Friday, November 20, 2009

Self Empowerment

Photosource: Unknown

After many years of dealing with family drama and conflict, I decided that when I had one of my own I would not tolerate such behaviour.
Nothing is more humiliating that a public display of displeasure or disagreement.
And so, when such moments arise I opt for either ignorance or silence to avoid the conflict until a later date when things can be discussed.
But silence can be interpreted in many ways and as of late I’ve discovered that it is more often interpreted as stubbornness than resignation.
Too often I’ve resigned myself to other people’s wishes to avoid conflict, I find it easier to let go of my personal wants than to battle it out with the person that wants something different.
I realised today, what a huge mistake that is.
Unless you advertise every little choice that you make towards other’s wellbeing, people will always be too self-involved to acknowledge your effort. They take for granted all the time and decisions you give up for them and label you as ungrateful the minute you decide they can’t have that moment because you want one of your own.
Worse, the more you give up your choices, time and opinions – the more resentful you become.
Recently I evaluated how much of my time I actually invest in myself and was shocked with how little I do for myself these days.
Angry, mostly with myself for having allowed myself to reach such a point.
If people are walking all over me, it’s my fault for having let them.

I believe I’ve had my epiphany.
It came to me as I realised at the peak of my exhaustion that nobody gave a damn if I lay down on the floor and fell asleep right there.
I have a choice and I should be choosing to do the things that make me happy.
I can’t make other people happy if I’m not happy myself.
As for the silence – to avoid being misinterpreted I’ve decided to start telling people exactly how I feel and what I think.
At least if they don’t like it, they’ll know exactly what to judge me for.
Harmony is overrated – it’s for submissive people who like having their identity dictated.
It’s time I give strength to my voice.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Still getting hitched...

Photosource: unknown

I consider myself a practical woman when it comes to shopping.
I have limits to the amount of money I’m willing to spend on a certain item and I make the effort to not purchase more than what I need.
This doesn’t go to mean that every now and again I don’t pamper myself with some or other expense that doesn’t fall under the “Needed” list, but generally these treats are still controlled by my budget and what I can afford.
I’m not stingy with my earnings but I do my best to save as much as I can and I do this by always looking for the best bargain. I take quality into consideration but ultimately the price has the final say.
When undecided between any two investments, my golden rule is to opt for the cheapest option.
So far, my philosophy has worked well for me… that is, until the wedding plans.

Anyone who ever planned a wedding will tell you how many details there is to organise and how much each of them cost.
My better half and I decided in which details we’d be spending more and in which we’d be spending less…
The honeymoon for instance, is one of the details we both agreed to splurge on which will compensate for the cut in costs of the nuptial evening.

I find it useful to hear other people’s opinions and perspectives on the subject. Mostly they vary between the two extremes. Some of my friends are of the opinion that no cost should be an issue to invest in that one day of your life that little girls start dreaming of early in life. Whilst others shrug it off as an expensive event that should be budgeted wherever possible. A friend of mine, who is also planning a wedding, has managed to reduce costs to the point where the dress will be ordered at a low cost off the internet and the wedding favours made by hand. I’m all of the opinion that creative people have their chance to shine at these moments but considering that bricolage was never one of my strong points, I can’t imagine anything by my hand that I’d want to give to my guests. I also decided that I wanted my gift to be useful, practical – something I’d want to receive rather than some silly decoration that will be packed away in a drawer.

At first the wedding represented to me the day when I have all my family and friends together in one roof. I didn’t care if I was dressed in rags and the cake was made of cotton candy – nothing is more important to me than the presence of the people I care about. But as time and preparations have unfolded… I’ve discovered that the whole day is more important to me that I initially decided.
It all started when I put on “the” dress – I didn’t know it was the “one” until I put it on and saw myself in the mirror and thought “wow”.
I couldn’t believe the emotion I felt from looking at my reflection, I’d tried on other dresses but none had made me feel this way.
I didn’t feel like a girl in a white dress, I felt like a genuine bride and I could picture myself letting go of my daddy’s arm to join my man at the end of a red carpet.
Surreal! Even more so for being something more than a movie my mind made up… soon, it’s going to happen!
The thought alone made me feel faint and panic stricken although I can’t for the life of me explain why.
Maybe the corset was too tight or the heating was too high…
I definitely hadn’t counted on ever wearing one of these dresses.
Perhaps deep down I didn’t think I was good enough for one, or that I deserved it.
My dress wasn’t the most expensive of the store although it isn’t nearly as cheap as the dress my friend’s bride will be getting off the internet – but even if I wanted to, there’s simply no way I’d settle for any other dress regardless the price.
I wouldn’t have been able to pick out of a catalogue; in fact, it only came to life when I tried it on. I’m pleased that it was the cheapest of those that I’d seen but quite honestly, once I tried it on – price was no longer an issue.
Alright – I’ll admit, if it cost double of what I paid, I probably wouldn’t have bought it. Price as I already said – is always an issue and I have to consider that no matter how much I love the dress, it is an investment for only one day…

I wish I could tell the same story about the shoes…
My limit on how much I’m willing to spend on a pair of shoes is €25… €30 on boots. I’d already decided that I was going to leave buying the shoes for the wedding at a later date but on a day that I had time to spend, I decided to look around every shoe store in Baixa-Chiado and surprise surprise…
In winter you can’t find shoes of white or any other shade of white, unless you order off a catalogue of course which will bring up the price to what you would pay at a bridal store… so I decided to look in bridal stores.
And then I found them! These amazing shoes that I just fell head over heals for!
They fit and felt great!... Until I saw the price tag!
Luckily, my prudence lead me to the store where I bought my dress in hopes that they could arrange the same kind of shoes and hopefully cheaper.
To my utmost glee – the shoes had already been ordered and they were in fact cheaper.
However I’m still going to pay €85 for these beauties!
€85?!! I must be crazy! I don’t think I’ve ever bought a pair of shoes this expensive!
So why am I going to?
I could argue with you about the lack of options in conventional shoe stores and that they weren’t the most expensive ones I’d seen… blah… blah… blah….
But ultimately – they were sold the minute I slipped them one and saw myself in the mirror.

When I initially began planning for my wedding, the slogan was “good and cheap” but as time goes past, I realise more and more how this one day has suddenly taken up such significance to me. And reasonable prices, I should invest in making it a memorable day. The story of one of my colleagues is what helped me reach this conclusion.
At the time she got married, she resembled me in the sense that she liked things simple and so – her whole wedding was organised as simply as possible with a few guests, a simple gown and reception. As she described it to me I could see the emotion on her face as she told me that if she had the chance to do it all again, she would’ve done it differently.

