July 2001
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JULY 2001:
Jordan wisely stopped Debbie from giving away the eight (8!) long-handled, tattered umbrellas that the former occupant left in the apartment. After years of ignoring the Pacific Northwest drizzle and developing a disdain for umbrellas, she couldn't imagine why she'd need one in Portugal. Driving rain is a good teacher, though, and now we are all learning the jaunty walk one assumes with a walking-stick/umbrella.

And after a good rain, what better way to dry out the dollies? .

In early July, Deb decided to stretch her linguistic skills with an extended visit to the Police station to retrieve Jane, our faithful red go-car, who had been towed. NOTE TO SELF: Just because everyone in Portugal parks their cars on the sidewalks, doesn't mean it's legal.

Drex has been busy making friends with the boy in the building next door, Alexandro (yellow shirt, left). He has also enjoyed his time at his preschool, Fundação, and we were dismayed to learn that it was going to be closed for August. (Everyone vacations during August, so the whole school decided to close.) It was sad to say good-bye to Drex's dear friend, Beatriz, and his teacher, Susana.

Friends have been very faithful in sending care packages and letters. Here's Drex opening one package (left) and celebrating life (right). Right now we are enjoying some of the most expensive chocolate chip cookies in the world (postage is pricey), thanks to one package which included a Costco-sized bag of Hersey's choco-chips.

Imagine our dismay at not finding any chocolate chips in Portugal.

Thank you so much. Each letter and package is a blessing.

Volunteer groups continued to arrive on the Habitat jobsite; all were from the United States except for a few local high schoolers who spent a week on-site as part of a public service project. Everyone is working hard in preparation for the World Leader's Build in August. The President of Portugal, Dr. Jorge Sampaio, has yet to confirm his participation... but we are still hopeful that he will arrive on August 8.

Photo left: Jordan, in addition to his sports time with Drex and the boys at the local Boy's Home, is squeezing in twice-weekly evening Portuguese lessons with Senhor António, a delightfully helpful Angolan man currently living in Braga.

Photo right: For those who enjoyed last month's photos of Braga's city center, Praça da República, I decided that I should also share this view of the American contribution to the Praça. It blends right in with the Baroque church, behind, huh? (That's Drex in front, driving one of the little electric cars that the city rents to children on the weekends. A walk thru the Praça becomes a wild combination of dodge-ball meets nascar-racing.)

As July wound to a close, we finally began exploring the beautiful Portuguese countryside. Here are a couple of shots from our first outing: a 15 minute drive to Póvoa do Lanhoso, our closest castle.

Left photo, Austin Kleber. Right photo, Drex Kleber.

PS: The Beloved Cat finally emerged, albeit briefly, from under Austin's bed.


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