Archive for 2009

still thinking about twothousandandnine

there is no way i can keep writing in this blog, without really analyzing the last year of my life.

two thousand and nine started out strangely in a very warm country and you’ve been following every part of that year until my trip to Cape Town, which i will one day finish telling you about it i hope. a trip that in a way changed so much, for the better. one thing i never told you was how much i needed that trip. i would’ve gone anywhere at that point. i was fed up.

fed up with being here, not Maputo, i mean with being in the same place for so long. i have been all my life fortunate enough to as a child, student and as an architect always able to take time off from my usual life, go on holidays of at least one month or more than once a year… it has nothing to do with money, it just means that i have always felt that this was important for me. and by the time we drove to CT, aldo and i had been here in Maputo, without a holiday, just some sporadic long weekends around Maputo, for 1 year and 11 months… too long, too much.

CT was perfect to get away, the trip made us feel like explorers in Africa, but the city of Cape Town made us feel, and i think i speak for the fours of us, like we had suddenly gone home, or at least to europe where we sometimes hope to be. so, eventhough i haven’t told you about the last four days of that famous trip, i will i promise, that was the moment when i was so relaxed that things magically happened. i was full of energy and prepared to handle another hot summer in africa. i was ready.

that was the month of september.

the month of october started out with Aldo’s birthday which is probably the best way to start such a great month. Karen was still here in Maputo with us and we made sure we had all our friends, yes surprisingly we have a lot, for a great outdoor dinner at the best meat place in the city. but that dinner was only even better than what if could’ve been because we had two special people with us, Luca and Domien. i told you in one of my detail posts how happy i was to see Luca after so long and how happy it was to see Domien, my sweet Domien pop out of the car surprising me enough to make me scream/cry/laugh in one single moment! they made my day, my month in every way possible because i have always told them how i miss them in my life. they stayed for a few weeks making everything so much nicer and so much homier. we had lots of fun. the best part was noticing how Aldo was also so happy and how much friends really matter to us. specially friends like them.

after that wonderful time, of course we had to say goodbye, to them, and to Karen who had been with us in our place for 4 months now. it was strange. it hurt seeing them go… again in a way… this time it was them with the luggage. but it had to be done. the boys did leave with the first hint of wonderful news to come though ;)

aldo and i were able to enjoy a couple of days with total and utterly silence around us, almost uncomfortable in a way, kidding, and for a moment this were back to normal… until 3 days later… at the end of october aldo’s parents arrived. arrived with one bag full of italian delicacies, waiting for me to get my hands on them! i asked for PANDORO even if it was still two months until xmas, and they fulfilled my wish! i ate PANDORO in a couple of weeks and it felt like xmas in the north hemisphere.

it was delightful to have them here, to show them around, to enjoy Maputo with them. because we had to work they walked all over this town and even commented on how beautiful and so modern it was, indeed we didn’t live in huts ;), but they were to used to another africa, aldo’s sister has lived in Uganda, Congo and Senegal, so i’m sure Maputo is a loaf of fresh air from the real africa up north.

they even had the opportunity to hear our double good news live. they were here when we found out and they were to calm me down when i heard i wasn’t just one bean i had in me, but two! they were ecstatic and helped me get through it the best way possible… and these are people who already have 4 grandchildren i might add!!! so imagine my parents!

of course the ones who panicked were really me and him. i cried wondering how i was ever going to tell them apart… the twins i mean and aldo reacted so well the first and second day that on the third he came down with a fever of 39º and stayed in bed for a week. there are things that you just can’t predict!

that was the beginning of my second month of pregnancy… i was 7 weeks pregnant and enjoying a mixture of “oh my gosh!” and “jeeez” and eating perfectly well… until that 8th week kicked in. it all started to go a bit odd. things had different and weird smells, and the worse was looking at my coffee and realizing that there was no way i could drink that. it tasted aarrrggh and it smelled worse. all of a sudden i was exhausted just from going up the stairs and i would start falling asleep anytime i sat down.  i worked that second month but it became evident that i couldn’t do it for much longer. i need one hour to recuperate from the nauseousness in the morning and another after lunch and another after anything i ate. so… as soon as i entered my third month, being the mythical month of nauseous, i, together with my bosses/colleagues became aware that it would not be a good thing to drive every morning to work like this. so i spent 3 weeks working from home, enjoying the not driving part, eating healthily or trying, having my angel Edite to help around the house and i was able to work on my own rhythm and tranquility.