My life’s philosophy on economics won’t change. I’m going to stay wise with my decisions and expenses – but I won’t deny myself any small joy or detail that I know is going to make my special day memorable.
It’s the day I get to share with all the people I care about, the commitment that already exists between me and my man.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Bold and the Valiant

Photo Source: Unknown
Often people have the misconception that the brave are out there fighting their way through and standing up for what they believe in.
It seems that to be a warrior, one must be seen always with their sword in their hand.
Let they never be caught off guard!

What bollocks!
Courage isn’t always about the fight!
Courage is what it takes to try and make things work without having to fight.
The hero isn’t the guy that went off defending his virtues… to me the hero is the guy used diplomacy and patience to avoid the conflict.
Just because I know what I want doesn’t mean that I don’t seek out opinions.
It is not a sign of weakness when you let other people have their way.
It’s called patience, tolerance and often an intelligent tactic of someone who lets the little things slide so as to have more power to the larger issues.
Why do we assume that champions always know what they want and where they’re going?
Better to patiently wait for the fog to pass before choosing the road you want to follow than to blindly go the wrong way.
Courage is not the absence of fear.
Fear is a sign of the maturity one has when considering the consequences of his or her decisions and the responsibility one will have to take.
Courage is what makes us decide despite the doubts and hesitation.
Sometimes giving up is the biggest proof of courage there is – the hardest lesson I ever learnt in life was knowing when to let go.

I’ve been called the rock of Gibraltar… a woman with fibre… the tough nut to crack.
But I’m human.
I have a right to my frustrations and moments of weakness.
They don’t mean I’ve become weaker – I’m stronger because of them.
Don’t for a minute underestimate my survival instincts.
Just because I’m not always in the driver’s seat doesn’t mean I’m not in control.

The size of a person’s mind and courage once broadened never returns to the original size… don’t make the mistake of underestimating a person’s courage and character just because they don’t react they way you expect them to.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Getting Hitched


Photosource: Unknown
Two weeks ago, I walked into a restaurant with my better half convinced that we were celebrating our last caloric dinner before the beginning of an intensive diet.
Needless to say, I was not expecting to walk out with a new appendage on my right ring finger.
My expectancy of my man popping the question was that when he told me that he had an important question to ask me my immediate reaction was:
“Okay, what is it that you want to buy?”
The ring he placed on the table eliminated all doubts.
There’s just something about a man asking you to spend the rest of your life with him that leaves you speechless… the “yes” gets stuck so that you choke to cough it out.
Suddenly a whole new level of motivation was added to our diet.

Upon giving the news to our loved ones, the first reaction to us having something important to share with them was:
“You’re pregnant!”
We had been so adamant about not getting married, that it didn’t go through anyone’s mind that we might change our mind about taking that step.
Even my mother reacted to the news sadly explaining that
“But you two are already together, I was expecting to be a grandma…”
Sorry guys… the bundle of joy is going to have to wait, I’m first gonna buy me a white dress!

Why didn’t we want to get married?
He’d done it before so he felt he didn’t need to relive the experience.
And me? Well, I’m fully aware that it is impossible to put under one roof all the people from all around the world that I care about and that I want to be there to share my commitment and so…
I decided I didn’t want a moment if it couldn’t be exactly as I dreamed it should be.

So what changed our minds?
My better half witnessed the euphoria surrounding another colleagues´ wedding and decided that it had been an amazing experience that he wouldn’t mind repeating. He also decided that I deserved the day all girls dream of.
I decided to accept that there would unfortunately be important elements missing… but that those that can and will be there will make it a memorable experience worth living.

I get married on the 27th of February 2010, day which I celebrate 3 years of a wonderful relationship and renew it to an undefined date.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sunshine’s Column – Blog Description

Photosource: Unknown
Recently I received an e-mail from a real-time search engine dedicated for fast feed discovery called feedmil asking me for a description of my blog.
They already have my feed page linked on feedmil and all they asked for was a description of my blog to put under “words from the author”

Surprised to say the least, it took me a while to register the request and even longer to figure out the description to send them.
Asking me to describe my blog is like asking me to describe myself.
I’ve never been good at it.
Not because I don’t know who I am but because there’s so much contradiction to me that it reduces to a simple “I’m just me” – it’s the best description I can come up with. Oddly enough this description is normally followed by the tune of Meredith Brook’s “I’m a bitch” playing in my head (to which now I will proceed to hum to myself the for rest of the day).

But you can’t exactly describe a blog as “this is my blog” nor did I wanted to resume it as “these are the adventures and misadventures of Sunshine” or worse “this is Sunshine’s story”. I decided to stick the main objective of the description which is to enlighten readers on what it’s all about… so what is it all about?

Someone once told me that the best poets and writers are chronically depressed. Under a sane frame of mind no work of depth can be created. Although I don’t consider myself to fall under the catagory "great writer" I never agreed with this opinion due to the fact that I’ve always been keen on sharing my thoughts regardless of my state of spirit and that my inspiration always comes from the same place, my soul.
Six years and 358 published posts later, my opinion hasn´t changed.
I must admit though, I’ve reduced in the amount of posts I write ever since I met and hooked up with my better half.
However, I don’t attribute this reduction to the idea that I’m happier and therefore have less to say. The way I see it, my increased happiness only increased the amount of things I want to write about. However, now that I have someone to share my moments with I decided to invest my time more in living these moments than writing about them.

So why continue writing if there’s already someone paying witness to my life and if these days there are so few readers accompanying my writing?
I can honestly say that I’ve never written for anyone else but myself. Often I need to “hear” myself think and when I write I give myself the opportunity to see what’s really going on in my soul. It’s easier to resort to logic and somebody else’s answer than to search inside yourself for your true path. I’ve always said that my most important career is “being myself” – this blog makes it just that much easier.

After writing this post and reading it back to myself, I finally managed to write the description I feel my blog should have:

Sunshine’s column is the perspective of a young woman living the things worth writing about and writing the things worth reading. A compilation of experiences of someone trying to write her own life’s story whilst trying to live life without following the instruction manuals written by everyone else. She writes these experiences as a way of mirroring her perspective to herself, a way of "hearing" herself think. She shares these thoughts in hope that as she figures things out, maybe they will help someone else figure things out too.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Introspection


Photosource: Movie "Closer"
I recently read a post that got me thinking of the questions that I still don’t have the answers to: “Merecer Mais”
What do you do when you feel that you’re not getting what you desire, need or deserve?
Do you fight and demand that which you feel that you should be getting?
Do you throw away everything you’ve invested in to look for it somewhere else?

Sometime ago, I would’ve said that the answer would be to talk to the person that can make it happen and if you can’t reach a compromise then it’s time to let go and go after that which will satisfy those needs.
I came to understand, that it’s not that simple…

Not everything can be compromised on and that not everyone has the capacity to see and understand your point of view.
What if the things you don’t want are directly parallel to those that you do?
Then what?
You accept defeat and resign yourself to do things “their way” to avoid conflict and eventually losing that which you care about?
This is not compromise.
How many of these shattering defeats do you accept before losing yourself to someone else’s desires and circumstances?
You begin to lose focus of the things you like and the things you want to do and eventually when someone asks you you’ll honestly reply:
“I don’t know”
One day you will catch yourself staring at your own reflection and not recognising the person looking back at you.
It is the point no one wants to find themselves at, and so many people do.

