I’d like to tell you about our trip to Portugal to see our daughter, Nancy, and her husband, Terry, and to be with them at the birth of their first child. There would be plenty of things for us to do there—like cooking meals, grocery shopping, washing and drying dishes, washing Brandon’s (their new baby) clothing and diapers, cleaning the house, and anything else that needed doing. I felt like our trip would be worthwhile and we could enjoy ourselves and be of service, too.
We had one whole suitcase that was full of things for Nancy and the baby plus two other suitcases of things we felt we would need on the way. Among the things we took to Nancy were three dozen gauze diapers, several different sizes of children’s dresses and baby boy things, tiny baby clothes, two receiving blankets, a baby quilt, a large quilt for Nancy and Terry, a pair of low-heel comfortable shoes, a dress, a flannel nightgown, bed jacket, short sleeve duster, etc.
We had also bought two large hand carry bags made of Manila hemp so the bags themselves would not weigh much and we could take as much as we wanted in them. We got our suitcases filled with the limit of weight, 40 kilos for the two of us together, and we put the rest of the stuff we wanted to take in the hand carry bags. I think the hand-carry bags themselves, when full, weighed 12 kilos each, but that didn’t count on our total allowance. It did count when we had to carry all that later on, though, and we felt the weight on our own arms. We had in the bags: several kilos of peanuts for Terry, ten packages of Choca- Lot, three cameras, our vitamins, toiletries, translation materials, tapes and tape player with ear phones, writing materials, etc. We had our heavy jackets in them, too, so they would be handy in case we needed them along the way.
We left Enrile on Sunday, October 27th, 1985, after the regular church service and got a bus to Bagabag, where Chuck went to the SIL Publications Department to leave our books of Genesis 1-11, John, and I Corinthians for printing while I waited for him at the local bus stop. One hour later he was back, and we got a Pantranco air-conditioned bus to Manila, where we went immediately to the SIL Guest House. Monday and Tuesday we took care of last minute business, which entailed more purchases for Nancy and Terry, buying Christmas gifts for the rest of our kids and mailing them, and other things we needed to do.
It was Wednesday, the 30th of October. We got to the airport and got checked in at the baggage counter and were so thrilled to be on our way at last to Portugal. We turned in three suitcases weighing 36 kilos – 4 kilos under the limit. Chuck also had the man weigh-in our hand-carry bags, and they weighed 24 kilos but since that didn’t count against our weight limit, we were on our way to the immigration desk.
The immigration officer asked if we had our clearance paper and reentry permit, or SRC (Special Return Certificate). No, we did not have them. He showed us two papers we needed. If we did not have them, because we were there on a 9(g) visa as permanent residents, we would not be able to reenter on our return. We were absolutely stunned. I could hardly believe my ears and neither could Chuck. It seemed utterly impossible that we would not be able to leave on this plane. Not be able to leave the country! We would not be in Portugal to meet Terry and Nancy at the train depot. I was devastated and could hardly keep from crying right then and there. We would have to go back, get our baggage, find a place to stay that night, and figure out what to do.
Slowly we turned around and retraced our steps to the check-in officer, slowly, slowly, wondering what had happened and realizing now that THIS was why we needed pictures, ID photos one inch square. OF COURSE, why hadn’t we realized it before? We had ALWAYS had to have clearances and a reentry permit, including ID photos, when we left the country. Why hadn’t we thought of it this time? Then we remembered back to a day or two before when I had told Chuck to ask the lady at Singapore Airlines, our carrier, if we needed to have pictures. She told him she couldn’t think of any reason he would need them. Always before, our Jet Travel travel agent had taken care of these things for us, but on this trip we had gotten our tickets through SIAMA, a Netherlands travel agent who gives special rates to missionaries and their families, and though we had gotten a very reduced air fare, they had not reminded us of the necessity to get our clearances, etc. We should have remembered this, so we had no one to blame but ourselves. What a blow to our egos.
So with big lumps in our throats, we turned around, got our luggage that had already been processed, and after calling the Christian and Missionary Alliance guest house, because it was the nearest missionary guest house to the airport, we proceeded to it. We left our luggage there, and went to have our ID photos taken. Then we went to Jet Travel, our travel agent who usually takes care of whatever papers are required for any given excursions, and gave them our ID photos. We were very relieved when they said they would have all of our paperwork ready by 4:30 PM the next day. What had happened was this.
