From day one, I was a bit of an anomaly.
Being the only American in a program of hundreds of other international students will do that for you.
Where we left off, wildfires surrounded the city, and I was beginning to make new friends.
The international office set up nightly “coffee time” which took place at a bar most often. Usually, most everybody got drunk as shit.
It was a personal renaissance. Not the getting drunk as shit part. I did that in plenty of places both remarkable and otherwise.
I met people from all over the world. I was exposed to different languages, cultures and customs constantly. I went to sleep every night with massive headaches from language use and woke up with massive headaches from alcohol use. I dreamt in multiple languages.
The entire city of Coimbra is built on a series of massive hills. Flat ground is rare. At first, I got constantly lost running through the national forests and the botanic gardens. The smell of eucalyptus still takes me back to running through these gardens jamming techno music at volume 11/10 and sweating out the sins of the previous night’s revelry.
Even being an extrovert and a person with a high tolerance for awkwardness, the relative isolation pushed me from my comfort zone in ways I haven’t experienced since. I was like Jim Carrey from “Yes Man”, I took every opportunity that came along.
And that’s how I joined a student protest in Lisbon.
Tomorrow the story continues!