New bigger & better bed

Not for me. I have what I need in that department. It was for Daisy who quickly outgrew Aklejas little bed. The one she had claimed soon after moving in.

So I go to the big department store to find something suitable for Daisy. So many choices… I opted for something that would be washable, practical and with a decent colour. And this is what happens:

Akleja assumes it’s for her since her old one has been taken. And somehow they were fine with this arrangement. Although it looks a bit awkward.

Since there was a new bed apparently on offer, Vantage decided this must the best option in the house and also made a claim.

That lasted about three days. Until he realised everyone was cool with that. He’s a cat and therefore only happy when he can be annoying…

Instead, this fancy bed has been offered to visiting friends.

So now we have a spare bed just for decoration. Because Daisy figured the couch was always the best option anyway. She sleeps in the new bed only on the occasions when she’s locked up in the kitchen. The cat changes favourite spots on a regular basis, and Akleja decided that her old bed is the best one after all. (Second to my bed, of course)

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Senior care – in the future

Accidentally, my YouTube-feed showed me a commercial for a “Granny-Pod”. It’s a small house where one can keep ones elderly mother in the backyard, when she’s arrived at that stage in life where she needs attention, care or help (and maybe surveillance).  Perhaps this will be an option now that senior care seems to be deteriorating on all levels and everywhere. The generation in need of this kind of care is growing exponentially while the generation that is to provide this care are getting fewer. A strange equation. I’m beginning to think that when that time has come for all of us born in the 50, 60 and 70’ies, the ancient custom of throwing the old and useless off a precipice will be reintroduced. Or maybe there will be robots that dish out medication and food and have the ability to shower and dress the elderly patient. Because there isn’t going to be anyone else around that is willing to take on that job.

Will there even be families willing to have a demanding senior in their back yard? It might not be as charming as the above commercial indicates. Perhaps this little old lady isn’t willing to make strawberry jam, fold laundry or peel potatoes. And the grandchildren she could read fairytales to are already over 22 and don’t have the patience to listen to grandma tell the same story for the umpteenth time of what life was life back in the day.

No, instead this elderly woman would be sitting by herself all day, feeling lonely and abandoned while the family in the house are off for work all day. And she might be demented to the point where she won’t even recognise her caregivers anymore. Resulting in her being uncooperative, refusing to take her medication and definitely won’t allow these ‘strangers’ to help out with her personal hygiene. But times are changing. So maybe it’s time to start thinking about how the future for my generation will look like?

There are seniors who like to watch ‘The Price is Right’ or ‘Wheel of Fortune”, play solitaire, crochet little pot holders or toilet roll covers, listen to Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby while reading Ladies Home Journal. Next generation will probably be very different. Newspapers? Could only be used in the bottom of the bird cage. There will be an iPad (or the future equivalent) that provides both information, news and entertainment. Plus video-calls to children and grandchildren, which in turn saves them the trip to Golden Acres Retirement Home every Sunday.

No, in the future there will be little old men playing World of Warcraft online, and ladies that crank up the volume to their old Metallica CDs to unbearable levels. Someone might break a hip while attempting some of their breakdance moves or while playing around with and old skateboard in the corridor. Wheelchair races? Possibly. There will be old people that want to sit around with their mates until the wee hours of the morning, sharing too much red wine or smoking weed while someone entertains the others with their best selection of four-chord songs on the guitar.

There will be no more flower-print dresses with cork slippers and dark, thick nylons that curl around the ankles. No, the future caregivers will have to struggle to get that incontinence diaper to fit down old missus’ skinny jeans. There will be no one wearing a beige trench coat or knitted cardigan while boarding the bus for the weekly trip out. And these recurring field trips will less likely go to the local history museum, more likely to a rock concert. No more Bingo on Friday nights. Instead Karaoke with Springsteen-songs…

No more re-heated soggy potatoes with gravy, baked beans and dried out burgers when all these seniors all call out for Thai-food, pizza and tacos. The ladies want a cocktail before dinner.  No tea and sherry for Sunday afternoon but rather at least one Mimosa for brunch. They also want a proper Latte. Possibly decaf.

