The loop and thrill of change

There is something quite exhilarating about new beginnings. It is a mixed roller coaster of anticipated “saudade” of what you will leave behind, and excitement for what is coming where daydreaming is almost a teleporting experience.

I am now in my 5th country! Moved this month to the Midlands in England from the rainy Wales. The reason: work at a new site for my company. It was a strange move, with lots of unknowns and last minute job demands that really didn’t allow the normal moving process to unfold. Didn’t have time to say goodbye to everyone, or know exactly when would my last night at my old house be.

When reflecting upon the subject, these are the consistent stages I face whenever change is on the horizon:

1 – The plateau

When all is too settled, the sea is flat, no wind, all is in cruising mode… but underneath a swell builds up, craving for novelty and bumpy rides. Calm seas never made a good sailor, they say. This is a very familiar sea I encounter after being in a place for a while. This plateau has a second phase called “the wait”. When you know a wave is coming, but you are unsure when and where it will lead. Time stops in this period. Personally, it feels like a limbo. Focusing on the current task needs becomes extremely hard, it takes a lot of mental power to stay conscious and not drift into a “wandermind” state.

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2  Land on sight

When you know where and when you are going. The level of difficulty to focus on present life increases. Your mind goes from a wander state, into an investigation mode. New tasks start to appear on the horizon and some juggling skills come in handy. This is a short phase, I tend to immediately jump to the next one.

3 – The hunt

My favorite. Research, research, research, house hunting, town hunting. Despite the excitement, there is this subconscious certainty that all will be good. I usually let the places surprise me and not plan too much (which plays in my favor. I suck at planning!). Still the research of the new place and of the mundane tasks that you probably never realize anyway (such as, I need a house close to the gym), play some weight in the decision making of house hunting.

At this stage, the first instinct of the place to live is usually the right one. It happened to me the last 3 times. Still all the hunt in between makes it fun and confirms your initial hint.

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4 – The shift

Again, my last house move was a weird one, but nevertheless, it still felt like the familiar  paradoxal phase of extremes and calmness. It is surprising how quickly one adapts to its new surroundings. Must be the human nomad brain kicking in. Is like you feel at home only when change is present, but at the same time you embrace all the other changes you experienced. You miss some of those, but you do not wish to go back, for each change has brought you closer to some ideal, whatever that may be (haven’t figured out mine yet). Whenever you move, you leave something behind, a little piece of you is in the places you will probably never see again, and the friends you will speak occasionally, and you bring those places with you. It’s a nostalgic exchange.

The only downside of moving: packing and unpacking. It is amazing how much stuff you can accumulate in a single year. Maybe next time I will opt for a minimalistic way of life! However, my need for change has never reached the digital nomad way of life… yet. I’m still more in a “hermit crab” phase.

 

On a final thought, is not about new life vs old life, for each chapter is part of the same book, of your own story, and all of them are important trails that lead you here. Is not about running away from something, but towards your own quest. For me, the need for change is something deeper that I am not quite able to explain.

 

 

 

 

 

Reaching for the sky: 5 Short girl realities

The fact that I am short, was never so much brought to my attention as it did in the past 2 years. We are not tall back home but since living abroad, I think people believe my mom didn’t feed me enough veggies, or that I descend from a goblin family. I should have realized the reason why my head seems to be an arm-rester, is not because others are tall…

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Short girl reality #1: one height does not fit all

When I first arrived in my current rented furnished home (house number… I think 19th), The landlord asked me if there was anything I needed to change. After my first night, I discovered the mirror in the bathroom was useless to me. I replied saying the mirror was too high… never got a response back. Let’s just say I learnt to appreciate my forehead since then, and have found 10 new white hairs… Plus at least I exercise my calfs twice a day!

On an additional note, short people are the ultimate balancers in public transport, since the standing holders are most of the times to high to reach.

