We are all ordinary. We are all boring. We are all spectacular. We are all shy. We are all bold. We are all heroes. We are all helpless. It just depends on the day.

  • Brad Meltzer

This.

 

On a loop.

 

Several times a day.

 

Wanting to burn the world while being afraid to loose my world.

 

Love,

Ana

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Reflecting

2016 was a complete mess in the grand scheme of things, no doubt, but it was one hell of an amazing year for me.

My master’s was a highlight, no doubt. For all the new skills I’ve learned, all the challenges I faced, the people I met and doing something so out of my comfort zone, I’ll forever keep it near and dear.

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This year was also the one I travelled the most and the one that ticked main boxes regarding dream destinations. London was almost a monthly event and it turned into a home away from home; Madrid was an amazing surprise and the amount of museums and art pieces I got to see was insane (Picasso’s Guernica was sublime); Warsaw was a frozen surprise that took my breath away; Thailand was a a somehow unattainable dream of a paradise that I was thrilled to experience and finally, and in this case keeping the best for last, New York City. I sometimes have to pinch myself in order to believe I was actually there, sometimes I feel like a huge piece of me stayed behind and is just waiting for me to come back. It is the “City of Dreams”, every corner we turned, every street we crossed, was full of life and promise. My expectations were going through the roof and were completely exceeded. But more on that will come later…

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Every time I reflect on 2016, these are the things that pop up immediately, but it was such a full year all around! My lovely, sweet Grandma turned 90; my dad got his retirement; my boyfriend and I celebrated our 6 year anniversary; I made some awesome new friends, other bonds grew even stronger; Portugal run on renewable energy for four days straight and that made me super proud of my country, once again… The list goes on, this year seemed the longest yet while I still remember just how excited and eager to go back to England I was one year ago.

It also leaves a bitter sweet taste as once again the future is unclear and I have no certainty about what’s to come, I just know I’m ready for all the changes that are sure to happen.

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Love,

Ana

Waking up

I’m still in shock… I feel numb and everything sounds like background noise…

I’m struggling to find the words… Waking up to find the country that held the dream of liberty is now buried under racist, homophobic, misogynist views of a leader they chose is baffling… Voters failed the woman, LGBT, Muslims, Black, Latino community… No one knows what comes next, but the world sure seemed brighter yesterday…

“It is important to fight and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay though never quite eradicated.”

People need strength and to keep their head up.

United.

We need love. Now.

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Love,

Ana

Fun fact

Never, ever though I’de write better on a busy, loud caffe instead of my own quite place.

Can it be that this was the trick all along in my student life? Not the quiet, claustrophobic library but the foreign languages, the elevator music and the coffee machine roaring as the background?

Unfortunately, it’s a little too late now. Master’s degree is behind me (final project, you’re my bitch!) and it’s time to tackle the scary employment world!

Love,

Ana

Living out of a suitcase

Traveling is, by far, one of the things I love to do the most and one I spend the most time planning. All my savings are made with the next trip in mind, the world far too big for me to stop anytime soon.

But the name of the blog is not just referring to that need to get to know a new place and a new culture. I quite literally live out of a suitcase because, even when I’m in Portugal, I still have to run around between my mum’s and my dad’s house.

It’s a constant packing for one week (and the worse is they don’t even live that close, I can’t stay in one place one day and the other the next) and the overwhelming feeling that I’m failing them. If I’m with my mum, then my dad is alone and I should be with him before he goes abroad (he works in another country… It has been fun coordinating our trips…); when I go out with my boyfriend or my friends whom I miss I feel guilty because he’s already alone all the time there, he shouldn’t when we’re both here…

When I’m with my mum, I feel guilty for not being with him even though my brother is there and I only have so many days in Portugal; when I go out with my childhood friends, I feel bad for leaving her alone when I’m here…

It feels like I’m always losing, like I’m letting one of them down, most times both… Which makes me feel selfish for wanting to spend time with one or the other or even my friends…

Which leads me to realize one of the reasons I love being in England so much. I get to be selfish and do what I want when I want to, not out of guilty or feeling as if I’m losing something. I don’t feel pulled in ay direction, I get to guide my own way according to my heart desire.

Brexit

It feels like a punch in the stomach. The country I so proudly said I fitted right from the bat, where I changed and evolved so so much, where my hopes and dreams lay (or laid?), a country I was so ready to call home, is kicking me out.

I know it’s not black and white, but that’s how it feels. I’m still numb thinking about it. And the part that bothers and saddens me most is that hate, racism and xenophobia were the winning vote.

Are we really moving backwards? Are the fences going up to keep people from “their country”? The island superiority was ever present, but seeing the lengths they’re willing to go for something completely unknown…

Bournemouth, a small little town by the sea, was such an welcoming place and stage for such amazing stories.

London… there was a time I tried to find any excuse to go to London. I love the chaos, the people, such different cultures converge… And now some people are trying to destroy that…

Since the future is a complete unknown and the repercussions of the referendum are anyone’s guess (with hints from everyone), I’m just truly glad I was able to enjoy my year in a country that embraced diversity.

 

Fashion in black

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If I grew up admiring Henri Cartier Bresson’s breathtaking pictures and developed my love for photojournalism and journalism because of him, Bill Cunningham was the master when it came to street style and the world is now a little less colorful. 

I’m still digesting (very badly, if I may add…) the referendum and it’s result, debating my future and weighing what this represents… For me, for the people I know, the country and the world… 

São João

Since the first year I came to Uni in Porto, São João is a mandatory celebration. This year I was trying to convince myself since September that I wouldn’t be here for it.

I was absolutely trilled when I realized I could do my final project in Portugal and go to São João. It’s such a special holiday.

Wherever you look, groups of friends are laughing while trying to light up the traditional ballon and if two or three unknown hands end up helping, it’s all in the São João Spirit; the fireworks are a magnificent show in the dark skies, making the children jump with excitement; the alho porro (leek) that finds a way to your nose is a playfully move that gets a smile in return; kids run all over trying to hit people in the head with plastic characteristic hammers and grown ups get a little lower just to make them happy.

The joyful spirit is palpable, even someone coming to Porto for the very first time feels embraced by all the madness and enthusiasm around.

It’s definitely an one of a kind night, the only constant in the air being laughter, balloons and a good amount of alcohol.

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Love is Love is Love is Love

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Seeing the Times cover with the names of all the victims of the Orlando attack is surreal. How is it possible that a single “person” could take so many lives? How can hate be so powerful?

But then faith in humanity is restored when there’s a three hour line to donate blood to help survivors; when stories of people paying their homage are divulged; when vigils are spread all across.

Because for every “person” trying to shut someone up, there’s a million rising to give them voice.

Because love outweighs hate.

Always.

Love, Ana