Or I guess I should say, “Olá de Lisboa!” We have been here exactly one week now. We left the United States last Wednesday evening and, after a layover in Frankfurt, arrived in Lisbon the following afternoon. It was a fairly uneventful journey, for which we are thankful. Both the boys were sick, Alex with an ear infection and Stephen with a bad cold, but they still travelled well. We were met at the airport by a veritable welcoming committee consisting of our teammates, Nathan and Jordan, our language teacher, Eunice, and the minister at the Lisbon Church of Christ, Ricardo, along with his family and the church van (to help with hauling our embarrassingly massive amounts of luggage from the airport to our new home).
Our apartment is in a suburb of Lisbon called Loures. (Actually, the name of our town is Santo Antonio dos Caveleiros, which in my opinion is a ridiculously long name for a town, but whatever.) It is a 3-bedroom, one bath furnished apartment on the second floor (which in Europe is considered the first floor), and I think we will be very comfortable here. We live right next to a very pretty park – we actually look down on it from our bedroom windows. Ana, the lady who will be babysitting for us while Rusty and I are in classes, lives in our building. She speaks English and has already been so helpful as we settle in here. We are about a 10-minute bus ride away from the school and a large mall/shopping center… and there is also an IKEA going in very close to us! I will put some pictures up soon, so you can have a “virtual tour” of our new home.
It took us a few days to adjust to the different time zone. We are 6 hours ahead of U.S. Central time here, so the boys, especially Stephen, were waking up at odd times during the night for awhile. After a week, we are all sleeping better at night. We are also adjusting to apartment living again -- I had forgotten how noisy it was! The other night, the neighbors upstairs were doing some remodeling in their bathroom – at 11:30 p.m.! And the neighbors below us yell at each other a lot. I’m sure after we’ve been here awhile, we won’t even notice the noise anymore, but it is going to take some getting used to. I’m adjusting to things like hang-drying all our laundry again, washing all my dishes by hand again, and grocery shopping and cooking in a foreign country with foreign ingredients (always completely overwhelming to me for the first few weeks).
We have been busy unpacking and putting things away in our new home and exploring our neighborhood and figuring out where things are – like the closest stores, bank, and post office (all within walking distance of our apartment). We’ve tried a few nearby restaurants, and we’re learning the bus lines, and which busses we can ride with our bus pass (and which ones we’ll be kicked off of). We will start language lessons on Monday. At Eunice’s suggestion, we decided to take a week to settle in before beginning our lessons. She says families with kids tend to have a better adjustment if they do this. And, since she has taught over 300 missionaries, I am going to trust that she knows what she is talking about!
On Sunday, we worshipped with the Lisbon Church of Christ for the first time. We were welcomed warmly and look forward to building relationships with the Christians there in the coming months. It takes us about 45 minutes to get from our apartment to the church. We take a bus into Lisbon and then ride the subway a few stops. Alex, of course, loves riding public transportation! I wonder how long it will take before it becomes old hat to him. He has already made several friends close to his age at church, and I am glad for that. Not only is the social interaction good for him, but I think having friends his own age will really help with his language acquisition.
Stephen, so far, has been an absolute delight to travel with. He is so mellow and laid back, and he smiles at everyone – and of course everyone smiles back! When we are out and about, Rusty usually carries Stephen in the Kelty, and he loves to just look all around, or nap if he’s tired.
So, there you have it – a glimpse into our first few days of life in another foreign country. I’ll try to get some pictures up soon – although, truth be told, we don’t have many yet since we haven’t been doing very much in the way of “touristy” things.