Short girl reality #2: one size does not fit all

As much as there is no standard height, there is also no standard size. Having small feet, standard size socks are too big and 2 pairs of socks are necessary to get into the smallest adult size shoe. Standard size pants are too long and standard size shirts are like dresses. Finally, I have experienced that reality check moment when my old flip flops were being used by my 10 year old nephew…

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This is true…

Short girl reality #3: Stretch your boundaries

Ain’t no shelving high enough, ain’t no table long enough, ain’t no counter wide enough, that keep us from getting where we need to be! We have mutated with the super power of stretching. Short-girls expand their limits, challenge the laws of physics and learn MacGyver tricks to reach impossible heights, which for us is anything above 1,80cm. We jump if we have to, climb where we can, go diagonal and disregard any embarrassment or shame related to owning a kitchen stool. There is no impossible reach!

Short girl reality #4: never ending leg room

Eat your jealousy, tall people. Short people never run out of leg room in airplanes. In fact, we may even find a comfortable position cross legged or hugging our knees and sleep like babies!

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Last week on Easyjet… traveling in style!

Short girl reality #5: tall crowds

I can see some rays of light flying over my head mixed with hands of others. Thankfully, phones have huge screens nowadays, and so it allows me to indirectly see the musicians live from the screens of the audience next to me.

Sometimes I also feel invisible. People may step on me or bump into me because they don’t see me. Therefore, in a concert options are limited. Either I am too far back that I can hardly see the people on stage, or I am close enough that I can only see people’s backs. Short girls in concerts learn to expand their senses and absorb others energy as part of the experience, and unfortunately odor… Occasionally we do have a gentleman who puts us on the shoulders so we too, can fully experience the magic of live music.

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Even in cinemas, despite the disposition and inclination of chairs, there is always that person that is 6 foot tall sitting right in front of you. So option 1: risk neck and back injury to be able to see the movie in between the heads of the people in front of you… option 2: use your coat and bag as a pillow to get higher! No shame!

There are many other realities that favor the short. We can take advantage of others umbrellas when raining, any couch is a comfortable wide bed where we can sleep soundly, and people usually assume we are younger than we are (or at least they are being nice). We learn to adapt and reach where others think impossible. Jump higher, stretch taller and climb further. Being short makes us giants!

“It is what it is” series 1: mastering the fall

I’ve been falling all my life. Always in unexpected places, on flat surfaces, and in awkward ways. Many have confessed to feel embarrassed when associated to my person when I awkwardly lose my balance on the street. But there are some valuable lessons from being unbalanced on flat surfaces….

The calming life by the sea, with the boats swinging in the wind have brought me into a calm mindset every time I set foot out of my temporary house when I arrived in Wales 1 year ago. I was happily walking around the marina one morning and feeling energised by my new surroundings, when I noticed a bike shop. In a very personal impulsive way, I swiftly changed direction towards it. Not that I am a biker, or intended to buy one just yet… Then, 3 meters from the entry, this invisible chain was connecting only two small pillars amongst 10 unconnected ones. I stepped confidently forward and suddenly I see the sky disappearing from my eyes and metamorphosing into red bricks and textured gray concrete. Elbow and knee meet the ground in one perfect slow motion fall… and blank.

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I entered the shop not deviating my route after the event, and the owner looks in awe at me after witnessing this most amazing fall… I believe that was the first time I heard it is what it is in this country, this dreadful sentence that would mark so many more awkward moments the year ahead. Let’s just say I had a bruised elbow (dor de cotovelo as we say in Portugal) for the next month and a half.

Just as much as burro velho não aprende línguas, or literally translated, old donkey doesn’t learn languages (how I love the nonsense of literal translations), the sentence “it is what it is” is the perfect example of an excuse to not change what you can. You may not avoid a fall, but you can totally manage how to react to it, because it is what it is, until it isn’t!
How to master the art of falling in 3 steps:

1. If you have to fall, do it gracefully: Those who have witnessed, more than I like to admit, these countless (un)expected moments, have said I fall in slow motion. Somehow I will unconsciously predict it will happen a few moments just before it does, almost like a muscle memory resulted my long experience mastering the art of the fall. If you have to fall, react quickly, do it calmly, and embrace gravity for the natural law it represents, even if it doesn’t feel like that when you are in mid air.

2. Get support: When you fall, the slow motion effect will assist in getting support. Avoid falling face flat on the floor. The only time your face interacts with the floor is upon seeing it coming dangerously close. It is ok to show you are human in the moment of the fall, as terror will run through your veins and you will most likely show a deformed expression mirroring your immediate unbalanced existence. However, your existence is the one of a warrior, so fall on your knee and elbow / hand. Fall as it was meant to be and conquer the floor. The pain will be sharp but you will not feel it just yet. Accept it is natural and inevitable, which brings me to the most important part: the cliché – it doesn’t matter how you fall, but how you get up!

