speed records. It was actually the fastest I've ever been in a car, maxing out somewhere around 200 kph (125 mph).

Sunday was really cool too. I slept from six in the morning to twelve and then woke up to go to a dance performance. It was my first time dancing with the Historical Group that I've found myself a part of. I still laugh everytime I see myself in my costume in a mirror. In the below picture I'm the guy in blue in the center of the picture. Anyway, I managed to withhold the laughter for the most part, enjoyed dancing in an amazing garden setting with turrets surrounding us, and am now able to say that I've been part of a tourist attraction.

I ran out after the performance ended to catch a train, to catch a subway, to run a kilometer, to get to my Tango class. Unfortunately the class was ending as I got there so I wasn't able to get in on that and didn't really feel like going through the rigamarole (spelling?) of asking people to dance so I instead walked about Lisbon and talked to family back in the States, which was just as nice.

And so another weekend has passed. Five more school days till spring break. Good times.


Random thoughts: I haven't done random thoughts for a while, I should be doing report cards, I wonder if luck is real or not, I have had a blessed life.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009



Things have been going well.

School continues to be a place that I look forward to coming to. The kids come in each morning and without my needing to say anything other than a "Good morning" along with their handshake they know what to do and how they are expected to come in each morning. They are constantly doing or saying things that make me laugh and we seem to appreciate each other. I had parent conferences the other day and everyone seemed pleased with how the year is progressing.

I am dancing several times a week. Around four or five if I keep going with the new classes I've started. Tango on Sunday. Historical on Monday and the occasional Wednesday. Contemporary on Tuesday and Thursday. Clubbing on Friday or Saturday if anyone is going. It's a good life.

I get to play football (soccer) two to three times a week, which has been wonderful. Two weekends from now we are traveling to Porto, in northern Portugal, for a tournament. Then we are going to go and see a World cup qualifying match between Portugal and Sweden. It should be a really great weekend as I get to know the guys from my club better.

As I sit here trying to think about what else is going on I'm kind of hard pressed to think of anything. As I tend to do I have kind of filled up my days. Which is good. And I am continuing my lifelong pursuit of balance. Sunday morning I woke up early, went to a nearby cafe, ate my breakfast while listening to a sermon on cd and grading papers. It was a very nice morning followed by a football game and then some good beach time.

Speaking of beach time!... I have just recently found out that it is possible to rent a smart car for a euro a day! In case you don't know what these look like I've added a picture below.

Can't you just see me bebopping around town in one of these! Anyway, my new plan is to go rent one and drive it up and down the coast for a day. This way I can get to see more of Portugal without relying on when my friends decide they A)want to go somewhere and B)want me to go with them. Plus it will be a TOTAL BABE MAGNET!!! Ok maybe not so much be there's no harm in trying? I guess we'll see.
So that's my life at the moment. Hope you're well