Chuck had not told the lady at Singapore Airlines that we were leaving the country, so when he went in to get some other papers, she had not reminded him we would need our clearances and reentry papers. That is why we didn’t have our releases and couldn’t leave there for two days until we got said papers, paid 1,240 pesos, and all was ready. The next day, while I took our ACRs (Alien Certificate of Registration cards) down to Jet Travel and then went to Divisoria to go shopping, Chuck went to Singapore Airlines, to get new reservations. He told them the situation and since they remembered having told him he didn’t need any photos for anything, or any other papers, we did not have to pay any penalty for missing our plane the day before. He also sent a telegram to Nancy and Terry telling them we would be delayed for two days.
Divisoria is an area in Manila where there are many shops all very close together in several huge buildings along a main street. In one section, the vendors sell things wholesale, mostly materials of different kinds, while in another section they sell clothing, material, and many other things at the retail price, but their retail price is generally much lower than in the other areas in town. This is the place where most retail shops in the provinces of the Philippines go to buy their wares. I had bought our Abaca carry-on bags here and several gifts for Christmas, but I wanted to get some other things now. I got Merilee a birthday gift—a lavender gown like I had gotten for Nancy, and a half slip and hankie. Later, I went to Pistang Pilipino to get a shirt for Mike.
I surely hoped they would fit and they would like them as it is so hard to find things for kids and grandkids, because I didn’t know their likes too well or their sizes, and it was quite frustrating, but I got things anyhow and just hoped they were right. Chuck liked Mike’s shirt so much that we went down the next day and got one for him and Terry, too. November 1st was a holiday in the Philippines, All Saint’s Day. The Catholics believe that on All Saints’ Day, departed souls can be communicated with because the veil between the worlds is thinnest on that day. They celebrate this by going to cemeteries and spending the day at the graves of their family members who have passed on. They adorn the gravesides with offerings of flowers and food. They dress very nicely, and that day is colorful and festive with all the flowers and food and other decorations.
Since we did not need to be at the airport until afternoon, we decided to go to Pistang’s first to get Chuck’s shirt and then on a little trip on the Light Rail Transit, an elevated train that goes down the middle of one of the main north/south streets of Manila. From it, we could see the cemeteries that lie parallel to the track, sometimes right next to it, and other times a couple of blocks away, and each one continued for several blocks. First we passed the Chinese cemetery, and then the larger Catholic cemetery. There were thousands of people on the trains that day going to the cemeteries to place flowers, food, or whatever else they wanted to put there. It was a very colorful and joyous occasion for us, too, but for a different reason. We felt free because we had our papers in hand. We got back to the guest house in time for a delicious lunch and took off immediately afterwards for the airport.
It was all sort of unreal the second time going to the airport again and going through everything. When we got to the ticket counter and turned in our luggage, there was the same lady we had talked to two days before. Chuck read the surname on her name tag, which he hadn’t done the first time. He was surprised to notice it was the same as a friend of ours from Enrile. When he asked her about it, he told her he knew someone in Enrile by that name, and the lady asked him if our friend’s name was Conching.
“Yes, that’s it,” he replied. “Do you know her?”
“Why yes,” she said. “She’s my mother-in-law.”
So then we had a short chat with her about how we knew her mother-in-law and her extended family. How nice to meet someone who knew someone from Enrile. Her name was Mari Caballero. She was a beautiful person, and we were blessed to get acquainted with her.
From there we went to Immigration, and everything went through like clockwork. The in-transit lounge had many people waiting for various planes. We sat across from three or four men from Saudi Arabia who were with a lady from Thailand, and I enjoyed talking a little with them. They were on their way to Thailand. She was a beautiful lady and she wore a very beautiful red dress. It ended up that she got one of the men to take a picture of the two of us sitting together, and then they were called to their flight. We also saw many Europeans who were waiting, and though they looked to me like Americans, their mannerisms were quite different.
We were still watching people when our names were called over the PA system.
“Now what’s wrong?” said Chuck.
