Nascida e criada em Portugal. Já morei na Polónia, no Brasil, na República Checa e agora é a Suécia que me acolhe.
O meu blogue, tal como o meu cérebro, é uma mistura de línguas. Bem vindos!

Born and raised Portuguese. I have lived in Poland, Brazil, Czech Republic and now I'm in the beautiful Sweden.
My blog, just like my brain, is a blend of languages. Welcome!

quarta-feira, 24 de maio de 2017

Stories of my world #13

It all started in the winter olympics in 2014. It was the women relay 4x10 Km skiing. Sweden was participating and had a good chance to take the gold, but so did Norway, the usual archenemies. Me and Johan were watching it on TV in our living room, in Prague. The third athlete for Sweden was younger and less experienced. She lost a bit too much to the other teams. Fighting the fourth and final part was Charlotte Kalla. She is really good, said Johan, but can she really catch up so much? She started like a warrior and fought like if her life depended on it. She was as focused as anyone can be and slowly took over more and more terrain, catching up to the ones in the front just at the goal line. She crossed the goal first. The whole team got the gold, but she made an impressive performance. She impressed me so much, that from then on I thought about her determination every time I got tired in a race. 

How dare I, compare myself to Charlotte Kalla. She wins gold. I win bananas. And I would get them even if I was the last one crossing the finish line. The truth is we all need someone who inspires us in life and Charlotte Kalla inspires me. Her determination, her kindness, her beautiful smile, and the warrior inside that comes up during the competitions. I started following her career more and to cheer her up like a football team, the only thing I had cheered up before. And it's fun! Of course I also support other swedish athletes but Kalla is my absolute favourite. 

One of her sponsors is also the sponsor for the Gothenburg half marathon and when I went to pick up my bib number on Friday she was there in the expo. There was not so much people and it was easy to meet her. I was so excited that my legs and hands were shaking. My tongue must have been as well, because my Swedish became a rumble of indecipherable words. I tried to tell her how impressed I was by her performance in that relay and how I use that when I run, but I'm not sure she understood. She must have thought I was crazy. However, she did say that it is very good when one turns off the mind and just goes for it. I also took a picture with her, that turned out to be blurred because the lens was dirty. 

Even though I wish I could go back, as a normal human being, not shaking and have a proper conversation with her, I'm still super happy I got to meet my biggest running inspiration and that she wished me good luck for the race. 

No matter what, that day will always be the day I met Charlotte Kalla. 




domingo, 21 de maio de 2017

Göteborgsvarvet 2017

It was time again for the biggest half marathon in the world, with 60.000 people registered, here in Gothenburg. It is not the easiest race, because it goes up and down, and the final kilometres are hard. The most feared part is Avenyn, the main street in the city center, because it looks almost flat but it really isn't, it's long giving a never ending feeling and it comes after 15 km. 

Chegou de novo a hora da maior meia maratona do mundo, com mais de 60.000 inscritos, aqui em Gotemburgo. Não é a corrida mais fácil de sempre, porque vai há muitas subidas e descidas, e os quilómetros finais não são fáceis. A parte mais temida é sempre a Avenyn, a rua principal no centro da cidade, porque parece quase plana, mas não é, e além disso é longa parecendo não ter fim e vem depois de 15 km.


I didn't have great expectations this year. Training did not go so well, I got sick twice and I knew judging by the way I ran Växjö's half marathon 3 weeks ago that I was not prepared for the challenges of this race. On top of that, I had a dinner/party two days before the race, in which I drank a few glasses of wine, danced for a few hours and didn't sleep enough. My calves were still aching before the race. 

Não tinha grandes expectativas este ano. Os treinos não foram os melhores, fiquei doente duas vezes e sabia, depois de ter corrido a meia maratona de Växjö há 3 semanas, que não estava preparada para os desafios desta corrida. Além disso, tive um jantar/festa dois dias antes da corrida, no qual bebi alguns copos de vinho, dancei durante horas e não dormi o suficiente. Ainda tinha dores musculares nos gémeos antes da corrida.

