First Week of a New Life
Week 1 in Lisbon
What a week! I would call it a rollercoaster but it basically started at the bottom and steadily climbed.
My emotions took a nosedive at the airport after such a lovely send off from my NYC friends. It was the nicest of farewells from many people I’ve known since my first days in the city to more recent friends. I even got a ride to the airport which any NYer will tell you, never happens.
The first few days in Lisbon were a steady climb to happiness. Everyday my spirits have improved and I’ve begun to find my places. A few favorites include…
Antonio’s. Well I guess it is called Antonio’s. I call it that because I don’t know what else to call it. As you approach, there is no sign with a name, just two chairs on either side of the entrance holding the very limited menu scribbled on the back of two real estate signs. A guy named Antonio is always inside, chatting with the locals or random tourists that wander inside this very nondescript place. If Antonio is by himself, he is sitting in front of the TV, watching movies or one of those “How does it work?” shows.
I love this place so much. Thankfully, it is conveniently located close to my apartment to provide a stop on the way home or lunch on my way out in the afternoon. Heaven.
Copenhagen Coffee Lab: Copenhagen Coffee Lab is a refuge to a stranger in a new city. This chain of coffee shops serves up tasty pastries and lunch options to the coffee-drinking laptop crowd. While they embrace us office-less workers with a smile, they have a no-laptop policy for part of the tables. We can respect that. We just appreciate the shelter it provides.
I’ve already made use of several of their locations and plan to visit more of them as my journeys around the city continue.
The George: I could not start with sharing my new local pub as you knew I’d get there. Yes, after visiting many Lisbon pubs on past trips, The George was never at the top of the list. It always seemed a bit too fussy to me, as I am far more comfortable in a dive bar. However, I’ve changed my mind. The staff here were very welcoming when I came to watch a football game one of my first nights here and I’ve been there for every game since.
The George shows all the football leagues I like except MLS, the home of my beloved NYCFC team. While I can completely understand why a European pub with only 6 large TVs would never prioritize MLS unless only water ballet was on, I am in talks with them to place a small TV in the corner where I often sit. I will help fund this TV if they always let me see my NYCFC games. At other times they can let the random stranger watch his/her game that no other bar would dream of showing. We could even raffle off viewing time on the TV and donate it to charity, get the TV an Insta account…the possibilities are endless!
My Local Bodega: Ah, my local bodega is going to be the challenge. I stop here on the way home for anything I might need from dishwashing detergent to juice to a bottle of beer. The guy that works the register always looks at me like an alien that just landed on his planet, uninvited. I always smile and wave at him, giving him a big “Hola! Bom dia!”. He just stares at me with the same uninterested look.
I will win him over. It’s just a matter of time. Antonio is helping me by writing down phrases for me to practice like “Nice to meet you” which I plan to use on my bodega guy. Currently I am taking bets now on how long you think it will take me to get something other than a blank expression out of him. Let me know!
I am loving Lisbon so far and I have only scratched the surface. I cannot wait to explore much more this beautiful, friendly city!