one second every day – february 2018

February was… eclectic!

It was a month of tying up loose ends and facing new challenges, which is pretty much the feeling I get when resuming the last two years… but this time it feels different.

I went to a psychologists’ training workshop and really loved it, I started a new job as a researcher at the hospital, I babysat, I worked as a psychologist, but also worked at the supermarket. I think eclectic really sums it up well.

I started the month really motivated to go to all the running club sessions and did for pretty much the whole month… except for the last two weeks.

There was a lot of snow, so we went skiing as much as we could and I really enjoy the feeling of whooshing down a mountain and not thinking about anything else except for how to maintain your balance at a speed which makes falling more than a little scary. Also, the views. I can’t wrap my head around how ridiculous these Alps are. We’ve been really swissing our weekends away, with weekends at cosy chalets on the mountains, raclette, laughter and good company.

We’ve also really been portuguesing a lot, but it’s not that you could even take that away from us. I made papas de sarrabulho, which of course my grandma taught me how to make, and which I make every year around this time of the year, having brought all the essential supplies in my suitcase when I came from Portugal. We had friends over to eat them with us and it always pleases me to feed friends with food from the heart, and from home. I also made feijoada later on in the month.

It was really cold for most of the month, and towards the end it got really, really, really cold, with temperatures in Lausanne hitting -10C and the unbearable bise which makes it three times harder to bear. Luckily I finished a shawl I was knitting, I blocked it and proudly wore it in those chilly days.

Also, I went to the cinema by myself for the first time ever. I do not know why I have only done this now, but I’m a fan.



one second every day – january 2018

January started off sunny and on skis, with my little sister learning her first moves.

Then, I went back to Portugal for a week, fully booked for all dinners and lunches, I met most of my family and many friends I hadn’t seen so much over the last couple of years around the table. There was pica-no-chão, papas de sarrabulho, polvo à lagareiro, the most tender costelinha in the country, I tried aged beef for the first time, conventual sweets… a very appropriate menu for an emigrant missing the food from home (not that I actually ate like this when I lived back in Portugal, but… details).

I went with my grandpa on his daily newspaper-coffee-analysing-the-changes-in-the-street route. I ran errands, met up with people. The first S. Silvestre race in my town took place and, even though I hadn’t been running for a month, my pride made up for the lack of training, especially because the race passed in front of my grandparents’ house twice.

Back to Switzerland, and back to full steam at work, which is a good thing. January brought really good news work wise. I spent a lot of time with the kids and C is learning to read, which both amuses and astonishes me. Watching kids learn what you take for granted is a very humbling exercise.

We went for a weekend to the high mountain to learn skating, a technique for cross country skiing. Ulrichen, the village where we stayed, was beautiful and white, but it snowed so much during the night in the whole country, that they closed down many roads due to avalanche risk. We had to leave our car for a week’s holidays in the mountain and luckily caught the last train home. After that, they shut down the train lines as well!

The next week brought one of the best skiing days of the year, and after getting our car back, we joined the kids in the mountain for the most perfect day on skis. On my way to the mountain, I had pizza on the train after a rough work day, and I felt very gluttonous, but it made me very happy.

That’s January!

one second every day – december 2017

I’m lagging behind on my videos of “one second every day”, but happy that I at least keep remembering to film 1s of most of my days. So, here is December!

Ah, how I love December. There is my birthday and Christmas and, at least because of those, I get back in touch with many of my friends, I see so many people I love, there is delicious food, kind gestures, beautiful words, presents and, since I am in Switzerland, a copious amount of chocolate. One of my reflections from this month is that there is probably a correlation between how well integrated you are in this country and the amount of chocolate people give you. I am happy to say that, in 2017, I got a lot of chocolate.

December 2017 was crafty. I carried on with the watercolours and tried to make Christmas cards to send out to some of my favourite people (they only arrived in January, but I was happy about my effort – next year I will be more successful). There was a lot of time spent talking with friends and some of those conversations were in beautiful places.

Christmas time in Lausanne is buzzing with Christmas markets and lights. When leaving the metro on my way back from work, I was willingly forced to walk through crowds of people smiling and chatting over mulled wine, looking cheerful, chatty and cosy. I met some friends there and caught up with them over a few cups of warm, fragrant wine. There was a soirée fondue with the running club. I went to a cooking class organised by two marketeer ladies turned foodies who now run a cooking school and we made delicious food.