The goal / A meta

But there are different ways of facing a race: go for it doing your best or go for the fun. One kilometre into the race I decided to do the second. That way would be more fun and enjoyable, and I would have more chances of fulfilling my promise: run the whole Avenyn without walking. I ran at a slower pace, smiled a lot at the amazing public that is spread almost throughout the entire course and enjoying the atmosphere. When I entered Avenyn I felt good and put on a smile never dropping it. People who saw me cheered me even more. It was so good, that when I noticed I was on top of it. I had a low phase a bit after, but then I looked at my watch and saw that had run 18.5 Km. No one is allowed to walk that close to the goal! And so it went... For the first time ever in this race, I ran the whole way, I had more fun than ever and I feel I accomplished what I could, giving the conditions.

Mas existem maneiras diferentes de enfrentar uma corrida: ir com tudo e dar o seu melhor ou ir para aproveitar a diversão. Um quilómetro depois de ter começado, percebi que o melhor seria escolher a segunda. Dessa forma seria mais divertido e agradável, e teria mais chances de cumprir a minha promessa: correr a Avenyn toda sem andar. Corri num ritmo mais lento, sorri muito para o público que é fantástico e está espalhado durante quase todo o percurso e aproveitei o ambiente de alegria e festa que a cidade ganha. Quando entrei na Avenyn, estava-me a sentir bem e pus um sorriso na rosto que nunca mais larguei. As pessoas que me viram gritaram e aplaudiram ainda mais. Foi tão bom, que quando dei por mim estava no topo da avenida! Tive uma fase mais difícil um pouco depois, mas olhei para o meu relógio e vi que já tinha corrido 18,5 km. Não se pode andar tão perto da meta! E assim foi... Pela primeira vez nesta corrida, corri durante o percurso inteiro, diverti-me mais do que nunca e sinto que fiz o que pude, dadas as condições.

Me at the goal with a flag of Portugal / Eu a chegar à meta com a bandeira portuguesa

I finished it in 1h56m21s. That is 1 second more than last year. I should be giving a prize for consistency! Last year, I was super in shape and had trained much more and much better, which gave me too much confidence. I ended up running too fast during the first 14km and then breaking down and walking a lot. 
The result was the same in time, but I had less than half of the fun. I'm happy I learned the lesson and applied it this year. Running and learning. 

Terminei em 1h56m21s, o que foi 1 segundo a mais do que no ano passado. Deveria ganhar um prêmio por consistência! No ano passado, estava super em forma e tinha treinado muito mais e muito melhor, o que me deu demasiada confiança. Acabei por correr muito rápido durante os primeiros 14km e quebrando depois, sendo obrigada a andar muito.
Em tempo o resultado foi o mesmo, mas não me diverti nem metade o ano passado. Estou feliz por ter aprendido a lição e a ter aplicado este ano. Correndo e aprendendo.

Göteborgsvarvet 2017, 1h56m21s

I should of course thank the usual gang. The other team members for sharing nerves and experiences before and after the race (they also did really well this year!) and the supporting team for the pictures, support and all the good food. I'm already looking forward to next time!

Tenho também que agradecer o grupinho habitual. Os outros membros da equipa, com quem partilhei nervos e experiências, antes e depois da corrida (eles também fizeram uma boa corrida este ano!) e a equipa de apoio pelas fotos, todo o apoio e comida deliciosa antes e depois. Já estou ansiosa pela próxima vez!

quarta-feira, 17 de maio de 2017

The equilibrium of life

On Saturday, I started the day with a fun group training in a forest nearby. In the afternoon Benfica, my football club in Portugal (who I don't follow that much but still) was a champion. In the evening, Portugal won the Eurovision song contest with a breath taking performance (this contest was our Achilles tendon). So much to celebrate. 

I recently read an article about how everything in life is balanced and how every good has a bad. The Yin and Yang according to asian wisdom. The article mentioned as well how we, those living in the so called western world, are not prepared for the yang of life and often forget that balance is more important and we should accept the bad things that come. If you are living in a high it doesn't mean that something bad is going to happen, as maybe you have already lived through the bad part of the good you are living now. I don't know. I agree we should be prepared to the bad, but I also think we should not allow that expectation for the bad to prevent us from living the good to its full potential. It's confusing but at the same time not a bad theory. 

I thought of that on Saturday. So much to celebrate. Except that during the day I got to know that my grandmother had passed away. The last of all my grandparents. The feeling of loss was not as abrupt as last time, because I don't think we lost her on Saturday. We started loosing her about 10 years ago. With time she forgot more and more who we were and who she was in the world. I also forgot the last time I saw her. Not that it was long ago, but to forget how she was then, joyless and lost. That's not the image I want to save from her. I want to remember all the other things we did together. Even all the bad meals she made me eat (she was a terrible cook...). 