by the time my third month was ending, my office closed for xmas holidays and i entered my fourth month apprehensively, knowing that this could be the month when all bad morning sickness, which actually could be called “any time of the day sickness”, miraculously went away. let it be known that i am not lying when i say this, i spent my holidays in complete sickness-free mode.

we spent 4 days in Bilene with the hottest days ever, we did nothing except sleep, eat, get tans and we did one day go to the village of Maciene where they do handcrafts i have decided make great xmas/birthday presents. so look out. we drove back to Maputo in time for a lovely xmas dinner and drove away again for another 4 days in Port Edward ZA where my last post was from.

all of this with no sickness what so ever, just very sleepy but so serene.

until my first day of work, yesterday… i woke up feeling very well, ate breakfast, drove to work… and BAM! sickness all over again. ok, so it was less than a month ago, but still i wanted to spend my day in the bathroom. i held tight and focussed on work. but it was there… making my queasy and furious. and so i wonder… is it really the twins who are making me ill… or just the first day of work?

we’ll see…

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welcome to our 2010

so…

so much happened in my life in 2009… the worst of it, was definitely the fact that for the first time in my life i didn’t see my father for a whole year… from 01.01.2009 until 01.01.2010 i never hugged him…

the best of it was difinetely the two little creatures i have in my belly. to all of you… 2009 was the year i got pregnant, with twins!

making 2010 the best second year hopefully. they will be born in june 2010 in lisbon if all goes well. and soon i, we, will be holding two adorable little babies in my, our, arms.

and without further ado, here is my first picture of the year, wishing you all the best and hoping you can still be part of my life for many years to come.

just the four of us… 01.01.2010 at 00:01am

it’s xmas!

design by alberto chaves, giraffe photo including. english translation by miss portugal!

to new beginnings

if you know me you’d know better than to expect a new year’s post, and you’re probably wasting your time reading this because i’m not going to write anything bizarre or extraordinary. i’ll just let you in on a little secret. 

it’s been hard. 

the year that just ended was probably the most gratifying ever in my life, i realized so many things, i saw and felt so many things i now understand and blinded myself to them for a very long time. the is no better friendship moment than the moment of goodbye. there is not a better light to see a city than the light you see it with on the day you leave. there is no moment better to be acknowledged as a bright professional as the day you say “i quit”. all these things i already knew deep in my heart but until that horrifying moment where there’s no turning back it seems to slap you in the face as hard as it can… and as hard as you let it. it was a full year! starting with beautiful babies being born (i count lily also because even though she’s a december ’07 girl it was too close to the new year), holding on to friends you’re sure you can’t live without, full 7 months of antwerpen, a not so hard last winter, a long summer, heartbreaking but so beautiful goodbye, more summer, a month by myself in lisbon, rediscovering a group of friends, learning that there are still babies coming, babies turning 1, moving to africa, turning 29, death of my grandmother, spending christmas in africa, more summer, and even more summer. 

but it’s been hard.

i know there are some of you who have been living this “dream” with me, from far away you’ve been cheering me on and hoping for the best, only hearing the smiles and laughters and giggles. maybe because it’s easier to let you only hear that. it’s been almost 3 months of this new life, of course plenty of promises were made and so many dreams were told out loud, but this last month has not been easy. i have become someone i do not enjoy seeing very much. i am still me… don’t get frightened, but i have discovered that i have rules for living well that here just seem to not have a place for. i hoped for a relaxed, peaceful and warm place to live. we had the house which already felt like home, we had the jobs which thankfully make me wake up everyday happy (sleepy but happy), we had the car which goes, the night guard, the cleaning/cook lady… and family around us, you could say we were on our way to having everything we needed. and yes, we do. except… except so many other things. 

