The Portugal Chronicles – The Conference First; Home at Last

airportThe landing in Frankfurt, Germany was ummm…culture shock compared with the departure from JFK. It was more like what we deal with now when we choose to travel by air.

I had my camera, of course. When I tried to take a picture when we were going through customs, the Frau in the uniform grabbed it away from me. She told me in no uncertain terms: Nein! Sie können das nicht tun. I got it. I wasn’t in Kansas any more.

We were shuttled from the airport to a Gästehaus near where the conference was to be held. There were three bedrooms with three couples from Word of Life there. And one bathroom. Our freundliche Frau was an energetic woman and her home was immaculate at all times. She gave us good German breakfasts.

She schooled us, too. She objected to the amount of hot water Americans habitually use to take a simple shower. After the first night, she turned off the hot water heater* after about 30 minutes. I imagine she thought that was generous.

The conference was pretty typical Evangelical fare. It was intended to encourage weary missionaries who had been on the field awhile. It’s unfortunate, however, that I don’t remember anything except the meeting when the men and women were in separate rooms. It was mostly tips on getting along with one’s spouse. I do remember clearly one of the tips about hungry, grumpy husbands: “If he’s hungry, feed the beast.”swiss air

At long last, we took my ‘cello and boarded our Swiss Air flight to Lisbon. A short hop and we were circling around Lisbon. I could hardly wait.

Every city has it’s own smell, and Lisbon is no exception. After we went through customs, my olfactory nerves began to quiver. Though it was comprised of diesel fuel, cigarette smoke, and other components, to me is was eau de home.

hot water

* It was this type of small hot water heater that heats the water as it flows through.

7 thoughts on “The Portugal Chronicles – The Conference First; Home at Last

  1. Smells. As a little boy going to our family’s beach house, I longed for that first scent of ‘beach’. And beyond that, the smell of the beach house itself was so unique. Years of sitting on the oceanfront had endued it with smells that still linger in my memory long after the house has gone.

    Excellent post Susan!!!


    1. Ahhhhhh-beach. Paddington Bear took a mayonnaise jar to the seaside in order to bring home the fragrance of the ocean. I always gasp up a great lung full of beach smell as soon as I get there. (Portugal has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.)


  2. ‘If hes hungry, feed the beast’ Noooooo. LOL.. Did they really say that, or was that someone as tired and exhausted as you were?

    Missionary work is so challenging for many reasons, and because everyone is so different, each of us is motivated in different ways. It’d be a challenging exercise to be creating the framework for that conference!


    1. Oh, yes, they did tell us that. Just us women, though. The men had their own secret conference and only heaven knows what they were told. LOL Missions have changed a lot in the ensuing years. A lot of it now bypasses the missions boards and people are going out in “tent making” capacity. Like teaching English. We would so love to go back to Portugal in any capacity whatsoever. We loved it there. Thanks for coming by and commenting!


Comments are closed.