Monthly Archives: March 2013

Brazil x England – (Ding Ding!)

It’s now been over two months since I arrived back in the UK from my holiday in Brazil. I’ve had enough time to analyse how the trip went, although when you go to see family and friends it’s bound to be good anyway. In fact, it seems like it happened ages ago and I miss he place and everyone already!

As you may/may not know, I live in the UK and all my family and childhood/teenage years friends live in Brazil, so every time I go I try to see as many people as I can to make sure that the bonds that are so important to me stay as they are: strong.

This time, there was a difference, though. I took the boyfriend with me. I was a little anxious as to what he would think of Brazil… but let the trip run its course without asking him a million times whether he was having a good time or not. I could actually see for myself that he was happy, but I didn’t want to keep on asking the question and annoying the hell out of him.

It turns out that he loves it, which is fantastic! It was funny to watch him around my family and friends. Lee is a naturally quiet person and he’ll only really let go when he has known the person for a little while (or if he is drunk, ha!). Even so, it seemed like he felt pretty comfortable being around everyone, which was a relief. At the end of the holiday, I left Brazil with my parents and friends telling me what a catch he is (and because he now knows what they think, I’ll have to look at his smug face forever!).

Anyway, this post is not about that, really, it’s about me thinking of Brazil and REALLY thinking about the reasons why I chose not to live there. I have written about this here before, mainly about not being able to explain why I chose to live in England over Brazil.

Now here’s the truth: these are two completely different countries in so many ways… age, politics, society, culture, economy, etc. Even so, I find that a few of my top reasons for not living in Brazil are quite shallow considering other issues that could well tip the balance in England’s or Brazil’s favour.

So here they are:

1. Hay fever

Who suffers from this sneezing-evil condition will know what I’m talking about. In Brazil, I am ALWAYS sneezing, my nose is always running and I find that this has a massive impact on my quality of life. In England, I only suffer from hay fever for a couple of months during spring, if that.

England 1 x Brazil 0

2. Security

In England, Lee and I go out at night and walk back home, no matter the distance or the time. I do not worry and I am not scared walking around in England. In Brazil, as everyone knows, the story is very different. Lately, it seems to have been getting  even worse.

England 1 x Brazil 0

3. Food

In England, a much smaller country than Brazil, there seems to be so much more food variety. And although the fruit and veg do taste a lot better in Brazil, England’s selections of cheese make up for it in one go.

England 1 x Brazil 0

4. Travel

In Brazil, the airports can be quite disorganised and the air fares are not always the most friendly on the pocket. In fact, it can be cheaper to travel abroad than it is travelling within the country! England, on the other hand, proves to be a fantastic connection to the world and the amazing places out there.

England 1 x Brazil 0

5. Salary

This was always a positive about England. Not anymore. 13 years ago, I remember working in a restaurant in London, paying for all my bills whilst renting a room in a house with other friends, going out and still being able to save to go travelling. Now, the same recession that seems to have impulsed growth in Brazil, hit England in a bad way. Having a job is a bonus and saving any money can be compared to performing a small miracle. Having said that, I recently read that the cost of living in Brazil has skyrocketed, leaving people with no choice but to swallow hard and carry on.

Brazil 1 x England 0

6. Organisation

For as long as I remember, getting any kind of document in Brazil is a very good reason for a headache. The queues are never-ending, the forms are not straight-forward and there are always obscure rules that no one knows about. In England, everything is so black and white it can even get embarrassing if you don’t understand how things work. They make it easy for everyone and usually things are done pretty quickly.

England 1 x Brazil 0

7. Politics

In Brazil, we all know how messy this scenario is. Year after year, the same corrupt politicians are still part of the government (how?) and most people still seem to sell their votes to the highest bidder. In England, the majority seems to take much more of an interest in politics. They recognise how it affects daily life and make sure they have their say.

England 1 x Brazil 0

8. The climate

Yes, ok, call me crazy, but I prefer to be in the cold than in the scalding hot weather of Brazil. It drives me absolutely mad to be sweating all day every day, to sleep unfomfortably and not be able to function properly if not in the mercy of an air con. I like the cold weather England has to offer which, funnily enough, is what the English try to run away from at any given opportunity. Yes, I like sunny days, but by the beach. For city living and a working life, I’m happy where I am, thank you.

