I was too exhausted to be excited when the voice over the intercom informed us that we would soon be landing in Lisbon. My head was still stuck in packing mode and fare wells and the mixture of all sorts of, "what if's", to even care. The fact that there was “no turning back” was now a reality as I stepped into the unknown trying not to act lost.
My first concern was to see if and how our beloved cocker spaniel had survived the trip, when much to my surprise, I heard her above all the noises of the hustle and bustle of the airport terminal and long line at the custom booths. I could hear her barking with the anxiety level that signaled stress! We followed her frantic sounds toward the direction of the luggage conveyer belt where she (in a now up side kennel) circled around almost teetering off. Needless to say she was drawing a crowd. Later I came to understand why; besides the noise factor echoing throughout terminal from our pooch; pure bred dogs were a novelty and domestic animals were not exactly the norm in the Portuguese culture, unless they were a working canine. Hunting, herding, and guarding were common but it was a rarity to see dogs come through as luggage. Divine providence though,
after of all the ruckus caused by our pooch, it helped in expediting the cranky canine's release as well as our own. So they waved our entire luggage through manual inspection enabling us to make our way towards the exit doors and fresh air without any delay.
So there we stood, like the proverbial foreigners that we were, trying to see if anyone looked like a missionary and designated driver. We had not met him so we were clueless as to what he looked like and hoped he would figure out who we were.
And he did, and with no problem at all, why you might ask, as much as I pride myself in couture we definitely stood out amongst the European people, three gringos dressed in pastel colors and a dog. And, note to self,the weather in the month of April is anything but warm. We were freezing!
…thus began the first day of the next twenty-four years of our lives in the country of Portugal...