Monthly Archives: July 2012

True friendship

Today, when looking down from our balcony (as I do all the time!), I saw the neighbour downstairs with his wife and his son. With them, there was another couple and a little boy. The two little boys had been playing downstairs for most of the day and it was now time to say good bye. The two boys then started doing so by shaking hands and tapping each other on the back and then, hell with it, engaged in a great big hug. I absolutely loved seeing that, for two reasons: first, it’s great seeing a friendship being celebrated and second, they were  boys and there seemed to be no awkwardness with the hugging business. Lovely.

This reminded me of my childhood friends. I had many of them and I remembered the ‘do you want to be my friend’ questions, the sleepovers, the games at school, the ‘we’ll be friends forever’ promises at the end of each school year. Some of these people I have never seen again, which is a great shame, but some others are still my friends to this day. I remember the start of the confidence and trust in each other that grew with the years and ended up pretty much understroyable. This remains to this day with friends that I may not see all the time, but they are part of me. They know almost all there is to know about me, they know how to make me happy, they know when I’m sad. They just know me inside and out and I know them too. What a match.

Every time I see the advert below on telly, I remember school friends. This is a very unconventional supermarket advert that I love, have a look for yourself.

20th of July was International Friendship Day, so I thought that it deserved a little post here, and here it is. To all my friends that are part of my life and also the ones that have gone onto a different path that took them away from me, here is my thank you for being part of who I am. I miss you all!

Categories: Friendship, Living away from home | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Right turn, left turn

Today I got thinking about the choices we make in life. I was thinking about how my life turned out to be in England and not in Brazil. I have said it here before that when people ask me why I live here I don’t even have a plausible answer. I just kind of nod (‘Yep, I’m from Brazil!) and say a few sentences hoping that they will suffice. They never seem to do, though, and the reason for that is because I don’t think my answers are convincing enough. It’s hard to even convince myself sometimes. This got me thinking abot what my life would be like, right now, if I was living in Brazil.

I have discussed this with some fellow migrants before, and the majority of us agree that when we move away from home, we tend to do everything a bit later than everybody else. The process of finding our feet in a completely different country with its own rules and no family around to help takes a little time. So, basically, the time we’d be getting on with the ‘normal process’ of life in our native countries, we are finding out how to register with a doctor, apply for citizenship or how to drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. Now, I’m not assuming here that life has an order, all I’m saying is that people seem to follow patterns and the majority does things according to some kind of unspoken rule: the rule of ‘society’.

The word society, according to the Oxford English Dictonary, means “the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community.” Ah, I see… society means that we have to live with a group of people and follow the same rules. I like that. Rules are necessary when we live in a group. And I like it because in no way, shape or form the statement says that we have to be the same. But how is it that, somehow, we seem to think that being the same is the best?

I seemed to have taken longer to find a job that I love, for example. I tried different things (like accountancy) and after hating one particular thing (accountancy), I decided to go back to what I learnt at uni: good and old marketing. And guess what? It was the right thing to do. Had I stayed in Brazil and lived there my whole life, would I have had many jobs? Would I be in my dream job now? Mmmm… I don’t really know the answer. But I can surely ask the question and spend some afternoons wondering what the answer would be.

I also seemed to have taken a little longer in finding the right person to spend my life with (did I, really?). And, again, I’m not even sure if this IS the right person whith whom I’ll be spending the rest of my life with (who knows, anyway?) but hey, for now it definitely is, so let’s go with that. I wonder if I was in Brazil I’d be married with (and here comes the third of my divagations)… KIDS! Now this is something I’ve talked about many a time before and if you read my blogs you may have already read about it (sorry, but here I go again!). The decision of having kids still doesn’t make much sense in my head. For some bizarre reason, I’m not really maternal and, believe it or not, I still feel like a teenager. I did play with dolls when I was a kid, but it was never to be cuddling them, it was to have some kind of control (now that’s a hard one to admit, give me some credit). I used to play that I was this busy mummy that worked a lot and had this busy life and had to juggle everything. I used to play that I was on my phone trying to organise people, places, ballet classes and christenings. Poor me, little weirdo.

Well, I grew up to be very far from what I maybe imagined I’d be by now. I am quite a placid person who hates confrontation. Yes, I say what I thinkmost of the time, but I’d rather never see you again than to have a full-blown argument. I just hate it. I am still the goofy person of always, though. I especially love making fun of myself. This really is my favourite. I still hate peas, but I no longer think I can live off my written word, as I once dreamt. I quickly realised how impossibly hard that would be.

As for organising everything and everyone, I think this may have been one route, but I see myself slowly moving the other way. I can kind of feel the weight of making all the decisions all the time, it’s exhausting. Let it be, for Christ’s sake! Let go of trying to have control of the controllable and the incontrollable.

I feel quite under pressure sometimes, to be doing what other people expect me to be doing. At my (tender) age of 33, maybe I was supposed to be doing this or that, but hey, I’m not (or maybe I am, who knows?). Still, though, I feel this pressure hanging around, but what annoys me the most is that I actually fall pray of this little machine called society and these unspoken ideas about what I should be doing with my own life. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wish it didn’t affect me but hey, it does, somehow. And this is what drives me crazy. I wish I didn’t care one bit about what other people think and I wish I didn’t worry about turning right or left and the effects such turns can have in my life.I should go for it a bit more, perhaps, and just see what happens… I shouldn’t worry about pleasing everybody, this is never going to happen anyway.

Ok, rant over! And to end it well, here’s to a life with NO RULES!