We went up to the desk and were notified that our tickets had been upgraded from Economy class to Business. We didn’t understand how this could be. Then we realized Mari Caballero, our lady friend at the desk who was also the main supervisor for Singapore Airlines in Manila, must have known there were empty seats in the business section, and she wanted to show her respect by letting us occupy those seats. We asked, and it was true. How lovely!
When we got on the plane and into our seats, we noticed we had much wider seats, much more leg room, and as it turned out, the service was even nicer than in Economy class. The food was about the same, but it was served on lovely China, and in courses rather than all on one tray. Of course, if we had wanted to imbibe in the various drinks they served, we could have done that, too, but we chose pure orange juice, as much as we wanted, and it was really nice. It was delightful to see how business people travel.
We arrived in Singapore just three and a quarter hours later, 6:45 P.M. and we found out what gate we would be leaving from at 10:45 P.M. We visited a small theatre in the airport and watched a video about the history of, and life in, Singapore. What a lovely place to come and visit later.
We saw people from so many different parts of the world there. It seemed to be the crossroads to almost anywhere in the world but the U.S. So many people, and we couldn’t communicate with them at all. All were people in transit to some other part of the world. This was exciting to see, but frustrating to be unable to talk with them. They looked so like us but were so different, at least in their languages and in their customs and clothing, though most wore clothes that seemed Western in style.
In Manila, it was interesting to see the highly fashionable women in their long dresses to mid-calf with sort of loose-fitting overblouses and high heels. I thought maybe that was the style all over the Western world now, but that thought was merely a part of my naiveté. These were mostly Filipino ladies dressed in this manner, and it was a way that only Filipinas dressed. The Europeans in Manila were not dressed like that at all. Some were stockingless with open-toed shoes and summer clothing. They looked like they might be returning from a holiday.
In Singapore, though, people who had just arrived from northern countries were wearing suits, very warm jackets, heavy shoes, and winter wear. I felt a bit out of place in my comfortable sandals with no hose and my ski jacket. Stockings make me very uncomfortable on the plane, so I can’t bear to wear them.
Our plane was bound for Paris via, Dubai and Athens, but as we were awaiting the flight, we were told there would be an hour delay. We noted the ladies at the door taking the boarding passes, two Indian women, one with a red dot in the middle of her forehead, and the other without. We discovered this dot meant she was married. At Dubai, our second stop on the way to Paris, we came in for a landing and noticed the land was very flat. Two huge fires were burning in the distance, which indicated to me that this must be an oil land, with natural gas escaping which they were burning, as happens in Southern California oil fields.
When we got off the plane to see what it would be like there, we noticed men in long robes and big turbans around their heads with automatic rifles at their sides. They looked rather fierce. We no sooner got into the rest rooms when there was a call for us to go to security and prepare to go back on the plane. However, before that, I noticed the toilets in the restroom were floor toilets, no stool. It reminded me a bit of the Philippines, but these were all beautifully tiled.
Also, the few women we saw there wore long robes with scarves over their heads, and they had dots on their foreheads, and several had little children with them dressed in Western style clothing. They were darling little children. Maybe these women were from India, I didn’t know. We guessed Dubai was one of the United Arab Emirates. This was true.
When we went through the security check, I must have made the bell ring because I was taken into a side room and a lady frisked me to see if I had any weapons. My ski jacket had metal on the belt, so I think that made the bell ring. I was not scared, but remembered hearing of Filipino women who had to be frisked in just such a room as this, only they had to disrobe. I was very thankful I did not have to go through that.
When we went outside to get back on the plane, there were several uniformed men on the tarmac to see that we got back on the plane. They carried rifles, too. There were also men in the long robes and turbans who looked quite forbidding, so we avoided talking to them. Soon, we were in the air and on our way to Athens.
In Athens, we had to stay on the plane. We looked for Mars Hill but could not see it. From our seats on the plane, the terrain looked quite a bit like Southern California with dry brown hills. Somehow I felt a bit disappointed because I was expecting Athens to be something fabulous; I thought I might have a feeling of awe, but I didn’t. It was just another ordinary-looking city. A couple of weeks later, they had a hijacking right there in that airport, and we were thankful we weren’t there for that.