I’ve already made my own plans (at least until that day when I get pushed off the cliff) to get a walker designed by DKNY with handles in faux leopard, ashtray, wine bottle holder, built in stereo and chocolate compartment. My orthopaedic shoes will have glittery details and my neck brace will have bling. Tassels on my denim jacket. And there will be no one around that will have the guts to ask me “Are you really going out like that?”.
I probably won’t watch my language, keep the volume down or go to bed at 8 pm either.

be my valentine

Now, after I’ve made this declaration I realise that none of my children will ever consider having me in a ‘Granny-Pod’ in the back yard. Imagine all the creative lies my poor grandchildren would have to come up with in order to explain to their friends who this eccentric old person is. Maybe there will be a new and different meaning of the word “Hippie”? In the future… well, if they just send me a winogram every now and then, the merciful oblivion will make me lose count of both days, missed visits and number of family members.

 

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Handshake, kiss or hug?

They way we greet each other is different all over the world. There are hugs, kisses, handshakes, nose rubbing and bowing.  My experience doesn’t cover that many cultures, but I have friends from near and far, and we’ve compared stories. There is a social protocol everywhere, and you need to learn and adapt quickly, or you’ll be seen as that awkward foreigner for a very long time.

The Scandinavians are generally quite protective of their personal space. This space is said to be at least 5 inches, to not make anyone feel uncomfortable. You get any closer, and the Swede will get seriously anxious. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a classroom, the subway or a bar. We keep our distance and our voices down, at least until a sufficient amount of alcohol takes care of the inhibitions.

When you first get introduced to someone in Sweden, there is a handshake. It doesn’t matter if you and the other person are of the same or opposite sex. It’s a firm, single-pump handshake while looking the other person straight in the eye and stating your name. Possibly in combination of adequate polite phrase: “Nice to meet you” or “So, you’re Susan’s brother”. After this first introduction, you are now considered ‘Friends’, and friends hug when they meet. Every time. Exception for work mates, perhaps. And your boss. The hug should be short, with just the right amount of closeness. Don’t squeeze too tight or you might send the wrong message. On the other hand, trying to maintain too much distance might convey a feeling of slight disgust. The big, really tight ‘bear hug’ is for close family and for friends that you haven’t seen in some time. Tricky one, this.

Don’t ever, ever try kissing on the cheek! It just doesn’t work. A woman kissing another woman on the cheek might be interpreted as being gay and making a pass. Woman kissing a man’s cheek could give the same message as whispering “What’s your room number?” in his ear.

Now, if you have ever lived in a country where cheek kissing is the custom, you have already learned exactly how many kisses you’re supposed to give/have. This actually varies with countries, and not remembering the correct number in the country you’re in, will cause confusion. Also knowing with which cheek to begin with. Worst case, you end up missing the targeted cheek and leave a kiss on the mouth. I’ve done this, and no, the outcome was very frightening to us both! And if this is not difficult enough to get comfortable with, there are also rules: a) Do not plant a wet kiss on the actual cheek. b) Do not make kissing noises. c) Do not air kiss with a two-inch distance (unless the counterpart is an elderly lady with massive layers of make-up). d) No whispering in ear.

While living in Brazil, I became familiar with the cheek kissing. But after moving back to Sweden, it took just a little too long to unlearn this behaviour, and I ended up kissing my future mother-in-law on the cheek, when we were first introduced. Her reaction could best be compared to that of me holding a machete to her throat. It took her years to overcome this experience and she would watch my every move with utmost suspicion until she finally came to the conclusion that I was harmless. Ironic, as a cheek kiss is supposed to give the totally opposite message.

Now I live in Portugal and trying to adapt to local customs, and while I still struggle to figure out the code for one, two or three kisses, this is my take on how to manage.

For women meeting women, it can be fairly simple. Cheek kissing (usually double) or a hug works for most occasions. Between acquaintances, friends or family you’ll always know at every given time, what is appropriate. Handshake works only for very formal introductions. Easy.

