weeknotes 7/22

– we took a couple of days to explore évora, a place for which i have a soft spot that i can’t quite explain… it’s just nice. i enjoy walking up and down the cobbled streets in the town center, eating nice food (and sweets!) and just looking around the old facades, the churches and the roman ruins. speaking of ruins, we drove to the cromeleque de almendres, a nearby group of menhirs placed in a circle, from around 6000 ac. although not all stones are still around, it’s really impressive that so many of them are. what were our ancestors thinking?

– new birds! we checked out a couple of new spots on our way to évora and struck gold at the lagoa dos patos, where we saw a black stork and swamp hens (and later northern lapwings and corn buntings). the black stork has been a kind of “wishlist bird” for me, and when we rounded some trees and it flew away from us, i could barely speak in my excitement! :D we need to go back and check out the many duck species around there too, which are all still new to us.

– a friend’s baby turned 1 year old, and we had a little happy birthday singing on zoom, which was sweet. i hope we’ll soon be able to cover those cheeks and belly with kisses!

– inspired by a postcrossers’ post on the forum, i’ve tried my hand at making silly stitched postcards, and it was so much fun! with the pressure of making something perfect (or even good) completely off, i just went for it and laughed at the result. i had the perfect “polaroid-card” cover for it too, which made it look like proper art and added an extra layer of silliness to it. i see more of these in the horizon!


weeknotes 6/22

– today’s sunset was stunning!

– netflix! we resisted it for years, but this year we expanded my brother’s account to fit in my parents and he offered us the extra profile that came with it. so far, we’ve watched speed cubers (unexpectedly sweet), spirited away (i’m 90% sure we’d watched it before but neither of us remembered the story) and the power of the dog, which i was dreading to watch but turned out surprisingly nice.

– biked into town for the first time this year, for a run to the crafts shop and a few other loose errands. i’ve had a sweater in my needles for over a year now, and i want to finish it soon, before it gets too hot for sweaters. the lady there was super nice, and the weather was perfect for cycling. it reminded me that i should leave the car at home more often.

– my hair was becoming a rat’s nest, so i tried a new hairdresser in town after a few recommendations from local friends, and it turned out ok! i’m super lazy with my hair, but it does feel nice to have it cut and painted. plus, now i know all the gossip in town.

– we tried our hand at pizza toast, and matcha tiramisu, both japanese-inspired dishes and both wonderful!

– there’s an environmental fund in portugal that subsidises improvements that make houses more energy efficient, and some months ago we applied for a refund of our new A+ fireplace. it got accepted this week, so at least we’ll get some of that investment back. yay!


weeknotes 5/22

week five already, 10% of the year is done! 😅

– the big thing this week was celebrating chinese new year, which i’m quite fond of. we watched the gong strike 12 on CCTV, wrote some poetry to stick on the door, cooked all our repertoire of chinese dishes for friends and played hanabi in the place of fireworks. the cooking part was a lot of work, but it was so worth it!

– usually guests bring dessert when they come over to eat, but since we already had a chinese dessert planned, our friends showered us with swedish sweets instead (packed inside an ikea bag, no less). we rarely eat gummies these days, and much less liquorice ones, so this was a lovely treat!

– february is the month of letters in my calendar, and i’ve been taking time each day to write a postcard to a friend or relative. it’s been really nice to slow down, surrounded by stationery and stamps.

– we walked the “almond blossom” trail on the weekend, and it was glorious. it’s peak bloom season, and raining snow petals everywhere!


weeknotes 4/22

– in preparation for chinese new year next week, we went to the chinese supermarket (all the way in albufeira) and came back with bags full of goodies! i can’t wait to cook many of these — i really must get on with it, because my cupboards are practically overflowing… it’s a good problem to have, and i like having a kitchen filled with possibilities.

– so, in the spirit of using things we have in the pantry, i’ve made mapo tofu! next time, i’ll need to tone down on the chilli, because it was a bit too intense for me. 🥵

– on the way to the chinese supermarket, we stumbled on a british supermarket, so we had a look as well. i don’t know why supermarket trips to foreign stores are so exciting to me, but it feels like they’re filled with wonder and delights. to me, the british are kings of sweets, and we brought some packs of sweet stuff home, along with eccles cakes and wensleydale cheese. yum!

– i got my booster shot, woohoo! while it feels like everyone around us is getting their immunity by getting sick these days, we’ve been able to stir clear of that so far and have instead vaccinated ourselves. feels pretty good! :)

– every year, a postcrosser friend in china gifts me a hobonichi weeks. it’s a slim paper planner, with super lightweight pages, and the right combination of calendar + free space that i like. these gifts have been going on for 4 or 5 years now, and i’ve grown attached to the planners, looking forward to a new one as the year ends. i never know which one he’s going to get me though — it’s always a surprise. after a 2 months’ trip through the mail, my 2022 hobonichi finally arrived this week, and i was so happy — it has pandas on the cover and the text inside is all in chinese (turns out, this is a special edition that is only available in china). i love it soooo much! <3


weeknotes 3/22

week 3, rinse and repeat, with a few good things.

– cooked a fantastic corn pancake (玉米烙) that was a huge throwback to our time in china. there was a restaurant in our street that served these with sprinkles and we were practically addicted to them.

– we watched wadjda, and it was a bit of a punch in the gut. saudi arabia sometimes feels as alien as north korea.

– birdhouse #2 has been deployed! we checked the first one, but couldn’t see any birds coming and going. looking forward to the new tenants.

– we voted today in advance of next week’s elections, just to get it done.