one second every day – august 2017

Here is August. Crazy, crazy August.

Something that comes to mind while piecing together this video is that it doesn’t really reflect the memory that I have of this year’s month of August. A crazy month, during which I struggled a little, bounced around a LOT of different jobs, got a little bit anxious about all of it, and tried to focus on the new job which will gradually take up most of my time and hopefully bring me enough stability to stop bouncing around.

The good thing about this video in particular is that it reflects the times when I was more relaxed, moments we tend to forget if we rely only on memory and on the general feeling of the month.

All in all, it looks like a pretty relaxed month, which started off with a day’s hike in deep Switzerland and a bonfire to celebrate August 1st, the Swiss national holiday.

As a result of a panicky decision-making process, I took on a funny and unexpected job as a cashier in a supermarket, one day a week. It is quite alright, but it didn’t help to add another plate to the already difficult job juggling. I’ll survive, though.

While I was busy making August the most stressful month of the year, everyone else went on holiday and a few friends asked us to mind their houses and their gardens. That meant we had a huge garden for BBQ and to relax in, as well as a gigantic surplus of tomato, cucumber, green beans and courgettes which kept us on our toes thinking about what to cook and eat so that they wouldn’t rot away. I ran less, but I went swimming a few times, went climbing, went to the gym and restarted Pilates classes, and pretty much every weekend we went hiking in the Alps.

I finally got around to taking some time to visit Bern with my little sister and, in the last week of August my auntie came to visit us and it was great that she could get a glimpse of our life here.

We spent a lot of time with the kids that I look after, who are in love with Z., and we even took them to the zoo, where we got to see a young lynx family with two babies!

Towards the end of the month, I slowly started my new job as a psychologist, which is making me quite nervous, but in a good way. I am learning a lot, and I am feeling challenged in every way. I am quite curious to see what September brings about!


one second every day – july 2017

When I created yet another blog for myself, I was looking forward to posting a little bit more about life other than these videos of one second of my daily life. However, this daily life of mine has been quite a handful lately, so here I am, back with at least another video to document it.

July July. What a month it was! Started off with one of the nices family moments of the year, even though half the family was missing – a sweet summery evening with grilled sardines in grandma’s backyard. While at home, I spent as much time as I could with my grandad, accompanying him in his precious daily routines.

Back to Switzerland, tying off loose work ends before going to Seville for a conference. I am really proud of the work I presented, but my shift in my work orientation was quite evident when I realized I was not that enthusiastic about most of the presentations. Either that, or the quality of science produced has suffered with massification and the pressure to publish and to produce results. I digress, but it is something that has been turning in my mind for most of the year.

Anyway, Seville was HOT. When we were planning our trip, I wasn’t really bothered about the hot weather, Portuguese as I am. In all honesty, I was not prepared and thank goodness for air conditioning (never thought I’d write this). It is a lovely city nonetheless, and a small road trip through Andaluzía has me wishing to go back in Spring to enjoy it a little bit more.

And back to Swiss life again. I went swimming a few times, got stung by a bee, enjoyed the summer evenings eating outside, actually fit in some running, tried out a new cool gym in one of my favourite neighbourhoods, went on a camping trip and generally went about trying to navigate through life’s challenges without forgetting to have some fun, and appreciating my human and feline company.

one second every day – june 2017

June 2017 was a month for change. There were new professional endeavours, closing cycles, and overall it was a completely disorganised month. There were some difficult moments, but there were also some beautiful times. We went hiking in the Alps a couple of times. Z played in two gigs. R., who I hadn’t seen for 2 years, came to visit me and there was plenty of time to catch up with her. I went home to Portugal for a few days and we saw our family and our friends as much as we could.

Junho de 2017 foi um mês de mudança. Surgiram novas empreitadas profissionais, fecharam-se ciclos e, no geral, o mês foi a desorganização total. Houve momentos difíceis, mas também os houve muito bons. Fomos caminhar nos Alpes algumas vezes. O Z. tocou ao vivo duas vezes. A R., que já não via há mais de 2 anos veio visitar-me e tivemos tempo q.b. para pôr a conversa em dia. Fui a casa, a Portugal, por alguns dias e estivemos com a família e com os amigos tanto quanto pudemos.


quince cheese

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Quince cheese is one of my first memories of being lost in translation.

First things first: quince cheese is a paste made of quince, which has been previously stewed with sugar on low heat for a while. It is then processed and, once cool, becomes firm. You can then slice it like a cheese and eat it on toast, in sandwiches with butter, or as tradition calls, with a slice of cheese. This last pairing is so perfect and so meant to be, that where I come from, it is called “Romeu e Julieta”.

In Portugal, my mother land, quince cheese is named with just one word – marmelada. It is something mothers and grandmothers cook to preserve quince that falls abundantly from the trees. My grandmother always got her quince from the neighbours who had much more than they could manage and left them in plastic bags at her door.

As a kid, I lived in England for a couple of years. Once, my mum made marmelada and I was eager to take it to school and share my favourite portuguese lanche with my friends. It didn’t go down quite as I expected. First, I had no idea what marmelos were called in English and found myself mumbling explanations and that it didn’t matter because it was so good. It was pointless. My friends took a look at that red paste sitting in a Tupperware and, to my dismay, very quickly declared it as “weird”.

