PA to PT: The Catch-Up: Part 1

Well... It's been around 6 months! I've come to realize that I am the worst at updating my blog. Or, we could say, that I was so caught up in living in the moment during these last few months, that I forgot to write it all down. Either works for me. But needless to say, the BH Blog is in serious need of an update, so I present to you, The Catch Up: Part 1.

OCTOBER

 My exchange friends and I! Irem from Turkey, Ayaka from Japan, Viola & Roberta from Italy, Anna-Sofie from Denmark and Ana from Portugal. We had an "intercultural dinner", so we each made a different dish from our countries. I had to make chocolate chip cookies, they've always been my go-to here!

My exchange friends and I! Irem from Turkey, Ayaka from Japan, Viola & Roberta from Italy, Anna-Sofie from Denmark and Ana from Portugal. We had an "intercultural dinner", so we each made a different dish from our countries. I had to make chocolate chip cookies, they've always been my go-to here!

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 The Batalha Monastery... The architecture on this thing was breathtaking.

The Batalha Monastery... The architecture on this thing was breathtaking.

 Surfing lessons in Peniche, Portugal with Roberta! This was our instructor :) It was such a cool experience because a week after we surfed there, the WSL World Championships were held there! And no, Roberta and I didn't surf those waves... Though we definitely could have handled it (not), we stayed towards the shore and hit the little breakers. 

Surfing lessons in Peniche, Portugal with Roberta! This was our instructor :) It was such a cool experience because a week after we surfed there, the WSL World Championships were held there! And no, Roberta and I didn't surf those waves... Though we definitely could have handled it (not), we stayed towards the shore and hit the little breakers. 

 My super cute Italian friend, Viola.

My super cute Italian friend, Viola.

 Literally some of the best Gelado I've had. The guy who makes it moved here from Italy, so when I go there, my Italian friends all start speaking Italian with him. So I get my ice cream, sit back and pretend I know whatever the heck they're talking about!!!

Literally some of the best Gelado I've had. The guy who makes it moved here from Italy, so when I go there, my Italian friends all start speaking Italian with him. So I get my ice cream, sit back and pretend I know whatever the heck they're talking about!!!

 Leiria city! One of my favorite spots. In October it was a little warmer than it is now, so I'd go sit on this bench and take in the view. I study arts here, so we are constantly sketching, and this is the perfect spot for it.

Leiria city! One of my favorite spots. In October it was a little warmer than it is now, so I'd go sit on this bench and take in the view. I study arts here, so we are constantly sketching, and this is the perfect spot for it.

 AFS Camp in Leiria. I love AFS Camps because we have tons of cultures together in one room, just celebrating and enjoying each other. But after the activities, Roberta, Viola and I may or may not have sneaked out with a pack of Oreos...

AFS Camp in Leiria. I love AFS Camps because we have tons of cultures together in one room, just celebrating and enjoying each other. But after the activities, Roberta, Viola and I may or may not have sneaked out with a pack of Oreos...

NOVEMBER

 In Lisboa! This was during a class trip. Inside this palace is an art museum :)

In Lisboa! This was during a class trip. Inside this palace is an art museum :)

 We found Starbucks!

We found Starbucks!

 Roberta <3

Roberta <3

 The best surprise ever! Went out to eat with Roberta's host family, and they surprised us with an American restaurant that serves Thanksgiving dinner! It was the absolute best. And it was Rob's first Thanksgiving!

The best surprise ever! Went out to eat with Roberta's host family, and they surprised us with an American restaurant that serves Thanksgiving dinner! It was the absolute best. And it was Rob's first Thanksgiving!

 My exchange friends and I :) This was Roberta's goodbye dinner... :-(

My exchange friends and I :) This was Roberta's goodbye dinner... :-(

DECEMBER

 Some of the AFS gals and I :) Italy, Faroe Islands, Norway, Dominican Republic and India.

Some of the AFS gals and I :) Italy, Faroe Islands, Norway, Dominican Republic and India.

 Finally finally finally got to meet Inês! We actually met from Instagram before I came to Portugal. We skyped all the time, and she taught me my first Portuguese words, as well as things about the country. It was the craziest and best thing to see her in person. She studies marketing in Lisbon, so she always has these amazing ideas for By Hollis and is just an overall super cool person. Anyways, this was our first pic !!!

Finally finally finally got to meet Inês! We actually met from Instagram before I came to Portugal. We skyped all the time, and she taught me my first Portuguese words, as well as things about the country. It was the craziest and best thing to see her in person. She studies marketing in Lisbon, so she always has these amazing ideas for By Hollis and is just an overall super cool person. Anyways, this was our first pic !!!

 Took this while on a run. This is where I live, Alcogulhe, Portugal, right outside of Leiria city. Such a breathtaking place.

Took this while on a run. This is where I live, Alcogulhe, Portugal, right outside of Leiria city. Such a breathtaking place.

 Christmas alert!!! This is my little host cousin :) She made me the sweetest beaded bracelet for Christmas. It was one of my most memorable holidays yet. There are a few differences of how we celebrated in Portugal- First off, we all open presents together at midnight on Christmas Eve. All the kids dress up as "Pai Natal" (aka Santa Claus) and handed out presents one-by-one. When the kids said a name, everyone cheered and chanted as they watched the receiver open their present. When the kids said my name, everyone started chanting, "USA USA USA!" It was hilarious. We then played a good game of The Americas vs Portugal beer pong (some relatives and friends of my host family are Brazilian). The Americas won, of course. We danced and celebrated and before I knew it, the clock read 6:00 AM, and we headed home. If there's one thing for sure, it's that the Portuguese know how to celebrate. :)

Christmas alert!!! This is my little host cousin :) She made me the sweetest beaded bracelet for Christmas. It was one of my most memorable holidays yet. There are a few differences of how we celebrated in Portugal- First off, we all open presents together at midnight on Christmas Eve. All the kids dress up as "Pai Natal" (aka Santa Claus) and handed out presents one-by-one. When the kids said a name, everyone cheered and chanted as they watched the receiver open their present. When the kids said my name, everyone started chanting, "USA USA USA!" It was hilarious. We then played a good game of The Americas vs Portugal beer pong (some relatives and friends of my host family are Brazilian). The Americas won, of course. We danced and celebrated and before I knew it, the clock read 6:00 AM, and we headed home. If there's one thing for sure, it's that the Portuguese know how to celebrate. :)

 What a vibe ... My host cousin aka Pai Natal

What a vibe ... My host cousin aka Pai Natal

2017 was quite the year. Ending it in Portugal with such great people made it that much better. Coming Soon: The Catch-Up: Part 2!

Thanks for reading!! Xoxo

Hollis