I Slept In!!!!…..Nao, faz problema!

When I woke up an hour and a half after my alarm went off, I imagined the “Meat, it’s what’s for dinner” song was playing in my mind as I rushed around my room like a tiny tornado, a la Home Alone.  I originally planned on taking a leisurely stroll on my first day of school, an opportunity to discover my new city.  Instead, it was more of a speed-walk with my host couple as they showed me the way and I frantically took mental notes that felt like they were transcribed in chicken scratch.  I had little faith I would remember the numerous turns, roundabouts, shortcuts and crosswalks they showed me.  

I arrived to school five minutes late.  The staff was gracious and friendly.  I could tell my tardiness was not a rare event.  We had a brief introduction and orientation.  I met my 3 classmates for the week – Marie, a German girl; Michel, an Austrian man and James, a Scottish man (whose English was hardest for me to understand).  We began our linguistic journey together with our trusty leader – Professora Lurdes, an adorable Portuguese woman.  She is a short woman and has straight, gray hair that reaches her chin.  She is a spunky woman, with a great sense of humor.  I could hardly contain my excitement during class, sporting a big cheesy grin.  I couldn’t believe I was actually here in Portugal, learning Portuguese from a Portuguese native, surrounded by not one single American.  I tried hard to focus, while thoughts bubbled to the surface.  I never want to leave.  How can I do this forever? I don’t want today to end. 

During the morning break, the students and teachers went in a group to the cafe across the street, a daily tradition. I ordered a latte. I have not had coffee in years, but I decided I might just have to make it part of my daily routine.  When the break was meant to be over, everyone took their time heading back.   I stood up to pay at the counter, “Should we pay?”  Michel the Austrian chuckled, “No need to rush, we are on vacation.”  I laughed and sat down, “True. I’m from America, we rush over there.”  Especially me. This trip was going to be good for me, in more ways then I realized.  Marie, the German girl, and bought some pastries to split.  A savory roll filled with some delicious meat (fish or chicken?) and a mini orange tart.  This was the perfect meal to cure my hunger pangs from skipping breakfast.  
After class, Marie and I explored the city together, walking the winding cobble-stoned streets with their low arch-ways and cute cafe’s around every corner.  We walked to the harbor and settled into another cafe overlooking the water, reading our Portugal books and taking a selfie with my selfie-stick before our departure.  

During the walk back, a nice drizzle filled the air.  Like Los Angeles, it did not rain hard and I rarely saw anyone holding an umbrella.  Nao, faz problema!  In addition, my visual memory and sense of direction had stayed in tact.  I periodically would turn around to see if I recognized the turns from the opposite direction, as I had walked them earlier that morning.  There was no way I would have left bread crumbs, as Portugal’s bread is delicious!