Saturday, January 24, 2015

Portugal And I Go Way Back (Sort Of)

I had been wanting to go to Portugal for years, I mean years. I would say at least a decade. Finally I got the chance to go last November. I went alone only because my boyfriend was unable to go with me. Unfortunately this meant I did not see as much as I would have liked since I am not as disciplined to get out and see everything when I travel alone, but I did get to see quite a bit of Lisbon and I fell in love.

Before I start sharing a bit about my experience in Portugal I'd like to share the connections I've had with it since I was a child which I discovered as an adult. Here they are in chronological order (duh, what other order would they be in?).

1.) My father was Catholic and I sorta grew up Catholic too (for a time anyway) so I grew up seeing lots images of saints and apparitions of the Virgin Mary. As a matter of fact my parents used to sell these kind images (I had a bizarre childhood ok?), but my favorite of them all was the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. I absolutely loved it. The story behind the image is about the Virgin Mary appearing to three shepherd children in 1917 in the town of Fatima in Portugal. I think it was the fact that this happened to children that made the story so intriguing to me, I am not sure, but even though I am not a religious person today I still love the story.
Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Card

2.) I traveled to Brazil for the first time in 2001, when I was 20 years old (eek, don't do the math). As you may already know, Brazil was once a Portuguese colony. Well it was during this trip that I absolutely fell in love with the language. After that trip I knew I wanted to learn Portuguese.
That's me at the Ibirapuera Park in Sao Paulo, Brazil in August of 2001

3.) In the summer of 2002 I received a postcard in the mail from Portugal that my sister had sent me (and I sill have it!). She was there for a work trip and had taken the time to write me. By this point I had already expressed my desire to learn Portuguese to her. In the postcard she mentions how she thought of me while there and asked if I had started taking Portuguese lessons yet. Ah the mementos and the feelings they stir up, aren't they wonderful?
Postcard from Santa Maria in the Azores in Portugal dated June 4, 2002

4.) In the fall of 2003 I started taking Portuguese classes. I was finally on my way to learning Portuguese!
The only Portuguese/English dictionary I still have (because it's the best!)

5.) In 2006, I was chosen to go on a semester long adventure as a student in the city of Salvador in Brazil which a lot of people don't know was the first capital of Brazil. It was an amazing experience, one of the best times of my life. It also resembles Lisbon very much.
That's me again at the Church of Bom Fim in Salvador, Brazil

6.) Alright, here comes another saint story. Saint Anthony is the patron saint of lost or stolen things, travelers, single people looking for love, and a slew of other things. Many people think that he was Italian because he lived and died in Italy, but he was actually Portuguese, born and raised in Lisbon. Saint Anthony is one of the most popular saints in Catholicism and of course I grew up knowing about him. Anyway, there's this tradition, in Mexico at least (I'm unsure if this tradition exists anywhere else) in which single people, particularly women, will put a statue of Saint Anthony on its head and pray to him for finding true love. Once they have found love they put Saint Anthony right side up again or another version of that is that he will turn himself right side up once true love has been found for that person. So this is where things get more interesting. I met my boyfriend in 2010 and things were moving along rather slowly. Honestly, I didn't even know if things would ever get serious between us. Well in the summer of 2011 I put both my Saint Anthony candles upside down and later that year our relationship got more serious. True story, but shhhh, my boyfriend doesn't know about this!
The picture I posted on Facebook on June 6, 2011 of my upside down Saint Anthony candles. Apparently nothing is sacred anymore in this age of social media (pun intended).

7.) San Francisco has been my favorite city ever since I can remember. When I was a kid and I would go to San Fran with my parents I would be in awe of this huge, incredible city. Oddly enough (or not) Lisbon looks like San Francisco. It even has a bridge with a striking resemblance to the Golden Gate bridge that's called the 25 de Abril Bridge. And just like San Francisco, Lisbon has a lot of hills. In fact it is called the city of seven hills. I guess I have a thing for hilly cities, I don't know.

This is me at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, circa 2003

So anyway, those are it. Those are the connections I have to Portugal and all I can say is what a dream come true it was for me to finally be able to go.

Is there some place you feel connected to that you dream of visiting some day? Do tell.

Until next time!


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Scrapbook Sunday: Madrid!

Here's a scrapbook page of Madrid, another old favorite.

I love incorporating the postcards I buy on my trips into my scrapbook pages. Not only do they make great souvenirs, but they make unique embellishments. I just love the look they give.

Happy Scrapbook Sunday!


Monday, January 12, 2015

Bossypants By Tina Fey

Bossypants had been on my reading list for a while when I finally started reading it when I went on vacation last November. It is definitely a must read, especially for women. Tina Fey is hilarious and just plain awesome. It is a fun, light read, just know that if you do take it on vacation like I did, be prepared to get looks from strangers when you are laughing out loud.

One of my favorite quotes of the book is Tina's reply to a comment made by a reader about how Tina Fey ruined SNL and how she is only celebrated because she is a woman and a liberal. Here is part of her response:

"Women in this country have been over-celebrated for too long. Just last night there was a story on my local news about a "missing girl," and they must have dedicated seven or eight minutes to "where she was last seen" and "how she might have been abducted by a close family friend," and I thought, "What is this, the News for Chicks?" Then there was some story about Hillary Clinton flying to some country because she's secretary of state. Why do they keep talking about these dumdums? We are a society that constantly celebrates no one but women and it must stop! I want to hear what the men of the world have been up to. What fun new guns have they invented? What are they raping these days? What's Michael Bay's next film going to be?"

Hahahahaha, so funny, so brilliant. I really love this woman.

Until next time!


Thursday, January 1, 2015

My 2015 To-Do List

Day Planner from Barnes & Noble
I love my new 2015 day planner. I am definitely trying to be inspired and live my dreams. If that's not what life is about then we're screwed.

Last year I had a list of resolutions (click here to see how I did), this year I have a to-do list:

1.) Lose (an additional) 20 pounds (plus the 4 I gained over the holidays);

2.) Scrapbook at least through 2009. That means scrapbooking about 14 different trips and events that happened between 2007 and 2009. Yes, I'm that behind, but this is the year for getting closer to being caught up;

3.) Build up my emergency fund;

4.) Get a new and professional design for my blog;

5.) Be kinder to everyone. In general I think I'm pretty nice, but if someone is mean or rude to me I tend to react the same way and that's not a good way to be; and

6.) Drink less soda. I am not giving up soda all together, but since I have a can of Diet Dr. Pepper almost every day, I think I need to cut back quite a bit.

What goals have you set up for yourself this year?

Good luck in 2015!