On the way from Athens to Paris, the clouds were below us, and it looked like the ocean, only all white. All of a sudden, I saw jagged snow-covered mountains piercing the clouds, and it looked like an island of very jagged sharp mountains in the ocean of white clouds. The ski instructor who sat behind me told me these were the Alps. Later we saw another group of mountains, the tallest of which was Mount Blanc. Chuck got a picture of the latter set of mountains. Then they were gone. I thought of the story a Bible translator friend of ours told us. He had walked over these same snow-covered mountains like this one time led by the footsteps of an angel. I saw even more clearly how he would never have been able to make it without such help! Here I found the awe I was expecting to feel at Athens.
Upon reaching Paris, we were met with rainy weather. It was 5 degrees Celsius, 41 degrees Fahrenheit, which is cold when you are coming in from the Philippines. Chuck sent me to get our money changed while he went to get the baggage, and I was disappointed not to get more francs for our U.S. dollars than we did. $1.00 U.S. to 7.3 francs. If we had had travelers’ checks, we could have gotten more francs for our dollars than we got from the real money. Chuck went back to ask about that, but that was the way it was listed on their board, so that was the way it had to be. Later we found out from Nancy they would rather have the travelers’ checks because they can wait until the exchange rates are better to exchange them, and that makes sense.
With luggage in hand, we needed to figure out how to get to Lisbon, Portugal by train, which Nancy had told us, was the best way to get there from Paris. It was difficult to transact business with so little ability to communicate with the locals. (For some reason everybody there was speaking French.) Few people we spoke to at the airport could speak English, but we eventually got the information we needed.
We had to get on a bus to get us to a train that would take us to the Austerlitz train depot in downtown Paris. From there, we could catch a train to Lisbon the following morning. When we got on the bus, it had handy racks for luggage in the center part across from the doors. We placed our luggage on the racks and were on our way. Fortunately, there was a passenger on that bus who knew English, and was going where we were going. Being helpful, he guided us to the train we wanted.
When we got there, he showed us where we should put our tickets into a machine to be dated so we could get on the train to downtown. Thankfully, there was nothing special about the ride downtown that afternoon. Austerlitz was at the end of the line. We got there and started looking for a ticket booth, but didn’t know where to look. Chuck went downstairs in the direction most of the people who had left our train had gone, and asked a man he saw behind a window where to get tickets to Lisbon. The man did not understand much, but he got the message through to Chuck that the main station was upstairs, and he pointed “up” in a direction where Chuck couldn’t see any stairs at all.
This was just the beginning of a long and frustrating search for a way out of the train station and a way to get tickets to Lisbon. Chuck left me with the luggage (about a hundred pounds) while he went off in search of what we wanted. I spent a long time peoplewatching and observing Parisian fashion. I met and tried to chat with a delightful lady who reminded me of one of my mother’s best friends, and so was able to pass the time amiably until Chuck returned. When he finally did, he had train tickets to Lisbon and reservations for a room that night at the Hotel Esperanca. Our train would leave for Spain from this very station.
We took our heavy baggage through the turnstiles, went through a tunnel, up some stairs on the other side, and a young man showed us storage lockers where we could leave our two excess suitcases overnight. Then we were on our way to the hotel. It was a rainy day ride on the bus, and we soon found the Hotel Esperanca.
It was not a very large hotel. It wasn’t very fancy. It had no elevator, but it was clean. The man at the desk was a short stout man, and when Chuck showed him the receipt from the Department of Tourism, he understood that we had a reservation and gave us our key. We climbed up six flights of stairs to the third floor and Room 22. A landing was positioned half way between each floor, thus the six flights.
Strangely, on each landing was a small room containing the toilets, so people had to go up one flight or down one flight to the toilet. Our room was small, with a clothes closet, small table, larger table, chair, and one double bed. It also had a small shower stall and wash basin in a little room set in one corner, and it had hot water. A steam heater was under the window, which looked out on another hotel or apartment house. It cost only $21.00 U.S. for the overnight stay, with breakfast the next morning included.
