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HAPPY EASTER from sunny PORTO!!  As my Austrian friend says, “Porto ist am schönsten!”  (Porto is the most beautiful).  A collaborative blog post:

S.W.M.B.O. set two goals for the year on her birthday:  1. To learn to drive standard. 2. To do the splits.  Up to now, she has done NOTHING to realize the goals and the clock is ticking.  Fahbio surprised her today by pulling into an empty parking lot in Porto for her first lesson.  In driving, not in “splitting”! – SWMBO


Venice here!   Happy easter also!

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!


– Lovely church!

S.W.M.B.O. Is learning how to drive a Standard-car!

Ok so this is what it felt like! :

1.  It was very jerky! 

2.  It was very loud!  ( Because of all the screaming , and all of the OH MY GODS!!!!! )

3.  But kind of enjoyable!!!  ( ‘Cause all of the laughing!!! )    HA HA HA!!!

Ok and this how you drive it!  DU DUU DDUUU!!!   ( Fabhio knows how to work it and is telling S.W.B.O how to at least move it! )

 ( It is kind of tricky because you need do a lot of stuff at once.)  So you need to release the brake and then let go of the clutch while pushing on the gas.

( It was VERY BUMPY!!!!! )

Stone, tile, wrought iron - the Holy Trinity of the Portuguese

Stone, tile, wrought iron – the Holy Trinity of the Portuguese

Firstborn here with my addition.  Most of my friends have their driver’s license and I, nearing 17 have only driven a car twice.  However, I do really like the idea of driving and physical challenges that involve precision (unicycling, snowboarding…) so when I saw my mother having difficulty with driving standard I saw it as a challenge and I wanted to give it a go.  Plus my neck was hurting from all the head banging since her driving made us feel like we were at a metal rock concert.

To my surprise Fahbio agreed and SWMBO was excited.  We just had to wait for Fahbio to take a pee break in the bushes.  OnlyBoy couldn’t wait to see me drive, insisting I wait for him while he went for a pee break as well.  Paris?  Oh, she ran off to the bushes too…

So finally SWMBO took my normal spot, OnlyBoy returned, Paris jumped out so she could eat a juicy orange, and I released the parking break.  Fahbio told me (vaguely) how to release the clutch and hit the (very sensitive in my opinion) gas to avoid the insane jerking, then car-dying of my mother.  I took a deep breath, tested how much to press the gas, tightened my fingers on the wheel, then whipped my head around when everyone screamed “A HORRRRRRRRSE!!!!!”

And out of the bloop we saw a horse! (Venice is aghast that I won’t change this now that I have explained the real saying to her but it is so sweet I just can’t – SWMBO).

Wait.  What?!  Here comes a horse...

Wait. What?! Here comes a horse…

The exact moment I was ready to give it a go a horse came galloping at us in the empty parking lot, in a busy city, on Easter Sunday.

I don’t remember the last time I laughed that hard – we were all dying.

When the horse was out of sight I tried to drive in 1st and made the same clangy, jerking motion my mom had.  I was about to try again when an old man walked through the parking lot.  I could turn right and risk hitting my sister or turn left and risk hitting this man.  Mom said I should turn left because he’s older and had had more years of living.  Luckily, I didn’t run him over.

Once I turned the corner we saw a car pulling into the parking lot (are you serious?!).  He drove up behind me and I just sat there so he drove through the trees to get to the other lane.



Paris kept yelling at us that she wanted another orange and moved to come towards the car.  SWMBO shrieked that she had to stay on the grass in case I hit her.  She said sorrowfully, “But I just wanted another orange…”  All of a sudden crazy laughter in the car.  I later found out that Onlyboy passed one to SWMBO who flung it out the window at her.  It hit the ground and rolled towards her.

All in all it was crazy and nerve-racking.  I could feel my hands shaking (especially when I got so caught up in clutch/gas movements I forgot how to brake).  But I’m proud to say that after my 15 minutes were up I was able to smoothly transition into first gear.

Wait.  What?!  Here comes a car...

Wait. What?! Here comes a car…

Wait.  What?!  Here comes an old guy...

Wait. What?! Here comes an old guy…

A day as fun and full of joyful learning as any we’ve ever had!

Hey, it's Easter - not Valentine's Day!

Hey, it’s Easter – not Valentine’s Day!

– Venice