3. Get up in a single motion: Never stay down for long. With the same speed and calm you fell, get up in a single movement. Almost like break dancer, make three synchronized movements that end with you standing tall with feet on the floor. The expression on your face must also transform into normality again. You will be a bit bruised, and so will your ego, but a small period of temporary amnesia will help you get through the initial shock and social embarrassment, allowing the pain to build only in your body. Then laugh it out to disguise the pain, and carry on reacting as if nothing happened. Others with you, may feel as embarrassed as you are, so it is in a way a social sharing experience.

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One year ago “It is what it is” quickly passed through the bike shop into the work place. Everyone at work uses it to justify the events resulted from running a complex and fun operation where every day is different and the unexpected happens. Despite the healing and comfortable benefits this sentence brings to ones acceptance of surrounding circumstances, it is what it is… until it isn’t, and won’t settle for anything less. The unexpected never truly is!

Ego logic bosses

Mere peasants, who succumb all their resources to the Master of the Land. We deprive our children from their daily basic needs, we steal from our neighbors, we hide our precious goods in camouflaged wholes in the ground where we plant beautiful trees to disguise these resources, all to fill in the masters pantry just a little bit more.

You shall never suggest the master how to organize their pantry, you must give him subtle hints so the master absorbs those into his “own” ideas. If you ever dare to bluntly change course of action without permission of the master, you must face the wrath and the fire piercing out of his eyes, and being marked for life.

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Ego Logic: the one’s inflated Ego absolute argumentative reason

I’m sure all of us have experienced such Ego Logic bosses. I define it as the belief that despite reason, common sense and/or factual proof, one’s own ideas / arguments must be perceived as the right ones. This is broken down in 3 parts:
1. The Core dynamic: The need of feeling complete ownership of ideas / arguments is so strong, that ego logic boss narcissism will emerge to transform his thoughts in absolute reason that others are expected to understand, accept and praise.
2. The Creator Complex: Ideas / actions must always emerge from the Ego owner. If ever these ideas come from another party despite having concrete proof, facts and arguments, the Ego owner will classify them as wrong and will override them with some strange logic and distorted truth.
3. Insecure Apathy: There is an apparent absence of comprehending the impact certain actions have on others. The Ego logic boss must at all times feel in control of all that is happening, because his own insecurity does not accept others to take independent actions unless authorized and supervised. Their sense of security seems to feed of the others insecurity and the need to feel superior.

Why people suffer from Ego Logic? I really don’t know. And they don’t know it or ever admit it either, I am sure. So you can only assume by what you observe. However I have encountered and experienced living in the “shadow” of such bosses.

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Mr. Charles was the first. A grumpy old human, proudly showing his round belly with a cigarette in his mouth, the 40th of the day at 1pm in the afternoon. His skin was 15 years aged and burnt. Even his glasses were stained by the tobacco. Grotesque little man, lost some precious brain cells to nicotine, which greatly affected his judgment (when the habit of smoking was not even left aside when putting gasoline on a boat…). Mr. Charles sailing skills, left many praying and valuing life a little more and his inconsideration for all the inferior humans around him was legendary. No skills for customer service, business, management or life for all that matters. Speaking with him was a dreadful task I was fortunate enough to endure only for a couple of months on rare occasions. I learnt to cut these moments short by agreeing and pretending to have some urgent task to attend to.

Mr. Nando, a man whose logic defied the smartest of the business man. Team meetings would last an hour, with no clear agenda, no clear message or goal and with words that were wrongly translated from a foreign language no one would understand. Yet you would never dare to seek clarification of his logic, for the 1 hour could quickly turn into a long 3 hour dinner about nothing at all. Mr. Nando would go around a subject until you were dizzy, hypnotize you until time seems to stop. These 3 hours would feel like days. He was void, lost in his own world which he attempt to bring out to manage his business. The success of the “big company” was of course, attributed to his “guidance” (or should I say, to the teams own undercover way of executing without his knowledge). We would be but grateful if Nando would grant us permission to bring something that would fill his own pockets, because his “fair to everyone” was wise and almighty. Long live Mr. Nando!