You can’t always have things your way.
But some things can’t be compromised.
Where is the boundary to which you should give in to and to which you shouldn’t?
Sometimes it’s easier to go along with what the other person wants than to argue your point of view.

Some people feel that it’s easier to resign yourself to the bad instead of risking looking for better.
I feel that it’s easier to pack a bag and leave than to deal with the bad.
Whatever angle you see it from; it’s an inner conflict that needs to be dealt with.

I don’t have answers.
I asked my heart what it wanted and what it was prepared to sacrifice in order to have it.
I then put all my forbidden dreams, needs and wants far in the back of my mind.
Often I remember them; there will always be something to remind me of them…But I extinguish the desire by reminding my heart of that which made me sacrifice it in the first place.
There are easier days than others.

Despite all of this, I still believe that every first move should be communication.
Communicate with yourself and then communicate with the other person or people involved.
It’s not always easy to find the courage to express what you feel.
But to avoid doing so is to sacrifice another piece of your identity.
The conversation may not come to the conclusion you want it to, but it’s easier to deal with defeat when you at least tried.
Stay… Leave… keep it all the same.
Change your style,
Change your job,
Change your life...
Or don’t…
Change your attitude,
Change your priorities,
Change your dreams…
But whatever changes you make or don’t make in your life, let it not compromise your heart’s deepest desires.
That is what I believe is being true to yourself all about.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Recycle

Picturesource: Unknown


These days the publicity on recycling has become aggressive.
With the amount of information that is out there, there’s no excuse to get it wrong.
Even children have been programmed to make you feel guilty if you throw out something recyclable with the normal trash.
However, I often question myself at the efficiency of the whole system seeing as I still see very few products with the label indicating that it was made from recycled material.Where are the recycled goods going and which companies are making use this?
I’ve heard rumours that not all the trash we put in the recycling bins is actually being recycled so I’m curious to how exactly is our effort being put to good use.

Being firm believers and recycling devotees at home, we own a relatively large trashcan that consists of three bins to facilitate the separating and see to it that our recycling duty is done – we do this in belief that we’re making a difference to help the environment.
It is this desire and belief that persuaded us to start recycling old appliances as well.
Worten has been advertising that everyone should hand in their old appliances at any of their stores to be properly disposed of and recycled.
After buying a new keyboard for our computer we decided that the right thing to do was hand in the old one at a Worten store and so we took it with us to Vasco da Gama.
There are no bins or advertising in the store to where this equipment should be handed in.
I asked one of the attendants to refer-me to where I should drop off the old equipment and was told that I should report to the complaints counter.
If perhaps the complaints counter was empty that day, I wouldn’t feel the need to write this post but as is normal in a big store such as Worten, the counter was full!
I took a peek at the next ticket and realised that if I was to take one I’d have to wait behind approximately 10 people in front of me.
I put on my best smile and apologetically interrupted one of the girls behind the counter.
“I´m sorry, I´m not here to complain and I only want to hand in my old keyboard so could I just leave this here with you”
It´s not like I had forms to fill out! And yet I was told very sympathetically that i´d have to take a ticket and wait in line.
Are you kidding me?!
Instead of throwing it out with the normal trash, I make the effort of bringing my old equipment to the store so that it can be recycled and I have to wait in a long complaints line?!
I was about to make my way to the nearest trashcan when my better half came with a better idea.
He took the keyboard from my hands put it on top of the complaints counter and retorted: “Here you go, I’m leaving this keyboard here – if you want to you can recycle it and if you don’t want to, go ahead and throw it out with the trash.”
We left satisfied that we’d done our public duty.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Driving Miss Sunshine


Image source: Unknown
I finally did it!
I summoned all my courage, said my prayers and drove myself all the way to Lisbon and back.
For those of you who aren’t aware, Lisbon is around 40km from where I live and as any capital city of the world – traffic is insane!
Although I took lessons and my driver’s licence in Lisbon, I hadn’t come on my own yet and believe it or not I was missing the nagging co-pilot to tell me where to go.
The trouble with any big city is that besides the intense traffic, there are many lanes and places where you can’t turn. So even when I know where I want to go, I end up going round the long way because the road I normally take when walking has only one way, or has access denied from the road I’m coming from.
What made this trip easier is without a doubt my GPS!
It took me to roads which I’ve never gone through before and those I’d rather not have gone through… My only complaint is that in a few places he asked me to turn in a direction that was forbidden.
That along with roadworks make things a little more complicated.
Luckily a GPS knows how to reroute in these situations and others where fast lane changing made it impossible to turn exactly where it wanted me to.
I’ll share a secret with you – if you switch off the 3D visual, it makes it a lot easier to see exactly which turn off the GPS wants you to take, in the centre of town there are so many in such a short distance that it’s easy to pick the wrong one.
All in all, I made my rounds – found great parking spots and got home safely without a single scratch on the car.
I’ll admit – I got hooted at once and with just reason.
As I took a turn I looked in my mirror and didn’t see anyone so I changed lanes to the right – that’s when I got hooted at by a big bad Mercedes!
My only conclusion is that either they guy was in my blind angle or he came in so fast that I couldn’t see him coming in the mirror.
I can´t say that from now on i´ll be more comfortable going to Lisbon on my own – most likely i´ll still sweat buckets whilst chatting to my angel about what a good job he does keeping me out of trouble…
One thing is for sure, I’m much less hesitant to go on my own wherever necessary – provided my GPS comes with me.
I’m pretty diggity dang dong proud of myself!

Monday, July 20, 2009

First Sushi meal

Photosource: Unknown

As a birthday gift to his mother, my better half decided to take us out to try out Japanese food at a restaurant in Lisbon called Osaka.
This was also a first for me and I’ll have do admit I was pretty excited to try something I’d been meaning to try for a long time.
At first when I walked in, it felt as if I’d walked into an ordinary Chinese restaurant – the porcelain and general decoration had the same oriental feel and the waitresses looked so alike that the only reason you knew you weren’t in a Chinese restaurant was the fact that there weren’t the red balloon like lamps hanging on the outside.
As I sat down I grinned as I saw the chopsticks – I’d learnt how to use them on my first visits to the Chinese restaurant but I hadn’t used them in a while.
Underneath the chopsticks was a little porcelain block which I figured was meant to hold the chopsticks however the tiny side dish on the side was new to me and the only thing I could figure the saucer was meant for was to keeps olive pips.
I was later embarrassed to find out that it had nothing do with pips; the saucer was in fact used to hold soya sauce for you to dip your food in.
On contrary to my belief, very little of what we ate was raw – in fact most of it was grilled and some things fried.
I loved the whole algae wrap concept and was impressed at the complex sushi rolls they made. There was stuff made with prawns, salmon, cuttlefish, tuna and even chicken.
I love the fact that you can put something in your mouth, close your eyes and try guess what’s all in it – There were no nasty surprises, all the stuff we tried was simply wonderful.
All except the sake – it’s the one notorious thing we tried that none of us liked. It tastes like white wine mixed with salt and water! Next time I’ll try the green tea!
Oh - And I still know how to work my chopsticks!

