Monthly Archives: July 2017

54.5% of this year is downloaded

Damn it, shitballs! Now (some of) the expletives I’m going to use are out…

This is turning out to be such a roller coaster year; I should just accept and own that I’m going to be a total, desperate wreck for the rest of the year. Put on my pj onesie, comb the mascara lekker dik (so they can bleed appropriately down my cheeks) and just not wash my hair again until I can smell 2018. Well… maybe that’s not such a good idea – by the time the first hint of 2018 rolls around the only thing I’ll be able to smell is my onesie and my hair… ew. I still have that little bit of self-respect, I’ll just stick to the onesie then. I’ve cried and laughed so many times this month – and usually these happen in the same day. Not in a truly happy or upset kind of way – my laughter is hysterical-manic and my crying is shoulder wrenching sobs from the depths of the abyss. Sure, I have reasons to cry – my boyfriend is on another continent, all of my friends are in other cities / countries and I’ve just realized my life is a purposeless cog in the wheel of mainstream cultural consumption. (Well, that last bit might just be a symptom of many other things…) Despair not, I have reasons to laugh too – I’m finally spending some quality time with my family after having been abroad for years, I am making friends here (slowly, but surely) and at least I’m employed.

I turned 30 earlier this year (angel: age is just a number; demon: you’re so close to death, you might as well pick out your cremation facility) and I honestly didn’t think it was a big deal until now – 4 months later. I still don’t think it’s a big deal, but my subconscious is definitely responding to the wrong conviction, because I was doodling a mini essay today, as I do; I began writing the sentence “I turned…” and promptly burst out crying. Granted, I had been sobbing earlier in the day too; this could’ve just been reflected misery, but that phrase definitely triggered something. Oh fuck. I am not going to be that person who reinvents their life, just because they blew out a whole cake-full of candles on their birthday (well, if I’d had a birthday cake, I would have – you can taste the self-pity can’t you). I can’t be that person; I just spent the last 6 years traveling, visiting the most amazing places, meeting the most interesting people and eating every weird thing I can buy with pesos, Taiwan dollars, or reais. Why would I despair of not having lived the life I “should’ve lived when I was younger”? I did!

I also refuse to believe that coming home made me depressed – I am loving seeing my family and though making new friends might be tough when you’re not in university anymore or in a big company, it’s not impossible. I mean… I believe that I’m a pleasant, well-adjusted (ahem) person who can have a decent amount of unawkward small talk over a glass of wine. Believe me, I checked this theory – for a week I was writing about how to have successful human interactions, because I wasn’t sure I was having any. (I think I’ll still write those…) I haven’t killed anybody, so that should at least count for something. My baseline is a really happy place and I though I’m always convinced I can be doing more, I am generally a satisfied, content person.

Then, of course, you get the one day where everything just falls apart – my phone won’t connect to wifi, a romantic interest is ghosting me (my bf and I are polyamorous) and even the blood bank won’t take my blood! For low blood pressure, of all things. My body clearly isn’t feeling my anxious vibes.

Not to go on and on about the negative; that’s not what this post is about – it’s actually an expression of how incredibly high and low this year is getting with such consistency and extremity, that I’m kind of looking around for that bar-seatbelt they pull down to hold you in your seat at an amusement park. I’m really enjoying my work and the people I work with. It’s a small office and after being here for a couple of months it sincerely seems like everyone gets along, it’s amazing. Before The Ghosting, Mr. Awesome was… well, awesome. Sensitive, incredible conversationalist and passionate about what he does. He had (has… I’m assuming he’s not dead; is he dead?) a contagious, warm smile and (I cringe before I write this, but I stand by it) the kindest eyes. He encouraged me to sign up for the martial arts classes I’ve been wanting to do for ages and this week I’m going to my first kickboxing class. This, too, is a high point in my year, together with the running club I’ve joined and the training I’m doing. For the first time in years I’m consistently waking up early, putting in a decent workout and feeling not just good about my health and myself, I’m feeling fantastic. I even got my hair cut, just to cement that feel-good jazz.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the year, because I honestly have no fucking idea where it’s going to go or how it’s going to end. Frankly, I just want to get it over with, as well, so I can get off this “Tunnel of Terror” and get onto the “Lazy Boats”; just for a little while.

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Book review: 1808 Flight of the Emperor

1808_di_Laurentino_Gomes

1808: Flight of the Emperor Image by Laurentino Gomes on Wikipedia’s Creative Commons

I’m a sucker for a well-researched history book, especially one where it feels and “sounds” like the author is sharing all of his own passion and excitement for the topic with me. This is exactly how Laurentino Gomes’ 1808: Flight of the Emperor comes across and flies with his subject matter.

This was an incredibly interesting book to read – not only as a reflection of colonial Brazil (some of which is still so recognizable there today), but also as a reflection of European aristocracy and how very short the Portuguese model fell compared to the Golden Age of Europe’s French, Spanish and German royals, just to name a few. Of course in the early 19th century you couldn’t do everything right by our standards today, but some of their outrageous ways made me cringe and laugh just as much as I imagine the author did on finding these nuggets of not-so-appropriate-for-the-dinner-table information. For example, Gomes tells of how Portugal’s sewage system was so far inferior to the rest of European civilization, they actually still emptied their “night soil” and chamber pots from their windows (yes) directly into the street. Jeez. Another one that has stuck by me is how the Emperor (Dom) Joao not only refused to bathe, his tailors had to wait for him to go to sleep in order to repair the clothes he would likewise refuse to take off. Laurentino Gomes mentioned that there are a myriad more such stories that he didn’t have space to fit into this book… I don’t even dare to imagine.

Besides the Portuguese-Brazilian royal family, Gomes had a lot to say about the politics between England and France at the time, the state of labour and slavery in colonial Brazil as well as some trickle through effects that have shaped contemporary Brazilian culture and politics. Wow, all that in a non-fiction, conversational super-book. I loved every second of it.

Apparently others agreed – the book won 3 awards; one from the Academia das Letras and two Prêmio Jabuti awards.

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