Z has been spending some time playing simple songs in a duet with S, who has a very pretty voice. They showed some of their work live, in open mic sessions at the music school.

Then there was my birthday with chocolate, sending silly videos to Jo on my way back from work, friends who came over in the weekend, sushi for dinner, lots of calls from all over the world, cooking books also from all over the world and from those who know me best and a special birthday party with the dear kids that I have been looking after since I arrived in Switzerland.

Just before the holidays, I had a promising interview for a new job with two very inspiring, intelligent women. There was also a Christmas dinner with my colleagues and I felt really grateful about working with funny and intelligent people. I hope my French gets better and better so I can match their sense of humour.

Finally, Christmas. We didn’t go to Portugal and so our Christmas was quite different from the family Christmas we are used to (and love). It wasn’t the first time, and we still have mixed feelings about it but, in the end, Christmas this year was about appreciating the bonds we have created in the past few years. We had a wonderful Christmas dinner with the kids and their parents, with songs, games and lots of laughter, we had our own traditional bacalhau at home, and on Christmas day we had lunch with friends, walked around in the snow and in pretty Swiss villages with lots of lights and mountain views.

Toward the end of the month, my sister came over to Switzerland, before going off to Greece as a volunteer. We also had dinner with my ERASMUS friend C, with her husband and their second lovely baby.

There were also a few boring work days; on one in particular, I was the first human to step on the fresh dawn snow, just after the cats. On another one, the only inspiration I could find was my relieved face in the elevator, finally reaching home.

The year ended with a bang, with a final day on skis, with my sister and an old family friend whom I love and who always makes me laugh and gives the best advice, and with fondue, wine and Swiss radio programmes with classic music.

And that’s it for this epic month of December!


one second every day – november 2017

So here is the thing about these 1 second videos – you have the general feeling that the month was just “meh” and then you see a video you put together and realise there were actually quite a few memorable moments. I know. You know. That’s the whole point. But sometimes it hits home that little bit more.

So in November, besides the daily grind, there were some special moments. Beautiful autumn sunsets in Lausanne (which my camera missed for the most part, but I caught some glimpses during hurried commutes and they were glorious). We opened the Münster cheese we brought home from Alsace and it was super stinky and delicious. I tried to get out and about in some cultural activities and I saw a theremin concert (I’d never even heard about the theremin and was amazed). Not pictured, in the same evening was a series of talks about dreams in animals, in the brain and in the movies and all of it got my nerdy vein really giddy. There was a PhD defense and it is really nice to realise you have made enough friends to actually go to their PhD defenses. We say Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds in Arena de Genève (a huge concert venue) and it was one of the best concerts I ever saw. There were kids growing up and making me smile all the time, as usual. We saw friends we hadn’t seen in a long time. I tried my hand at doing something new and out of my comfort zone – watercolour painting – and it was exciting.

November ended cold and snowy and I really feel like crawling away into a warm little hiding space with knitting and movies and no real world stuff to deal with. Looking back, it is nice to find some nice memories to keep, as well as a promising start for a really snowy winter. I can’t wait to get my skis out!!


random things from these days

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Very much in love with the croissants from the portuguese bakery further down our street. Perfect for long breakfasts at home during cold, rainy and sick days in November. They’re not just the best portuguese croissants I have tasted in Switzerland, they are better than many, many croissants I have eaten back home. They are moist and dense inside, a little crunchy on the outside and they unwrap perfectly. Because that’s what you do – unwrap croissants. You also may or may not spread some butter on the dissassembled parts. Anyway, not really bothered about socially correct when eating croissants.

8 year old Mathilde has been consolidating her reading skills by turning into a boowkorm. This makes me smile. At her age, I also devoured book after book from the library, I snuck books under my pillow and my matress, which I read with the faint light coming in from the corridor. I fell asleep countless times over with the lamp on, and wasted away many many flashlight batteries for the same reason.  I smiled even more when I found a french version of Roald Dahl’s Matilda in Mathilde’s room. I read Matilda in English, I gave it to my baby sister in Portuguese, and now I asked Mathilde to lend me the french version. It might just end up being the first french book I manage to finish.