Obrigado Amor

Monday, July 13, 2009

More Reflections...



Photosource: Unknown


Every now and then, you stop and reflect about life – the decisions you’ve made and where they’ve gotten you.
You ponder about the course that you’re on and you ask yourself if this is where you want to be and where you want to go.
Adolescence is supposed to be the hardest time in your life due to the fact that it’s a phase of discovery and choice. You try different things and test your limits in attempt to understand who you are and who you want to be. The fact that you have a world of possibilities leaves you with many choices to be made.
As time passes, you eliminate the things you know for sure that you don’t want in your life. Many opportunities have past you by and your choices begin to narrow as the choices you’ve made eliminate other possibilities you could’ve chosen.
As a teenager you learn that you can do just about anything you set your mind to.
As an adult, you learn that you can’t do everything your heart desires.

I’ve personally never felt so stable, sure of my decisions and my desires… and yet I question them.
Why?
Is it because it is human nature to unsatisfied?
As soon as we achieve our goals we quickly set new ones.
To stop wanting, to stop dreaming – it’s a sure death sentence to the human soul.
The way I see it, you will always wonder about the opportunities that you let go of in order to grab onto the decision you made with both hands.
Adults don’t know it all – we’re not always sure of ourselves and the path we’ve taken, we’ve simply learnt that while one will always wonder about the path we didn’t chose – the challenge is to embrace de decisions we’ve made in order to make peace with those that we didn’t.
I’m happy with the way I am, the course my life has taken and the future that I’m striving for but I will keep re-evaluating all these things in the attempt to be a better person,
a better lover,
a better companion,
a better sister,
a better daughter,
a better friend,
a better colleague,
a better stranger…
I believe we are all born to live our lives towards being better people.
A couple of years ago I met a good friend online who says I caught his attention with the following job description:
“being myself”
Back then I believed that this was the hardest, constant job each human being had.
I still believe that being myself will be my constant struggle until the day I die.

A mixture of excitement and expectancy is the way I feel about where I’m headed. Often I feel cold feet and a chill of fear travelling up and down my spine when I think about the responsibility I’ll have to take, scared that I may not be strong enough for the challenge. But love and faith keep me strong and willing.

Recently I found a beautiful passage in a neighbouring blog that I accompany:
My Silent Nights


The author had borrowed the text from someone else and to me it’s unclear if this other person is the true author. Nevertheless, it was so beautifully written that I could not help but translate:

I now understand that to live is to be free...
That fighting keeps you alive...
That to be happy you simply have to want to be...
I’ve learnt that time heals...
That hurt goes away...
That deception doesn’t kill...
That it is possible to cry without shedding tears...
That real friendship is lasting...
That pain makes you stronger...
That winning builds you up...
That words possess strength...
That the eyes don’t lie...
And that everything depends on will.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Simply Feeling

Photosource: Unknown
I hate being misunderstood.
It’s one thing to argue your point of view and have the other side disagree with you –
it’s an exchange of thought.
It’s another thing to open up your heart and let someone know how you feel and they simply refuse to understand you.
It makes you want to knock out their teeth and slap them silly until they get the fact that what you’re telling them isn’t what you’ve chosen to feel but how you genuinely feel about the subject.
People change their minds all the time about the things they think about,
but feelings – you don’t choose and pick new ones.
They are what they are and they can only change with time and circumstances and therefore they are meant to be respected even if you don’t agree with them.
Only thoughts should be argued – and even a change of thought doesn’t guarantee a change of feelings on a particular subject.
Frustrating –
to the point where you stop trying to make that other person understand,
some people just don’t want to.
Hurtful –
to the point where you feel you’re feelings aren’t important enough for that person to try and understand where you’re coming from.

It feels so good to write, it feels great to dedicate my time to the things I love –
I’ve made a pledge to myself this summer to invest more in the things that make me happy.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In Tribute

Photosource: Unknown

This isn’t another tribute to Michael Jackson that relates how talented and gifted an artist he was… Just the fact that VH1 will still be playing his music for your grandchildren is enough proof of what he was made of.
The man was eccentric but he lived his life in his own way, trying to be happy in his own way – something every human being can relate to.
I pay my respects the best way I know how: I remember how he touched my life:

I must’ve been around 10 when I first heard of Michael Jackson, it was 1992 and South Africa was full of tension because of the first democratic elections that involved all South African races taking place in 1994.
By then the National Party was so desperate to try and cultivate some of the “black” votes that they began integration policies to soften “apartheid” or better known as internal segregation policies.
One of these new policies included the integration of black students in white schools.
Before the elections, this policy was for a lucky few whose parents had earned trust in the white community.
In 1993 the first black student was integrated into my class. I’ll never forget her because despite the immense courage it must’ve taken to integrate in an all-white school in an era where “apartheid” wasn’t fully abolished and “black-hate” was still wide spread – she arrived each day with her chin up. Her name is Sarah – one of the most influential women that passed through my life.
All schools did their best to prepare students for the change. This implied teaching children that the black community that was once considered “inferior” was now to be seen as our equal. For a society that for centuries had seen the black community as an inferior race – this was a difficult change to implement. Most students stood by their parent’s beliefs regardless of what the school tried to teach them.
We were in constant fear of retaliation from the unresigned white extremists.
I recall many parents pulling their children out of our school because of Sarah´s integration and although there nobody dared verbally abuse her, most students steered clear of Sarah´s way and were wary of her. I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like for her to be under constant scrutiny by both students and teacher’s alike.

That´s where Michael Jackson came in – An English teacher printed out the lyrics to “Black or White” and posted them in the doorway so that every student saw them on their way in.
Although it seemed like a small gesture, it came a long way – I distinctly recall hearing the lyrics being sung over and over again. They were certainly food for thought and I dare to say that they made a difference.
I still recall the lyrics to the whole song.

I bought the Dangerous album at a time when it was sold on tape and wore it off until I bought it once again later on CD.
I distinctly remember the first day I heard the album and thinking to myself “damn, I can’t decide which song is my favourite”
Michael Jackson´s music is simply Timeless – I still enjoy listening to it, my mother enjoys listening to it and my little brother likes it too!
Not all music has this capacity to satisfy so many generations.

So which is my favourite music – I still can´t choose but lately I´ve been singing a lot to myself “There’s something about you baby, that makes me want to give in to you….”
(Hit on the title of this post to get the song in my head) - In the Closet

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Reflecting...