After so many years living this almost lifeless life, she chose to go on Saturday. May the 13th. May the 13th was her favourite day of the year. According to legend, in this day in 1917 the Virgin Mary showed herself to three little Portuguese shepherds in Fatima. After that, a sanctuary was built on that location and celebrations happen every year. My grandmother was extremely faithful and devoted, having also a lot of related responsibilities in the village where she lived in. She used to sing a song about this legend to my sister when she was a baby. This year, the 13th of May was even more special, because Pope Francis was visiting Fatima. It was beautiful coincidence. Almost as if she did choose the day she wanted to leave.

The natural course of life is sad and painful, regardless of its conditions, but I'm unsure whether I am more sad today than last week or last year. I don't know. I'm certainly more sad than 30 years ago, when she was singing for us. Let's hope she is in a better place now. Better than in her last joyless and quiet years. 

domingo, 14 de maio de 2017

Meet the Newbie blogger Sara

The Newbie Guide to Sweden is a page full of helpful information for those who move to Sweden. Besides that, the Newbie has another side - the blog - full of stories, curiosities and cultural tips. The page is run by two sisters and the blog is written by them and a bunch of volunteers, among which I'm included. The volunteers are all foreigners who have moved to Sweden at some point. Some have moved recently, some have lived here for more than a decade. The two sisters running the page have always been very supportive of the volunteers, and now they decided to present each of us in a special post, both on the blog and on the Facebook page. 
I was the first... What an honour!

You can read my quick interview here.



sexta-feira, 12 de maio de 2017

Finding all but Nemo

The job I got is partly to replace a man who has been working there for 50 years and is about to retire. So far, I have been following him around and learning all I can from him. He is a very positive and happy person, and it's been easy and quite fun to spend time with him. One of the first things he told me was that he was "forced" to clean his office, so that now I could also seat there. When he told me that I looked around and wondered how it had been before. I heard the difference is dramatic and I'm guessing he spent a lot of energy on it. I don't know if he finished it or not, because there are some shelves full of stuff that I think he didn't go through. Sometimes, when he is not there (he only works part time) I go through them and I have found very curious things...

O meu trabalho passa em parte por substituir um homem que trabalhou ali durante 50 anos e que está prestes a reformar-se. Até agora tenho estado a segui-lo de perto e a aprender o máximo com ele. Ele é uma pessoa muito positiva e feliz, e tem sido fácil e bastante divertido passar tempo com ele. Uma das primeiras coisas que ele me disse foi que foi "forçado" a limpar o seu gabinete, para eu me poder sentar lá também. Quando me disse isso, olhei em volta e perguntei-me como estaria antes. Ouvi dizer que a diferença é gritante e suponho que ele gastou muita energia nisso. Não sei se ele deu a limpeza por terminada ou não, porque há algumas prateleiras cheias de tralhas onde me parece que ele não passou. Às vezes, quando ele lá não está (só trabalha em part time) dou uma vista de olhos e tento arrumar um pouco, e tenho encontrado coisas muito curiosas...


Christmas lights / Luzes de natal

The flag of an ice hockey club / A bandeira de um clube de hoquéi no gelo



Tea expired in 2014 (I've only seen him drinking coffee), wipes for stationary phones (that no one uses anymore) expired in 2012, and an unopened cartridge bought in 2013. 
Chá com o prazo de validade em 2014 (ainda só o vi a beber café), panos molhados para limpar telefones (que já ninguém usa do departamento) com validade em 2012, e um cartucho fechado comprado em 2013. 

A table tennis racket / Uma raquete de ténis de mesa

A pair of glasses and a plunger

As I said before, the only thing I haven't found there yet was Nemo! 
It's been quite fun and I will miss these times, when he leaves at the end of the month. He is some kind of a legend and everybody likes him a lot. I have big shoes to fill! But I will try to keep weird objects away from the shelves. We will see how it goes when I'm his age. I'll probably be even worse...