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So many I know suffer under the management of Ego Logic bosses. Strategy is key to deal with these bosses. I will come back to this topic in a near future, but for now, your end goal must be the one with the least loss of personal energy. These people are provided with a black hole capable of draining the energy of the strongest of the stars. Best strategy is to avoid its orbit, or escape… even though confrontation is unavoidable.

I am so grateful and lucky to have now a boss that is completely the opposite.

Life is better upside-down

I have always envy ice skating gymnasts. To my naive young dreamy child eyes, they represented the ultimate freedom. Ruthless, strong and mesmerizing humanoid forms who swiftly cut the ice and levitate with a grace that elevates them to some sort of godly state.

I could not have been further from this ideal… No levitation, no godly state, cutting only my fingers in clumsiness when trying to cook and reaching humanoid status by having some alien life logic. Regarding sports, let’s just say I was never the athletic type…

While growing up, gym classes were a sacrifice I had to endure. My poor classmates dreaded picking me for their teams as much as I did dribbling… or should I say tripping, a football into this square space. It made no sense to me, and I hated the competition. I stood alone on many occasions, stubbornly manifesting my disscontempt, or sharing the goals keeper net with another school gym striker, before magically disappearing into the school cafe. With time, I became an escape artist.

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5 years ago I discovered freediving, and at the same time yoga came into my life. These are the perfect sports for my slightly introvert self. Both of them are personal mind games that literally make you jump head first. Here is why I love them:

1. Being under-pressure

In Freediving, self-sabotage is directly correlated with poor performance. Mind and body must become one. Trust is key! On the surface, breathing techniques calm your body and mind and help you slowly focus on something easy. You cannot start a dive tired or overthinking. Then the duck dive needs to be done in a single flow movement that gets you to 5 meters deep with the minimal effort. Afterwards, you synchronize the swim with your heart beat and ear decompression at a slow rhythm. No need to rush, rush wastes energy.

After 15 meters deep, your lungs are less than half the volume. No more natural positive buoyancy. Pressure takes over and you slide down motionless. At this point you feel your body transforming. At 20 meters, your lungs are 1\3 of the size and your stomach is glued to your back. You need to build reserve air to decompress your ears. At 30 meters, your lungs are at 1/4th of the size, you are close to your residual air lung volume. Instincts kick in. Then you feel the compressions. Your diaphragm is pressuring your lungs to recycle your air. Your body is triggering your brain to scream for air. Blood leaves your legs to protect your heart and brain. You need to control the impulse to panic, to control fear. . . you may feel living a sort of a dream and no it’s not the eternal one! Compressions are fine. They are the trigger to turn up slowly. They form a sort of a loop where mind triggers your body to make you believe you need air sooner than you actually need. Mind over body and time is extended. You are in total control at the same time you are letting go. Very paradoxical feeling in freediving.

(it is not me in that video… not yet!)

2. Balancing out:

Turning now to yoga and handstands in particular, I do not do it to find some soul enlightenment and mindfulness zen state. I do it because I love the challenge, and to observe how my thoughts affect my practice. Parallel to freediving, overthinking is an enemy of handstands and any yoga balance. My first handstand felt like a log. I was struggling to balance on my neck (should be on my shoulders), my face was in lobster mode, I could feel blood pounding in my eyes… I thought my head was going to explode. I lost balance and slowly fell to the side, in slow motion but brutal fall on the ground. Not very graceful… Yet, that feeling of being upside down was addictive, and I haven’t stopped since.

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So what is so special about being upside-down? Is it the illusion of control, power and the humility that comes with it… Is it feeling unbalanced and learn how to remain whole or is it the growth pains felt when faced with adversity. Perhaps is about solving puzzles, celebrating small victories, having the freedom that comes with expanding your comfort zone. Whatever it is, all of the above or none of them, I’m addicted.

How I miss freediving and the being under pressure… for now, handstands have to do it. As I like to stay, 1 handstand a day, keeps the doctor away.

Hip popper – gym battles #1

Today I realized age is a bitch!

Was super confident early in the morning at the gym!

