Friday, 22 March 2013

onde está você agora?

so... five months since the last update! where to start?

things didn't fall into place quite as neatly as i was hoping it would work-wise, and i have yet to see most of my work 'come into fruition' - this was frustrating, scary, disappointing, etc., and sometime at the start of last term i felt very... lost. it was as though i had been trying to swim from one end of a pool to the other completely under water, and i finally came up for air thinking i must be close to the edge and found that i was only halfway across the pool and had been swimming diagonally instead of straight across. but not all is lost. i did make my way across half the pool, and swimming diagonally meant i explored more of the pool (not sure this works as a metaphor...), but anyway, long story short i just need to put my head back down and 'just keep swimming', this time while trying to keep my eyes open under water.

badminton! so much badminton over the past five months, but i'm not complaining. i made it into the uni team, and even played a couple of games for cambridge - i remember being so nervous my first game away, it was ridiculous! there was barely any pressure put on me, but still i really can't remember the last time i felt that nervous. now i empathise a lot more when i see world-class players making (what seems like) silly mistakes in important games - i used to think, 'come on! this is what you've been practising so much for! don't throw it away just because of nerves!', but yeah, i guess it's not as easy as it seems. and i think somewhere along the way i lost some of my confidence, and i was just tired out from everything put together so that my playing suffered towards the end... i still play better than i used to though (and a good thing too, given i've been playing around four times a week), and catz won cuppers in both ladies and mixed (i.e., my college team won this inter-college badminton competition) so i would say badminton was generally positive all around. except for the half-hour cycles in the snow/rain/freezing cold to get to uni practices on friday nights. that wasn't positive.

and of course, wedding(s) planning. we've been making progress! and i'm now back in malaysia to do (hoepfully) my last bit of fieldwork as well as sort out what i can for the wedding, because the next time i come back we'll probably be two weeks away from the wedding here (and we will be legally married!)! from the last time i posted, we've taken care of a few other big ones: the dress, a website, the guestlist, one set of invitations, flowers (mostly), one set of flights, most of the paperwork needed for registration in portugal (which was a bit complicated because i'm not portuguese), i've just ordered the rings... so yeah, moving forwards. still lots to do though - suit, saree, cheongsam, photographer(s)/videographer, the other invitations, shoes, makeup and hair,...

one of the things that has stood out for me recently in this wedding process is how nice it's been to invite people to the weddings, to see them excited, even touched, about being invited. now people are starting to book trips and plan travels, and it's so nice to be a part of that and to look forward to them being a part of the weddings. and as i've said before, we're really grateful to have been blessed with family and friends who have rallied when we've needed help, who have taken time out of busy schedules and gone out of their way to find out a bit of information for us, or have gone (and will go) around with us from place to place looking for something we need. in that way i feel as if the wedding has already begun, that this planning process is an important aspect of the wedding itself, not just the lead up to it.

and on that note, i am also thankful and proud that this process has been a happy one - i think it can very easily become a chore, a source of disagreements, and the breeding ground for dissatisfaction, when two people have to work on a project over a prolonged period of time. both have to pull their weight, there has to be give and take, there has to be indulgence but also restraint... and it can be difficult to pull off without issue. i guess we still have a few months to go (and then many, many, many, many, many, many years after), but i'd say we're doing just fine. and that's reassuring. =)

i really need to start doing shorter posts to i don't end up writing novels like this one!

"when i was a child, i talked like a child, i thought like a child, i reasoned like a child. 
when i became a man, i put the ways of childhood behind me.
for now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. 
now i know in part; then i shall know fully, even as i am fully known."
- 1 corinthians 13:11, 12

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Canguru, diz-me tu.

So again, snapshots of life from the past few months, in bullet-points:

