weeknotes, 11/24

this week, we escaped to france to spend a few days with friends! it was the most glorious week — the first in years in which i was able to completely disconnect from work, forget which day of the week we were in and just… be.

we saw a diane arbus exhibition, explored arles and a few cute towns in provence, ate an enormous amount of cheese and bread, read (finally finished country driving and also book 3 of the scum villain self-saving system), walked the countryside soaking in the sun… but mostly we spent time with our friends and their adorable 1.5 year old, who demanded our attention quite vehemently. :) it was bliss!


weeknotes, 9/24

i started the week by cycling to the swimming pool and being chased a ferocious (though tiny) dog. 😅 the whole swim i was thinking about the dog and on the way back, i did a detour through the main road just to avoid it. because of this detour, i saw an otter!

signs of spring: the countryside smells of orange blossoms, and the black-headed gulls’ heads are turning black again!

i found some advanced chinese classes online! they’re by the university of aveiro, and they’re hard, but also kind of perfect for me. the teacher is really nice too, and patient with my rusty skills. this is such a lucky find, because i was struggling a lot with self-learning and motivating myself to study on my own. with the classes scheduled, the rhythm is set and i have to study in advance, in order to actually follow the class. they started last september, so i’ve missed out on a lot of stuff, but i’ll get there!

i collected 2 beetroots, lots of chard and the last of the broccoli from the garden this week, planted some lettuce and zucchini, and seeded some tomatoes and more chard. unexpectedly, one of the beetroots was the stripy kind!

i went running with the boy for the first time in years! just 2kms, with lots of stops in between, but i did it!

to wrap-up the week, we went to an event that launched a movie the local eco-group i participate in made for april 25th. turns out, the carnations given away in lisbon during the revolution day in 1974 were grown in tavira! no one knew about this, until the technician who grew them got interviewed for a book someone was writing about the local agricultural experimentation center, and the story was resurfaced. how cool is that?


weeknotes, 7-8/24

these last 2 weeks started off with a few last meals with friends and family (including a francesinha!), and then a 7-hour long train back home, spent napping and reading.

finished reading “adventures in stationery” and “legends & lattes“, and also listening to “the big year” and “five red herrings” — all so different!

in an effort to keep trying new things, we’ve been cooking one new meal every month for a while now. we missed it last month, so these weeks we worked on catching up and made 2 dishes: a very radioactive-looking beetroot rice, and orange/fennel couscous. both were big hits! the recipes came from tavira’s own mini food magazine, which highlights a few seasonal ingredients every month.

we were in faro for the boy’s doctor appointment at the central hospital, to try and move forward with a treatment for his breathing woes. his doctor wants him to have some special monthly injections that will hopefully make his systems not go overboard, but they’re stupidly expensive and a committee will have to review his case and give their okay. hopefully he’ll get a reply soon!

while there, we stumbled on this amazing mural by mariana, a miserável!

and last but not least, there were goats and sheep being herded in the backyard, and one day, the sheepherder let me pet a baby goat that had just been born!!! :D

cuteness overload! <3


weeknotes, 6/24

a week spent with family up in the north. this time, i brought the swimming suit and tried to keep up with exercise and moving. i swam in my childhood pool where i first learnt to swim — it seems so much smaller now! also swam in oliveira de azeméis, on a municipal pool with excellent lockers and a weird arrangement: the bigger tank is 25m long on all lanes, except for 2 of them which extend to 50m… but only on wednesdays. 😅 the rest of the time the big lanes are broken in the middle with a gate of sorts. so strange!

it’s been a week of rain, the sun shining briefly between showers. i got soaked walking outside, and couldn’t remember the last time my legs and feet got this wet from the rain.

still making my way through country driving, but peppering it with other lighter reads. this week, the princess and the grilled cheese sandwich and the prince and the dressmaker. both cute graphic novels, involving gender topics and lots of dresses.

being in porto, we took the opportunity to visit a proper bookshop and get some books for the tiny niece, all recommended by friends with kids. my parents read all the books i purchased and decided their favourites were Michael Grejniec’s “A taste of the moon” and Luísa Ducla Soares “Os ovos misteriosos”. :) the kid seems to approve of it too!


weeknotes, 5/24

the week started with the kind of deep house cleaning that you only see when guests are coming: windows, balconies, cupboards… the works!

then we took a 7 hour train heading north, which was nice and i did lots of reading. this week, i started and finished “the fault in our stars” (which seems like everyone but me has read by now) and i also started and finished the second book of “the scum villain’s self-saving system“, a series that continues to be entertaining. at the same time, i’ve been making slow progress on “country driving”, a book about china. i find myself impatient with longer books, my brain looking everywhere for action and quick dopamine. but i try to persevere. the reward are passages like these, which delight my heart in their deja vu feeling:

“After fifteen miles we crested a hill and saw a line of hundreds of vehicles stretching all the way to the horizon — Jeeps, Jeetas, Santanas, Liberation trucks. Nobody was moving, and everybody was honking; an orchestra of horns blared into the wind. Never had I imagined that a traffic jam could occur in such a desolate place.

We parked the City Special and continuend on foot to the gridlock, where drivers explained what had happened. It all started with a few trucks whose fuel lines had frozen. The trucks stalled, and then other vehicles began to pass them on the two-lane road. While passing, they occasionally encountered an oncoming car whose driver didn’t want to budge. People faced off, honking angrily while more vehicles backed up; eventually it became impossible to move in either direction. Potential escape routes along the shoulder were quickly jammed by curb-sneaking drivers. A couple of motorists with Jeep Cherokees had taken advantage of their rear-wheel drive by embarking off-road; usually they made it about fifty yards before getting stuck. Men in loafers slipped in the snow, trying to dig out City Specials with their bare hands.”

time here in the north is mostly spent with family, in shared meals, doctor appointments, and construction visits. also, catching up with this cutie pie, who has just celebrated 6 months!

we also stayed with a few friends in marinha grande, because this weekend was the tree plantation event we always attend in the pinhal de leiria! a nice sunny day, filled with the hard work of getting trees in little holes on the ground. this year, over 3000 of them got planted, helped in part by 2 professional planters hired by quercus. they were so fast!

our arms and back hurt quite a bit from all that effort, so we took it easy afterwards, doing some sightseeing in leiria and learning the basics of chess, something we’d been meaning to do for ages. although we’re very much newbies, we didn’t lose the first game!