“This is it, it is now that I will be a frequent fitness enthusiast… after finding excuses no to go for the past 2 weeks, or is it 10 years? Not important!”

My playlist was giving me some sort of weird energy and I was feeling like the queen of the world! The only sound I could hear was my music and my heart pounding in my face!

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After a good 45 minutes of cardio, being red like a tomato with Rage Against the Machine unleashing my inner anarchist, I walked confident to the free weights and prepared for a series of deadlifts. Was unsure of the weight, and realized I could not even lift the 40kg set from the staging area… Nope, this won’t hurt my ego, 30 will do! I pick it up and bring it slightly unbalanced to the floor.

Ready, set, go! Now is System of a Down… and what a perfect timing.  Rep 1 – “Everybody’s going to the party, have a real good time”,  Rep 2 – “Dancing in the desert, blowing up the sunshine”  – uuu, sharp pain, I’ll be more aware of posture on the next one…, Rep 3 – “Blast off! It’s party time…” Arhg!!!

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Broken!

Shake it off, smoothly roll the weights to the corner, just because I am not able to put it back up. Change music, something that brings me back to reality and fades my inner anarchist! Ok 2 free-weights, do something else that does not require squats. Nope, it won’t work.

Upstairs, try to crunch some bones and stretch a little with yoga. Twist, back bends, all kind of bends, twist a bit more, all bones cracked but the bloody hip…

I have always been a hip popper but today I reached a new level in popping a hip! Where is an osteopath when you need one?

Now is Franz Ferdinand… wisely singing “Take me out!” Another 2 weeks of excuses coming up!

 

 

Would I like to swop places with anyone?

Absolutely not!

Ok, maybe teleport into someone who is currently diving with Whales and had a good night sleep!

The utopia and mind traps of “what if’s”, and the delicate change of life course with simple decisions in the past, is a mind-trap I felt dangerously close to fall into a few times in the past. Leaving 5 minutes later from home, would not led you to meet someone, know about some work opportunity, witness some event. I like to imagine it as a route of synapses in a brain. They follow a certain logic, but possibilities are endless. There is this strange biased force called instinct or “gut” feeling, some sort of intrinsic knowledge that mixes your life experiences, survival skills and a dash of rationality: my very familiar auto-pilot.

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Fly away!

I have embedded in me a culture of complaint that is so characteristic of my beautiful country, but I’m happy for everything that happened the way it did. All were valuable lessons. I feel extremely lucky and grateful for what I have, where I am, where I am going (whatever that may be).

Despite being grateful for where I am, I battle with wanting more. Once a boss of mine told me I want to grow too fast, that it was a recipe to be frustrated with life. I’m glad for this impatience, I like to be in constant pursuit. Yes, I’m super tired, sometimes I feel mentally drained and just want to insult people around me, but hey who doesn’t?

There is also value in knowing how to stop, be present for a moment, but it is so hard to do.

'So the yoga classes are working out pretty well for you then?'

This is what happens when you sleep little, you completely lose your mind in a post with unrelated topics that make sense in your head only. Let’s see what the morning brings!

Stay tuned folks!

5 ways to fail at being productive

I was once a proud multitasker. I still try to trick my colleagues by saying I am a natural… Spoiler alert: MULTITASKING IS A SCAM, an urban myth spread across to break you down slowly!

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Positive side: I am an artist!!

Queen of procrastination and distraction on top of this, and struggling in this moment in time, specifically due to the piles of work needed done and delivered yesterday! Here is how I’m failing at being productive:

1. Overthinking snow-ball effect – Getting stressed when I know I’m falling behind on my schedule. Either because procrastination kicks-in, or (un)expected things require my immediate attention. If these two fail, my brain goes into self-sabotaging mode. I start overthinking about what I should be doing, what I want to do to prove myself I am capable of achieving something, thought that is strengthened by my super self-criticism. As a result, I feel overwhelmed and focus my attention on something that takes that painful sensation away, just to delay it and let it build up in the background into a crushing snowball. Human behaviour 1:1 I guess. Or at least is my excuse to self-sabotage a bit more. That is why so little achieve greatness!

