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Sixth Week of a New Life

Updated: Apr 2

Routines and Groundhog Days

Riding the Local Tram in Portugal

Riding the Local Trams in Portugal

After six weeks in my new city, it’s starting to feel very normal. I have a bit of a routine, some regular spots I frequent, and have started making a few friends.

Lisbon seems to agree with me.

My New Routine

After finding some of my favorite spots around the city, I have settled into a bit of a routine. I love getting up early, opening my French doors to the courtyard below, and listening as the neighborhood wakes up and begins the day. I’ve become familiar with the schedules of my neighbors. One of my favorites is the little man on the first floor just beside me who starts his day as I am finishing my morning yoga. He is usually leaving his apartment the same time as me and we exchange “Bom Dias” as he walks down the hill and I climb up.

It takes me over 100 steps to reach my morning café. The café is quite the payoff. Upon entering, you head down into a cave-like area with a friendly vibe that opens to a sunny, outdoor deck filled with tables. As I previously described, they serve some highly addictive cinnamon cream buns. Lou Anna, who works at the café, is as addicted to them as I am. We have formed a “support group”, helping each other resist the highly caloric but fabulously delicious treats. So far, we have been fairly successful!

When it’s time for lunch, I head to one of my regular lunch spots via the famous Tram 28. While it is cool to live where this historic tram is often my only way to other parts of this amazing city, by the time the tram gets to me, it is packed. Gawking tourists hang out the windows, trying to video the ride as the tram passes such scenic spots as scaffolding and trash cans. It’s highly annoying when you just need to get somewhere.

The afternoon is spent working in a different café, followed by either watching a football game in the pub, having dinner in the local spot on my way home, or cooking in my cute little kitchen area. I love it all!

Potential Groundhog Day Alert!

As I settle into my routine, I wonder if life here will start to feel like “Groundhog Day”. My life in NYC had begun to feel like I was in such a rut. While I have my rough patches like anyone else, it’s not like me to at some point dig myself out and find some joy in everyday life. In NYC there was such a sameness to my days, I simply could not snap myself out of this feeling like this was all there was for me. My life was going to be lived out in the same few blocks of the Upper East Side, doing the same things in the same places repeatedly, if I did not do something.

While I know I have much more to learn about Lisbon and the people who call it home, it does seem to fit me well. I had grown tired of all the rude service people in the US that seem to hate their jobs no matter what they are doing. I was weary of the “customer service” workers that would just as likely make you feel like an imposition to them, as opposed to slapping a smile on their face and doing the jobs they are paid to do.

Here in Lisbon, people seem to genuinely be happy. They help each other out. Shockingly, customer service people actually provide friendly customer service. While there are assholes everywhere, on the whole the Portuguese people seem happy. That is except for the city bus driver who smoked by me a few days ago, seemingly joyfully, as I was holding my bus pass out indicating I needed a ride. But then again, he seemed gleeful doing that so I am happy I could provide him that small pleasure.

If I find this routine becomes too much like the Groundhog Day that my NYC life became, I can pack up my things easily and head out for a new town. It’s an amazingly freeing feeling.

I’ll Miss It!?!?!

This week, as I was talking with some new friends in the local pub, I heard myself say “I’m going to miss Lisbon”. I was surprised to hear those words come out of my mouth when talking about my upcoming trip to the States. I have been looking forward to seeing friends in NYC and visiting family and friends in SC as I head back to collect my resident visa that was just approved. It was a strange, but good feeling to realize I would really miss my new home and the friends I am starting to make.

It’s true what they say about changing your scenery. It really does help you move on from things you needed to let go of, whether unproductive habits, a negative mindset or anything that might derail you from true happiness. It’s a journey and while I still have a lot to learn about my new home, as they say, so far so good!

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