weeknotes 2/22

– though we’re still playing catch up with work, things have settled down a bit more this week and i’ve finally had time to sit down and make a plan for the next hsk exam. i’m not sure it’s a feasible plan, but i’ll give it a go. at a rate of 10 new characters per day, i should be ready around… june-ish? we’ll see!

– this week, the boy went up a carob tree and hung the first of the 2 birdhouses my brother made for us some time ago. finally! can’t wait to see which birds will take up residence in birdhouse #1!

– we watched don’t look up, and it was hilarious and sobering. hard not to make parallels with the spectacular job we’re doing to curb climate change, the impending disaster of our time.

– birdwatching was “great” this week though, and spotted 2 new species that both had “great” on their name: one great egret and a few great crested gebre in the sapal of castro marim, which was a really nice place to walk.

– the almond trees are doing their thing!


weeknotes 1/22

– the first week of a fresh new year! a quiet week, with lots of planning and also lots of catching up for work. there’s always so much to do, and too few hands to do it… so one of the mottos for the year is to try to get better at delegating.

– doing wordle in bed with the boy in the morning. :)

– back to doing exercise… mostly in the form of riding my bike to the salt ponds and shooting some photos of birds. still counts, i think!

– taking notes on this unexpectedly nice list of 100 ways to slightly improve your life without really trying.

– i received a really nice and unexpected gift from a postcrosser, a set of cyanotype kits to make prints. i’ve been meaning to try these for years, but never got around to it. on the parcel, the person included a quote by writer iris murdoch: “one of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats”. sounds like a brilliant idea, and i plan to make an effort to dispense more small treats throughout the year.

– last summer, i collected seeds from carob trees that had fallen by the sides of the road. i soaked and put these on a tray before going north, and they are now sprouting. the guerrilla reforestation project is on! 💪

– i’m reconsidering my participation on the volunteering group, after some haughty interactions this week. what do you do, when faced with attitudes that you cannot stand for? do you leave, or do you stick around and try to improve the group? on one hand, i think life is too short to put up with this and i should just quit… but on the other, how are things going to improve if everyone leaves? so in the end i stayed and spoke my mind, but the whole thing left an unsavoury taste, and cast a shadow on the experience. :( i’m not sure where to go from here.


weeknotes 52/21

– returning home safe and sound on the last week of the year, after being thoroughly avalanched in christmas sweets… felt great! i had a nice time with the family, but i was definitely ready to come home, think about the year ahead, and have a quiet entrance in 2022.

– i ate so many persimmons these past two weeks! it was brilliant! my parents have a tree that had lots of them this year, and were happy to load my trunk with some for me to bring home. they were amazing, so ripe and juicy! probably one of my top 5 fruits.

– the fireplace has been going full speed ahead, making the living room a cozy corner where we hide in the evenings.

– we had a new year’s walk in the salt ponds and spotted 2 new birds, which i think was a good omen! one was a common snipe, and the other was an eurasian stone-curlew. both are super funky birds, but the stone-curlew definitely takes the cake, with its angry looking “eyebrows” and a very yellow eye. :D

– this misty morning view in cabanas. shortly thereafter, the clouds lifted and it was quite hot for a winter day.


weeknotes 51/21

– christmas at last! we spent it with my parents & brother and the boy and his parents, in a bubble of 7 with lots of covid tests. we might not have seen as many relatives as we normally would, but codfish and sweets were consumed, and lots of presents were unwrapped. :)

– i got the beautiful kissa by kissa book, a guide book to taiwan (forever on our bucket list), fluffy peanuts-themed loungewear, and a bunch of yellow ffp2 masks! i had bemoaned the fact that there weren’t any yellow masks in pharmacies, and santa went out of its way to find some for me — they look like a bird’s beak and i love it! :D

– like a weird alien structure, the tallest christmas tree in the country landed in the town where my parents live. it’s 55 meters high and defies description.

– the sunset at my grandma’s place. despite the threatening weather, it didn’t rain that much over christmas, which was a small miracle in itself.

just life weeknotes

weeknotes 49-50/21

so much, so little.

– the most exciting thing about these past 2 weeks was that we finally did the marathon walk! omg, we did it. 42kms, lots of bakeries, birds and blisters too. more on that later.

– a local non-profit cooked a warm meal for their neighbourhood and i volunteered to help serve. it was a nice event, filled with music, laughing kids running around, and lots of elderly neighbours chatting and getting to know each other. i think strengthening the bonds within these small communities is super important especially in times of need, and events like these help that happen.

– we packed and left for the north, where we’ll be for the next 2 weeks. on the surface, i’m ready for christmas, as we did all the shopping in advance… but i feel tired and impatient. though i love family and seeing friends, it feels like this whole year has just been stretching me thin, pulling in different directions and not leaving me much room to process. i want some weeks to call my own, to recharge and recalibrate.

– plus, it’s cold here. :( my toes and fingertips are frozen and it makes me supremely grumpy. as an adult, i have very little patience for this kind of endurance sport that the portuguese turn winter into. sigh.