by our third day in the azores, alex, val, marcus and i silently decided none of us would say anything good about this place. this place felt like a quiet, semi-secret gem that we wanted to keep that way. at that point, it was becoming very clear we were on a special, rare trip. i have a hard time absorbing and getting a feel for a place when it moves quickly. but the azores moves pleasantly slow.

i spent 15 days in portugal with 17 people, many of them marcus’ family of portuguese descent.

10 days in the azores - eating a lot of boiled potatoes, fish, and octopus, drinking small beers (sagres and super bock) and homemade wine, swimming in the atlantic ocean for the first time in terceira, climbing mount pico, watching the running of the bulls, going to a night festa, riding mopeds around empty streets and long, winding roads lined by hydrangeas and fig trees in sao jorge and faial, and trying out what i could remember of brazilian portuguese i learned in college.

5 days in lisbon - quietly disliking the quick, cultural shift back to a large city, traveling to sintra, going to a chilly beach, and having more octopus and vinho verde.

these are all things i did. but the experiences themselves can be summed up as a continued effort to feel less like an outsider and to wake up earlier.