For a woman being introduced to a man, it can be more challenging. You have to know the nationality of the man and the type of relationship you will be in. Figure that one out, and go with your instincts, that’s all I can say. I’m no expert.

For men greeting other men, on the other hand, this can be much more of a dilemma. If you get it wrong the first time, you will have to live with the suspicion of being gay for a very long time. (For a South-European man living in Scandinavia, that might have unexpected repercussions.) Since I’m a woman, I haven’t yet had any reason to learn the finer details. Instead I find there are various levels of handshakes: a) Very professional, as in very firm with one or possibly two pumps, depending on level of optimism felt towards the encounter. b) Handshake in combination with putting hand on the other person’s upper arm. c) Hand-shake (still firm, single-pump) in combination with giving a pat on the shoulder. d) Handshake in combination with a swift semi-hug. e) Good, solid brotherly hug.

For a man meeting women, I think the quick, smooth handshake (not too firm, nor the feared ‘dead fish’) in combination with a cheek kiss (according to circumstance) will do the trick. While exchanging names and pleasantries. Guys, be aware where your left hand goes…

This is no expert advice, as I’m still in the learning process. It’s also not rocket science. You want to make friends in a new place? A smile can take you far, and follow the lead of the natives. Your mistakes will hopefully be forgiven.

 

 

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Eurovision victory

In some countries, the Eurovision Song Contest is a huge thing. No one will miss watching it, and some even gather with friends around the TV and give points to compare to the ones of the judges. And make bets. They have fun, but also take it seriously.

Sweden is one of those countries. Most people get quite involved, starting already when the national competition to choose the representing song is held. In Portugal not so much. I haven’t heard anyone even mention this upcoming event. This is probably due to the fact that Portugal has never won. Or even been close. Some years not even making the finals. I won’t even speculate in reasons for this. Because I know there is more to the Portuguese music scene than just ‘Fado’.

But suddenly there were rumours that Portugal had a major hit. That they might win. Oh, this had to be witnessed first hand. TV switched on, a glass of wine in hand and the show begins. And what a show it was! Lot’s of good music, good artists, but most of them very mainstream pop. Except for the Portuguese singer Salvador Sobral, who had chosen a love ballad and surprisingly presented it in his native tongue. Would this work? Oh yes, but it did! It was a landslide win, receiving a lot of 12-point votes.  Listen to the song, and decide for yourself:

I’m sharing a translation of  the lyrics, for those who can’t understand what he sings:

Amar Pelos Dois

Se um dia alguém perguntar por mim
Diz que vivi para te amar
Antes de ti só existi
Cansado e sem nada p’ra dar

Meu bem, ouve as minhas preces
Peço que regresses, que me voltes a querer
Eu sei que não se ama sozinho
Talvez devagarinho possas voltar a aprender

Meu bem, ouve as minhas preces
Peço que regresses, que me voltes a querer
Eu sei que não se ama sozinho
Talvez devagarinho possas voltar a aprender

Se o teu coração não quiser ceder
Não sentir paixão, não quiser sofrer
Sem fazer planos do que virá depois
O meu coração pode amar pelos dois

 Love For Both

If anyone ever wonders about me
Tell them I have lived solely to love you
Before you I only existed
Worn out and with nothing left to give

My love, listen to my pleas
I beg you to come back, to want me again
I know that one can’t love by oneself
But maybe with time you will learn to love me as well

My love, listen to my pleas
I beg you to come back, to want me again
I know that one can’t love by oneself
But maybe with time you will learn to love me as well

If you heart
Won’t be willing to give in
Won’t be willing to feel
Won’t be willing to suffer
Without making plans of what will come ahead
My heart can love for both of us instead

Facts: The Eurovision Song Contest started in 1956. Portugal joined in 1964, and have participated 29 years in a row (1971-1999) And until yesterday were part of a group of 25 countries that have never won.  Sweden has done better. They joined in 1958 and has won 6 times (only Ireland has done better, with 7 victories). But the Swedish winner of 1974: ABBA’s Waterloo has been nominated best Eurovision Song ever. (I watched it happen on TV!)