Photosource: Unknown

I can’t focus.
Normally in a crisis I’m able to concentrate on my work and distract myself from what is bothering me but I can’t seem to wrap my mind around anything else besides that my dad is in an operating theatre and in the worst of circumstances could have his foot amputated.
One of diabetes’ effects is gangrene due to the lack of circulation to your limbs – google it and you’ll see the horror of it for yourself.
I haven’t quite gotten to the point where I reminisce on the possible consequences – right now the only thing that’s bothering me is that I’m here instead of there beside him.
I just want to be there – I know it wouldn’t medically make a difference but it would make it psychologically easier on both me and him.

I’m apologize.
I meant to write about the wonderful things I’ve been living lately. There’s so much to say that I never know what to write about first and then I end up not writing about it seeing as something else equally interesting happens.
Life has been good to me and I decided that living the things worth writing about was more important than getting to the writing part – hence the abandonment of this space.
But I’m still here – I still have great things I want to right about, I just haven’t gotten round to it to the satisfaction of the people who care about me and know that the absence isn’t just due to the ironing of clothes that keep piling up.

They say that the greatest of writers give of their best work when they’re depressed because it forces them to reach into their souls.
I’ve never agreed with that – I believe that you can reach into your soul at any period in your life and express whatever phase you’re in.
But I’m not a great example – I’ve been too happy to write and today when I’m sad is when I feel the desperate need to write about what’s going on in my head.
I don’t write for anyone else but for the need to “hear myself think”.
I’ve missed writing.

Do you know what I hate about life?
That it brings your world down on your head causing utmost devastation – and yet it doesn’t give you the chance to pick yourself up before moving on.
The world keeps spinning and if you want to survive you have to keep on you own two feet even when your knees hold no strength and simply want to buckle.
It’s tearing me apart because I can’t be with my dad and yet I still function; I work; I sort out other of life’s daily problems; I ponder about my upcoming air conditioning installation and I even plan a day at the beach this weekend…
We develop poker faces to the point that sometimes we lose the notion when to stand firm and when to fall apart.
I’m at neither of these points –
I’m just sad and with the desperate urge to be beside my dad.
Update 29/06/2009:
Dad is doing well, they only cleaned up the infected part and he´ll probably be able to go home today. I´m relieved and thankful to everyone who gave me support and had my dad in their thoughts and prayers.

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Friends

Photosource: Unknown

"A real friend isn´t the one that bails you out of trouble... a true friend is the one sitting next to you in the jail cell saying "Man that was crazy!""

I´ve often heard the phrase “the more I know people, the more I love my dogs” and thought to myself that people that thought that way were hermits.
So people screw up – sooner or later everbody disappoints, that isn´t enough reason to give up on them.
Everybody deserves redemption
Everybody deserves a second chance, sometimes more than once.
After all… we´re just human.

And yet… despite my optimistic viewpoint, after a quarter century´s experience, I find myself also repeating “the more I know people, the more I love my dog”
It´s not that I changed my mind or opinion but as someone close to me says:
“You can´t forgive someone that feels no remorse”
I discovered that as time passes, most people that screw you over feel no regret.
In this day and age, I find that most people justify their actions with “survival of the fittest” which in turn justifies “I had no other choice”.
You always have a choice, it´s in the way you do things that marks the difference.
I have no doubt that these days people are more selfish.
Even I am more selfish – because I find that sacrifice or an act of kindness is no longer apreciated by the society I live in – as if I were obliged to serve others´ purposes.

I´ve come to realise that my true friends are in fact scarce, the ones that hold no expectations against you nor condition you to any demands. I find that they´re mostly the least close to perfect people, but also the ones that make the greatest effort to be. And even though they screw up over and over again, I find it so easy to forgive them because they´re always truly sorry, because their intentions don´t lie in hurting you.
I cherish my friends, even those that I rarely hear from… they´re the ones I know time will never take away.

There are friendships I´d set my life on the line for… for people that I know would do the same for me. And there are those… I simply couldn´t bother.
Because friendship Works both ways, because i´ve given up on investing the effort on those that only seek convenience.
You can´t ask for what you´re not prepared to give.
I´ll gladly take the first step but I refuse to dance alone.

Even though they say that all you need is one true friend to be happy, I´m grateful for being able to lose count of those I posess…
I´m grateful for every friend that I can count on.
As for the imitations – sooner or later they fade and get thrown out.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I watched this movie and it got me thinking…


Picturesource: Unknown

As human beings, we are born to fulfill a cycle.

We learn to sit up and then to crawl.

To walk and talk and run.

We learn to tell the difference between right and wrong.

We learn to lie…

And that there are consequences to the decisions we make.

We learn to love… to yearn it… and to get our hearts broken.

Eventually we pick ourselves up and move on.

We study, we chase after our carreers and dreams… and then wonder if what we achieved makes us happy.

We doubt, we learn to fear… feel scared that we´re not good enough.

We find confidence, taste the sweet taste of victory… and the bitterness of loss.

We lose people we love, we meet strangers that change our lives

We meet the person we want to spend of our lives with.

We date, get married, have children and we watch them have children of their own.

At the end of it all, we all conclude that the biggest challenge any of us have is to discover who we really are and to be true to ourselves.


Phases… sometimes, if you miss one – the oportunity comes around again.

Others, you simply know in your heart that the last chance passed you by.

Not all people live their life according to the human being´s cycle – not all of us get to live the life we wanted for ourselves.


They say it´s never too late to go back on the things we left behind… if only that were true, unfortunetely – somethings can´t be undone or repeated.

Somethings can only be lived at their right moment.


I have no doubt in my mind that i´m going to go to varsity and get my degree in what I love to do.

Right now, I don´t know whether it´ll be this year, next year or after 2011.

The decision depends on what happens in the next few days.

We can´t control the people and events that affect our lives nor foresee tomorrows successes or failures by the decisions we make today.


Some moments we simply let go of, because we can´t live them on our own.

We give up our dreams investing in what we believe is more important and will make us happier, most importantly – to make someone we love happy.

These are the dreams that haunt us at 2:30am on a Sunday morning.

Even when you let go – they´re a part of you forever.

May the universe give us all another chance at conquering our dreams… and if it doesn´t, May we live at peace with ourselves knowing that we did our best.


"The curious case of Benjamin Button" - That´s the movie that got me thinking, I leave you with the part that inspired this post:


"It´s never too late... or, in my case, too early, to be whoever you want to be... There´s no time limit, start anytime you want... change or stay the same... there aren´t any rules... we can make the best or worst of it... I hope you make the best... I hope you see things that startle you. Feel things you´ve never felt before. I hope you meet people that have a different point of view. I hope you challenge yourself. I hope you stumble, and pick yourself up. I hope you live the life you wanted to... and if you haven´t, I hope you start all over again."




