this is the archive for the ‘just life’ category:

pre-exposure prophylaxis

did you know that there’s a pill that prevents HIV infection?

my mom used to work on the infectious diseases infirmary at a big hospital, and the horror stories coming out of that department would leave me speechless, heartbrokean and infuriated in turns — especially people finding out they’re infected after years of being married to someone who had never disclosed their HIV-positive status to them. so my mind was blown when i read about PrEP (or pre-exposure prophylaxis) on a listserve email a couple of weeks ago. though not legal everywhere yet, it’s super effective — and such a game changer, for so many people.

while i’m amazed that this thing exists, i’m also dismayed that i had never even heard of it before, and neither had most of the friends i asked about. so to help spread the information, i’m copying Faith’s email below.

read about it and spread the word!

“Did you know there is a medication approved by the FDA and some Euro countries that prevents HIV infection? There is! And it’s incredibly effective. The concept is called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP. Right now, one drug is approved, but a lot of other medications are being tested for approval.

I’ve been working in the field of HIV research for 28 years. I’ve seen a lot of things. I’ve watched a lot of people, including a lot of friends, die. I know that every one of these friends would be throwing this medication off the rooftops if it meant that one person was prevented from getting HIV. There is no controversy. This is a proven medical intervention to a public health crisis. Go learn, then inform your friends and family.

Gay men, especially white gay men, are using it with enormous successes. Feel free to look up PrEP effectiveness for more information. Unfortunately, the message that this medication is available hasn’t really gotten out to gay men of color or women at risk for HIV. Why?

Well, stigma for one. We don’t want anyone knowing what we do behind closed doors for fear of discrimination. We might also have some shame about our activities, even if they’re no one else’s business. Also, no one really wants to admit that they might be exposed to HIV during a relationship. So PrEP is for “other people” but not “me.” The fact is, if you are having sex with someone and you don’t know (really KNOW, not just assume) their HIV status, HIV infection is a possibility. And PrEP is as effective, if not more effective, than condoms! Don’t you think that’s something you should know about, even if you never take it? I do. That’s why I have been planning this since I signed up for the listserve more than 5 years ago. I think you should know ALL of the tools available to you in your toolbox.

Pass it on.”

one second everyday — february 2018

the dodgy back reared up its ugly head once again, so february was forcibly a slower month, with lots of painkillers, lower back exercises and long walks.

still, it wasn’t a total bust! the walks were nice and gave us time to enjoy the beauty that is algarve on these sunny winter days, and the opportunity to finish some rolls of film. we used the month of letters to connect with friends and family, and shared plenty of delicious meals too — some nearby, and some in hidden places in alentejo.

and last but not least, the rain came finally and it looks like it might be here to stay, perhaps putting an end to this persistent drought — hurray!

the fish basket

back in berlin, we had a weekly delivery vegetables in a basket. i’ve always liked the concept and it made sense when we lived there… but around here, with a market brimming with fresh stuff practically around the corner (including bio produce), i can’t really justify the indulgence. that said, i do miss one of the aspects that i liked the most about the basket, which was that it removed the choice element, forcing us to improvise and try new things.

enter… fish.

fish is one of those things that took some time to acclimatise once we moved here. we knew we wanted to try eating more of it (hence #54 on the list) and the market is filled with fresh stuff, but frankly, for a beginner, it’s more than a little daunting to pick and choose what to try… so why not leave that choice to the local fishermen and go with whatever they catch that day? i’m a fan of the throw-yourself-to-the-deep-end approach sometimes.

and this is how we now we have a semi-regular fish basket! :) it comes from fuzeta, a seaside parish of olhão around 15km from here. whatever their group of fishermen catches the day before, it’s delivered in less than 24 hours, gutted, sealed in vacuum and covered in ice — and that’s what we’re having throughout the week.

we’ve only had a couple of deliveries so far, but it has been working brilliantly, and the feeling of supporting the local community on their traditional trades is a great one. plus, we’ve also been trying quite a few new species with yummy results. this week: cuttlefish, ray and horse mackerel.

let the adventurous culinary exploration continue! :)

study with me?

back when we were in berlin, we had something called the early morning study sessions. i’ve written about them before, but in short, everyday we’d meet the same friends at the coffee shop around the corner at 7am, studied for an hour and then went home to continue with the rest of our day.

maybe it was the consistency of it, or perhaps the accountability factor, but every morning when the alarm rang i jumped out of bed thinking “our friends will be waiting, we need to go!“. so we went, and it worked beautifully. i learnt more in those months than i had in a long time, just silently reading and taking notes next to our equally absorbed friends.

i miss this morning ritual terribly. there’s still so much that i want to learn and that i never seem to be able to get to. but there are no nice cafés in the village, our closest friends live 20km away… and i know these are just excuses, but i’ll be the first to admit that my self-motivation was never all that great.

so, keeping in mind this is the age of the internet, i propose an experiment: what if you and i got together on skype bright and early (sometime between 6-8 gmt?), and just quietly learned, researched, crafted or worked on our own projects for a bit? maybe everyday, maybe a day or two per week — whatever suits your schedule.

i know this is not for everyone and maybe it sounds a little crazy… but there must be at least one person out there willing to give it a try, right? in any case, i thought i’d ask. if you’re an early riser and there’s something you’d like to make time to study or learn in the morning, let me know — we’ll see if it works! :)

2017, one second everyday

and here it is, the whole year as a long array of tiny seconds.

so much laughter and silliness, so many friendly faces and new adventures… every single day remarkable and precious.