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Dear Grandma,
I can’t believe this is really happening! I’m sitting in my hotel room in beautiful Lisbon and thinking about everything that happened since yesterday. I truly feel your presence in every step I’m taking so I decided to write you a letter from every place I’ll visit. Even though I can’t send them, I hope you can still get them.

Yesterday Rick dropped me off at the airport. I was very emotional, as I had the mixture of all feelings – excitement, anxiety, fear, happiness and longing. Rick seemed to be annoyed that I’ll be gone for so long, but at least I know he will really miss me.

The flight was very long but I couldn’t fall asleep from the thrill. From the airport I went straight to the hotel where I slept for 12 hours straight. I guess my jetlag was over within one night.
Today, after quick breakfast I decided to take a walking tour with a local food tasting, and it was a great decision.

Oh, grandma, Lisbon is a picturesque city filled with Portuguese food and street markets. You would love it. What a shame we couldn’t take this trip together.

You would be enchanted by the architecture of Rossio – the main square with it’s impressive theater. It’s clean and spacious but full of people. I had an impression that it’s not only popular tourist spot but also local people love it and spend time there. Do you know that some of the cafes are there since 18th century? I tasted some delicious cheese with marmalade there. It was divine.

From there we went to see a beautiful panorama of the city. It was breathtaking. Looking at the city bathed in a sun was unforgettable.

Later we went down cobblestoned streets and small alleys of Bairro Alto to end up in a small bakery where we had lunch. It was delicious. When they served pastel de nata I couldn’t resist. It’s a custard tart, so creamy and tasty. I also had queijada, a small cake made from eggs, cheese, milk and sugar. I’ve never tried anything similar to it. But I wouldn’t be myself if I hadn’t had a dessert. I ordered pastel de laranja – cake in a shape of a muffin, made with portuguese oranges, and so sweet as a marmalade. I have only one word to describe it – delicious.

In that cafe I had a very interesting conversation with one of the tourists. Leonor is 23 and she is Portuguese but she comes from Algarve region and has never been to Lisbon before. She is a student and a huge fan of a Japanese culture. I told her I’m getting married and she told me a very interesting story:

  • Do you know that in Japan once a woman get married she is erased from her family registry and her name is put to the one of her husband’s? – Leonor told me.
  • No, I had no idea. But why is that? – I asked.
  • Because she belongs to her husband from now own. At least that was the historical reason. – she responded.
  • And they didn’t change till now?
  • No – Leonora said.
  • It’s so unfair. Why would a woman agree on erasing her roots just because she got married? – I asked.
  • It also seemed very unfair and not up to today’s world in the beginning for me. – Leonor continued – But then I started thinking about it. Americans, Europeans and probably most of women on the world change they surname after getting married. No matter what their family roots are, no matter what their achievements are, big majority resign of their own surname and takes the husband’s and his family’s.
  • I’ve never thought about it this way, but you are right. – it was difficult to not agree with her.

We exchanged our email addresses and promised to keep in touch. But I can’t forget about this conversation. I have never thought about it before. Never questioned the tradition. So I just assumed I will be Mrs Rick O’Brian after the wedding, not giving it any thought. But do I want to work for his name? And what most important, do I want to just resign of mine? I like it, it’s me, my identity. I will have to talk with Rick about it when I get back. Don’t want to have this conversation over the phone as somehow I have a feeling he won’t be happy about it.
Oh, grandma, why do I have a hunch that this journey will change a lot in my life?

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