Friday, February 20, 2009

In The Memory of Flávio Bento


Photosource: Unknown
It still hasn’t sunk in.
It’s still hard to swallow.
I can’t get him out of my mind and now I find him in my dreams – In most of them we’re both sitting on the train talking about life… we’re both good humoured and smiling in my dreams but I always wake up heartbroken wondering if I’ll ever shake this feeling of regret…

I met Flávio in one of the darkest moments of my career.
He’d just began working for the Outsource company that I helped manage back then and he just happened to catch the very same train home that I took each evening.
I didn’t work on the same floor as he did so I didn’t see him often during working hours, but when I did go into his environment, I always found him helping a colleague, clarifying procedures or simply motivating the person next to him.
Intelligent, there was nothing that I didn’t teach him in our weekly training sessions that he didn’t grasp almost instantly.
We became fast friends, it was so easy to like Flávio – he always had a smile on his face and he never hesitated to begin a conversation with anyone.
He always had something positive to say, something new and interesting to tell.
Even on my saddest evening trips home, he always managed to put a smile on my face and lift my spirits.

I finally changed my working environment and Flávios CV is one of those that I took with me, soon after we were working in the same building again…
Nothing changed, whenever I saw him he’d have that contagious smile on his face and we’d catch up on all the time we’d lost.
Flávio is that friend that you think of first when you go for coffee and want to invite good company along.
But I hadn’t thought of Flávio lately, I’d been busy and since I began working in a separate building, most of our latest conversations had been over the phone.
The last time I saw him must’ve been a month ago. We ran into each other one evening close to home – it had been a really pleasant surprise!

Our last conversation was two weeks ago, he’d called to invite me and my man for a drink that evening. I had plans and so he invited me out for coffee – I had work and so I blew him off telling him that if I got the chance I’d pop in for that cup of coffee.
I didn’t – and it’s a decision that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Flávio went into respiratory arrest and consequently into a coma a few days after that phonecall. Doctors says this happened during the night and the fact that his parents found him in the morning left an enormous gap in which he didn’t receive oxygen to his brain.
Flávio Bento was pronounced brain-dead on the 18th of February 2009 and after almost 10 days after being in a coma.
He was around my age.

I can’t wrap my head around it.
I simply can’t understand it.
He was fine… We spoke not too long ago… What the hell was God thinking?!...
Flávio had his whole life in front of him!
He was a bright kid, with vision and a passion for living. He loved cars and movies and music and his PSP. He loved spending time with his friends, he was everybody’s friend! Because he was the kind of person that never meddled in anyone’s business and accepted people for who they were.
Flávio is the kind of friend you keep for always….
Was… because he’s gone now.
The last two days I’ve been numb.
Incredulous – it still seems like a crazy story somebody made up.
I expect my phone to ring and have him invite me for coffee.
God, I wish I’d gone for coffee that day!
People keep telling me to let go of my regret, that if I’d known then I’d gone for sure.
All I know is that we’re all mortal, we too often forget that.
Too often, we take the people we care about for granted.
Too often we miss the opportunity to spend time these people.
I’m keeping the sweet memory of Flávio Bento in my heart as the angel that brightened some of my darkest days with his smile.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Too Tired for a Title....

Photosource: David J. Nightingale

I´m tired…
So tired that I risk falling asleep whilst writing these words.
It´s been three days of countless hours working on a two day training session which i´m not even halfway with.
11 hours of working against time.
Every now and then everything becomes fuzzy and I can´t make out the slides I´ve been working on.
Pressure - I need to get this done!
But there are moments I stare blankly at my work and can´t decipher what I know that I know like the back of my hand.
I´m tired…
When i´m not working, i´m working in my sleep.
Even eating has become too tedious, I never realised the effort it takes to chew.
I need to stop.
I need to sleep.
Soon the Centrum will kick in, the coffee will give me a boost and at lunch i´ll power up with a Redbull. And just in case I begin to lose gas, my evening snack includes an energy bar accompanied with an Actimel.
I´ll be on a buzz… I´ll be awake and alert
I´ll get things done and tomorrow I´ll do it over again and again so that 3 weeks work is done in 1.
I´m tired.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Binging

I did it – I took a break and ate a Kit Kat.
I’m cranky, I’m moody and in a general bad mood.
I don’t give a damn that I betrayed my diet!
I couldn’t care less about the 228 calories that went straight to my thighs!
And I certainly don’t give a shit about the €0,80 I spent on it when I should be saving all my pennies.
Screw the long term consequences!
Chocolate is the only comprehensible, comforting, feel-good solution that can make me feel better on a shitty day like this one.


Monday, February 09, 2009

Six things about Me



Photosource: Sunshine "Kalash - Happy to be Alive and Free"

I never back down from a good challenge and although I got it in Portuguese, I’m sure Sophia won’t mind if I translate it to my mother tongue:

The challenge is:
- Link the blog that made the challenge
- Publish the rules of the challenge on your blog
- Write 6 random things about yourself
- Challenge 6 other bloggers to answer to the challenge
- Comment on those 6 blogger´s blogs

Six things about me:

I love waking up to the sound of the rain pouring down outside, just to bury my face deeper into the chest of the man that keeps me warm in his embrace and breathe him in deep. My man makes every other heartbreak in my life seem worthwhile.

I love the way Kalash adores me in the morning. The way she looks and loves me unconditionally. Despite how grumpy I might be, whether I’m happy, sad or even angry – she’ll still come to me in the hopes that I’ll pet her and give her some love.

I’m a fighter, a survivor and I’m prepared to endure whatever challenges life throws my way… But inside my hard nutshell is a heart that is intact, whole, trusting and loving that’s never stopped believing in the goodness of all things.

I’m most afraid of hurting the people I love.

I try not to get too attached – because it rips my heart apart every time I lose someone to distance or to disappointment. I hate to be so far from my family, I hate that the four of us are split up in four different countries. Sometimes it hurts so much as the day we had to say goodbye. Sometimes all I really need is to have them in front of me, to hear their voice, feel their embrace and to be able to breathe them in. Some days, their absence is simply unbearable.

I write, not for those who read the things I write. Not to make a statement or to mark my opinions. I write for myself, to express the things I live and to “hear myself think”.

I normally don’t answer to all writing challenges, but this particular challenge was simply irresistible simply because it genuinely challenged me. I was surprised at the first six things that came to mind. Having found this challenge so interesting, I extend the same challenge to the bloggers of the following blogs:

Na pele do Outro
Bute Nessa

Unresigned Spot
Mind Travels
Pieces of Me, Myself and I
Aberto até Madrugada

Monday, January 26, 2009

Amália


Photosource: Unknown
The wise normally teach their daughters to judge a man’s character by the way he treats his mother.
I’m proud to say that if my man’s character was weighed by this concept, there would be no doubt in anyone’s mind of the amazing man I know him to be!
We tried convincing his dad to take his mother out to a movie she was hoping to see about a fado singer who was a historical icon of their generation.
After failing to do so and knowing she would never go on her own, we decided to treat her to the movie whilst at the same time enlightening our ignorance on the subject.

