Tag Archives: Portugal

Looking Foward to 2012

december greenery

Image by postbear via Flickr

2011 went by in a Flash and December did so even faster. Seems like just a few days ago I was graduating. Now it’s a whole year later, I have a job and my life couldn’t be any more different. I loved every second of it!

Now it’s time to think about the future and look at the year that awaits us!

There are already allot of predictions for 2012, most of them quite bleak…

Some believe the world will end, but most talk about one of the hardest and most severe economic repressions since the time Portugal was a dictatorship…. which was a long time ago… a really long time ago. Regardless of the truthfulness of this predictions it promises to be a challenging year.

But I for one am looking forward to 2012. It promises allot to me, most of it good! For the better part of 2012 I will be working, doing what I love! I’m also getting ready to move out of my parents house and I finally have the time to focus on my personal projects.

To prepare I gather my thoughts, look back at what I achieved and look forward at all that I still want to achieve.

All in all 2012 will be exactly what we make of it, and it’s in our hands to turn it into the best year of our lives!

What are you looking for in the year to come? And how are you preparing for it?

I’d love to hear from you!

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Happy Halloween!

Halloween is an American holiday but here in Portugal we had our very own tradition in All Hallows day. Unfortunately since the mass distribution of Halloween throughout the world we lost our beautiful tradition, but today I would like to tell you a little bit about it.

All Hallows is a Catholic celebration of all saints and martyrs known or otherwise. In Portugal tradition says that children go outside in the 1st of November and go house to house asking for the “God’s Bread”. They recite songs and get bread, cookies, cakes, pomegranates and dried fruits, nuts, almonds, and chestnuts, as offerings that they keep in their cloth, patchwork or tassel bags. I remember going out early in the morning around my house asking for treats, and then at school sharing the spoils with my friends. Mostly we received fruits of the season and if we were lucky some chocolate but the best part was the stuffing yourself  full on all that you had conquered!

It may seem allot like Halloween, but the kids don’t wear costumes, it’s done during the day and theirs no trick just treats. Maybe it’s not as glamorous but for me it was just as fun and I loved it!

It also carries a sentimental side, since this tradition is rutted in historical events in our country. It is a reminder of what happened in November 1st, 1755. An historical and massive earthquake destroyed our capital, Lisbon, and families where forced to go door to door asking for whatever people could spare.

As good as it is to know the traditions of other people it is sad that people have abandoned their own, I hope to teach my kids to treasure their tradition and hopefully help the bring it back to life.

Have a happy Halloween!

Here are some of the songs we used to sing:

“Bread, bread for God to the child,

Fill my bag,

and I’ll be leaving.”

And to those that refused the treat we said this curse:

“That the fatty fat, gets your pot,

and leaves you without,

bran or crumb.”

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Natural Pools

A few weeks back I went to visit one of the many natural pools we have in Madeira. I had never been there, there in a place called Seixal.

Swiming Turists

The water was clean and warm and I loved the place.

The Way Down

It is wonderful to see natural places like this being preserved and used in a responsible way. Enjoy the photos.

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A Consumerist society and a Crumbling World

united states currency eye- IMG_7364_web

Image by kevindean via Flickr

I have been thinking on writing this post for a while now. It is an immensely complicated theme that I make no assumption of understanding, but it is also a theme that affects each and every one of us. And because of this I feel an obligation to share my thoughts and questions on this theme.

There is no doubt in my mind that we live in a consumerist society. We are incited every day to consume, by adds, commercials, peers and even our government. And even though I have no proof of this I feel that our economy and our countries would fall apart if we stopped consuming.

I’m from Portugal and we are currently crossing a financial crises, one that has been hatching for decades and one that has spread to all (or most of) the “developed” countries in the world. We are buried in debts and as I watch our elected leaders cut back on Christmas bonuses, social support and termination compensations, I hear those same leaders telling us that we must consume, and consume more, so that the economy doesn’t die, so that the have enough income from taxes to pay the debt. So I find myself asking how? How are we supposed to keep consuming when the money is less by every month? Why are we being asked to turn ourselves into mindless robots that do nothing more that to buy something new every week? Is that our purpose?

They proudly state that the raise in taxes will only affect 20% of the population. They forget to say, however, that the reason it is so, is that the other 80% survive with low incomes. The great majority of my countries population survives with a 480 Euro minimal wage and many more with a retirement as low as 200 Euro. While most rent round the 200 Euro and the government plans to raise the cost of water and electricity.

They tell us that to overcome this crises we must help strengthen the economy. And they go about doing this by taking actions that make the rich richer, facilitate firing people and that give more power to the same people that brought on this crises in the first place.

I know it may seem as if I am desperate, but that’s not it. I’m revolted! When did the most important thing in our society become money? Because it seems to me that nowadays having money is more important than having a healthy and happy people. That money is more relevant than employment rates and living conditions. That if having 10% of the population rich is enough to keep the country afloat then the other 80% are irrelevant.

I watch as Europe and soon the U.S.A walk back in time to the dark ages, to the time of slaves and poverty. To a time when governments cared only for the strong. Are we so lost that we would let this happen without even an objection? I feel powerless, I do not know how to make a difference. And it is not due to lack of will. I feel that this society has became so complicated that the people have lost their voice, and they don’t even see it.

I think the true problem isn’t the government….

I think the true problem is greed!

But that’s a hole other story….

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Portugal Day

Today is Portugal day, this is a day in honour of Portuguese poet Camões, so I leave you with a poem from him.

“Love is a fire that burns unseen,
a wound that aches yet isn’t felt,
an always discontent contentment,
a pain that rages without hurting,

a longing for nothing but to long,
a loneliness in the midst of people,
a never feeling pleased when pleased,
a passion that gains when lost in thought.

It’s being enslaved of your own free will;
it’s counting your defeat a victory;
it’s staying loyal to your killer.

But if it’s so self-contradictory,
how can Love, when Love chooses,
bring human hearts into sympathy? “

Excerpt from poem by Camões

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