England 1 x Brazil 0

So, if you have done the maths, England wins 7×1. But it’s not just about this list. There is something else. Still, unfortunately, it’s that something I can’t explain. There must be something in the air. Or I might have past connections with this place – yes, I do believe this is possible! I don’t know what it is. I love Brazil to bits and it will always be my favourite country where a lot of people I love are but, to me,  nowhere else says HOME as England does. For now. (ha!)

Categories: Brazil, Home, Living away from home, London, My home, St Annes living, Winter | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Living together

About two weeks ago it completed one year of Lee and I living together, just the two of us in the same house. And what fun have we had so far.

Yes, some adaptation was required and yes, some compromises had to be made by the two of us, but hey, we survived, and coming home to him is one of the best parts of my day. I was married before, so the concept of living together was not a surprise, but people are different, so the experience was completely different again, naturally. I think I developed a little set of rules to make sure we are enjoying the best about sharing the same roof, and not engaging in stupid little bickering about small stuff that really isn’t that important.

So, below are our little rules. It’s worth pointing out that none of them were decided beforehand, they were created with time and adaptations, leaving things to fall into place naturally. I guess that they shouldn’t even be called rules, they should just be called  ‘a gentleman and a lady’s unspoken agreement’… ha!

1. How much stuff have you got?

This was the first thing he brought up, with surprise. When we moved in, it became very clear that my stuff needed a lot more room than his stuff. Oh dear. It was hard to justify the need I had to keep all I had. My reasoning was that I had already done a car boot sale and also given to charity a lot of the things that I didn’t need anymore, so what entered the flat HAD to stay. I was adamant that I would definitely need all that paperwork from 10 years ago, all the clothes that I hadn’t worn in ages and all the shoes that are kept neatly in drawers whilst I always wear my trusted pair of flats. He had to just put up with this. If I hadn’t given away so much beforehand, he would have a point, but I had already gone through that exercise and just couldn’t make myself do it twice in a space of 3 months. Oh, no no no! This, of course, ended up with me having 2 wardrobes against his one and muuuch more cupboard space. The delights of living with a woman, I say.

2. My space, your space

This one we quickly figured out. Lee and I love being together and spending time together, but we absolutely love our own space. We need it. So, quite quickly, it was established (again, without words, this just happened), that his ‘cave’ would be the spare room, whilst mine would be the front room. We didn’t initially intend for this to happen, as when we moved in we put my desk and his desk in the spare room. However, I found myself in the front room the entire time, so it made sense to move my desk there. This way, my ‘office’ is in the living room and his is in the back room. I never complained, because I ended up with a sea view. Cunning move.

3. He cooks, I wash

I’m a terrible cook. Well, I can cook to survive and I do it sometimes, but when you live with someone who does it 1000 times better than you, there is no reason why they shouldn’t take on the task. Lee is a lot more adventurous than me in the kitchen. He buys new spices, he tries different things, he has a good palate and the best thing is that I like his food. So, our unspoken agreement in the kitchen area is that he cooks and I wash the dishes. (I think  I got the best end of the bargain here!)

4. Let me do the cleaning

I’m an extremely organised person. I like to keep paperwork organised, I like to have clean and clutter-free surfaces and I hate piles of stuff that have no place to go – this doesn’t happen in my home. Lee, on the other hand, is more of a laid back type and doesn’t care if the place is messy. My ask on this one is that he just let me do it. Just let me get on with it and be my own tidy self and also tidy him up. I mean, he can easily lie down and watch a movie with lots of stuff out of place in the living room, whilst I can’t. I can only relax when there is no mess around. I’m not saying I’m pedantic, but I’m uncomfortable in an untidy place and, in a situation like that, I can’t think of anything else but getting up and… tidying it all up. Pronto.

5. I do laundry, you take the rubbish out

I enjoy separating the clothes, washing the clothes, hanging them to dry, folding them nicely and putting them away, making sure our wardrobes are always tidy (ish – ok, I’m not that much of a freak!). I refuse to do any ironing, so it’s paramount that the clothes are hung properly and, although I tried leaving the task to Lee a few times, sadly he just doesn’t seem capable enough – the same way it works with me and cooking, I suppose, so each to their own, eh? Lee retributes the favour by taking out the rubbish.

6. My food, your food

Unfortunately, Lee and I have a few very different tastes in food. For example, he hates fish – apart from tuna – and I like fish a lot. I love vegetables and he couldn’t care less about them. So, we decided that during the week, we cook our own dinners, so I can have my fish and he can have whatever he wants. Then, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, he is my personal chef and we eat stuff we both like. Yummy arrangement.