-       What a summer! I’ve literally been all over the place, to Malaysia, the States, and Portugal… I’ve enjoyed the travelling, as tiring as it was, but I’m also happy to be back in Cambridge.
-       I have a flat! And it is in the process of becoming a home. It’s the first time since leaving home that I’m not sharing my kitchen and living room with a bunch of other people. I can leave my toiletries in the bathroom! I don’t have to worry about dirty dishes piling up because other people aren’t responsible enough to do them! I have space. And I can decorate! I never bothered very much with personalising my previous rooms in Oregon and here in Cambridge (other than by leaving lots of my stuff lying around, very neatly of course), because they always felt very temporary. This flat could be temporary too, really – I’m not sure I can keep it next year. But still! Like I said, it feels more like a home, probably because it’s more private.
-       Wedding planning is a lot of work. Especially when you have to plan a couple of different events in a couple of different countries… from neither of those countries! There are so many things to think about! It hasn’t been too overwhelming though, and I think we’re on top of things (so far!). We’ve also had lots of support from our families, for which we’re very grateful. We have dates and venues pretty much set, which was our aim for the summer, so yay! Now for guest lists, invitations, dresses, flowers, rings, music, flights…
-       Putting on a veil with a wedding dress makes a wedding DRESS aWEDDING dress.
-       Planning a wedding is a lot of work, planning a couple of weddings is even more work, and planning a couple of weddings while writing up a PhD is just plain intimidating! But also exciting. It’s nice to see my work come into fruition (at least, I hope it will), and to have things fall into place. After two years of running around trying to get lots of fieldwork done, it’s nice to be a bit more settled and to be able to focus on results. Just don’t ask me what my plans are for the following year yet.
-       As this is the final year of my PhD, I’m going through a bit of… separation anxiety? with regards to my status as a student. After my PhD I won’t be a student anymore! There’s no other degree that is a natural progression from this one, just… a career (which sounds too adult-y, ugh). Some people argue a PhD is pretty much a job, and is really the start of a career, but still, while doing a PhD I am a student. I get student discounts. I have a flexible schedule. I don’t have a restrictive amount of leave. I don’t have to pay council tax. So I’m going through a bit of a ‘carpe diem’ phase now, where I want to do EVERYTHING! I want to go for lots of random lectures, I want to learn a language (or brush up on the ones I know), I want to dance, I want to play badminton, I want to travel… andplanmanyweddingsandcompleteaPhD. I’ll ride my wave of gung-ho while I can.
-       I’ve also been going through a stage of nostalgia lately. I think it’s mainly due to the fact that my flat is currently internet-less, which has meant I’ve had to find alternative ways of entertaining myself rather than surfing the net mindlessly. One of the things I’ve been doing is working my way through the movies I had on my external hard drive, which I never got around to watching previously. And since I’ve had to access my external hard drive, I’ve also stumbled across many documents and pictures that I have stored in there, many of them pre-Cambridge, and some of them even going into my early teens! I don’t know if nostalgia is the right word for it, really, because I don’t have the same longing for the times past as I would have had I gone through these things two or three years ago. But it’s been a feeling of fondness. Seeing all the people that were a part of my life, and people that were a part of my life and still are… and looking at myself at 14, 17, just before going to the States, in the States… it gets me trying to remember what was going through my mind then, to remember what my life was like, to remember what the relationships I had were like and to ponder on what they have become.
-       And finally, I will end on a bit of a cryptic note – because there are some things that I want to remember in the future, which are a bit too personal for such a public place. I want to remember the conversation we had by the river, the three of us. I want to remember scales and arpeggios. I want to remember your patience, your indulgence, and your generosity. And I want to remember this part of the journey with Him.

PS. The title means ‘Tell me, kangaroo’, from a Portuguese song. The full line goes ‘Tell me, kangaroo, how many hairs have you… in your nose?’

PPS: I have recently learned that ‘Hungarian’ (as in, a person from Hungary) is ‘Húngaro’, which to me sounds a lot like kangaroo in Portuguese. And that tickles me.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

job 1:21.

the past month has simply flown by!

it's been really nice to celebrate with family and friends from all over the world, to hear from and catch up with people that i hadn't been in touch with for a long time, to be caught up in the initial excitement of wedding planning (twice over!), and to bask in the certainty that i feel everytime i ask myself if this is what i want to do.

i'm just in such a good place in life at the moment (and have been, really, for a couple of years) - i enjoy the work i do, i have flexible work hours, i don't have any financial concerns, i have the luxury of being able to travel often, i have someone to share this experience with, and i have people in my life whom i love and am loved by. to top it all off, it's been sunny for the past few days!

granted, i still have my adelle worries about whether my work is good enough and that what i'm doing isn't impressive enough, and i've started thinking about what lies beyond my phd... but then i think that's just going to be a constant in my life.

anyway. the one thing that has really stood out to me in all of this, and even more so recently, is that everything doesn't stop just because something big and happy has happened to me. as much as i want everyone to forget everything else and just celebrate with me, life goes on - for everyone else as well as myself. and that's just the way things are, really.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

veni, vidi, vici.

3.45 am. taxi. bus. airport. venice! canals. cicchetti. espresso. gelato. grand canal. b&b. balcony. the view. canals. piazza san marco. gelato. bridge of sighs. que sera sera. traghetto. pizza. pasta. bathroom. espresso. the call. balcony. sunshine. canals. wind. clouds. vaporetto. no sunset. cold. tired. shower. pasta. wine. tiramisu. wander. vaporetti station. back. 10.10 pm. no one. stuck. one knee. question. resposta. ring. let's go. let's stay. calle va al forno. garbage bag. puddle. palace. b&b.

que sera sera.

Monday, 30 April 2012

'get up, elephant!'

every once in a while, i find myself going through old posts in my blog and discovering snippets of myself that have faded into the far corners of my memory - snippets that used to be a part of me, snippets that are still a part of me, and snippets that i wanted to be a part of me. it's nice to see that some things haven't changed and to see that some things have, but most of all it's nice to have this window into my past self that i wouldn't have without my blog.

and so it's really quite a pity that i haven't been blogging as often as i used to. then again, it's partly reflective of where i am in life right now - more stable, i think, would be a succinct way of putting it. less angst-y (so less to rant about). plus i'm on a comfortably high plateau where everything is wonderful and if i kept blogging about it i'd make everyone who reads my blog (including future-me) sick.

but i think it's about time i recorded some random bits and pieces that i'd probably like to be reminded about when the present is no longer present. here goes (in no particular order)!

