While I've been having a better time than this kid here in Lisbon, there are things that I've come across in Portugal that make me more confused than whether that stupid dress was black and blue or white and gold. (TEAM WHITE AND GOLD FOREVS.) Here are a few things that I've scratched my head at, and then promptly laughed to myself at while someone awkwardly stares at me.
- The grocery store is where my food dreams go to die. Every grocery store smells like fish. Most likely because of the famous Salted Cod that's just chillin' in OPEN AIR in EVERY STORE. Must hold nose at all times. When it comes to groceries? All I know so far is Vinho Tinto is red wine and that pretty much sets me up for success. But the other day I, a dumb American, thought that I could find Ranch dressing. I bought it, brought it home, and discovered the true horror that is...MAYONAISE. ON. A. SALAD. *Don't barf don't barf don't barf*
- Monkey say, monkey look stupid. I try to speak Portuguese, and the people laugh. Everyone knows English. Why are Americans so fucking privileged? We're the worst. Thinking that I was being respectful, I attempted to speak Spanish instead. Nope nope nope. "IS NOT SPAIN" are the words that escaped from the man who served me an espresso at an innocent sidewalk cafe. Well, shit. PIG LATIN IT IS!
- Donald fucking Trump. Damnit. I thought I escaped that imbecile, moving to another country and all. But it turns out, all of Portugal was just waiting for us to get here so that they could laugh in our faces. It's the most embarrassing thing ever. "Are you voting for Trump?" has become a casual phrase for Uber drivers and bar goers alike. And it sucks. I like to reply with,
"Well, just so you understand, I don't know anything about Donald Trump, okay? I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with an election or him running. So, I don't know. I don't know, because, you know, I know nothing about Donald Trump. I know nothing about what he stands for. And so you're asking me a question that I'm supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about."
- Sauce is no where to be found. RIP condiments, minus weird squeeze tubes of ketchup and mayo on the food that you eat when you're drunk (which is vaguely reminiscent of the amount of mayo on Jimmy John's sandwiches). Minus this, I hope you like your meals crusty and your mouth dry!
- PHOTO FOMO! When taking photos of something that no one else is taking photos of, other people will wait until you're done and then immediately begin taking photos of it. I've found this to be hilarious, so I've been casually taking pictures of shitty things. Example: a melted ice cream cone on a ledge that overlooks the water. Zoom in close on that meltiness folks; that gelato is really something special, I tell you what. *people flock to shoot melted gelato on ledge, it becomes a famous image, begin selling prints on the street, pay my way through traveling thanks to Melted Gelato on Ledge (2016, Lauren Bernal)*
- Flies are more aggressive than the drinking I've been doing. They're here to fly, and that's what they'll do; right into you, your food, your wine, or your nose, which I'll tell ya...isn't all that pleasant.
- Brunch Electronik has no brunch. WTF, mate? I expected Eggs Benedict and was given a music festival in a forest? Okay. I'll take it.
- The craft beer scene is weak AF. Portugal just isn't known for it. And it's KILLING me. If I have another Super Bock, I might move here and start my own damn brewery. Lo and behold, we did find something other than it at this restaurant. Sure, they only sell 4. But I had an IPA AND IT WAS GLORIOUS.
- I'm still a college student. Well, as far as these people know. You see, your college ID gets you a shit ton of discounts. I don't feel like I'm lying though; I'M A STUDENT OF LIFE, BRAH.
- No one can stop me, I'm all the way up. No seriously. Everywhere I walk I'm on a goddamn hill. GOIN' UP! ON A TUESDAY! AND EVERYDAY! NO ONE CAN STOP ME! UP UP UP! Where are the rappers when you need them? Serious inspo happening over here.
- NO SOUP FOR YOU! Turning me (and a few others) away for dinner has become a normal thing. This has happened more than once. Maybe because we're American, maybe because they genuinely give no fucks, but the fact is, no one waits for a table here. They simply say, "NO!" and shut the door in your face. FINE, LADY! I DIDN'T WANT YOUR CODFISH ANYWAYS! ("But their codfish is FAMOUS!", I cry-whisper to myself.)
- Bath and Body Works has nothin' on Spray Vinegar. Sure, it may look like your average B&BW Japanese Cherry Blossom spray, but in reality, it just lures pigeons in when you spritz it on your wrists like I...definitely didn't do...(Live and learn, folks.)
While adjusting to Portuguese life isn't all codfish and pastel de natas, it's been a hell of an amazing whirlwind so far. And don't worry, I've got two more weeks to embarrass myself and see what other shenanigans I get into. Want a hint? I downloaded Tinder this week. (Prepare for the worst.) Until next time...aterlay aysday!
Professional writer, designer, and do-it-aller. Remote Year citizen/alum. Currently living in San Francisco and probably trying to avoid the terrifying amounts of pigeons.