2. Focus on the end goal – It may sound counterintuitive, but this is one of the main feeders of my lack of focus. I tend to take out the binoculars and look on the end-goal alone. Because of this amplified vision, I miss the true dimension and distance, as well as the mountains, valleys, canyons and rivers in between. It is a reflex of wanting knowledge with no discipline for the process. To feel passionate about that vision, but having no idea or plan how to start. I suck at planning. The simple task of planning a dinner, is condensed in booking a place 10 minutes before and whatsapping the ones involved. You can imagine how well that works with my fellow UK friends.

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3. Be a collector – Someone once said that as Human beings, we spend half of our time collecting, and the other half deciding what to keep. My grandfather was a master at this. Fierce entrepreneur in his mid 30’s, business and family man in the second half of his life with an outstanding consistency in his actions, always in line with his beliefs. Very genuine man, my grandfather.

As for me, I am a collector, a fierce collector, have experimented several jobs and careers, some of them very short. Have tried dozens of different hobbies (started yesterday to learn python for example, hopefully will finish the course). I feed on the novelty, on the experience and on learning new things. However, I am a terrible juggler (also tried this as a hobby for exactly 3 days).

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4. Self-sabotaging – related to overthinking, to procrastination, or derived by a deep fear of not achieving something? Whatever it is, I’m an expert! My boredom scale builds quite quickly. I have constant fights in my own head, self-sabotage vs belief I can be much better; thrive to accomplish a specific goal vs thinking of a million other things to do that take priority for being less important!

Would love to understand better self-sabotaging behaviour. Is there an intrinsic undermining human nature to crash? Or is it based on the “energy saving” theory of evolution, to avoid taking more effort than one actually needs to survive as a species? Whatever it is, I want to kill it!

Either way, once you pass the jumpstart of any task, it somehow becomes a motivator. Just that inertia is a pain to overcome.

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5. Be available to people – Fixing problems feels amazing, and working with others to brainstorm solutions is a very good learning tool. Because if this I struggle to say no when asked for help. Once someone told me I am good at serving people. Despite dreading that observation (independence is my thing!), I need to eat up my pride and admit that is a little true. Others expectations, unfortunately, do have an effect on me, specially when I feel I’m helping somehow. I feel a responsibility for fixing things. I just need to channel that same energy towards myself. Should be easier, no? Need a trigger for my selfish gene!

'So the yoga classes are working out pretty well for you then?'

I have tried all the tricks in the book to focus. Meditation, to do lists, gratitude lists, pomodoro timers, visualization techniques, piano music, jazz music, no music, disconnect the phone, clean the house, exercise in the morning, read and learn something, drive with no route, write my mind and my heart out into a paper in hope to make sense of it. If only setting aside time for deep work was easy…

There was a time in my life I was following religiously James Altucher’s life hack into luck. I have to confess I was much more focused, but at that time in my life (2011), I was less busy. Maybe I will give it another go… if I find the consistency to restart a daily ritual.

Any other tricks?

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Will try some of these!

A Portuguese never ending adjustment to the UK

When you speak to a Portuguese in the UK, 3 topics will come up:

  • How great our weather is: you could never fully comprehend the impact of 300 days of sun. “Boiling” is quality of life. Fair point to both our nations, we both like to talk about the weather.
  • How amazing our food is: we actually feel sorry for 95% of the population that has been deprived from our culinary goods. You have not lived! Except if you are a vegetarian, then we have nothing for you.
  • How impressive our landscape and history are, and we will tell you all about how our small nation has influenced the world and how we have taught the British to drink tea.
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A normal winter day in Lisbon!

Some other differences and remarks I have found along the way:

  • We work to live, British live to work. Or some people say. Despite Portuguese low salaries, we appreciate life to the fullest. Surprisingly, statistics say portuguese work more hours too… of course these statistics probably include all the time we spend chatting about football and the weather while having our 5 daily espresso work breaks. Doesn’t mean we are less productive, we just sense time differently. Since I came to the UK, I do live to work and more hours too… is this what happens when you migrate?
  • There is no such thing as “it’s boiling”! C’mon, heatwave with 27Cº? Do I need to say more?

