Have you ever heard of the term, being stuck in the weeds? For some reason a song called Little Boxes by Malvina Reynolds has been stuck in my “head weeds” all week. It was also the theme song for the hit series Weeds on HBO. I think it has been stuck in my head, because I’ve been thinking about all these little houses on the hillside in Coimbra, Portugal. That’s when the song started playing up in my mushy brain.DSC_2632
I’m kind of going backwards in time right now. I do that a lot when I sleep, especially when I am under a lot of stress. So why not release some backwardness onto the screen today. Being stuck in the weeds, is a term that is often used in the restaurant business. It’s a term to describe a server who is extremely behind.DSC_2665
When you’re in the weeds, you’re literally stuck. Stuck with a list that keeps building. For instance, you have been double or triple seated by the hostess. You need to get a straw to table nineteen, return to the kitchen and pick up a ramekin of extra ranch dressing for table eighteen, deliver a check, run a credit card for one table, make change for another table, pick up an order of drinks from the bar that was entered into the system five minutes ago, take more bread to the table who wants more ranch (for the third time), get a fork for a table that their kid has dropped on the floor, refill water and tea, run your food because the runner is swamped in the kitchen and so is the rest of the staff, you have side work to do so the restaurant keeps running smoothly and then you notice the hostess is seating you again. This is a little bit of what being stuck in the weeds is like.DSC_2653
 When I’m under stress, I don’t dream about bad things happening to my son, husband or extended family and friends. I don’t dream about life behind the chair. I dream about waiting tables in the weeds. When I have a dream that takes me back to waiting tables, I know that I am under a lot of stress. That the time I am living in is ticky-tacky. It’s like I am stuck in a box filled with the ticky-tacky and there is no way out. It’s a  dream you wake up too, still remembering what your customers ordered, and haven’t plugged it in for the kitchen to make.DSC_2639
You have an Arnold Palmer with only fresh squeezed lemonade you need to make, two pints of beer to deliver, ice needed to be dumped into the soda fountain to help keep things running. Oh and that cheese cake with strawberries on top is still needed for table twenty-one, along with a Bailey’s and coffee. Table seventeen never received their appetizer and why is their main course coming???? You literally feel like you’re being washed over by life and are ready to be hung out to dry.DSC_2693
Being stuck in the weeds is not a dream it is a nightmare. It’s like your body is moving in slow motion while life is going at full throttle all around. When I worked in the restaurant business back in my early twenties, I felt like I worked all day and all night never resting. I would come home and have nightmares about being stuck in the weeds. Last week I had a dream like this.DSC_2654
Since we packed out of our box last week, the stress has become normal life stress that comes with responsibilities in raising a child and living life as an adult. My son’s Spring Break starts next Thursday so that means we have a nice little break until the 21st of April. Did I say break???? I meant days off from work and school. We need this time in our home. We’re counting the days till then and the days until school will finally be out for our son.DSC_2685
We’re headed down south to Rota, Spain to get our oversees screenings to exit Portugal and move to Guam this year for Spring Break. Oh and with that trip my travelling Olympian husband has combined other destinations to visit within this “break”.  DSC_2795
Today I won’t be sharing the future cities, we’ll be headed into next week, but I will tell you there will be a future contest with items from the areas we explore. Today I am reflecting on Portugal dos Pequenitos located in Coimbra, Portugal. If you’re looking for a town that is fun and combines a lot of history, this town may be for you. Here in Coimbra, you’ll find the University of Coimbra, established in 1290. It’s the oldest in Portugal and one of the oldest universities in the world that is currently in operation. Now we didn’t stop off and tour the university but we did view a smaller version of it located in Portugal dos Pequenitos.
As I pull myself out of the traveling weeds, I will begin with this exploration. There are various locations we’ve previously visited over the last few years in Portugal, places I’ve never shared. During the last three months of our time in Portugal I’ll be randomly sharing locations and photos of some really spectacular places each week.DSC_2882
Today I am going back in time to a few months ago when my son had a teacher in-service day. We spent the day with our friends Juliana and Phillip and drove about two hours north from Lisbon to view little houses on the hillside. Little houses that aren’t made of ticky-tacky or that look the same. The people who live in the larger size versions, didn’t all go to the University or became lawyers, doctors or executives.DSC_2772
They all didn’t play on the golf course or all have pretty children.DSC_2758
All the boys didn’t go into business and all the girls didn’t raise a family, so they all do not look the same.DSC_2788
But there are green ones,DSC_2847
pink ones,DSC_2900
 blue ones,DSC_2838
and some yellow ones but they all don’t look the same.DSC_2848
Portugal dos Pequenitos, a theme park designed by architect Cassiano Branco in 1940 has mini-monuments and houses dedicated to former Portuguese colonies. These miniature size homes and monuments are examples of various kinds of architecture spread throughout Portugal. DSC_2902
At Portugal dos Pequenitos you can tour the park by yourself or have a guide, free of charge, explain to you the various architectural designs and the Portuguese influence that has been spread across the world. Yes, they have English speaking guides, SCORE. Just remember to tip them at the end of your tour. It’s not a “have to” kind of thing here, but a tip goes a long way. The guide appreciated it so much he ran back giving my friend Juliana and myself booklets of information. All in Portuguese but you could see a little love can go a long way. Like extra help in paying bills or a blessing for a loved one. I paid my bills living in the weeds on tips, I am a big believer in the what goes around comes around.DSC_2767
Our tour guide started us off in a mini-museum dedicated to a former Portuguese colony, Angola.DSC_2708
We learned about the culture and what items they used to make products.DSC_2712
Before we made it to the little houses on the hillside we stopped off in another mini-museum dedicated to another former Portuguese colony, Macau or Macao, China.DSC_2756
Inside you’ll find cabinets filled with all sorts of detailed pieces that mesmerize children of all ages.DSC_2748If you take little ones who aren’t interested in the history of it all, you’ll find that Portugal dos Pequenitos is a fantastic place for kids to play hide and go seek and use their imaginations as they explore little box, after little box, of these miniature monuments and homes.DSC_2857
DSC_2829Well, I beat the weeds today or pulled enough of them out of my mental cap, that it’s time to rest. If you’re interested in the little boxes on the hillside check out Portugal dos Pequenitos in Coimbra, Portugal. You can phone them at +351239801170 to reserve a guided tour. They are located at Rossio de Santa Clara, Coimbra 3040-256 or GPS coordinates to get you to this location:  40.202952,-8.434671 There is loads of on street parking along with a parking lot not far away. DSC_2763
Oh last but not least I must thank Malvina Reynolds, an American singer/song writer for the inspiration. Her lyrics were flowers in my weeds.
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there’s doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school,
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
Where they are put in boxes
And they come out all the same.
And the boys go into business
And marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

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