Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lists (:

Things I am looking forward to:
Seeing my cat. :D
Hanging out with my friends (who actually live within a reasonable distance).
Having things to do during the summer, that I'm actually obligated to do.
Communication without thinking so hard.
Seeing what this new self-confidence does for me.
My family of course.
Summer before my senior year.
Sleeping in my bed.
Seeing my boyfriend (can you believe we made it 6 months?)
An abundance of books.
Not getting stared at in Minde.
My room.

Things I'm going to miss:
Snack bar at school.
Talking to my friends in Portuguese.
Speaking Portuguese in general.
Crazy public transportation.
Exchange students.
My host family.
My friends.
The pastries!
Bacalhau. (haha)
The kitty here.
Walking down the streets of Minde.
Saying hi to little kids I don't remember meeting, and them always calling me "Catarina".
My class (the boys singing Fado, everyone laughing at the teacher when she can't say my name, etc.).
My room.

Some choice last day of school pics:

Monday, June 13, 2011

I don't understand how the Portuguese can eat so much! And they don't appear to have an obesity problem either. Must be the soup. Lina just fed me and João lunch and I pretty much had to roll back up the stairs because I was so full. And no matter how many times I tell people it's not true, most still insist that Americans are obese and eat hamburgers from McDonald's all the time. I have eaten more hamburgers here than I would have in 6 months at home, and about 4 times the amount of french fries deemed healthy (wait--are french fries ever healthy?). haha (: The Portuguese are very concerned with my weight. They're always telling me "you should exercise, stopping exercise isn't healthy for you" and "you're getting fatter". If I wasn't so incredibly unconcerned with what people think about me, that would probably make me feel super bad about myself, but I love my body and I look and feel healthy and am a normal weight for my height. I just don't have the heart to tell these sweet people that I don't really care--I'm just here for the pastries! (:
Anyways, I just got back from spending one week in the Algarve!! Also known as the best beaches on the Iberian Peninsula, it's known for its warm, Mediterranean water and abundance of sunburned British people. I spent most of my time reading in the shade, passed out on my towel, looking for shells, or in the ocean. I have also acquired quite a spectacular tan from falling asleep in the shade and waking up in the sun. :D

My last day of school was fun but sad. We didn't really do anything in the classes, but my entire class signed my Portuguese flag with really sweet things. My best friends and I went out to lunch at this little Spanish café thing in Fátima, and took so many pictures on the walk back that we were late to class (which isn't that big a deal here in Portugal but we're almost never late :P ). All of us were kind of dreading the end of the day, which came with more than a few tears when it came time to part ways. I still don't have the pictures from this day, but when I get them I'll put them on the blog.
My plans to go to Sintra to visit Maria Laura were cancelled, but I think she'll be coming to visit me instead, next week. This Friday I'll be going to Ericeira with Emily to see a surfing competition and I think sometime I'll go to Lisboa with my host grandparents for a night or two. (:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The first goodbyes

Well, tomorrow is my last day of school.
My class has been pretty amazing, taking me in from the beginning as one of their own from the first day, and helping me whenever I need it. I remember my third day of school in PE. We don't leave our valuables in the locker room, so we have to go get a locker, which the teacher keeps the key to. After my first PE class ever, I went to go get my key, but I didn't know how to ask for it in Portuguese. André and João were getting their stuff out next to me at the lockers, and I gave them a pleading look and pointed at my locker. They then spent 5 minutes explaining who I was to the teacher and trying to figure out what I needed (: Whenever something at school happens that I don't know about, one of my classmates takes the time to explain it to me, and answer all my silly questions. They include me in everything, although I now hate card games because that is all my class does. Ever. But I love them all the same and I think saying goodbye tomorrow is going to be really tough.
This weekend we had an AFS "goodbye camp" with the students from the north and us. There were about 40 of us in all, and it was a blast. I took the bus to Aveiro with the two Italians, Melissa and Tommy, and we met the other exchangers and headed off to Ovar. Most of the camp was a lot of boring activities by AFS (sorry, guys) but the rest of it was amazing! It's unbearably hard to say goodbye to these people that I love so much, and that I may never see again.
AFSers, you make my life. I love you guys so much and everything you stand for, and I'm proud to be one of you.
The goodbyes (read: tears) have already started. I can remember only having 17 days till I left NM, and now I have 17 until I go back. I know I've changed a lot, but I don't think it'll really hit me until I go back to the states.
And listening to other AFS returnees, it sounds like it's gonna be a long time before I stop aching for Portugal and these people.
"Se tens fome... temos limões!" 

My last 17 days here will be spent with Maria Laura, Emily, my host family, and my friends from school (when they're not studying for their year end tests). I will try to get pictures but they won't be many because my camera is in a coma. I won't be sending many emails or skyping these next few weeks, but know I'm thinking of you guys.