Week 10

The one where she learned she could pretty much sleep through anything

This was the week I’ve been waiting for! My best friend Ilana and her mom (my second mom) Sonia finally came to visit!
To be honest, besides seeing their lovely faces, hearing the New York accent and getting to blabber and debate all of the things going on back home (Chris Christie is still an ass, Cuomo will fail at a presidential bid, the MTA..just lol and let’s not even get to Agent Orange) it was nice having tourists visit because it forced me to actually go out and do all of the touristy things too. They were definitely my catalyst to get out and finally learn about this city that I’ve been so reluctant to integrate myself into.

What I did this week:

  • Learned how to bartend at a mixology class! I’ve always wanted to learn but have just never gotten around to it so this was something I was defffinitely looking forward to.
In order to teach us how to make drinks, the bartender would show us how to make a particular drink and then have two of us get behind the bar and compete to see who could make it the fastest. My drink was a gin fizz and I was totally crushing it until I forgot to strain my shaker. #wecantallbeperfect (but seriously, I will never again forget to strain. Hmph.)
  • Redeemed myself in the pairs contest by successfully instructing a blindfolded Matt in making a Long Island Iced Tea. (We’ll ignore the fact that they had to swap out our normal glass for a bigger one due to his heavy hand lol).

Ok I can’t tell if it’s just the light or if we’re actually this tan so I’m just going to say we’re actually this tan.. aka a dream for my Irish skin

  • Came home from the grocery store on Wednesday morning to find the scene below on my street. I promptly said a little prayer.


  • Upheld the Kai-razy Wednesday tradition on Pink Street to welcome our Ikigai guest Gerry to Kaizen. He’s escaping winter in Argentina to come back to sunny Lisbon for a month and Chloe, Tiffany and I offered to host him for a week before he moves into his month-long rental.

The Blonde Brigade on Pink St.

  • Tried the Portuguese specialty Vinho Verde at a fancy wine bar with Ilana and Sonia on Thursday night. Vinho Verde literally means “green wine” but it really translates to “young wine” because it’s consumed soon after it’s bottled. If done right it’s light and fresh- similar to a nice pinot grigio, if it’s done wrong it’s extremely acidic and a kick in the mouth. Thankfully ours was done right.
  • Joined Ilana and Sonia for a personal walking tour our wonderful city manager Ligia helped set up. Our guide Cuco took us all around the city- from churches to castles to sketchy back alleys all the while delighting our nerdy minds with stories, facts and jokes.

We started at this “ruined” church. Basically the Catholic church put a lot of money into renovating the church and then it caught fire. So they did it again. And it caught fire again. And they did it again. And guess what happened? Yep. Fire. So they threw up their hands and said eff thisss. And here we are today.

We then wove our way through the old quarter- the only area that didn’t come down in the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake


Ok I have to tell you guys the story of the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake and its repercussions (because #futureteacher). So in 1755 the city of Lisbon was a prosperous trading city of about 200,000 people, most of which were Catholic. Trade was good, people were happy and everything was generally going well. Until the morning of Saturday, November 1, 1755, the Catholic holiday of All Saints Day.

On this especially holy day most of the residents lit their candles and left their houses to go to Sunday mass. In the middle of this process, (what we now know as) a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Lisbon. It continued for 3-6 minutes, opening up giant fissures all over town and leveling 85% of the buildings.

All of the survivors ran in the most sensible direction- down to the water so they could get across the river to safety. But boy were they surprised when they got there and saw that the river was dry. They took this as a gift from God- he was granting them passage to the other side of the river like he did for Moses.

HOWEVER. We all know that this was not actually an act of God, and about 40 minutes later the first of three tsunamis came through and swept away all of those trying to cross. As if this wasn’t enough, all of the candles that were lit for mass were now igniting all of the wooden buildings that fell on top of them, starting a fire that lasted for five days.

When all was said and done about 40,000 people lost their lives- 20% of Lisbon’s population at the time. Although one might think that the rebuilding of Lisbon and reintegration of new inhabitants was the biggest effect of the earthquake, historians actually see a much larger and more fascinating result- the birth of the European Age of Enlightenment.

In a devoutly Catholic country, after the earthquake the talk quickly turned to ‘if God is love, how could he do this to us?’ On one of the holiest days of the year no less. The earthquake destroyed almost every church in the city, yet left the red light district standing. Why? Is this a manifestation of divine judgement? Or is it proof that God doesn’t exist? Why would a supposedly good and true God do something like this to his people?

This event inspired many of Voltaire, Rousseau and Kant’s writings (Voltaire used it in Candide and wrote Poème sur le désastre de Lisbonne about it, and Kant went so far as to come up with the first scientific theory as to why earthquakes happen). These works ushered in the European Age of Enlightenment, or as Kant put it- the liberation of human consciousness from a state of ignorance to a state of reason. There was no God, because logically, no loving God would do this to their people.

We still see the residual effects of these philosophies today throughout Europe and the rest of the world, which, in conclusion, is largely why I find the Lisbon Earthquake so fascinating.

Ok, history lesson over! Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post.

The view from the castle- not too shabby

  • Stopped by my apartment after the tour so Sonia and Ilana could see it and also enjoy the most incredible sunset I’ve seen in Portugal so far. It’s funny how things often seem to fall into place at just the right time 🙂

Matching dresses!

Dat sunset doe

  • Overslept on Saturday morning and decided to audible from the trip I planned for us down to the beaches in Southern Portugal to hopping on the train to join the group’s beach day in Cascais.
  • Was convinced to go explore Sintra on Sunday with Sonia and Ilana and oh my god I’m so glad I did. Sintra is like an enchanted forest. As much as Lisbon is paved and built out and a little dirty and run down, Sintra is like you walked into Narnia. Lush and green with rolling hills and exquisite palaces and charming streets. It didn’t look like anything I’ve seen in Portugal so far.
  • Passed over the castle because honestly we just didn’t care about it (another day, another castle, ya know #checkyoprivilege) and explored the gardens of La Quinta da Regaleira instead. We came in search of one thing and one thing only- a really cool looking “initiation well.”

This is it. Mecca. This is what we came for. And boy was it worth it.

  • Found said initiation well after walking behind waterfalls and through underground passageways. And that was after we climbed towers and walked across step-stones in a stream. You guys, this place was literally like a grownup’s extra fancy, super lush Chuck E. Cheese and I loved every minute of it.
  •  Brunched it on the way back to the train because let’s be real, these ladies needed a pitcher of sangria after all of that walking. We ended up sitting next to a couple that we were on the train over with- total coincidence. And of course Sonia being Sonia (love her) struck up a conversation and told them all about my trip and Remote Year. Turns out they have a family friend whose nephew is in the application process! Holla!

What more do you need in life than a cappuccino and a pitcher of sangria?

Mischief Managed.

  • Made it back in time for…you guessed it- Indian food!!! There was no way I was going to let Ilana leave Lisbon without trying the best Indian food I’ve ever tasted. By the end of dinner she was in total agreement- best Indian food she’s ever tasted as well. #krushedit AND I got to go home with leftovers because she lives by the same philosophy I do- why chose between two when you can have both? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Love her.
  • Was surprised at how quiet my street was on a weekend night.. I figured it must be the calm before the storm that is tomorrow. May God help us all.