How did you spend your Saturday night, and which was your favourite song?

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Getting fit…. (maybe)

Believe it or not! I’m on a threadmill. No photoshopping 😉

A while ago I realised I had lost whatever muscles I once had. Like most of them. (I need to mention that I was once really strong and fit! True story!) Haven’t moved much in the last year.
And with that comes losing strength, to the point when a bag of dog food or a six-pack of water is super heavy to lift from the shopping cart onto the belt at the checkout in the supermarket. I had to make a decision here. Either totally turning into “little old lady” already, or get help. To everyone’s surprise, I choose the latter. Not least my own surprise when I find myself casually dropping in at Vitor’s gym, to make an appointment. Time to recover what’s been lost before it’s too late, right?

Everyone that knows me, even if just barely, already know that my idea of a gym is that it’s a specific kind of torture chamber for rich bitches who leave their furry pooches outside during the workout and their expensive handbags within view. Or tattooed guys pumping iron. I’m not in either of those categories. And still, I went in and signed up.

Well, a few years back, Peter really needed Vitor’s help, because Vitor is not only a PT but also a very good physiotherapist for people with specific issues. So Peter went, and I joined in, mainly to be supportive. It did help Peter huge. Which means I have faith in Vitor’s skills. And as a bonus, a few months later I had better muscle tone, and – surprise! – a six-pack! Wouldn’t mind having that again. If only the work wasn’t so challenging for a lazy ass person like me…..

No sooner said than done, I signed up to get started, and I’m now in the middle of the process. And yes, I’ve been sore. To the point where I’m standing at the top of the stairs in my house wondering how I’m going to make it down. I have aches and pains in parts of my body where I wasn’t ever aware there were any muscles, to begin with. Vitor showed no mercy and challenges me on all my weakest spots. Although I told him from the start that I have no desire to look like Arnold Schwartzenegger. He simply replied that there was no risk of that happening and added “30 more repetitions”. Anything he comes up with always has 30 more repetitions. I’m no math genius but I can count to 30 with no problems these days. From 24 and up the numbers come out with a groan or grunt. Vitor smiles and I sweat.

The good thing about these sessions is that we are alone in the gym and can play really good music at top volume without bothering anyone, and the very nice feeling of accomplishment as I drive home. (Having my reward cigarette in the car. Not much hope of complete lifestyle changes here)

And since some of you won’t believe this story without any photo evidence, I’m posting just a couple. Enjoy while it lasts. There is no telling where this story will end.

This is the “Before”-picture. No muscle whatsoever on my shoulders…. The “After”-picture might be posted in a couple of months. If I can keep up.

Vitor told me that in one years time, I will look 10 years younger. And that I will be a better rider. I’m sure that is just good marketing. We’ll see how this goes. Meanwhile I’m feeling good about this decision. Almost compensating for the amount of ointment I need to use every second day after workout. 🙂

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Daisy is here!

One month ago Daisy arrived to join our little family. I saw her picture on the internet, where someone was trying to find her a temporary or permanent home. And there was something about that photo that called out to me.

I had been keeping an eye out for another dog for some time, thinking Akleja needed the company (since she doesn’t enjoy being at the stables anymore) and someone to play with. But until now, there has never been a dog that looked like the right one. Could this be the one?

With the help of my friend Desiree, who is involved in one of the animal rescue associations here, we got in touch with the people that had her. A few days later, two volunteers from another organization drove her the 350 km’s to deliver her at my house. I’m impressed by these people that do so much to help, even if it’s just one single dog or kitten.

I took Daisy in my arms, and she was so frightened and shy. I sat down, and she was even afraid to leave my lap. So we just sat there together until she felt safe to stand up and start moving. This is how our journey together started. Like having a completely wild animal in the house. If I even made the slightest movement or noise she would dart in under the nearest piece of furniture, trying to make herself invisible. But if I sat still on the floor, she would come lie next to me. It was obvious she was starving for love, attention and a family.

