Thursday, March 5, 2009
PORTUGAL THUS FAR:
Today I was blessed to see CasCais, Portugal...a cliff-side town on the Atlantic Ocean. Portugal is run through with a river – learn something new ever day, right?
I learned so much today as Laura, the woman that asked me to come, took me around. We went out to eat Portugese food, on a walk along the cliff-line, and on her daily pick-up routine with her. Portugese food is flavorful and seasoned but with little salt, fresh and light, lots of fish and things of the sea, vegetables in every dish. Funny…they bring out lots of delicious food and put in on your table when you sit down – Seviche, a whole ball of cheese, bread, olives….You only pay for what you eat. The city’s are clean and fairly safe although there is graphiti on many walls under 6 ft. tall. Beautiful tiles with Dutch influence covers cracks in the buildings left from the earthquake followed by the tidal wave that hit the city in 1984. African influence is huge since the Portugese pulled out of Africa and welcomed anyone that had Portugese blood (the soldiers had many children while there) to come and make their home in Portugal after the Portugese pulled out of Africa. The language sounds little like Spanish and actually has Arabic influence(from the Turks who ruled for many years). They use the Euro, start cooking dinner at 7 and eat around 9, drive as if when they don’t look your way…you don’t exist, and are not afraid to be expressive – a lot like Italy in these ways. This city is very affluent (multi-million Euro places along the cliffs) and almost all the buildings have an orange/bright color distinction. Portugal also became an asssylum for counties Kings etc. that needed to leave which provided many “palace–ish” homes to decorate the landscape.
As for me….I’m not sure why I’m here exactly, but I do know that my sister Laura and I had great conversation causing both of us to tear up a couple of times. This tour is nothing like any other tour I have eve been on. This family works for NATO which means there are few US families here – the nearest base is over 6 hours away, and they are emersed into a culture they knew little about in coming. I hope that I can be an encouragement, a sister, a friend, and a welcomed piece of home. Lord, how will you use that? This family has allowed me to make myself at home….I sit on a bed in my own room…heater blowing, hot water next to me in a grand mug. I’m set, and eager to see what study, reading, and prep. tomorrow will hold. I’ve been invited to tea tomorrow with a few Americans….Some of these women have endured so much….history may never tell and no movie may ever be made, but that makes them no less intriguing, patriotic, or heroic. I’m honored to be with them… and trying to listen as God leads. Cant wait to study in Numbers where I’ve been reading about Balaam and Balak and this talking donkey. Tonight I heard about Afghanistan and Iraq and watched the channel that we will never see in America made for the military overseas….I remember watching it as a kid when I lived in Iceland and Japan. We have so much to be thankful for in America…I am proud to be an American….praying for God to bring us back to our foundation in Him alone.
Posted by Amy J. Stephens at 8:56 PM