We have arrived in beautiful Lisbon. It took us several hours to track down our dog at the airport and then we had to drive in directly to a kennel because he can't stay at our temporary lodging with us. But, hey, he's got a swimming pool to play in - his life is good.
All four of us are crammed into a little hotel room. The girls and I haven't been sleeping well and we're really tired. But, our sponsor and a local friend have been very helpful in showing us around and getting us settled.
We signed a lease on our new home. It's bigger than our home in Alaska - but, aside from lots of closets, it has no storage. And, I really do mean none. We may have to get rid of some things (like garage shelving, extra strollers, etc.) and get pretty creative in regards to storing unused items (i.e., baby swing we may need in the future).
However, our new home is a four-minute walk to the beach and three of the bedrooms have doors that open up onto a balcony. The balcony offers a small view of the ocean and our garden/small yard. I have a fantastic kitchen. Triple the kitchen storage space I had in Alaska. Only two rooms have carpet (Olivia's toilet-trained, however, Lila will be next and I'm so excited that I won't be scrubbing carpets after every accident) and the rest of the rooms are either tile or hard-wood. We also have a fireplace.
Our house is old and really charming. However, our sponsor has a home that would cost over a million dollars in America. Four stories, all marble flooring, several bathrooms, a sitting room that has a glass doors opening up into it. Beautiful doesn't even begin to describe their home. However, those homes are hard to come by and, though it cost exactly how much we're paying, it could have taken us months to get a place like that. While I'm jealous, you couldn't gate the stairways if you wanted to, and the house is too big for us. It would overwhelm me to clean it and I would live in fear that a child would fall down the marble stairs.
So far, I really like Portugal. The weather is fantastic. For a couple hours in the afternoon, it's hot. Other than that, it's breezy and sunny. The evenings are cool.
I've figured out what type of coffee I like; a cafe com leite with one sugar packet (or coffee with milk). The coffee is a lot different than what we're used to in America. They don't have flavored types and there are several different variations of the coffee that I like - from no milk to coffee with lots of milk.
I feel that there is a big language barrier and I've already been forced to pick up and use several words or phrases. As soon as I nail down a sitter for the girls, I'll be taking language courses. I don't feel that you can get away with not having a general understanding of the language. Since we don't live in a military community, Matt and I feel it's best to learn the language properly in this part of Europe.
A friend of ours has been kind enough to let us use her computer from time to time. So, I may be able to update the blog here and there and check email (though, pictures will be a while). So, feel free to contact us. We may not be able to respond as quickly as usual, but we'd love to hear from all you.