3 hours in Chicago

my mom frantically flips through the plastic safety "menu" of details as the using-your-seat-as-a-flotation-device instructions play on the little tvs.

we are on our first of many legs heading to Portugal, or as my family calls it, the MOTHERLAND.
and while my mother was born on that land, she has not returned since she was 5... and she is not much of a traveler.

so, I took the liberty of planning this 12 day trip for us. which means something will go wrong. maybe my passport will get stolen or my chromebook will explode when I forget to use the voltage converter or my luggage will fall in to the Atlantic or my mom will accidentally PURCHASE drugs in Lisbon and take them.
which is pretty bad.
(or... is it?)

several people have asked me "why Portugal?" in regards to vacation locations.
my grandparents - Manual and Isilda - are from the island Pico, one of 9 islands in the Azores 900 miles off the coast of Portugal. Pico is about 35 miles long and carries a volcano on its back.
mom tells me as kids on the island, her and her sisters used to chase chickens and roll a wheel around with a stick to entertain themselves.
luckily, I will have no time for that.

we have just 4 days on the island and they are jam packed with whale watching, volcano cave touring, caldeira balancing, ferry riding, wine tasting, and not accidentally driving off any cliffs.
(it has been a long time since I drove a manual stick shift)

but until our Pico adventures, we are roaming around Porto Portugal... drinking wine from our garden patio that faces the Dom Luis bridge and listening to seagulls that sound SO MUCH like screaming children (once you get used to it, it is nice).

in other news...
...turbulence. a reminder that you may have just paid hundreds of dollars to die.
...in Philadelphia, in transit to Lisbon, my mom tells me "I'm getting punchy". I step a punch-distance back from her and ask what that means. 
mom: "I haven't had any fruit or taken any walks"
me: "oh so, cranky?"
her: "yes - punchy"
OK then. I have adjusted our agenda to include walking far to purchase fruits.
...as my mom takes a photo of me writing this post she says "OK tell me when"
me: "OK, now"
mom: "OK, hold on"
...after taking said-photo she asks me "you aren't writing anything embarrassing are you?"
me: "nope"
...I had a birthday. and I will not hesitate to announce it was the best yet.

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