Continue As You Are

After continually praying about moving, but always getting the answer “wait,” or “continue as you are,” we turned our attention to trying to buy a place here. 

Woo hates to think about how much money we’ve already spent in rent, and gets knots in his stomach imagining that going on indefinitely.

Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a single house or apartment here for us. We’ve been looking around our immediate area, but I one time searched the online listings of the entire country of Portugal and came up with nothing. Not a single listing that looked right for us.

Woo keeps looking and we do occasionally find a house that we feel is worth going to look at. We do have a realtor friend from that (unfortunate) time we filmed an episode. She has been very patient with us, and we feel like we must be the worst potential home buyers she’s ever worked with.

I personally am so desperate to set up a home again that I’m about willing to take *almost* anything.

(You might ask: why not buy your apartment or set up a home there? This also is wrong. I think it might possibly the condensation mold we deal with every winter. That would be much more difficult to clean out of furniture. Both Woo’s and my wallets are ruined, for example.)

Anyway, we looked at two places this week.

There must be spirits that linger in a place even after the people move out because one place just felt ick.

The other house was better. It had some quirks, but we’re both pretty anxious to find something, so we decided they could work, and maybe even be fun.

Ruby got to go with us because she started school late that day (teacher missing).

We started out really wanting to like the house. We liked the many little rooms. There was one section with two tiny bedrooms that would barely fit a bed each with a tiny sitting room in front. This had little cupboards and window seats. Ruby wanted one of those rooms, she tried to make it work for herself, mentally.

Half the rooms were also separated from each other by a terrace, that I also thought could be fun, maybe with little solar lights strung across it.

However, as we looked through the entire house there was a sinking feeling that this house was not going to work for us either. Darn.

We’re having a similar feeling about coming to the US this summer. It’s not that there are two or three concerns that are easily overcome with a little help and faith and elbow grease, but dozens of concerns that are moving nowhere. We’re starting to feel it just isn’t right. There is definitely a block on our minds.

Woo took Ruby driving for the first time. And because Herbie is fifteen, Woo also took him.

Woo sent me these two pictures and asked: notice any difference in confidence/comfort?

This is as to be expected. Ruby’s been avoiding going driving with Woo (although she likes the idea of having a drivers license), and Herbie has been studying our every move for years. He told us when he was eight or something that he’d been watching us closely and already knew how to drive a car.

Ruby had fun, but Herbie really, really, really wants to go again.

Moses has struggled to find something to do during school breaks all year, as his classmates’ natural break state is glued to their phones.

We have asked Moses (and our other middle school kids) to not look at the phones of their classmates, and they are very good (exceptionally fantastic?) to honor this request.

However, it puts Moses in a tough spot. He dislikes being alone during breaks with nothing do, so he comes up with games and things to do to lure his classmates away from their phones. Unfortunately, each enticement generally only works for a few days to a week, before his classmates return to their phones.

(Linus’ class is still young and enjoys a lot of running around. Herbie’s class seems to enjoying lots of talking. Also, their breaks often overlap, and they have each other. Phones are not allowed in the elementary school, and Ruby, who sometimes needs a phone for school, has learned, through trial and error, to leave the phone in her backpack for breaks and look for someone who needs a friend.)

Last week Moses took his maze ball to school for the first time. It was a sensation!

Kids from other classes, teachers, funcionários, everyone, had never seen anything like it. Moses was good to disinfect it often, but it was outlawed at the end of last week. Too many people were touching it.

Moses had kind of a blah school week this week without it.

The sneakers I bought at Aldi for my birthday were very popular with the kids. I didn’t even know they were trying to be Vans (and either did most of the kids—only Herbie?).

Ruby, Linus and Archie went to our Aldi a week or two weeks later and bought a pair. Herbie and Penelope wanted some also, but they didn’t have their size. Moses wanted some, but made the (difficult for him) decision to save for something bigger.

I could tell it really pained him, so I offered to let him wear my shoes to school once a week. (His feet are only a bit bigger than mine.) He was very excited and wore them that very day.

Archie is in that state where he cannot hear or understand a word we say. Sometimes it’s clear that he’s trying. He’ll nod and take off, but in the complete opposite direction of what he should be doing. It’s especially bad in the evening, where he’s distracted by literally everything.

He’s spent more time this week working on his little comic books, writing and drawing them first in pencil, and then going over them with a black pen.

His fascination with those was replaced by his megaphone made out of toilet paper rolls, which was eclipsed by these erasers on a skewer.

Linus has a friend who’s little brother had to go to the hospital for an eye infection. (The little brother is also in Penelope’s class.) There were fears that the eye would be lost or the infection would move into his brain.

We said prayers for him and Linus was excited to tell us the next day that the little brother was already doing better. Then news that he was coming home from the hospital.

The day the brother was to come out of the hospital was a stressful day for Linus’ friend. First, some kids picked on him and he got in a kicking, hitting fight. Linus talked to him afterwards to calm him down and help him laugh.

Then, the friend didn’t do his Portuguese homework (due to stress and worry at home for his brother), and he got in trouble. Linus helped him feel better after that too.

Penelope is so easy to be entreated. I say something once, as a general suggestion to all the kids, as something that would be a good thing for them to do, and I find a couple days later that Penelope has taken me completely seriously and is doing the thing I mentioned.

In some cases it’s minutes. Herbie got an email from a cousin who recently graduated from college and moved to Wisconsin.

I mentioned that it might be nice for everyone to write him a note as it can be difficult to be alone and move away from your family for the first time. Then I promptly forgot about it. A couple minutes later Penelope handed me this.

And that’s our week! Hope yours was great!