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Fifth Week of a New Life

Updated: Apr 2

Historical Wine Tasting and New Tribe Members…

Tis Travels at Palacio Pena in Sintra, Portugal

Tis Travels at Palacio Pena in Sintra, Portugal

This week, my friend Liz from NYC was here visiting Portugal for the first time. After we enjoyed a fantastic trip to the north to visit Porto, we headed back to Lisbon to explore my new city.

Drinking Wine on Top of History

Our first day exploring Lisbon, we took a quick train ride out to Sintra, which is a must see if you are visiting Lisbon. Sintra boasts fairytale palaces and castles that you can explore, all perched high on a hill with amazing views of the countryside below. While visiting these historic places, I like to take a break in my favorite wine bar on the square.

As Liz and I were enjoying a delicious lunch at the wine bar, the extremely friendly staff were apologizing for all the sudden noise. Local workers had arrived to blast the sidewalk open so they could do some work on the lines underground. We explained that NYC was our reference point so we were not bothered.

However, the entire staff started watching the happenings with great interest. Curious as to why the construction work was so interesting we joined them. They explained that since Sintra is so old, the construction crews always have an archeologist present when doing work underground in case something museum-worthy is uncovered.

Today they found something potentially museum worthy! We moved to an outside table with a view of the work so we could watch. The site where the artifact was located was covered with a white tarp and the archeologist was making sketches of the area.

Trying to find out more information, I made friends with the archeologist and a few of the workers. There was not much more they could tell us at this point so I asked if I could drive the dump truck instead. I was told I could not as I’d already been drinking. I protested, saying a few sips of one glass is highly unlikely to handicap me while driving that slow moving, heavy piece of equipment. My pleas fell on deaf ears, but I was told to return the next day and they would reconsider my potential spot on the crew.

The Founding Members of My Local Tribe

Back in NYC, I often referred to my closest friends as “My Tribe”. These are the people that will always be there for me. When I need a little help or a lot, they have my back. After 23 years living in the Upper East Side, I had a really great tribe. This made it incredibly hard to leave as they have been so helpful with the constant challenges and anxieties of leaving one life to start another.

As I was settling into Lisbon life, I began stopping in a small restaurant in my neighborhood that is usually buzzing with at least a few locals but often many. I would go in for something to eat or a quick drink. On my second night there, one of the owners asked if I lived in the neighborhood or was just visiting. When I replied that I had moved up the street, he introduced himself and his brother. He explained that the family business is run by him and his brother at night and his sister during the days.

He went on, telling me the restaurant has many regulars, and he would introduce me to them. Since then, he’s connected me to many people, and I am starting to form a group of friends. One offered to check my mail while I was away in Porto and take care of anything I might need with regards to my apartment as I was expecting some deliveries. Another is beginning to invite me to gatherings she organizes for the neighborhood locals.

When my friend from NYC visited recently, we stopped in my new local spot several times. On Liz’s last night, as she was saying goodbye to the brothers, one of them grabbed my hand and held it between the two of his. He looked at my friend and said, “Do not worry about Lisa. She is not alone. She will always have us.”

I realized I had already found the first members of my Lisbon tribe.

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