7. Leave me alone

I think I wouldn’t be able to live with someone near me the whole time. I like to be alone. I like my own company. I like being in complete silence sometimes, just me and a book. I like to watch movies on my own, I like to write and I like to re-organise drawers – haha, I AM sad! Lee also enjoys his quiet moments by himself and this mutual respect is amazing. We don’t need to be glued to each other and the fact that we both feel the same way is pure luck.

8. You shall not become cave people

There is a balance between spending time apart and isolating yourself. Instinctively, I think Lee and I know what this time is before we become two strangers! You can’t just indulge in constant isolation and expect your partner to be there for you, just waiting with open arms. The time apart is to do your own thing. But the time together should follow suit and be constant.

9. My way, my way!

I think one of the biggest lessons of living together is to realise that things will not always be your way. I’m a strong-willed person and I can fight to prove a point to great extent, but living together is not always about that. Sometimes, to keep peace, it’s just easier to let go. So what if he forgets his towel on the bed sometimes? So what if he empties the dishwasher but leaves practically all the cupboard doors open afterwards? So what if he never closes a drawer completely (arghhhh!)? I suppose this small stuff is exactly that: small and not worthy of an argument.

10. The enjoyment of two

Living together is a mixture of many things. You get angry, you get frustrated, you feel selfish, you feel like you are getting/giving more than you are giving/getting sometimes. But then you watch movies together, you cook together, you get and give lots of hugs and cuddles and kisses and you have that person to talk to all the time and that’s great. Living together with your partner is like living with your best friend. It’s a huge step, because it’ll tell you black and white if you are compatible for the long run. A rule of thumb to make the decision, I guess, is this: you should only live with someone if you can’t live without them.

Oh, and also on the subject, I recently saw this advert and absolutely loved it! It’s an Ikea one about… erm, living together! Just click here to watch.

Categories: Home, Living together, Relationships, Rules | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life’s little surprises

Sometimes life’s a bitch! Or so we think.

I’m usually the type of person that likes to have a plan B (as mentioned in my previous post). If I don’t have one, I get nervous. However, sometimes there is no time to conjecture a plan B, especially when Plan A turns out to be going terribly wrong (or so it seems). Sometimes, things happen beyond our control and the only choice, the only ‘plan’ is to deal with it. There is no Plan B. Or, rather, Plan B is to fix Plan A.

Life’s little surprises can take many forms. A death, the end of a relationship, a redundancy, a betrayal – to name but a  few. In many of these situations, there is little that can be done apart from just keeping it together and moving forward.

For someone like me, that likes to be in control of things, it’s hard to imagine what I’d do in some of those situations. I’d probably panic first and think second – like, 2 days later. But this is exactly where your friends have to act.

Friends will be able to see the bigger picture. You will be there, trapped in all the ins and outs of the situation, all the detail, but they will remind you of what really matters: that you spent quality time with the person that died, that your ex wasn’t all that anyway, that exciting new jobs are waiting for you in the big wide world, that the person that betrayed you never deserved your friendship. They will remind you of what a great person you are, how capable you are and how much they believe in you.

I’m a great believer of the old cliche sentence ‘things happen for a reason’. I stand by that as it proved right far too many times for me to just ignore its truth. Much more often that not, a brand new horizon awaits around the corner and life gets even better! I remember when I ended a long relationship and all my friends and family told me the same thing: ‘one day, all this will be well in the past and you won’t even remember this terrible feeling’. At the time, this was very hard to believe, almost impossible. And now… well, now I have a different partner and, shall I say, a completely different take on life as part of a couple.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that the only way to really get out of an unplanned situation is to hold your head high and deal with it. Tackle it like you have no fear. You will feel better for it.You will feel in control of your life again and will start thinking that you are the one dealing the cards. You will make new choices, you will plan ahead, you will decide.

When you come out the other end, you will look at it all in a much different light. Life has a funny way of changing our paths. Sometimes we don’t see it, but the right things happen anyway, even when we feel they weren’t right at the time. Opportunities come up, people appear in your life, lessons are learned. And all this sometimes happens because of a little unplanned detour along the way.

Hard times are not good, of course not. It’s hard to say goodbye, it’s hard to lose your job, it’s hard to be turned down. However, accept it. Embrace it. Make it work for you. If there is one good thing about going through hard times is that the good times are much more appreciated. And better times will come, just believe. And you can be sure that your true friends will be there to celebrate your new victories with you.

 

Categories: Destiny, Energy, Friendship | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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