It was afternoon, and we hadn’t eaten, so we took out food we had been putting into our bags from meals on the plane, and ate it for lunch. There was plenty. Since we were so tired, we opened up our suitcase, changed clothes, and went to bed, sleeping for three hours. The bed was just right, and had plenty of nice warm blankets. It was great. We awoke in early evening, dressed as warmly as possible and went out to find an inexpensive restaurant. It was cold out for us Filipinos, so we walked quickly along the street. The first place we saw was an open fruit stand, which was full of the largest and most delicious looking fruit we had seen for many a month. It had oranges, apples, pears, grapes, and I don’t remember what all else. They were a sight for sore eyes, but the stand was closing up and the fruit was too expensive, so we continued down the street.
We found menus tacked on the outside of each restaurant so we could see if we wanted what they had or could afford it. We finally settled on a pizza restaurant and went inside. Apparently it was a family business, as it seemed like the two waiters might be the sons of the lady behind the counter. It was a nice cheery place with clean white tablecloths and sparkling tableware. The younger man greeted us cheerily and gave us a menu. He spoke a little English. We ordered the cheapest pizza on the menu and the next cheapest. I had a tomato and onion pizza while Chuck had anchovies and olives and something else on his. Neither one tasted good, they were NOT like pizzas in pizza parlors in the Philippines or States, that’s for sure. But the service was delightful, our water was special bottled water and very tasty, and it was a nice warm place. Still, we decided not to get the cheapest dish on the menu anymore.
It was drizzling when we went outside. Walking back towards our hotel, we stopped at a red light, waiting to cross the street. Next to us, we noticed a young lady who was dressed up in a beautiful fur jacket, very high heel black pumps, fancy lace black stockings, and lovely skirt with a beautiful hair-do and all made up fit to kill. When the light changed, she got on her bicycle and rode away. We were astonished! She acted like this was normal run of the mill activity of Parisian ladies and never batted an eye.
It was colder now than before, so we hurriedly walked to the hotel and were happy to be back in a warm place again. After devotions and changing into our warm night clothes, we were off to dreamland. We slept like logs the whole night. Getting up early the next morning, we had a delightful French bread and hot chocolate breakfast. That was the beginning of our love affair with the bread over there. Absolutely delicious! We both loved the breakfast, and there was plenty to eat, too. Now we know what a continental breakfast is.
After that delightful breakfast, we were ready to go. This was now early Sunday morning, and the buses were infrequent. We walked down a long block to the bus stop, ultimately running breathlessly as we realized it was going to leave without us. It took us to the train station where we anxiously searched for our train. It appeared we would have to pay a “supplement” of an outrageous amount which we did not have, so we didn’t know what to do. Just then, along came a woman who asked if she could be of help. We told her our situation. She told us there were actually three trains leaving for the border within a half hour of each other, and all would arrive in time to catch the train to Lisbon. The other two trains would get there a little later than this one we had chosen, but we would not have to pay the supplement to board them. So we went to the first train with no supplement tax, boarded it, and were soon on our way.
The compartment we went into had only one occupant, a 63 year old lady, and no one else came in the whole day long, so it was almost as good as first class. Along the way, she taught us some French; she understanding absolutely no English, and we understanding only the words in French we happened to get from her, a real “linguist’s delight.” Her son was a police inspector, we found out, and she lived in Bayonne, in the south of France. Before we reached Bayonne station, she even showed us the tract of homes where she lived which was just lovely. She was a delightful companion to us. She reminded us a little of a dear friend of ours who we think is of French background.
The weather was sunny most of the time. We had prayed for good weather so we could see the scenery, and our prayers were granted. It was beautiful country with fields newly harvested and hay mounds here and there, old corn stalks still standing, and corn in bins with tile roofs or corrugated iron roofs over them. The houses in France were generally stuccoed or had bricks or stone on the outside with shutters over the windows to keep out the cold. Most had two to four or five chimneys on top plus at least one TV antenna. Everything seemed to be very clean. In the countryside, almost everywhere we looked, we saw men and boys with their guns and dogs out in the fields, and it seemed to me Sunday was the day for hunting. I had thought they were hunting for rabbits, but we were told later they would shoot at anything that moved.
At first the land was level, but then it became quite rolling, all just beautiful. There were ferns in the northern part under the pines, brown from having gone through a recent freeze, while those in the south were still green. Later on, we began to see groves of evergreen trees in various stages of growth. We supposed they would sell off the wood for lumber when the tallest reached the right size. We did not go through the Pyrenees at all—or even to Madrid, as we were at the western part of France, and once in Spain, we headed straight for Lisbon. When we changed trains on the plain of Spain, it went more inland, but by then it was evening and soon became dark so we couldn’t see much of Spain.