Como disse, a única coisa que ainda não encontrei lá foi o Nemo! 
Tem sido muito divertido e vou sentir falta destes tempos, quando ele for embora no final do mês. Ele é uma espécie de lenda e todo a gente gosta imenso dele. Vou tentar ser tão positiva quanto ele, mas vou tentar manter objectos estranhos longe das prateleiras. Vamos ver como vai ser quando tiver a idade dele. Vou provavelmente ser ainda pior...

quarta-feira, 10 de maio de 2017

First day of summer

Bohus fortress / Forte de Bohus

I grew up learning that summer is a season of the year, which occurs between June and September in Portugal. Then I moved to Sweden and I learned that in Sweden summer is any sunny day in which one is able to walk in shorts and t-shirt. Those days are not so frequent and when they happen in weekends one should absolutely make the most of it. 

Like last Saturday. The sky was clear and the temperature was warm but not scorching hot, so we decided to go cycling. To make it more fun we decided to cycle to a cookies factory shop, located near a fantastic fortress, near the town of Kungälv (literally means river of the king). The way there was not always the most fun as the cycling paths go along big roads, but some parts went through fields along the river. It was all worth it when we got there. 

Cresci a pensar que o verão é uma estação do ano que ocorre entre junho e setembro em Portugal. Depois mudei-me para a Suécia e aprendi que aqui o verão é qualquer dia ensolarado, no qual está quente o suficiente para se andar em calções e t-shirt. Esses dias não são assim tão comuns e quando acontecem a um fim de semana temos que os aproveitar ao máximo.

Como por exemplo no último sábado. O céu estava limpo e a temperatura agradável, mas sem estar a escaldar, por isso decidimos ir andar de bicicleta. Para tornar o passeio mais divertido decidimos ir até uma loja de uma fábrica de bolachas, localizado perto de uma fortaleza fantástica, na cidade de Kungälv (que significa rio do rei). O caminho não foi sempre o mais bonito, porque parte das ciclovias eram ao longo de estradas com carros, mas também atravessamos campos e fomos ao longo do rio. No final tudo valeu a pena quando lá chegamos.


On the way there, with the Bohus fortress in sight on the left. 
Quase a chegar com o forte de Bohus à esquerda.


We started by going to the cookie shop as they closed at lunch time. The shop is not big, but it has a large variety of cookies at incredible prices. We happily filled up a backpack with different kinds of cookies, chocolates and fig toasts (the find of the day for 20 euro cents each box!). We ate some to reload our energies but I think we will have cookies for a while at home. 

Começámos por ir à loja de bolachas porque fechava à hora de almoço. A loja não é grande, mas tem uma grande variedade de produtos a preços incríveis. Nós enchemos uma mochila com diferentes tipos de bolachas, chocolates e tostas de figos (que era o produto do dia, a 20 cêntimos cada caixa!). Comemos alguns para recarregar as energias, mas mesmo assim vamos ter bolachas por uns tempos em casa.



Our shopping / As nossas compras




A lot of people were outside taking a walk, fishing, making picnics on the grass, eating ice cream and enjoying this beautiful day. We sat on a bench, eating cookies and looking at the beautiful fortress. We promised to go back with our camera and more proper backpacks to be able to walk around and visit the fortress properly. 

Muitas pessoas estavam a fazer caminhadas, a pescar, a fazer piqueniques na relva, a comer gelados e a desfrutar deste belo dia. Sentamo-nos num banco a comer bolachas e olhar para a fortaleza. Prometemos voltar com a máquina fotográfica e com mochilas melhores para podermos caminhar e visitar a fortaleza como deve ser.


In total we cycled a total of 52 Km, got the beginning of a tan and had a lot of fun. We finished the day by going out for drinks with some friends, making it the perfect summer day. Of course the days after were/are grey and colder, but that's ok, because we got our levels of happiness, a.k.a. vitamin D, well reload on Saturday. And so is life in Sweden. 

No total, andamos um total de 52 km, ficamos com quase um princípio de um bronzeado e divertimo-nos muito. Para terminar o dia em grande saímos com uns amigos ao fim da tarde, tornando este dia num dia de verão perfeito. Claro que os dias a seguir foram mais cinzentos e mais frios, mas não faz mal, porque recarregamos os nossos níveis de felicidade, a.k.a. vitamina D, no sábado. E é assim a vida na Suécia.

domingo, 7 de maio de 2017

Växjö


Växjö is a small town in the region of Småland, in the south of Sweden. It's name means "lake road" (väg sjö), which makes sense as the city is surrounded by different lakes. It was not the first time we were there (you can read about my first experience here), so this time we didn't walk around as much but enjoyed the company of our host instead. 