Weird as it may have been to my childhood friends, still oblivious to the deliciousness of intercultural discoveries, I was faithful to marmelada and might have even promised said marmelada that I wouldn’t ever stop liking it or eating it, with bread and butter, cheese or by the slice.

The thing is, marmelada is not just a very delicious, familiar, comforting thing you put in your mouth.

It is the smell of lanche in the playground and in the lunchroom at school.

It is feeling that you are becoming independent when someone gives you your very own quince, instead of giving them to your grandma or to your mum, because you now live alone and have your own kitchen to play in.

It is not really knowing what to do with abovementioned quince and calling grandma for guidance on a recipe with only two ingredients and water, gradually interweaving the steps of making marmelada with catching up with her. This week we went to a yoga class and your grandfather didn’t really like it,… now you put a layer of sugar, a layer of quince, a layer of sugar,… you know, I tried a new bread recipe, it works very well in the bread machine! Now you put the lid on the pan and let it simmer very gently.

It is never being able to nail quince jelly, even with grandma’s guidance, and knowing that hers was the best forever and ever, amen.

It is making marmelada and realizing that now I am on my own and I can’t call her just to check if the quantity of sugar is right.

It is also making marmelada and giving away bowls full of it to my friends, sometimes getting theirs in return and exchanging ideas, and finding generosity and sharing and a sense of community while living in a new place, where neighbours are new, good friends hard to find, everything is apparenty unfamiliar and sometimes you miss home. When you give away a bowl of marmelada and and get cabbage, cherries, sprigs of mint from the garden or thankful smiles in return, you get the feeling that something is falling into place and everything will be just fine.

Marmelada é uma das minhas primeiras memórias de me ver perdida na tradução e nas diferenças culturais.

É difícil encontrar alguém de língua materna Portuguesa que não saiba o que é marmelada. Mas, frequentemente, a marmelada exige uma explicação para pessoas de outras línguas e de outras culturas. A tradução quince cheese, mostra o quanto a marmelada não é algo inerente à cultura inglesa. Na verdade, a palavra Inglesa marmelade tem origem na palavra Portuguesa (marmelada), originalmente feita com marmelos, mas é mais frequentemente utilizada na língua inglesa para designar uma compota de citrinos, ficando os marmelos relegados para segundo plano.

No entanto, para nós, marmelada é no pão com manteiga do recreio, é com queijo, é às fatias, é como calhar. É a fruta abundante que vem dos vizinhos, das tias e das amigas, que a mãe e a avó cozinham em grandes quantidades para guardar para o resto do ano.

Quando era criança, vivi em Inglaterra durante um par de anos. Uma vez, a minha mãe fez marmelada e eu estava em pulgas para levá-la para a escola para partilhar com os meus amigos durante o lanche. O meu orgulho inchado levou, num instante, com um balde de água fria. Para começar, não fazia ideia de como se dizia marmelos em inglês. Comecei a contornar a situação com demasiadas explicações sobre o quanto isso era irrelevante porque era mesmo muito boa. Não me serviu de muito. Os meus amigos olharam para o Tupperware onde estava alojada aquela massa cor de rubi e decidiram, muito rapidamente, que era “esquisita”. Eu fiquei triste e envergonhada.

Mas: por muito esquisita que possa ter parecido para os meus amigos de infância, ainda desconhecedores das experiências deliciosas que a interculturalidade pode proporcionar, eu era fiel à minha marmelada. Posso até ter prometido à dita marmelada que iria sempre gostar dela, quer fosse com pão e manteiga, queijo ou sozinha.

É que a marmelada não é apenas aquela coisa deliciosa, familiar e reconfortante que comes.

É o sentimento de ser independente quando alguém te oferece marmelos pela primeira vez, e não à mãe ou à avó, porque agora tens a tua casa e uma cozinha em que és tu que mandas.

É não ter bem a certeza do que fazer com os marmelos e ligar à avó para ela te orientar numa receita que só tem dois ingredientes e água, pondo a conversa e fazendo as coisas à medida que ela te vai dando as dicas. Esta semana fomos ao yoga, mas o teu avô não gostou lá muito… agora deitas ora uma camada de açúcar, ora uma camada de água… olha! Experimentei uma nova receita na máquina do pão e ficou deliciosa! Agora pões o testo e deixas cozinhar em lume brando…

É nunca conseguir fazer geleia como deve ser, mesmo com a orientação da avó, sabendo que, de toda a maneira, a dela é a melhor para todo o sempre.

É cair na realidade de que agora, quando fizeres marmelada, já não lhe podes ligar só para ter a certeza de que a quantidade do açúcar está bem.

Mas também é fazer taças e taças de marmelada, e distribuí-la aos amigos, por vezes recebendo a deles de volta, trocando ideias sobre o processo. É encontrar a generosidade, a partilha e um sentimento de comunidade numa vida nova, onde os vizinhos são novos, os bons amigos são difíceis de encontrar, e onde às vezes tens saudades de casa. Quando ofereces uma taça de marmelada e recebes couves, cerejas, raminhos de menta do jardim ou um sorriso de volta, ficas com a sensação de que as coisas estão a cair no seu lugar e de que tudo vai correr bem.