Akleja took upon herself to play the part of Big Sister. Day one, she was fine with having another dog in the house. Thinking she was just visiting. Day two, she realized Daisy was here to stay, and in need of learning the house rules. And her number one rule was that I am her person, and she is the number one dog. She was really jealous and went in between as soon as Daisy wanted to come close. Akleja watched her every step and followed her around the house. A few days later, they have figured out the dynamics of our pack and get along really well.

Since I was still recovering from being sick, I wasn’t doing much these first days. That was a good thing for our bonding. I would watch TV from the sofa, with both dogs lying on top of my legs, clearly enjoying the company.

Sleeping across my legs

A week later, I still had to pull her out from under furniture if I wanted to take her outside or to put her in the box where she stays while unsupervised. But if I was sitting down, she would always come lie next to me, or under my chair.

After this first month, we have come a long way. She now comes running when I call her name, tail up and bouncing around. She jumps all over me when I prepare her food, and we have started going for little walks on the leash. Only when she meets new people is it clear that she is still very cautious.

Akleja is now teaching her the essentials of being a good dog. She tells Daisy off when she steals from the bin, teaches her the rules regarding furniture (no walking on coffee tables, or backrest of the sofa), no chewing carpets and how to go for walks on the leash. The lessons also include how to play favorite games (tug-of-war, jumping on sofa, catch the ball). It’s totally heart-warming to watch them play while making a lot of noise. I guess you have to be a true dog person to not go nuts while these two go wild.

Playtime!

It’s really good for Daisy to have Akleja as her Big Sister. Akleja is as confident as any Jack Russel and happily greets any visitors. Unfortunately, Daisy has already picked up on some of the less amusing treats, like barking insanely at anyone walking close to our house.

This short video shows Daisy on her third day, and then how the dogs play on the sofa every evening. Welcome to the zoo!!

 

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Looking old??

old-bodyNot long ago, a friend of mine kindly suggested I should get a total make-over, including a visit to a creative hairdresser and then also facelift. (!!)  All suggested in a helpful manner, in order to make me more attractive on “the market”. I will admit, it did take me some time to process that information and come to terms with it. (No, still processing)  And here are my thoughts on this topic:

I really had no idea, that I might need some serious “body-work” in this department. And it was a bit of surprise to hear this from a ‘sister’. Clearly, I don’t look like I’m 30 anymore. That is mainly due to the fact that I’m not.
I’ve already passed the half-century mark. And have all the lines, strechmarks and wrinkles to prove it. Is that OK?healthy-life

How does one define “attractive” when it comes to how a woman looks? I think there could be a multitude of different answers to that, depending on whom you ask. Some want curves, some want a brain, and some want – what exactly? Women’s magazines that give advice in this department are all written by women. And it appears they are all trying to put you down, lower your self-esteem and make you reach for your wallet and buy just that special product or item that will solve the entire problem. (Not falling for this trick BTW.)

To be totally honest here, I don’t think I have ever qualified as pretty, not even while still under 30. I doubt anyone was ever attracted to me because of my beauty. I have always been the “plain girl” but there are other characteristics and parameters, by which I have been defined, liked and loved.

Would I even want a man that likes me solely because of my looks? Is that what a relationship is based on? Well, if you’re out stalking people at bars or on dating sites, it will be just that first image that initiates a contact. Then what? (And why do people on dating sites lie about their age, height, weight when all of it becomes apparent if you eventually do meet??)

At this point though, gravity has taken a toll. Bum, boobs, and face are all working their way towards the center of the earth. One day, I might go to the gym and get some parts more fit. Only, I find that incredibly boring and not a priority. If I eventually find my way there, it will be only for my own health benefits and nothing else.jogging

I’m probably just as vain as any other woman. Of course, I’d like to think I look nice, and I’m totally flattered if I can cause heads to turn. So I do my best, like staying in shape, occasionally apply makeup, and have my nails done. Every now and then I miss my younger appearance and grieve that loss for a bit. But then I just have to accept the fact that it’s all history and make the best of what I’ve got. Which might not be enough to make the cover of a magazine, but that was never on my wish list anyway.

