The Portugal Adventure – Into the Wild Blue Yonder

I looked at the thin envelope. Good news or bad? Was he going to dump me? Then I tore it open.

That undersized missive felt ominous as I opened the letter. Then I saw the rest of the story. The Portugal team was taking a group of teens to Germany for camp. Adult would driving the teens in vans and all of us would do some sightseeing along the way. Then he asked me the life changing question: would I come along on the road trip? Harry  would pay for my food and lodging.  If I could buy my airline tickets. It was my turn to have no words. I had a feeling, though, that we might be getting closer to the answers to my questions.

But now I had another question. Could I pay for the flight? Christian schools do not, on the whole, have money to throw about and I was certain that the airline would not take my word that I would pay when I had the money.  Reluctantly, I prepared to write a letter to tell Harry the sad news.

Then, my dad with puppy eyes in place, offered to buy my ticket. I was to pay him back when school started back up in the fall. So, I was left without excuse.

A travel agency in town took care of my passport photo and my travel arrangements. I had never flown anywhere on my own, and was all in a dither getting things together. No one wanted to drive me  to New York City, so I reserved an airport limo. Suitcases were procured and a good friend helped me shop for the gaps in my wardrobe.

Somehow I managed to keep both feet on the ground. At least until the day of departure. When the airport limo arrived it looked suspiciously like a van. But, we arrived at Kennedy Airport with time to spare. The direct flight to Portugal left in the early evening and I had adequate time to ponder Harry’s last letter.

The detailed information he had painstakingly written was astonishing. Customs had been carefully detailed. He could not come in to the airport and help me get through, but his directions lacked nothing. He added that I should try to sleep on the plane, because it would be a long day after I landed. Right. He signed the note simply, “I love you.” Given our history, I wasn’t sure what that meant.

The flight was about seven hours, and we were circling over Lisbon by 7 a.m. I peered out the window. The sun slipped over the horizon and bathed the city in red-gold beams.

Harry’s instructions were perfect. I passed through customs like a seasoned traveler. Before I could panic, he walked in the door. He beamed as he walked over to me, reached out his arm, and shook my hand.

Lisbon sunrise

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31 thoughts on “The Portugal Adventure – Into the Wild Blue Yonder

            1. Well, that kind of comes with the territory where you live. I can drink only decaf tea. There is something about regular tea that makes my heart do weird and scary things. I am a coffee fiend. My dad started me at a young age.

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              1. Proper coffee is a very beautiful thing indeed and I will always have one type or another after a meal if I am eating out or at one of my more sophisticated friends’ houses. Tea is a very English thing. I even love the almost ceremonial way it is made, with the pot and the strainer and such like. My Nan taught me how to make tea when I was very small, so it will always be a special thing to me.

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                  1. Hail everyone, I say – we can argue over accents later, first let us drink tea! (And coffee. Maybe wine too. Yes – wine would be good right now…)

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                    1. My current favourite is an Australian red which goes by the jolly name of Black Stump – a type of Shiraz, I think. But you can’t go wrong with a Chateauneuf du Pape. Or, whatever the corner shop is doing for 2 for £8.

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  1. Shook your hand?!? Well! After all that, I think you deserved at least a hug! Well done for doing the travelling alone thing – it can be a scary prospect, especially when you’re not quite sure what to expect when you arrive…

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    1. Back in the day I was nearly fearless though I had my doubts about flying. I still have to go through my pre-flight check which consisted of not thinking about how high up in the air I might fall out from if something happened. It doesn’t help when people tell me that more people die in auto accidents than flying. Then I had always wanted to go to Europe. Harry was already a mystery to me. That didn’t frighten me though.

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      1. It’s not being in control – even in cars I’m a much better driver than passenger. Not because I’m such a brilliant driver but just because I know it’s in my own hands. And most people do survive car crashes whereas plane crashes tend to be fatal. Fortunately they also tend to be rare…

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  2. I did the same pre-flight checklist!! I was in high school when I first flew, going with my Dad to a Lion’s convention in San Francisco. As we left the ground out of Greensboro I hugged my window seat and watched the ground fade away. “Okay”, said to myself, “If we drop from here, I can make it. And here. And here. And……uhmmm no. I’m toast.” And at that point I relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the flight.

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  3. OH my goodness, I am hooked, Suze. Your story as it unfolds in segments leaves me wanting for more. I LOVE this!! I am so thrilled for you that you are writing, my friendI OH I cannot wait for the next installment in this story!!! (((HUGS))) Amy ❤

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  4. He shook your hand? I was expecting a proposal at that point. LOL! But his detailed directions sound very Asperger’s to me. 🙂 I can relate. 😉 This was a great story! I can’t wait to hear more!

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