Speaking of Roald Dahl, I have been listening to Desert Island Discs archives and I found the episode with Roald Dahl. I find his dark sense of humour amusing.

Also in the DID archives, Edmund Hillary.

Something else I’ve been reading: Thinking in Pictures, by Temple Grandin. A few years ago, I went down a curiosity rabbit hole on autism, and I read Catherine Maurice’s book about her experience with two autistic children. I saw the movie about Temple Grandin and I also borrowed this book from the library. At the time, it gave me a glimpse into the autistic mind and it was all out of sheer curiosity, but right now I am re-reading all of this because it is directly related to my work.

This week, I went to a friend’s PhD presentation about her pharmacogenetic and clinical study on the metabolic side-effects of psychotropic drugs and her presentation was as fancy and interesting as it sounds. In the apéro, I found myself stuffing my face with grandma-made bricelets, some with poppy seeds and others with cumin seeds. Everyone who knows me knows how much I love all things grandma-made, all the more so if they are local specialities. Because of things like this, there is a growing space in my belly and in my heart bearing a white cross over a red background.

I have been eating a lot of supermarket soup, which doesn’t sound very good. It actually is and this minestrone is my favourite. I have been thinking about what I can cook that will make dinner simple on Tuesday and Wednesday nights when we have sports until late, and which are precisely the eve of the working days when I need to pack a lunch for work. Last Sunday, I tried my hand at Rachel Roddy’s minestrone and it really hit the spot, reheated on Tuesday night and on Wednesday lunchtime. The recipe linked here is from Rachel’s Guardian column, but I followed the one in her book, which Jo gave me a couple of years ago.

one second every day – october 2017

Here is October. The month flew by and I was mostly absorbed by work. I forgot to film quite often, but it was a good month.

It was sunny most of the time and, while the cold crept in slowly, we were gifted with beautiful, golden afternoons to match the leaves on the trees.

The month started off with a classic Swiss race: a 17.17km run from the lake-side town of Morat, up to the city of Fribourg. It was a tough race, mostly uphill, but the countryside part of it was so pleasant, with many spectators cheering us on with cowbells, music bands playing, a bit of sun to keep us happy.

In the end of a month there was a half-marathon, in which I didn’t enjoy myself at all. Cheers for the yarn-bombing on the trees in the village where the departure was though. I suffered so much in this race and was pretty bummed with myself, so I have been trying to push myself a little while training after that. I even found myself running by myself by the lake one cold and rainy Sunday MORNING!

There was also a little trip up to Alsace to celebrate Zs birthday. I forgot about the videos a little bit, but I kind of fell in love with the landscape, the wine, the food, the golden colours on the vineyards. We treated ourselves to an amazing culinary experience and we had a beautiful time for a few days.

Other than that, there were day trips with the kids and Z has also been adopted by them, R turned 3 and blew out the candles with his sisters. On a less positive note, I was sad and shocked by the news from Portugal and this got me thinking quite a bit.


one second every day – september 2017

November is already here and I have some catching up to do. September flew by. I was really concentrated on my new job, which has me spending some time on trains, buses metro. It takes up a big part of my life theses days, but I cannot film any of it on my 1s videos.

I go to Geneva twice a week, every week, and even though I haven’t really had the time to roam towards the old city and visit some of the neighbourhoods I like the most, I like the buzz that the city has and all the different people I see. It is definitely different from Lausanne and it inspires me.

There is a Japanese supermarket right behind where I work, so my sushi cravings have been well taken care of. All those Japanese ingredients spark my curiosity and it’s been fun to discover some of them and a different culinary culture.

Speaking of culinary culture… moelas. When z’s mum came to visit us, she gave me her recipe (or her modus operandi) and, good pupil as I am, I took notes. They are delicious. Infallible.

My sister went back home after a few months here – she will be back soon though! Autumn creeped in and we polished off the beautiful hiking season with an amazing hike on one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland.

Looking back, I am quite happy about how the month went by, as I have been working a lot in a few different jobs and haven’t had that much free time. I guess that it is when you have less time that you actually make the most of it…