it’s not a question of expecting too much i believe, i expect only people to be polite, cordial, professional, punctual, honest. don’t give me that crap about how because i’m from europe i think the whole world should be like it, no, it has nothing to do with that. yes of course by being raised to be this way i tend to expect it back. is that really so wrong? our house has in the last month given us some problems, the guy we payed to arrange the flower beds at the front of the house ran away with our money and never showed up. when it rains a lot (which now means every week) it rains in our bedroom just above aldo, the owner of the house says he needs us to advance the money to fix the roof because he’s poor… he tells us this while he’s vacationing in Bilene. the guy who fixes the roof never shows up but always needs more money. i had to call in the Mr.Cockroach to stop the plague of wierd animals coming up every whole possible. the night guard stopped coming to work, sometimes he did, sometimes he’d call aldo at 4a.m. saying he wasn’t coming because it was raining, other times he’d call saying he was out drinking with his friends, sometimes he didn’t say anything at all. we fired him. he begged. now he’s working again here… for practically nothing. i make him wash my car everyday. 

everyday there was something collapsing, going wrong, getting destroyed, happy feelings being substituted by frustration. every time i had something made, (like 3 skirts i had bought the fabric for, even these were made with the ass (as we say) meaning the guy didn’t even care about what i had asked for and just made 3 skirts. horrible. not for me. thankfully there are a lot of people in this country who don’t have money to buy anything so i gave the skirts away.) there seemed to be a way to not make it right, to not do it, or not care, or say it’s done right away and then 3 weeks later … still waiting.

there is something so daunting about this city, and i imagine in this country, everyone can smile as you pass by, everyone can try to sell something to you, they’ll ask you 20times if necessary for money but as soon as you depend on them for a service, as soon as you ask something in return forget it. if you call a service such as the EDM electricity company they’re rude, if you call TV CABO they’re rude, if you try to go to the AGUAS DE MOÇAMBIQUE to pay your water bill, they’re rude. if you driving they’re rude. if you say no when they try to sell you something in your face, they’re rude. there is no politeness. there is no respect for the person next to you. and what makes me even more surprised is that the population who could have something to say about, do about it and educate… seems to have simply accepted it, ignores it and pretends it has nothing to do with them. as if they live here only for the warm weather. as if the population of this country doesn’t include them. 

“that’s the way it is”

i spent 2 months hearing this as if it were a disease. i had just arrived and i felt completely impotent in changing this, i felt betrayed once i realized i’d have to live with it. what happened to that relaxed life i was dreaming of? i couldn’t see it… i realized we were loosing money by all these things that didn’t go well which i had to mend over and over again. i never compared it with europe, with portugal. being polite doesn’t make you an european… it makes you human. it makes you a citizen of this world. and why didn’t i feel this here?! 

when my grandmother died i felt myself explode. 

i accepted the fact that this battle is my own. aldo doesn’t understand it very well, i know he feels for me in a way but i’m sure it’s hard for him to see me struggle with something that to him “will just blow over”, i never thought of giving up because that’s something, on the contrary of what people thought all my life, i don’t do, i simply don’t give up, and it’s not a battle really. i don’t give up because i believe in destiny. i put myself in this position because somewhere there is a reason for me to be here. …and i say this knowing how much i gave up to be here.

and then the new year came. i don’t like celebrating new year. i actually don’t understand it very well but i respect it. this year began with a bbq, out in the patio with a warm chill out, a cloudy night and a sort of a fight between the lovebirds here… it was the first time we were at the same time, same place on 00:00 on this strange day 31rst of december. i guess that already means that things will be different than always. or at least than this last month. i agree, it depends on me to be able to not change things around here, but to be able to overcome them. aldo’s right when he says that what is missing in our lives and what makes it so difficult to overcome a lot of it, is that little sad aspect of not having friends. …yet…

the ones we have of course are very special, but sometimes it still feels very lonely around here… 

2009 if you will could the year we make the usual promises but keep them, the year i hold in my critique, the year i stop worrying, it could eventually be MY year. in so many ways it could be MY year… and if it’s MY year it will definitely be OUR year, aldo’s and mine. you never know. i want this to be an awesome experience, but for that i need to feel that it is not Maputo against me, it’s Maputo with me. it’s been hard. adjusting is so f*****g hard! i’ll willingly change that, but that Roof Man has to come fix the stupid roof soon… or else. and also make the water tank bigger, and make the water shortages happen less often, and make people drive better, and be polite, and make waiters in cafes smile more but make less mistakes, and cockroaches and all crawling animals to disappear of the face of the earth, and etc, etc, etc. 

ah… 

i’m sorry i dumped this on you just like that. you can go on with your life and forget about it. i just really need to explain why so silent, why so nervous and why so not me lately.

i hope this is YOUR year too. welcome to my 2009!