We changed trains at Irun, Spain. At that depot, a porter came along and took charge of us. He had a big dolly and put our luggage on it, telling us to go ahead through customs and he would meet us there with our things. At customs he caught up with us. We were only required to open one suitcase, which was done fairly quickly, and we were through customs. We got on the train to Lisbon, a Portuguese train waiting on a nearby track. He showed us the proper car to get on, told us to go ahead, find a compartment, and he would push the luggage in through the window. He was in a hurry, as there were many people vying for compartments here. Remember, there were three trains that left that morning from Paris for Irun, but here at Irun all passengers for Lisbon had to get on this one train.
There was already a man in the compartment where we wanted to go, and he sort of stood in front of the door as though he did not want us to enter, but we crowded in around him and put down our things. Then Chuck got the luggage from our porter outside, and he put it in the racks provided above the seats. While I stayed there and saved our seats for us, Chuck went out and paid the man who had been so good to help us. He charged 40 francs, which would be about $6.30 U.S. (Later Nancy and Terry were dumbfounded that he would charge us so much.) But we were on the train, and we had good seats in our new compartments. The man who had been standing at the door had been trying to save the compartment for him and his three companions, but with eight places in it, there was plenty of room for him and for us and even for two more besides. Although this train wasn’t as nice as the French train, the food couldn’t have been more delicious. The roast beef was out of this world, and again the bread was good.
We were going second class, so we had to share our compartment with six other people, but fortunately, they were lovely people in their 30s. They spoke English fairly well, so by way of conversation, we explained why we were going to Lisbon, and they explained some things about themselves. Later in the evening, it was difficult to sleep sitting up, but by very early in the morning, all but one man had gotten off the train, so we were able to stretch out and sleep some then. Later, more people got on that were really friendly folks, too. These spoke English, not as well, so we learned some Portuguese in our conversations with them.
We arrived in Lisbon at 10:30 A.M., and while I waited for Chuck to go look for Nancy and Terry, Nancy came running to me and gave me a big hug and kiss. How good it was to see her! We found Terry and they took us to their apartment in Alges, a suburb of Lisbon, and we went up the elevator to their place on the sixth floor of a large apartment building.
That afternoon, Nancy had a doctor’s appointment, and she found out the doctor wanted her to go into the hospital the next day for tests in the afternoon, and if the tests were all right, then she might go into labor then. She told them that she might have to take the baby by Caesarean section. That was quite a blow to them, as they had planned on a normal delivery and had gone to Lamaze classes. They wanted to know what we thought about this. Should they actually do as the doctor suggested? We told them we felt that whatever the doctor said, they should probably feel confidence in her since she had done so much for them already, and how could they change at this time? They would have to realize that the Lord was using her to help them at this time. That gave them peace about it, so the next afternoon we all went in to the hospital.
For Nancy’s test, they put her on an operating table and put cathodes on her abdomen to check her contractions while also checking the heartbeat of the baby inside. Then they gave her an injection to induce labor. She was in labor for three hours with hard labor she said, though she didn’t feel any pain, or very little. When the doctor came in, she checked the position of the baby and the printout from the cathode machine and saw the heart of the baby was strong and in good condition. But it had not dropped yet, and couldn’t drop as it was trying to go out through her pelvis bone rather than down the birth canal. She tried to move it manually, but it would not move, so she decided to take it by Caesarean. That night, the baby was born at 8:15 P.M. We were very happy that it was a beautiful baby boy. He weighed in at 4.07 kilos, which is eight pounds, fifteen and a half ounces. Also, he was 52.4 centimeters long, which is twenty and a half inches.
Here’s how it came about. When the doctor decided it was time, she prepared herself for the operation. Nancy was readied, and Terry was ready, too, dressed in a green hospital robe with his mask on so he could go into surgery with them. He pushed Nancy’s gurney into the operating room but they would not let him actually go into the room. He got as far as the swinging doors, and that was as far as he was allowed to go.
