Here we are! We’ve somehow made it to our last week in Lisbon, which means a week full of tons of farewell activities and trying to get through all the touristy activities I thought I was going to have ALL the time to do in the beginning of the month. Lisbon was definitely a dip in my travels (and it seemed to be the same for my fellow tramily members), so I was definitely ready to pack up and move on to Asia to start fresh. Ready, set, let’s go end with a bang!
Monday was a big catch up day. I woke up super early to catch my flight back from Croatia to rejoin the tramily. After some tramily reunion snuggle-time, it’s time to catch up on my workload. While I didn’t write about it in my previous post, I still worked throughout my week in Croatia. How you ask? Since my days seemed so packed already. Well, it usually happened between the hours of midnight/1AM and 3AM. Yep, you read that right. But you know what? The lack of complete sleep is worth it to still be able to accomplish everything I want in the day. If I need to stay up late to get the rest of my to-do list done, I’ll do it. And I’ll be up at 7AM with a smile on my face cause I get to do all the fun things once more. I’m literally living the life I’ve always wanted to. And I will never stop being grateful for that opportunity. So no complaints about when my work hours happen. But back to my Monday, the rest of the day was dedicated to organizing myself for the upcoming week.
Getting back on schedule continued on Tuesday with a trip to the gym and then back to the computer for more work. Not only was this week our last in Lisbon, it was our last one with our resident citizen, Nathan/Nay aka my roommate for the past two and a half months. So this week was also dedicated to as much hang out time with him as humanly possible, since he was returning to the US and it was still unclear when he was going to come back to us (spoiler alert: his ticket is already booked back to Hanoi for the end of September, told ya you wouldn’t be able to stay away). So although he said he wasn’t going to drink, we picked up a bottle of Vinho Verde and enjoyed it on his balcony with the most beautiful view of Lisbon below us. A bottle deep, it was time to head to a new event that had popped up on our schedule for this month called a MOTH. A Moth is unscripted, first-person storytelling. Basically a person comes on stage and tells us a story fitting to the topic that is chosen for that night. For our first Moth, our theme was “Something No One Knows About You”. This opened up the floor to hilarious stories about sledding, law breaking in Paris, dangerous animal bites, and pretending to be animals. Don’t even ask. Although there were plans to head out afterwards, the second I made it back home I was ready to crash. And so my bed and sleep was the final plan of the night.
It was finally time for the Lisbon #newoccasional! Wednesday morning we set our alarms and woke up at a more normal hour (6AM) than some of our previous sunrises (see Budapest). Rather than ubering to our location since no real hike was needed, Nathan, Alex, and I decided we’d rather walk the 40 minutes to the top. This would get our adrenaline pumping and make the sunrise that much more worth it. We earned it! It’s so amazing to see new faces show up to the sunrise event every month and I think this was our biggest showing ever. And even though we were a bit worried about the angle of our viewing point and if we were going to be able to see the sunrise, it ended up being beautifully framed by Lisbon’s Alfama district. Success! No time for a nap, our last Wednesday is town hall and it’s time to get down to business about what to expect for our travel day to Vietnam! Asia, it’s almost time to be reunited. Afterwards, rather than staying to work in the workspace, Sadie, Jake, Adi, Nathan, and I decide to venture to LX Factory. I have to cross those touristy things off my list, remember!? LX Factory is super trendy and kind of designer’s dream. After spending a few hours in a café to work, we venture around exploring all the nooks and crannies of the place. We head home, get some more work done, and then it’s time to get ready for Nay’s farewell dinner. A bunch of us create a “How to Act” graphic for all the ~tough~ times he might have to deal with when he returns to the USA. The night is full of laughs and memories.
Thursday is dedicated to our farewell party which starts at BYOW, an art exhibition titled “Bring Your Own Work”, that was put together by our very own Ariela. It was a funky warehouse space with eclectic pieces of art, graffiti’d outdoor spaces and our very own DJ. The perfect start for the rest of the night. As always, our next spot to hit was 4 Caravelas, the bar we had our mixology class in, and also frequented for the majority of the month. On this evening, the bar was closed, but with a quick text to the owners, they were coming down to open the bar for us. Talk about VIP status. But before having another drink or two, I needed to try Gelato Davvero for what I heard was the best gelato in Lisbon. After witnessing the most ridiculous sequence of events, Nathan got wasabi ice cream and I got ricotta with fig and pine nut flavors. Delicious and another thing crossed off my list! The rest of the night was spent laughing at the bar with the tramily. And no night out is complete without Nathan making me a gfree grilled cheese sandwich for a night snack when we got home.
Friday morning I got up early to have one final breakfast with Nathan and help him bring his bags down. I completed some errands in the morning and then met up with Sakina and Chris for one final day trip outside of Lisbon: Sintra! If you remember from my first blog post from Lisbon, I had already been to Sintra, but unfortunately only the malls… so when I heard of all the castles Sintra had to offer, I needed to see it for myself. Although none of us did any pre research on Sintra, we boarded the train excited for the day. Once in Sintra we decided to forgo any other transportation and rather walk (or I should say hike) up to the castles. One hour and a lot of sweat later, we had made it Pena Palace, one of the more well known castles. There we followed the long line that snaked throughout the Duke’s chambers, and various viewing terraces. Next it was time to visit the Moorish castle. Another trek to get there (and a little shortcut for Sakina) and we made it to the stone masterpiece. The views were incredible and it was amazing getting to climb around the stone walls. But by this time we were exhausted, and as it was our last full day in Lisbon we still needed to get some packing done, so we took the train back. My apartment building (6 in my apartment and 6 in the apartment below aka The Dirty Dozen) decided it would be a smart decision to combine all the leftover food we had to make one big family dinner. Which resulted in random meals, sour patch kids dessert, lots of bottles of wine, and a new drinking game called Piccolo. Needless to say the packing had to be finished that following morning.
It was finally travel day to Asia! This was our first big travel day as a tramily and it was about to last 18+ hours with two 7 hour flights and a layover in Dubai. As I’ve mentioned on all my previous posts about travel days, regardless of how long the travel is, being with a group of 50+ people makes it always fly by (pun intended). The first flight Jake, Melissa, and I were blessed with having the seats right by the exit door, which meant we had full leg space. Which means we obviously deemed that place our “living room” and had various people come hang out in our space throughout the flight. Needless to say that 7 hour flight was one of the best and shortest flights I’ve ever experienced. It was a party in the sky once more and so much fun. After a short layover in Dubai, the second flight was not as fast and a bit more cramped compared to my previous Princess status, but eventually we had made it. We were in Asia!
As much I had loved my Europe leg of my adventure, by month 3 I was ready to be challenged again. Europe is definitely different than the US, but it’s an easy transition into the abroad life. Asia is completely different. The foods, the smells, the traffic, and the 11 hour timezone. It was time to test out my adaptation skills and I was ready for it.