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Life List Update - #1 - Take my kids and husband to Portugal to meet my family

This was a major one, among the most important things on my Life List
#1 on a list of 100 things I want to...
Take my kids and husband to Portugal to meet my family
Accomplished July 31st, 2012

Nestled is the mountains of the Northern region of Portugal sits a tiny little village know as Paradela do Monte.  Where my mother was born and one of the places where I spent the earlier part of my life and most summers growing up.  It is a town with no more than a few hundred people, where everyone knows each other and looks out for one another.  Where neighbors bring you home grown veggies or baked goods on a daily basis.  Where a simple hello is not sufficient in passing by, but everyone stops to talk to one another when crossing each other on the streets (or street, as there is only one main street that goes through the town) This place holds a huge place in my heart and I have always dreamed of sharing it with my husband and children.  This summer we spent almost 3 weeks there, and as they met new family and ran through the little cobblestone streets playing with their "new" cousins, my heart sang.  My husband fell in love too, and enjoyed his morning coffee on the balconies overlooking scenery that he had never seen before in his life. 
It was the trip of a lifetime. 

This is Paradela do Monte, Portugal
I have dreamed of photographing these stone homes, that up until not too long ago still had some of the
older residents inhabiting them...

It's a town where on any given day there is a party. On this particular day, the occasion was my father (in the gray shirt with the cane) went door to door telling them it was our last day there and asking them if they would play the drums for the kids to see

Where the locals still get their water from the town spring,
and the women gather there to wash their clothes

And I was able to cross off # 30 on my list too,
Photograph my Parents!
They were beaming being surrounded by their grandchildren!

Here's my girls sitting on the wall to my one room school 
where grades k-5 went.  
It has since been renovated and I was told many of the kids 
now go into the city to attend school.

It was the most amazing trip!  I have never seen our girls so happy as they were the few weeks we were there.  It had been 13 years for me that I had not returned, everyone told me how different things would be.  How I would barely recognize it.  All I can say is, it is exactly the way I remember it...perfect.  Every time I leave Paradela, I leave a little piece of me there.  I cannot wait until we return. 

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