This was a complete shock! This could not be! But it was. Hadn’t he gone through the Lamaze classes, and wasn’t he supposed to be allowed to be with Nancy when she delivered? Sadly, this birth method was different from what the Lamaze classes had prepared him for. She was having a Caesarean section operation, and only surgical personnel were allowed in the room. Unfortunately, the doctor hadn’t filled him in beforehand on what would happen in this eventuality.
He came back to the room where we were waiting, and was pacing like a caged animal, fuming within himself. He had felt he was in control up to the point of those swinging doors, but after that he felt that he just wasn’t having anything to do with it, and that was really frustrating. We really felt sorry for him, and as we look back on it, it was just too bad the doctor hadn’t told him ahead of time what to expect in case of a Caesarean section. But that was the way it was. Thank goodness it didn’t take long for the doctor to bring out that beautiful little boy. That made up for any frustration Terry or Nancy or any of the rest of us had felt that evening.
They brought Nancy back into her room, and we were surprised she was already awake, almost as in a dream, but at least she knew something of what was happening. She could hardly get over the fact she had had a little boy, because at first the doctor had said, “It’s a girl!” When the baby had been all cleaned up, they brought him in and put him to her breast. Although this was the first time for him to be there, it didn’t take him long to find there was food there for the sucking, and he was so nice and warm, and happy, too, that he was soon fast asleep.
Terry was allowed to stay with Nancy in the room all the time, though he took his meals elsewhere, sometimes down at the hospital cafeteria, which had excellent food, or else outside the hospital. We also were allowed to go in and out any time we wanted, as we were the proud grandparents. This was so new to us that it took a while for us to get into a routine. But when we did, each day we would take our lunches and clean clothing for the baby and go to the hospital on a bus.
Nancy and Terry had shown us where to get on the buses, where to make the transfer, and where to get off to get to the hospital. Terry gave us a map with the numbers of different buses that went throughout the city of Lisbon plus another map of the city so we could get around wherever we wanted to go on our own, though he really would rather have taken us where we needed to go as he was dubious we could do it alone. However, with their good directions and our penchant for wanting to try it without help, we were able to get around almost like veterans within a short time—at least to the hospital and back to Alges. When we were at the hospital, before we started making our lunches and taking them regularly, Terry took us to the hospital cafeteria to have a nice dinner there. Later, we went back again on our own and enjoyed it again. We also went out of the hospital, down a block, and over several blocks on the main street near there, and had dinner a couple of times at a snack bar where they served delicious beef steaks with a fried egg and French fried potatoes on top.
The first night we were there, before Nancy was in the hospital, Nancy and Terry showed us around town and took us out to dinner. We went downstairs and walked to the various points of interest near where they lived. We learned where there was the grocery store, the best fruits and vegetables, and the various places to get special foreign foods we might want. They also showed us some other interesting things about Alges that we should know, especially since we would soon be on our own at the apartment, and it would be nicer if we had some guidelines to help us. We appreciated their foresight and thoughtfulness in doing this, as it came in very handy. Eventually, we ended up in a nice restaurant, which at first I thought was a liquor store, as there was so much wine and liquor for sale in the front section. (We were soon to find that, no matter where we went, there would be that same type of set-up with all the liquor and wine on display because so many Portuguese love that.)
For supper, Chuck ordered roast beef, Nancy had filet of sole, and Terry and I had liver. My liver had a very distinctive, unfamiliar flavor, but I ate most of it anyway. The liver dish was served with boiled potatoes and nothing else. No vegetables other than the potatoes, though Nancy and Chuck both had vegetables served with their meals plus a small dinner salad. We all had delicious fruit for dessert.
Those days were fast and furious, but our mornings began to take on a certain pattern. Every day we would get up early, as we were still geared to time in the Philippines. We would get the wash done by hand and hang it up. We started our breakfast with Pensal, a sort of wheat-coffee, popular in Portugal and Brazil. We also had bread or ‘pao,’ pronounced ‘pow,’ with margarine and any of a number of delicious jams they have there. We liked the sour cherry jam so much we bought a dozen jars to bring back to the Philippines with us. We also had a bowl or two of corn flakes or another kind of cereal we bought. Of course, we also had a piece of fruit, i.e., apple, orange, banana, tangerine, or pear.