So what makes women go to any lengths to stay attractive? Do we (wrongly?) assume that men are that shallow, that they would judge a woman only by her looks? Should we give the guys some credit as for looking for other qualities?siri-single

I’ve been lucky to have had a man that loved me for all that I am. At my best and my worst. And I’d like to think that only a man that still loves me at my worst, is the one that deserves me. And the only one I could put up with in the long run.

What I look like - when I'm happy!

What I look like – when I’m happy!

So, come on, and share your thoughts on this (write a comment below). Since I’m still in processing mode, and your input will be most helpful. What makes a woman beautiful? What defines her? What to avoid? And then: how do I know it’s really time to get that facelift…..

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February, flu, fever, freezing…

… and there could possibly be another f-word to fit that sequence. But I’m leaving it out, since it’s only the first day of this month, and it can only get better. Because these last couple of January weeks seemed to monopolize on negatively charged f-words.

I had some plans as of how to start this new year. Some of them went alright. Then I got sick. Bleurgh! I don’t want to blame anyone, but unfortunately, it all started the day after my new B&B guest arrived from the cold north bringing a bit of a cough and sniffle. (And she’s forgiven since she naturally didn’t bring this on purpose) But the next day I was down and out.kleenex

Runny nose, cough, fever and aching muscles. The whole package. With the addition of a bit of a toothache, just to add to my misery. I went for the usual house remedies and took to the couch. These remedies are what usually work well and include (apart from any regular painkiller) tea made with fresh ginger, lemon and honey, chicken soup and a shot of whiskey before bed. With or without a doctor’s visit, it will cure a cold in 5-7 days. This is a well-known fact.IMG_0794

A couple of days later, I decided I was done being sick and went to work at the yard. Taking it relatively easy, allowing myself plenty of little breaks. Friday evening I even went out with friends in Lisbon, because I couldn’t stand being cooped up in the house any longer. While walking the steep streets of Chiado I realized I should have stayed home. I had to stop for oxygen at every second corner. At least I had a good time, and it cheered me up. Saturday, I went to give a couple of lessons. Feeling a bit tired, but mostly OK. But on Sunday I went down again. Obviously overdoing it. I thought I could will the cold away. Mind over matter. But no, not even my stubbornness could outdo this flu. Meanwhile, the toothache had escalated into a swollen cheek that made me look like a hamster. Finally yesterday, I caved in and called my dentist.hamster

I have a fear of doctors and dentists because history has taught me that they tend to want to bring out scalpels whenever I pay a visit. And I have no particular desire to be cut into any more. But again, I was unfortunately proven right. My dentist (also forgiven, because he is also a friend, and does really help out) brought out the scalpel and cut open the abscess that had formed in my lower jaw. Which, by now, was extremely painful. He said he hadn’t seen an abscess this size for years, and drained it enough to make my cheek appear almost normal again.  I awarded myself an invisible badge of honor for just staying in the chair instead of running for the hills. (Yes, I whimpered like a baby while this got done) I also got a box of antibiotics and got started right there and then.

Got back home, using the Uber, since my dear Volvo is still in the garage with electronic issues. Had a bite to eat to kill the nausea. Another nap on the couch, and I finally feel like I’m about to join the land of the living again.

Tomorrow I’ll be back at work. Not necessarily with tons of energy, but nevertheless back. Naturally, I’ll be on my house remedies plus the antibiotics for another week. Just to be on the safe side. But I hear my car might be back in a few days and then I will have my freedom back. And the spirit to enjoy it. Hopefully.

For those of you that know me well, I can tell you exactly how sick I’ve felt: there has been practically no loud rock music in my house in over a week. That tells it all! Tomorrow I will turn up the volume again…

whisky-cures-cold2

Again, I need to hand out some virtual flowers to some of my friends that have been most kind and helpful during this time by giving me a rides here and there, done my shopping, picking up medication, looking after horses and much more.

