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


favourite human #2

this kid, that i held in my arms less than 24 hours after she was born, is graduating from nursing school this weekend… and i find the whole thing implausible. how did time go by this fast? seems like only yesterday we were feeding the pigeons in porto, pigtails and white dresses and so much laughter.

i think there are probably no words large enough to express this pride and joy — and especially the beauty of seeing someone grab an opportunity and transform their story into something unique.

the future is yours, kiddo — go get it!

favourite human

a dozen years of wiggling eyebrows at me… and counting! :)

did they tell you…?

(this story happened about a year ago, but it took some time to process.)

it started out normal enough. a small-town half-marathon that is traditionally held on easter sunday, between 11am and 2pm — an odd schedule, but the race crosses the local train tracks, and that’s one of the few gaps in which no trains go through that stretch. it’s hot for april. not that many people running, and even less cheering. i saw the boy off with my parents, and then strolled to the nearby beach for a stretch in the sun, the first proper beach day of the season.

an hour later, we made our way back and saw the first runners arrive, panting and drenched in sweat. we clapped, we waited, we cheered and waited some more… but the boy wouldn’t show up. 10 minutes after his normal finishing time, i was starting to think maybe he’d given up. he’d had a mild cold earlier that week, and though he seemed fully recovered by sunday, perhaps he wasn’t as fit as he thought.

i saw a couple of his running friends, so i asked one of them if he’d seen paulo. and he had. “did they tell you…?“, he said expectantly. turns out, he was laying on the road not looking great, around km 15. they’d taken him into hospital and the paramedics were looking for me, actually. i think my heart skipped a beat or twenty. we made our way to the emergency room at a maddening slow pace, our advance bracketed by traffic on the N125.

the boy was fine. agitated, amnesiac, dehydrated, drenched in sweat… but fine otherwise. his heart was normal, and after a while, so was the rest of him. probably the scorching sun, playing tricks. afterwards, his GPS watch told the story of a 30-minute gap, spent wandering back and forth on the side of a country road, before being driven to the hospital.

ever since then, i’ve been thinking about death and the fragility of human beings, as one does whenever things like these happen. and i understand one can’t live on a dome or in fear of the next panic, but it changes things, a bit. you’re ever slightly more careful, more attentive… and immensely grateful for every single day.

work in progress

i’ve been making an effort to write more lately, not just because it helps me think, but also because looking through the photos on our (freshly organised) backup discs gives me both chills and a pang of guilt. there’s so much i wanted to tell and write about on the blog… so many things we did and saw, which we’ll inevitably forget if i don’t write them down. somedays i feel like time is slipping though my fingers, and it’s been getting worse as we move on through life, routine and work slowly expanding to fill our waking hours.

and yet, so many beautiful things happen! some insignificant and some amazing — but in their small way, all these things i write about made me stop and look.

so i’ve been trying to write a few minutes everyday, just a few, keeping it simple and sustainable. sometimes i’m dead tired and it’s just one minute, sometimes i make it a full 20min before it’s 10pm and i need to be in bed *pronto*. yup.

it’s working though – words are quietly coming to my fingertips again, and i like it. let’s keep this success spiral going.

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.”