Summer Camp – Part II

Whenever you meet someone within YMAA, there’s an immediate connection and that definitely helps an introvert like me. I knew some people had heard of me because of my acceptance into the 5YP at the Retreat Center and my being Jon’s girlfriend. I’ve put myself out there to share my experiences and what I learn, but it’s always a bit awkward to meet someone who already knows a few things about you or thinks too highly of you. Having said that, everyone was really nice and welcoming and I felt like I was a part of the group. It was nice to finally meet people who I had only talked to online or via email. We share the same passion and I hope they can all visit the Center some day.


Bonding over collecting and shelling pine nuts

Bonding over collecting and shelling pine nuts

YMAA students work hard and play hard. The atmosphere and lively music always made me want to dance, so I tried, and several people tried to teach me without much success. I don’t think I’ll ever go to another party with a makeshift limbo stick made of toilet paper and a conga line :p The Portuguese are some of the warmest people I’ve ever met and I want to go back someday.

I really miss the food. Lunch and dinner were served buffet style, which sabotaged my attempt to control my portions and eat healthier. Their seafood was especially delicious. Did you know that the Portuguese have some 300 recipes for cod, yet cod is not naturally found near Portugal and they have to import it? They also have a lot of delicious pastries including an egg custard variation that many Chinese bakeries like to carry (Portuguese style 蛋挞).

IMG_1217sm IMG_1309sm IMG_1307sm

Does anyone know the name of these dishes?

We took one day off from camp to go site seeing. We went to Buddha Eden – Quinta dos Loridos. It’s a huge area with gardens and statues imported from Asia. More info here:


We also stopped by a historical city called Obidos. It has well preserved medieval architecture, including a really high wall you can walk on with no railings on the sides. I was wearing flip flops and I highly recommend you wear sneakers or other shoes with good traction.

obidos ginja

After camp, we stayed with our friend Jorge and he and David were kind enough to take us around Lisbon.


No trip to Lisbon would be complete without a stop to Sintra.

Quinta da Regaleira1 Quinta da Regaleira2 IMG_0081

More camp pictures here!

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