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  • No driving latin fever. How I miss calling people names and judge heavily others driving skills! For us, orange means “speed up before it turns red”. Red means “You have 2 seconds to go”. Speed limits to us are more like recommendations. Learned the hard they are not in the UK! Had to attend an extremely boring speed awareness course within my first 4 months here. The crime: I was driving 35mph instead of 30… The lesson effect lasted exactly 10 minutes.
  • Fish and chips is not food! – When we speak how amazing our fish is, don’t try to empathize by saying you have Fish and Chips… it is not comparable at all! Is like telling an Italian that Pizza Hut is the best pizza in the world, or to serve you microwaved tea. We have 1000 ways to cook codfish, and only 2 include chips. We still have all the remaining dozens of fish and sea food cooked in every imaginable possible way.
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Portuguese version of fish and “chips”
  • Banter – I still don’t get it. Or maybe this post is a proof I’m getting it now? (some people took offense with this post, which means I’m learning the skill). We make fun of our close friends, and comment on people’s lives, but we know exactly that we are joking. Here I never know if people are serious or not. Strange British humour!
  • Night out – This deserves a whole post, but here is a summary of my Swansea experience:
    • Portugal: Dinner starts at 9pm. At midnight, after a large meal with proper food, a few beers and a coffee, we go bar hopping until 2am, have a few beers on the street (yes in the open), followed by disco until 6am. For this, we bring extra clothing because it’s cold outside.
    • UK: Dinner at 8pm is late. Most places stop serving food at this time. The girls are hugging themselves in short summer dresses and open sandals with no coats (with 3ºC), walking in zigzags down the street. No one drinks outside because it is illegal. Drink as fast and as much as you can seems to be the motto. Night ends at midnight. At 1am only a few remaining souls are left in the pub, mostly those who are unable to walk home.

I have to admire though, the strange comfort Britains have from beans on toast for breakfast, horrible weather, package holidays (Portugal will always welcome you in our beautiful Algarve) and little dogs. Also, I have to say I was happily surprised by the warmth of the welsh! Very nice folks with awesome welsh cakes!

Second: Chasing tails and catching tales

Something I have been questioning and obsessed about since 2010, maybe earlier. What am I supposed to do with my life? How will I make my life matter?

I asked this question to numerous people in the past years, and everyone has a prompt answer: create a company and become a millionaire, have a safe family, save dogs, save whales, save sharks, save the reef, dive the world, become a yoga teacher, travel the world, live off the grid, be an accountant, be a lawyer, be a teacher, be a psychologist, sleep with as many women as possible, have as many kids as possible, become a famous actor, teach handstands for a living, run an NGO, watch Benfica play…

I wanna be part of some of these (uuu got you thinking now? Go Benfica!!!), but none resonates with whatever is my life goal. I suffer from severe distraction and procrastination and at the same time I dream big, and some say I’m an idealist. Not sure what that means.

Purpose-of-life

People ask me constantly what is my life plan. It is very hard for everyone to understand that I do not have one. It is extremely hard for me to understand people that do know exactly where they want to be and how to get there.

My short history on this planet has presented me with constant unexpected change (not complaining). Perhaps the fact that I do not know what I want, allows me to be open to every possibility, which contributes further to not knowing what I want.

This blog reflects exactly that, no specific plan, no intentions with it, just make sense out of nonsense, and program synapses to a specific direction, whatever that may be.

Meanwhile, I know what my life purpose is not:

  • Not to be one more lost in the crowd,
  • No specifically be a mother,
  • Fame is something that scares the hell out of me

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Tales I once believed to be building:

  • Wildlife photographer: National Geographic or BBC. I’m still amazed and inspired by how they capture those unbelievable images.
  • Criminal profiler – Once I thought I found out who Jack the Ripper really was. Still fascinated by twisted minds and underlying human motivation for good and bad.
  • Writer – Poet, storyteller and opinion writer – It is hard for me to make sense of my own mind, imagine translated into words (you can probably guess this by now)! Will read more Fernando Pessoa…
  • Freediving Instructor – or just tag sharks for a living
  • HR superstar in developing teams – my current job is proving me I have a long road ahead
  • Social Entrepreneur (I still want this one, by the way! Have many ideas!!) – save the world and all that jazz.

So here I am, chasing my own tail…

After achieving his biggest accomplishment, Fido struggled to find a new sense of purpose to his life.