My husband Terry and I spent the morning in Marvão –at the castle about twenty  minutes from our house.  A beautiful blue sky – cold but clear – as we looked out from the battlements to Spain on one side, Portugal on the other.

This afternoon, we made the decision to postpone our flight back to the U.S from January to June. We are just too nervous about covid – and airports both here in Portugal and in D.C. – not to mention the flight between here and there.  We’ve been more than a little alarmed by the rate of infection in Allegany, Garrett and Somerset counties, and can’t see returning to that.  We are now “permanent residents” with laminated Residency Cards, so may stay as long as we want.  We learned today that we aren’t likely to get the vaccination here until April, at the earliest, and we want to be vaccinated before we get on a plane. It will be hard to be gone that long – from family, friends and dogs – but we’re committed to staying healthy and well, and will (as they say now) exercise an abundance of caution.

Our Christmas was quiet. The only festive thing we did was go to Castelo de Vide and look at the lights in the empty town square. No cards or presents or tree or ornaments.   A friend with whom we can’t visit, of course, because of lock down, dropped off a very sweet wreath for our door which he’d made himself, while I channeled Julia Child and made a hearty soupe à l’oignon gratinée.

Much as I’ve missed being at home with the family for Christmas, everyone I’ve talked with says that the tension in Washington, D.C. has been horrible. I follow what’s happening very closely from here, but still . . . it’s not the same thing as feeling yourself surrounded by the chaos created by a sociopath with power who advocates abandoning democracy and the U.S. Constitution. I can’t help but wonder what tomorrow will bring. 

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