In the small town cinema, all the old ladies were well dressed and excited to see the movie.
I love to see my mother-in-law smile, she’s so easy to please and I love to see her happy – even if the movie was dreadful, I was happy we’d brought her.

But the movie wasn’t dreadful.
A bit dramatic, I’ll give you that.
But for a Portuguese movie, I thought it was really good.

I didn’t know much about Amália’s life.
I knew very little about her music.
But I normally could tell it was her whenever I heard her singing.
Her voice and spirit are simply unique.

As I heard familiar songs, songs I didn’t even realise that I knew… I began to remember sweet moments long forgotten, that I hadn’t remembered in years:
“Casa Portuguesa”: Countless Portuguese weddings I had attended.
“Cheira Bem, Cheira á Lisboa”: The sound of mom cleaning the house in the morning
“De quem eu gusto, nem ás paredes confesso”: The sound of mom trying to piss dad off
“Barco Negro” The sound of mom’s anguish and depression each time we returned from an overseas trip to see the family.
The sound of “saudade” – missing someone like the deserts miss the rain.
They call “fado” the sound of suffrage.

Sometimes, it’s a bittersweet moment when we’re taken back to the past memory.
My only regret is having my parents too far to take them out to a movie.

Friday, January 16, 2009

There´s a new tanie on the road!


Photosource: Unknown
I did it!!!
I drove on my own!
My heart was pounding madly!
As I put the key in the ignition I said a prayer and asked my guardian angel to keep me focused and safe.
In the 15 minute drive from Vila Nova da Rainha to Castanheira do Ribatejo, I managed to put in 5th gear going 70km/h. I did all my reductions correctly and timely and went at a respectable speed instead of the snail driver I’d started off as a week ago.
I didn’t spook with the rain.
I didn’t panic when I reached the road with all the potholes and realised they were too many to avoid.
Instead, I shifted to first gear and slowly went over all of them.
I must admit, I thanked all the lucky stars for the easy and spacious parking space I found upon reaching my in-laws apartment… where normally you have to drive around a couple of times before you find a tight space in which to squeeze!
Handbrake up, gear in neutral and turn key until the car goes off.
And just before I unbuckle my seatbelt, I put the car in 1st gear for safety reasons.
I’m pretty diggity, dang, dong proud of myself!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Seeking Answers

If you had the opportunity to have the questions of your life answered, which would you want to be answered?
Most of us learn to accept and resign ourselves to the fact of life that things happen. Good things, bad things… they happen.
Sometimes, later in life we get the answers to old questions.
We discover why something had to happen, we realise the life’s lessons we learnt from a certain event in our lives and we put our questions to rest.
But then there are those questions we always wonder…

WHY did it happen that way?
WHAT was the decision?
HOW did that happen?
WHERE did that come from?
WHO did that?
WHEN did those feelings begin?

We resign ourselves to the unanswered questions because to most of these, there are no answers. Or are there? What if there was a way of knowing them?

Sometimes it’s best not to have our doubts confirmed.
Often, ignorance is bliss.
There’s a reason we don’t have all the answers and if we did, what would the consequences be? What would we do with them?

I believe that we all live on a need-to-know basis and that under no circumstance will we find out that which we’re not ready to know.
But to find out, to know that behind that door are the answers… it’s a conscious risk you take, knowing that you can’t “unknow” what you discover.
The open mind that expands will forevermore return to its original size

I accept the things which can’t be answered, but only if I come to the end of all attempts of knowing.
One of these days, I’m going to grab that opportunity…
I’m going to experience hypnosis and ask to be taken into the secrets of my unconsciousness.
I know that the choice I make will include the answers I don’t want to know.
But I simply want to know.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Journey of Souls – Michael Newton

Photosource: Unknown

I finally finished it!
This is one of those books that are hard to finish no matter how interested you are. It’s as if you have to keep stopping to reflect upon what you read.
This book concentrates on past life regression written by a hypnotherapist that started off as a skeptic. In this book, he reports 29 cases which demystify reincarnation as a whole.
I’ve read many books on this subject but this is by far the most complete study I’ve read.
I haven’t been this hooked since Dr. Brian Weiss´s – Only Love is Real
Although the book bore very little novelty to my knowledge, there was one particularly interesting aspect that I learnt that made immediate sense in my mind as I read it about it…

The signs.

According to the case studies, when the soul is almost ready to reincarnate, it first undergoes an important meeting with his guide and other souls that will be part of his life.
At this point, the soul has already chosen its life’s course, from the physical aspects to the relationships he’ll make along the way.
It’s important to state that the beauty of reincarnation is free will, which means no matter how hard we work in spirit upon choosing this course: our human nature still has the capacity to screw it up!
Luckily, in this meeting we meet the souls that are going to make the difference in our lives: be they a constant presence or a phase we need to go through.

What was most fascinating to me is how much this meeting reminded me of the one called before each theatrical performance – everyone knows what to do but this is where the fine details are discussed.

And what would you call the fine details of reincarnation? The case study that spoke of this calls it the flags… I call it the signs.
It’s that sensory contact that inexplicably catches your attention.
Some call it the Déjà-vu effect… it’s those moments where if you listen to your heart and you just know…
The author shared his own story of how when he met his wife, he knew right there and then that she would be the one that he married.

Not of all of us are that lucky or that perceptive to have these certainties, but taking a look back in my life I recall certain moments in life that I was so sure of what I was doing that no amount of logic would’ve changed my mind.
I recall the day I decided to leave South Africa – on any other day it would’ve scared the life out of me, but on that day I felt so sure and at peace with that decision as if I’d been preparing for it my whole life for it.
I felt exactly the same way about moving to Lisbon four years later. Even though at the time I was fully aware that my reasons for moving weren’t going to work out – I still felt like it was a move I had to make. Today I know why.
I recall the day my grandfather died. I never meant to stay over that weekend due but when I arrived at my grandmother’s house I just felt I couldn’t leave – I had to stay. I’m so glad that I did.

On the train ride home I recalled so many times in my life where I was lead by my heart: the best decisions I’ve made in my life were those I made on instinct. But the curious ones are the physical signs that this so called meeting defines…

We all have our stories of how we met a special someone… mine is so insanely coincidental that it simply couldn’t have worked with anyone else.
In fact, if there’s one thing my man and I agree on is that if either of us had hesitated at any time in the beginning – things wouldn’t have gotten as far as they have.
Neither of us wanted a serious relationship but we both decided to go with the flow and our hearts decided for us, making moves that were completely out of character.
The signs however, are the kind that I’ll never forget.
It began with a blog… I came across his through a link on someone else’s blog.
It’s not unusual to read a good post and then move on, never return to the person’s blog. But I was captivated by the writing to the point where I kept reading right to the bottom where I saw the sign that made me decide that this was one blog I wanted to follow…
The smiling sweet face of the Rottweiler I most love in the world!
I kept reading for over three months before I finally decided to leave my first comment, it was on a post that specifically spoke of why people keep blogs.
That’s where it began.

