Hi again, everyone! Sorry we’ve been out of touch for a bit, though we were lucky enough to catch up with some of you back in the U.S. Things got a little busy as we headed back to the States for the holidays. It was a wonderful visit and thanks to a packed travel schedule we got to see lots of family and friends. Christmas Eve in Oregon with Katrin’s family, Christmas Day in New York with my extended family, and New Year’s Eve in Vermont with everyone else on the planet. And still we were able to find time to enjoy the snow (which we’re told has since disappeared) at Mad River Glen with Vanessa and on the Prickly sledding run with Deb, Val, Bryan, Brian, and Kira. Sorry we didn't get to see everyone, but that just means some of you have to get over here now!
After two weeks overseas it was time to come home. The weather gods were smiling on us as it was 16 degrees below zero the morning we left Vermont, which helped make us eager to get back to Portugal, but unfortunately the airline gods were not on our side, as we ended up spending an extra night at a hotel in Burlington and then flying to Chicago in order to get to Newark. So we ended up getting home a day later than expected, which meant I got to take a shower and head straight to the office. But before that we went to pick up Blaze and Tazzy from our friend Sofia’s house, who took good care of them while we were gone. There was lots of excitement as we had our family reunion in Sofia’s yard. Though as Sofia said, Tazzy was lucky enough to “earn” a few kilos while we were gone.
An interesting part of our holiday travel was the sentiments we had coming back to Portugal. It actually felt like we were returning home, which is what I was hoping for. It certainly helped that our dogs were here waiting for us, but we also had friends that we were looking forward to seeing again, work to get back to, and events to look forward to. (One such event was Sao Goncalinho Day, which celebrates a saint at a local church. The festivities included fireworks and the traditional throwing of small hard cakes off the top of the church to the crowds below in the street. I failed to catch any, but was sort of out-manned by the locals who attached their fishing nets to 20-foot poles to catch them before they even came close to ground level.) It was a much different feeling than when we were back in the States in October for Al’s wedding. On that trip it felt like we had just left the US and had been away for a long trip. This time when we were in the States it felt like we were visiting before returning home to Portugal.