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Climate changes

Global warming? I’ve read about it, I’ve seen the images of the arctic ice cap melting. And still,  at this moment I find all that hard to believe. Unless the earth has tilted on its axis, and the north pole is sliding south…

January in Portugal can turn out to be quite the surprise to the expats that all came here because of the sun. But oh, there is sun! Bright sun from a clear blue sky. Yet the temperatures makes this Swede miss her long underwear…

The sky is blue, though

The sky is blue, though

There has been a period of unusually cold weather, due to some weather systems bearing down from Siberia (possibly?), pushing the milder Atlantic temperatures away from the Iberian peninsula.  There has been snow on the beach resorts of south Portugal and Spain!!

The Lisbon area hasn’t gotten snow yet. But freezing temperatures at night, sometimes rising to a staggering 12 degrees C during the day.  And here is a surprising fact: a majority of Portuguese houses are not built to be warm. Some claim they’re not all that good at keeping the heat out in the summer either. Should I dare mention the magic word “insulation” here?

Most local architects and builders have yet to become acquainted with inventions like thresholds, insulated windows or efficient heating systems. It seems that the locals are fine with wearing more clothes indoors than outdoors. There is a cold wind blowing in from under the front door, making the stone floors feel like an ice hockey rink, and a chilly draft from the windows that make the curtains flutter. People have to get quite creative in order to avoid astronomical electricity bills.

There is a huge market for gas heaters, pellet burners, hot air fans and electric blankets etc. And even more in the less high tech area, like fur lined slippers or boots (yes, for indoor use), anti-draft devices of all sorts, insulation tape, heavy drapes hot water bottles and even fingerless mitts.

Most of my Portuguese friends do complain about their cold houses, and if they are lucky to have a fireplace, they shop for wood and already saved up pine cones since summer. But if you ask them how come they don’t build their houses to withstand a normal winter, they will just brush it off by stating that winter only lasts for one month or so (but we all know that is stretching the truth just a little).

I’m not complaining. Not much anyway. Because I live in a well-built house, with a good heating system, and a fireplace. Although a threshold under the front door would be that one final thing to make it all absolutely perfect. But leaving my comfy house in the morning does mean I put on every single winter garment I brought here from Scandinavia. All of it.

How I feel going to work...

How I feel going to work…

Going back home a few hours later for lunch, hat and mitts are already in my bag. That’s when I remember: Winter is short here. And there is sunshine. Yay!

What I actually look like at work...

What I actually look like at work…

If someone suspects me of exaggerating, please check out story in link below

http://www.theportugalnews.com/news/sub-zero-portugal/40793

 

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One year milestone

Time went by so quickly. And so very slowly. It is strange how time can be perceived so differently, depending on perspective.clockBackground

And looking back, I can’t believe I’ve managed to get to where I am. A year ago, I didn’t think I would make it through that week, or month…  It has only been possible through the support of family and friends. Without all these wonderful people I would definitely be lost in a very dark place by now.changed

I’ve spent endless hours trying to figure out where I’m at and where I’m heading. Still no good answer to that. And it’s the same for all of us, regardless of circumstances, because it just dawned on me: it’s really not about where you’re going (because we simply don’t know) but it’s about the journey…

I had planned to have lots of friends around, celebrating Peter’s life, on this specific day. First of all, because that was the only way I could imagine spending that day. Secondly, to have friends bring positive energy, good memories and smiles into our house on that day would change the way I will deal with this date in the future. And I think it worked well. There was a moment, before the guests started arriving, when I had a small melt-down. This happens sometimes, and it’s scary how the physical reaction leaves me in a shivering, sobbing heap, unable to do anything at all. Somehow, I picked myself up, and once friends started filling up the house everything was all good again. Peter’s favorite music on a loop, wine, cheese and snacks on the table. It turned out to be just the way I had hoped.

I’m definitely well on my journey into the future. It’s a one-way ticket, so there are no do-overs, no turnarounds. But there is definitely time to pause and enjoy the good moments, and the little things in life.

pk-978-kopia

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