PS: right, just for the record, nothing bad happened to me, I just got really carried away with thinking about rules, expectations, ageing and reality. And then I had to share my thoughts here with you, poor reader. đŸ˜‰


Categories: Babies, Brazil, Dreams, Living away from home | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You, the better girl

I watched a movie on Friday, a chick flick that actually didn’t disappoint as much as I thought it would (it was called ‘This means war’). In said movie, the girl was torn between two guys, for different reasons. One of them was really out there, a proper Casanova that knew the seduction game really well with all its tricks. The other guy was a bit more of an intelectual, a bit more laid back and not such a ‘try hard’. Basically, the girl liked them both and could not make a decision. At one point, when asking for some advice to a friend, the friend said: ‘Don’t choose the better guy. Choose the guy that makes you the better girl’.

Wow! Now that’s a great piece of advice in my opinion. Yes, she could choose either of them for various different reasons, but which one actually made her a better person? I won’t reveal the end here, but she went with her heart, which is usually what we do in any situation related to emotions.

The friend’s advice did make me think, though. Usually, girls tend to have such an extensive list of what they want in a man that it becomes practically impossible to find someone that perfect. However, if you were to analyse the whole thing based on the advice this friend gave the girl in the movie, would the list be any shorter? Would it be easier to find someone nice and that makes your heart beat faster?

From what my friends tell me, I see that lots of the requirements on their lists relate to how people perceive other people. A lot of it is about people judging other people and us all worrying about it. If the guy is ugly, people will think “oh, is this the best she could get?”. If the guy hasn’t got much money, people will say “oh, why did she go for such a loser?”. If the guy wears shoes that don’t quite go with his pants or shirt, they will think “oh, I couldn’t go out with someone that can’t dress properly”… and so on. The list of why other people might not approve of our choices is interminable. It’s tiring.

I think we girls should have a different approach when it comes to finding ‘the one’. I’m sure lots of us already do this, but from what I hear from some friends and friends of friends, and so on, females seem to sweat a little too much over the small stuff. Here is my approach based on a 5-question quiz. For each one of these that the guy is/has/can provide, he gets a point. You need a 5-point score to have a winner.

So here it is:

1. Does he make you laugh? Yes: 1 point   No: 0 points

2. Does he make you feel special (in general and in bed, because we can’t just ignore this one)? Yes: 1 point   No: 0 points

3. Do you like having nice long chats with each other? Yes: 1 point   No: 0 points

4. Do his beliefs in life match yours in a way that there won’t be serious conflicts? Yes: 1 point   No: 0 points

5. Do the things that you want out of life complement each other? (they don’t need to be the same, of course, but they can’t be so far apart that you can’t handle it) Yes: 1 point   No: 0 points

Take me as an example. I was married before, in a relationship that lasted 9 years. I was happy then, but if I compare how I felt then to how I feel in my relationship now, I think: what a difference. Of course, people are completely different and my ex-husband, with all his good qualities, is very different to my current boyfriend. But back then, I didn’t realise the one important thing about a relationship: your partner needs to bring out the best in you. And in my marriage, we were such different people that this very reason made it impossible for us to do this. We didn’t have our aspirations tuned, so when I was trying one thing, he was trying another, which inevitably made each go onto a different track. And thank God for that, because we would have struggled to the end if we had decided to stay together.

We have to think about ourselves. We have to be selfish when trying to find that one person with whom we want to spend our precious time with. And it should be simple, not a marathon of ticking off a million requirements. Poor guys!

So, if they make you feel like you’re walking on clouds regularly enough, you laugh and chat together, he brings out the best in you, you know how to make each other better when one is down, there is respect in your relationship and you feel incredibly lucky about him being in our life, then there’s no judgement out there that can make you two crumble.

Categories: Love matters | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Rules of engagement

I guess the main thing I had to comply with when I decided to move to England permanently was that in this country rules are usually followed. In Brazil, we have a theory that if rules are getting in the way, we may just overlook them and that’s it. I’m not talking about big things like politics, etc, because we all know that in that sector Brazil fails miserably. I’m talking about the little rules of our everyday life. The rules that make us make sense of living within a community.

When I just moved here, I was in the car with my then husband and we were approaching some crossroads. I saw the lights turn to red and, even so, decided I was still able to cross it, based on the “you still have 5 seconds after the lights turn to red” rule created by myself when I used to drive in Brazil. Oh my God! I unleashed a beast in the car! Then husband nearly had a heart attack as I went through the lights and I got a massive telling off including “Do you want to kill us?” and “Are you going crazy” comment type of reaction. That day, it became clear that I better watch myself in this country.

Another one: drink and drive. Never ever would you think of doing this in England, even when in Brazil, despite all the rules, fines and points you can get for it, nobody really obeys. It’s absolutely wrong to do it, and I’m amazed that people here follow this rule with no questions asked. And when I say no questions asked, I mean that they don’t even consider it. It’s amazing and SO right! (and at the same time, I’m SO not used to it! – but still follow it, of course).

Another one: using your indicators. In Brazil, nah… no such bother. Here, all I can hear in my car when driving (unless I’m on a very long straight road like a motorway, which really never happens) is the tic tac, tic tac of the indicators. Good girl, me.

But it’s not just in traffic that the ‘following the rules rule’ is followed with no complaints. People form queues, people say please and thank you, people let other people go first, people don’t say rude things to other people in the street. Is this what they call civilization? I like it, I like it a lot. And I think I really got used to it, because when I go back to Brazil, certain things leave me gobsmacked!

I’m not trying to say that one country is better than the other, not at all. I’m talking about differences and how certain nationalities behave differently. If I was to give any advice to anyone wanting to make England their home, I’d say: follow the rules and you will be fine, you will fit right in.

Now, if you wanted to move to Brazil, my advice would be quite another. Get yourself some good sunglasses because there, my friend, you have to get used to what the Brits can’t have and crave so much: a glorious sunshine.

Categories: Brazil, Living away from home, My home, Rules | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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