It wasn’t all that easy though – I blowed him off on our first encounter and decided to cut the contact… but then I got that sms and I wasn’t supposed to reply to…
I got most of my signs on the night we met.
It was the silver traces in his hair, the warm smile and two words that neither of us will ever forget:
“Promises, promises”
Curiously, just as most case studies report: I too found that there was something in his eyes that made me feel as if we’d met before that made that important connection that’s gotten us this far.
My heart was sealed with what I felt with our first embrace…
I had no clue, but my soul already knew.
These were the signs.

For those of you wondering what to get me for my birthday… Michael Newton has another book out I’d like to read called “Destiny of Souls”

Thanks for Nothing!


Picturesource: Unknown
After passing my driver´s exam on the 4th of December, I´ve been patiently waiting for the temporary permit I need to drive with due to the fact that the actual driver´s licence takes 3 months to be issued.
This permit is sent to the school at which I took lessons and according to them it normally takes a week to arrive.
However due to the holiday season, it took almost a month to arrive!

After calling every day for the last month since my exam, my enthusiasm earned the promise that someone would call me the day it arrived.
And so it happened…
On Friday afternoon at 18pm someone called to me to let me know that it finally arrived and that the school closed at 19pm.

The excitement was such that my man and I got in the car and decided to drive the 100km in order to fetch it… unfortunately we caught traffic and it was 18:57 when we were just exiting the highway – basically we were about 5-10 minutes away.
I decided to call the school, to let them know that I was on my way and ask the secretary to wait for me just a few minutes.
The response I got was short and crisp:
“I´m already closing, tomorrow we open at 9am and close at 13pm”
I was so flabbergasted that I even thanked her before cutting the connection.

No one is obliged to stay beyond their working hours but would five minutes have killed her?!
If she´d refused because she was going to miss her bus, train, plane I would´ve been sad but i´d understood – I believe however that this wasn´t the case.
The bitch simply couldn´t wait five minutes!

As much as this shouldn´t surprise me – this is after all Lisbon… attitudes like these bring out the worst in me.
Today when I go pick up my permit, I´m going to take the time to write a note in the complaints book – not because of this woman´s lack of consideration… I couldn´t do that… but due to the fact that 50 minute lessons only lasted 30 minutes, due to the fact that there was never any solid orientation and even due to the fact that the CD they sold me had many incorrect answers that had to be constantly reviewed with the instructor.

You know what they say: behaviour causes behaviour.

Happy New Year!!!

Photosource: Unknown

More important than setting New Year´s goals is reviewing the year that´s gone past. I begin this by reviewing last year´s resolutions:

1. Get a driver´s licence
2. Save and finance two major holidays
3. Lose weight
4. Settle in my skin
5. Make my man Happy

I´m happy to report that achieved all my goals, including a couple of others that weren´t planned:

1. Be at my mother´s wedding
2. Step up to some professional challenges
3. Overcome an unexpected health crisis

Normally these goals are kept to myself but in order to respond to the challenge I´ve decided to publicly report my resolutions for 2009:

1. Lose some more weight (I want to lose at least one more trouser size!)
2. Save for two major investments in the home (Furniture in Madeira and an Air Conditioner)
3. I want to get a raise (I know this one doesn´t depend on my exclusively but if I don´t get one this year, I´m going to have to make big professional changes. Preferably I want to be where I am, with the challenges I´ve been given – earning more.)
4. Invest more time in writing in my blog (I feel the need to invest more time in my thoughts)
5. Organise and enjoy another intense game of spin the bottle between friends starting from the level we left off last year.
6. Make my man Happy

Someone once told me to only make attainable goals – Every year I set the goals that I know I can and will achieve… I hope next year that along with these I can add a few more achievements along the way.
All I know is if I can successfully reach all these goals – it´s going to be an awesome year!
May all your goals and dreams be attained this year!

Truth Hurts

Photosource: Unknown

Sometimes, when people try to defend you or protect you, they just manage to hurt you even more.
I sat inbetween old friends when he appeared smiling.
We hadn´t spoken in a while and the last few times that we had, the atmosphere of discomfort had been lifted.
Despite the history, we´re still friends – things might not have gone back to the way they were, but we managed to recover enough of the connection to retain the friendship.
More important than who he was, is who he is: my friend.
Upon his arrival, someone decided to come to my “rescue”
“What are you doing here?”
“You shouldn´t be here!”
“You´re the reason she left!”
“She has a real man in here life now… go away!”

Under normal circumstances, I would´ve put a stop to this kind of verbal abuse the moment it began – but I was speechless.
Every word said had been felt by my heart at some point in life…
My defender didn´t know, but it felt like he´d taken the pages of my diary and read them out loud.
I wanted to tell him to stop… but I knew that if I said one word, tears would follow.
So I didn´t… and instead sat silent and listened as my friend was crucified.
He said nothing.
He just kept on greeting the rest of the group as if it had nothing to do with him.

Every word felt like a blow to my soul.
It probably hurt me more than it hurt him.
But I didn´t ask to be “defended” or protected – if that was the case I would´ve stood up for myself.
What was once forgiven has been let go and no one has the right to bring it up all over again.
When I finally found my voice, I demanded that my “defender” stop.
“Don´t defend him when he did what he did to you!”
I tried to deny it, I tried to wave it off but my efforts just made it worse.
It´s as if I was forced to relive it all over again.
I was grateful, when finally someone took me away…

Towards the end of the night, I found my friend.
The event seemed not to have affected him and perhaps I should’ve left it at that.
But I felt that what happened wasn’t right and I felt the obligation to say something.
I apologised for what happened -
No one had the right to judge him.

I´m sorry.

If I could turn back time, if we could do it all over again - maturity tells me we should have done it differently.
But if you ask my heart, it will tell you that it would repeat it all the same…
Because it was the road I needed to take to be with the man that i´m with today.
The experience I needed to be the woman I am today.

I´ve done a lot of things in life that i´m not particularly proud of.
It´s enough that I remember each and every one of them like they happened yesterday, to need someone to remind me of them.
We are already our own harshest critics – no one needs their nose rubbed in their own mistakes and criticism is only welcome when it´s objective is positive reinforcement.
Before making judgement, ask yourself if you too are prepared to be publicly flogged for your sins.
Karma isn´t being punished for the things we do wrong – it´s what we go through in order to avoid making the same mistake twice.

More than the important than the facts is understanding and empathy.
The truth is subjective and harsh when there´s nothing you can do to change it.