Summary of my trip

Los Angeles Travel Blog

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Ricardo and I in front of a church in Braga.

As I got home less than 12 hours ago, I haven't had a ton of time to absorb it all. A few thoughts fleet through my head. I will never look at dirt and rocks the same - without a ton of respect for people that move and work with them! I love the Portuguese that I met. Absolutely wonderful combination of smart, flexible, funny and kind. I can't wait to go back and visit Irene, Camilo and Ricardo in Portugal - the thought makes me unbelievably happy and excited. Maria and Vera and I have made separate plans already for me to visit them in the countries that they will move to soon.

What else.. Portugal is beautiful. Braga is reminscent of Napa Valley with their gorgeous landscapes and plentiful vineyards. Grapes were EVERYWHERE. Vinho verde is fantastic.

Eileen and I

In addition, Portugal is very likely the last known bargain in the E.U. I've been to France, Switzerland, and London in the past year and things have gotten very expensive since the Euro took hold. Portugal was very much the opposite, with food and products still being very cheap. The food is wonderful, the people are even better.


Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I don't feel as if I got out of this trip what I usually get when I take a chance and plunge into something new. I think it's because all of my trips recently have been very intense, very challenging, and I've been around people my age who have similar interests, similar life questions, etc and these young people were just open in the most surprising and delightful ways.

Ricardo and the President's granddaughter

Tanzania was just mindblowing on every possible level. Geneva was equally amazing and I learned so much there. This trip.. what can I say? I met a dozen wonderful Portuguese people and I have a few hundred pictures of our construction site. I also have a bad taste in my mouth from some of the Americans, some serious doubts about whether the ones I actually liked will stay in touch, and I have a longing to go back and experience it properly.. as far as trips go, it was a push if anything.


A little over a week after I've been back, I'm happy to report that every single Portuguese friend that I made has been in communication =) It's surprising and delightful and I hope to keep track of them as time passes.
A lady waving to us from the 2nd floor (we were on a double decker bus)
=) True to my prediction, not a single person from my actual team has made contact, even though they know I have most of the pictures from the trip!


I miss Mary's crazy cackling.
I miss hearing Margarida explain things in her lilting, rhythmic tone.
I miss Karen saying "What's up girlie girl?"
I miss "hot chocolate to eat".
I miss Camilo's wisecracks.
I miss Ricardo's calm and polite manner.
I miss Irene's enthusiasm for my photo of Stefano ;)
I miss Vera's smile and wonderful hugs.
I miss Maria's Marlene Deitrich poses.

And I wish I had met Sandro before the last freaking day! You know what? I am just grateful that I get the chance to communicate with all of them almost every single day. It makes me think this world is not as cold and harsh as it seems. Small update also, I finally caved in and sent out the pictures to my ungrateful group yesterday around noon (9/19/07). Only 2 people responded with thank you's so far - the leader and Eileen!

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Ricardo and I in front of a church…
Ricardo and I in front of a churc…
Eileen and I
Eileen and I
Ricardo and the Presidents grandd…
Ricardo and the President's grand…
A lady waving to us from the 2nd f…
A lady waving to us from the 2nd …
Jenna and I at dinner at Felixs
Jenna and I at dinner at Felix's
Manolo and I at the bus stop
Manolo and I at the bus stop
Carolina, Philippas daughter visi…
Carolina, Philippa's daughter vis…
First day on the work site!
First day on the work site!
The one thing I was able to do wit…
The one thing I was able to do wi…