I went to Lisbon for my birthday and saw where my great-grandparents immigrated from. Their building (not pictured) is still standing (or another building stands in its exact place, still full of residents). They lived on a hill in a neighborhood not unlike many in San Francisco. Away from the tourist areas on the water.

blue tile building below a suspension bridge.

I don’t know their story, I don’t know why they fled, only that they fled around the time Portugal turned fascist, decades before the revolution that brought democracy back in the 1970s. They fled in time for my grandfather to join the US Navy and serve in the Korean war.

It was nice to be in a country where I was only slightly shorter than the average height, instead of the size of the average tween. It was great to not need to stand on my tiptoes to order at a bar, and to be able to look other people in the eyes without craning my neck.

For my birthday I had bacalhau a bras which is apparently the most popular Portuguese dish ever, and better than I thought it would be.

Bacalhau a Bras and wine

I went to Lisbon with three goals: spend some time in the sun (the weather is much more similar to the Bay Area right now than Berlin), see where my family came from, and get myself a teapot.

A colorful teapot with orange, blue, yellow, red, and green stripes.

When I got home I came down with a cold or allergies because pollen season began, so the teapot quickly became the best thing ever.


A lot of things are up in the air for me this year, career wise. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been in Berlin for two years already. Managing a business across an ocean and handling taxes in two countries is hard and I’m about to do that all over again. I’ve lost and found and lost motivation to continue writing my memoir or pitch my researched pieces in the face of journalist layoffs and media companies shuttering. But I keep telling myself to keep going, and things will happen when they’re supposed to happen.

I reactivated my Laney College account to see what classes I could do online only to realize it’s going to be easier to visit the counseling office in the summer and figure it out when I’m next in town. I think if it is possible to complete at least my AA with Laney via online courses, I want to do that.


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