Pennsylvania to Portugal: The Arrival

Olá from Leiria, Portugal! 

It is so beautiful here. I cannot believe I've been here for a week. It has been quite the week too, from waiting 2 hours at the wrong bus stop, walking 3.3 kilometers home because I was lost, and trying rabbit for dinner. Yes, rabbit... I feel bad about it.

This week was not what I expected. I waited 6 months to go to Portugal, and I had so many ideas of what it would be like in my head. 

I knew it would be beautiful, and it totally is. The architecture of the buildings here is breathtaking. And there are pink buildings everywhere! And blue, and yellow, and every other bright color. There is a beautiful park with a river that my friends and I explored yesterday. Also, did you know that intersections aren't a thing here? Traffic circles... everywhere. I have never seen so many traffic circles in my whole life. 

I had my first day of school yesterday, and initially it was discouraging. Sitting in a classroom, only hearing a language you cannot understand, is difficult. Luckily, after whatever the teacher was saying, a group of kids in my class came up to my Italian friend, Roberta, and I to ask us to lunch. Of course, we accepted! Then they took us to one of their favorite lunch spots, 32, known for their 32 cm sandwiches. After that, we toured the city like locals. We saw all the cool spots- I took so many pictures, and I'll attach them below- of sneaker stores, hangout hostels, and up-close-and-personal views of the river. It was such a blast, and helped me forget about being homesick.. Which is something I definitely underestimated.

I remember, before I came, thinking to myself about hardships of this adventure. The language was something I knew would be a challenge, but everyone does it so I'll figure it out too... Nope! While everyone else is speaking Portuguese, you have so much time to think. I think constantly, and it almost gives me a headache. I think about home, what my family and friends are doing, about how I missed Ashton's first field hockey game, about how Braden is going through freshman year without his senior sis to pick on him, and how my friends are doing their last year together. It makes me so sad, honestly. And I didn't expect that feeling. I am lucky that I have Snapchat and Skype, to easily talk to them, but I try to avoid it, because I still feel connected to my "old life." I know this feeling will go away, I am just hoping that it is soon! I am eager to speak Portuguese and have a fluent conversation with my new family and friends here. I started watching basic Portuguese YouTube videos for practice as well, which is helping. 

As my first week is coming to a close, I am ready to jump into the second one. It is such an opportunity, so I don't want to take any of it for granted. I do love it here in Portugal! I cannot wait to see what the next few months have in store.

Thanks for reading :) 

Hollis

 

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Roberta and I :) 

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My friend Bruno said this is Portugal's Eiffel Tour :) Haha

Hollis KolmansbergerComment