weeknotes, 4/23

– four books in four weeks… who is this person? 😅 i’ve finished elena ferrante’s my brilliant friend and dove into the second book of the series straight away. i’m kind of invested in the adventures of lila and lenu now — i want to know what they’ll be up to as they go through the teenage years, what’s the deal with lila after marriage, and what will come next.

– we watched after yang, which had some strong black mirror vibes, but was also visually beautiful. we also watched lead me home, a short netflix documentary about the homelessness crisis in california, and i still have so many unanswered questions about it… i can barely grasp the concept of there being over 100k homeless people there.

– i got myself an air fryer! i resisted for a long time, as i really didn’t want to have yet another big bulky appliance taking up space… but in the end, i caved in — and i’m happy i did! we did fries a couple of times, but we’ve also cooked brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, meatballs… it’s like a tiny turbo oven, sitting right there on the countertop, that is 10x easier to clean and a lot faster to heat up than the oven itself. it has given me extra motivation to cook on days that cooking feels like a chore, which feels like an added bonus

– some friends bought a plot of land a couple of streets over from us, and they threw a little party to celebrate it. i’m happy to see them happy and moving closer to us, and i’m also curious as to how the whole “house-making” process will go.

– i’ve had a scratchy throat for a few weeks now, one that didn’t really get worse or better. it didn’t seem bad enough to take anything for it, but at the same time, it wouldn’t go away. having strong déjà vu feelings of numerous childhood tonsillitis (and corresponding penicillin injections), we went to the local hospital and were prescribed some disinfecting mouthwash and some anti-inflammatories. aaaaah, the relief to know it’s nothing serious!


PR13 LLE, serra e montes

this is what usually happens: i start the year filled with good intentions, and ready to keep good track of our hikes. then, i write about a couple of them, on the blog or on a notebook… but then life gets busy and i miss one or two, and it all goes downhill from there.

then one day, the weather is nice, we pick a trail to walk, and a few kms into it we notice a peculiar vase by the side of the road, or a house that looks vaguely familiar… and wait a minute, haven’t we been here before? 😅 of course we have.

this is the story of PR13 LLE, which circles around querença in 2 loops, one gentle first part and one in which you climb up and down and then cross the little river three times, stepping on the carefully put stones.

it’s nothing special perhaps, no sweeping views or exotic birds, but it’s still nice, with the almond trees doing their thing, the gurgling of the streams and the tilled olive fields that look like japanese zen gardens…

and then, out of nowhere, a pack of puppies spots you and comes running, demanding to be cuddled!

ahah, this was so much fun! 🥰 i’m very skittish around dogs on the hills, because they’re usually aggressive and bark at any stranger intruding on their territory… but these were such an unexpected pleasure. the highlight of the whole trail!


weeknotes, 3/23

– the week started with a nice breakfast at the french bakery, which is always a good start of any day. portuguese bakeries and pastry shops in algarve are a disappointment for the most part (there are no good brioche croissants!), but “la baguette” in tavira always delivers on the french goods.

– we’ve now booked all the accommodation for our stay in taiwan, and are still as excited for the trip. 9 weeks to go!

– chinese new year! we didn’t do a bit feast this year… but still, there was fishball soup, dumplings and my favorite corn pancake.

– this weekend was the traditional festa das chouriças in querença, so off we went for a hike and some sausages. it was brilliant, as always, and we even made some new friends… i’ll tell you about them on the next post :)

– it looks like this week’s notes are mostly about food, so here’s one more: we started watching salt fat acid heat on netflix, and it’s been a delight. samin and her appetite for good food, and especially for learning about food with others are a joy to watch. more of this!


weeknotes, 2/23

– after much frustration with credit cards, finally WE BOOKED THE TRIP TO TAIWAN!!! i’m relieved and über-excited! the whole week, i’ve been floating in this happy haze of knowing we’re going to asia again, watching youtube videos about night markets and street food, and taking virtual walks through the neighborhood on google street view. the trip is still 10 weeks from now, but already i’m in a buzz of anticipation!

– the boy wanted to check out the cerro da cabeça, a small hill nearby, so we went for a tiny first hike of the year on a cloudy weekday. i don’t usually think of karst landscapes when i think of algarve, but they do exist!

– i got a delightful letter from my 9-year old cousin francisco, in response to the pintarolas i sent him last week! he told me about all of his christmas presents, and asked about mine, and to which countries i’d been to so far. it was unexpectedly sweet, so of course i replied back with another letter. :) i might get a new penpal!

– december rains gave a considerable bump to our local water reservoir, which is a relief. we’re not at the average level yet, but things are looking much better.

– we wrapped up our two weeks of eating “mostly potatoes”, which was an interesting experiment! i lost almost 1kg, and surprisingly, i didn’t even get sick of potatoes! interestingly, our favourite recipes all involved the oven and some form of dairy, and all had french names: the dauphinoise, boulangere and the tartiflette.

– i finished joe sacco’s first volume of palestine, which is like a punch to the gut. and we watched three thousand years of longing, which started well, and then turned a little absurd.

foooood weeknotes

weeknotes, 1/23

– what a difference a week makes! last week, there were no flowers anywhere, and this week, as if in tune to the movements of a silent maestro, the almond blossoms are here! still shy, still only starting to peek, but they’re here, and it makes me so happy. i know spring is still very far away, but this feels like a prelude, some hope on the horizon.

– the whole week, we’ve been trying to (finally!!) book some flights to taiwan, only to be foiled by my credit card company. researching and booking flights is already something the boy and i both dislike, but these recent hiccups (and watching the prices increase daily while we wait) make the whole ordeal extra frustrating. we’ve been waiting for this trip for years now, and i just want to get the flights booked, so that we can finally start making more concrete plans.

– i slapped some stamps on this box of portuguese smarties that i randomly found at the supermarket, and sent it to my cousin francisco this week. they arrived 2 days later and he was over the moon! :D now i have to try and find more, to send to my other small cousins. even after 70 million postcards, the postal service still feels like magic!

– i finished listening to joan didion’s audiobook, “the year of magical thinking“, which is about the year after her husband passed away. it’s a stream of consciousness, the kind of things that go through one’s head when a beloved person suddenly disappears — the giving oneself to grief and mourning and the irrationality of it. it’s hard, and heavy, and a bit clinical… but also frank and cathartic.

– we’ve still going strong on potatoes and this week we’ve experimented with a couple of recipes from this bbc list. the hasselback roast potatoes and the domino dauphinoise were clear winners!