Next stop… Lisbon!
or “Leeesh-Boa” if the idea is to pronounce it as the natives do… still working on that!
We arrived via very economical (about $20) train from the Algarve. The city of the 7 hills is just phenomenal. Trolleys, Trams, Trains and Tiles… Fado, Pasteis, Cobblestone for miles… where do I even being with this city? I loved it from the first time I laid eyes on it many years ago. Got reacquainted last summer with Mari, so I was excited to introduce Juan. No time for sight seeing this trip though–“vamos a lo que venimos” or let’s get down to business!
We met with the English cong here in Lisbon to go out in the ministry. Our service partner was an awesome sis who is actually from Charlotte and serving the for 3 years. She was awesome, by the way, and was so encouraging (check out her interview). She equipped us with a short “we’re looking for foreigners” introduction, and off we went. The english handle all non-established languages. Again, the challenge and joy of just not knowing who you will meet. Juan ended up nodding and smiling in Bengali (he became quite proficient and is well on his way to nod/smile fluency!) We met folks from everywhere. It was one of the most interesting service days I’ve had… ever.
From here, we boarded the train to Sintra to meet the girls.
I do need to mention a side point here… we did not feel any significance until later. We stopped for a quick bite before meeting the English group. We randomly selected a hole-in-the-wall restaurant on a side street near the hall. We sat down to eat and conversed in our usual mix of Spanglish. Everyone else in the place were local Portuguese from the surrounding neighborhood. The wife/owner of the restaurant began serving us and then all of a sudden asked… “you speak Spanish?” (in Spanish). We were surprised and said we did. She was from Argentina and married to a local Portuguese man. This was the 2nd Latino to identify themselves to us during the trip. We had a very nice conversation. Who knows…maybe we’ll get to make the return visit!
Later in the day, we followed our ears to a South American Flute band in the Plaza dos Restauradores. More Latin Americans… then we heard of Latin Restaurants, and other indications of Spanish culture (read Latino immigrants). All of this with no Spanish Group?
At the end of the day, could we see ourselves here? Yes, for sure. It’s a busy city but a beautiful and welcoming one.