1. i am now the proud owner of six potted plants - thyme, flat-leaf parsley, cactus flowers, gerberas, chrysanthemums, and most recently, orchids. i've always loved having plants around, but i hadn't the slightest inkling of how to take care of them. i always treated them like cut flowers, to be honest - put them where they look nicest, and enjoy them while they last because they won't survive very long! but with this batch of plant-pets, although i still have no idea how to take care of them, i'm taking more of a long-term view of them - watering them regularly, making sure they get enough sunshine, and trying not to let them get too cold (by leaving them near open windows). and it seems to be working! i've had the cactus flowers and gerberas (which i got the earliest) for about three months now and they're not only still alive, but the gerberas are flowering again! i lost one flower before it bloomed, but now there's one that's big and tall and should open any day now, and another one that's starting its journey up. satisfying!

2. badminton has become quite an integral part of me. i'm not an extremely good player, to be sure, but i'm definitely much better than i was before i came to cambridge. i don't just enjoy it for the exercise, but for the social side of it too - the people that i know in college are the ones i play badminton with, and yesterday i played badminton in the malaysian oxbridge games, which helped me to get to know more fellow malaysians here. i played for the oxford team though (long story) and so got to know a few malaysians from oxford too. so yes, i like badminton very much and would take it over going to the gym or going for a run any day (especially with the crazy english weather we've been having lately).

3. english weather is crazy. and cold. and wet. i know it makes the uk as green and pretty as it is (the rain, that is), and if there wasn't winter  there wouldn't be spring (which is currently my favouritest season by far, at least when it behaves like spring should, and not like winter)... but it's something i would prefer to avoid. especially in a place like cambridge where i have to cycle everywhere.

4. the intervention i've been working on has been hard work, but really valuable hands-on experience too. it's been thought-provoking talking to the mothers of children with autism - seeing their pain, their determination, their weariness... but most of all their love. it has taught me tact when dealing with them and their children (prior to this intervention autism was more theory than a reality to me), and also helped me realise what a vocation and super-full-time job parenthood is.

i could go on, but i think i'll leave the rest for another time. to be continued!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

déjà vu.

'pra que chorar
se o sol já vai raiar
se o dia vai amanhecer
pra que sofrer
se a lua vai nascer
é só o sol se pôr
pra que chorar
se existe amor
a questão é só de dar
a questão é só de dor

quem não chorou
quem não se lastimou
não pode nunca mais dizer
pra que chorar
pra que sofrer
se há sempre um novo amor
em cada novo amanhecer.'

- pra que chorar, vinicius de moraes

Thursday, 3 November 2011

what doesn't kill you makes you fat.

i just stumbled upon something i wrote when i was on the way back from malaysia in january, and thought it quite relevant to post now:

i wonder if it's better to be realistic or idealistic. on the one hand, realism keeps expectations in check, it means you're less likely to be disappointed. but on the other hand, idealism enables you to dream and to believe that dreams do come true.

there's more to lose by being idealistic - or isn't there? you 'lose' more simply because you hope for more, but if you don't imagine the seemingly impossible, isn't that 'losing' too? because there's a lot less of a chance that you may one day realise the seemingly impossible? but maybe that's what it is - maybe you don't feel like you lose as much simply because you don't know that you're missing out. a case of ignorance being bliss.

but once you've experienced the ideal - the dream, the seemingly impossible that you had stopped yourself from desiring, it's hard to go back. you begin to worry that if you start being realistic, you'll destroy the magic. maybe if you continue being idealistic, the dream will continue, because now you would be working with destiny instead of telling destiny what it can and cannot do.

but then what happens if the ideal is not meant to last? if the dream is really more a daydream, and you're meant to enjoy it for a while and then go back to reality? what if going back to being realistic is the way to keep the ideal going?

is it possible to be realistic and idealistic, at the same time?


The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!'


Pussy said to the Owl, 'You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?'
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.


'Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?' Said the Piggy, 'I will.'
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

- the owl and the pussycat, edward lear.

Friday, 19 August 2011

sucking too hard on your lollipop.

they say to reach for the moon because even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.
i guess stars are cool, but what if you really had your heart set on the moon?

"and suppose i never ever met you
suppose we never fell in love
suppose i never ever let you
kiss me so sweet and so soft

suppose i never ever saw you
suppose we never ever called
suppose i kept on singing love songs
just to break my own fall."

- fidelity, regina spektor.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

midsummer night's dream.

"tô louca pra te ver chegar
tô louca pra te ter nas mãos
deitar no teu abraço, retomar o pedaço
que falta no meu coração

eu não existo longe de você
e a solidão é o meu pior castigo
eu conto as horas pra poder te ver
mas o relógio tá de mal comigo


- fico assim sem você, adriana calconhotto.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

grab somebody sexy tell 'em hey.

LA has been a lesson in joint attention, MLUs, and engagement;
a revision of independence, self-sufficiency and ambition;
and a reminder of friendship, hospitality and generosity.

i might even go so far as saying it was worth the nightmare that was the journey from LHR to LAX. =)