Växjö é uma pequena cidade na região de Småland, no sul da Suécia. O nome significa "estrada do lago" (väg sjö), o que faz sentido uma vez que a cidade é cercada por vários lagos. Não foi a primeira vez que fomos a Växjö (podem ler sobre a minha primeira experiência aqui), portanto desta vez andamos menos pela cidade e fizemos mais companhia à nossa anfitriã.



Photos taken during a walk around lake Trummen.
 As fotos foram tiradas durante um passeio em volta do lago Trummen.

  Teleborg Castle / Castelo de Teleborg


An artistic installation by the Växjö lake (the main lake or the most central).
Uma instalação artística à beira do lago Växjö (o lago principal ou o mais central).



 Park by the Växjö lake / Parque à beira do lago Växjö




The weather got better and better, and it went from grey to beautiful blue skies in the last day, which was the race day. We also celebrated Valborg, which is a Swedish tradition to welcome the Spring on the 30th of April. Celebrations normally include the lighting of a bonfire, choral singing and dancing, and a speech to honour the arrival of the long awaited spring season. Similar festivities occur also in other countries, but usually more connected to religion, in which is said that the fire is used to scare away witches. It's unclear if the Swedish bonfires have the same origin or not, but many say that they do scare the winter witches and let the spring in. 

O tempo foi ficando cada vez melhor e passou do cinzento a céu azul no último dia, que foi o dia da corrida. Também celebramos o Valborg, que é uma tradição sueca para receber a Primavera, no dia 30 de abril. As celebrações normalmente incluem uma fogueira, um coro, danças e um discurso para homenagear a chegada da tão esperada primavera. Festas semelhantes também ocorrem em outros países, mas são geralmente mais ligadas à religião, nas quais se diz que o fogo é usado para assustar as bruxas. Não se sabe bem se a origem das fogueiras suecas é a mesma ou não, mas muitos dizem que nesta noite se assustam as bruxas de inverno para que a primavera possa finalmente chegar.

 The band

 The lightning of the fire / O acender da fogueira



In Växjö the speech is held in the main square and then a band, a group of cheerleaders and a group of young people holding torches parade through the streets of the city until they reach the side of the lake, where the bonfire is lightened. We didn't see the speech, but instead waited next to the lake to see the fire. Fire is always something mystical that in a way brings some spirituality to the atmosphere, especially if surrounded by the sounds of drums and a beautiful sunset. 

Em Växjö o discurso é feito na praça principal e em seguida uma banda, um grupo de cheerleaders e um grupo de jovens com tochas desfila pelas ruas da cidade até chegar à beira do lado, onde a fogueira é acendida. Nós não vimos o discurso e em vez disso esperamos ao lado do lago para ver a fogueira. Fogo é sempre algo místico que adiciona uma certa espiritualidade à atmosfera, especialmente quando rodeado por sons de tambores e um belo pôr do sol.

Even the moon was more beautiful than normal and allowed us to see its more shady side. 
Até a lua estava mais bonita que o normal e nos deixou ver o seu lado mais sombrio.

 Sunset by the park / O pôr do sol no parque



The colours became very spooky with the fire burning nearby.
As cores ficaram mais misteriosas na presença do fogo.

It was really a great weekend with running, good weather, good food and especially great company. Let there be more like this!
Foi mesmo um fim de semana fantástico com corrida, bom tempo, boa comida e principalmente boa companhia. Que venham mais como este!

sexta-feira, 5 de maio de 2017

Växjö's Half Marathon

Last weekend we, the usual 3, ran the half marathon in Växjö. None of us had training as much as wanted. Among other things we were all sick at one point or another and had a lot of work or a new job to suck our energy. 

Picture taken by our local supporter

Still, the race was a promising one, because the course was beautiful and flat, and there were only around 250 people registered. There was also a 5k race starting an hour before ours and a 10k starting 2h later. The 10k was actually the main event with about 1000 people registered. That made it quite perfect, because it was never crowded to run the narrow paths of the half marathon, but there were a lot people around so we wouldn't feel lonely for too long. 


The course was breathtaking, probably the most beautiful 21km I have ever ran, even if it was a two-lap race. Half of each lap went through narrow roads and small paths inside a forest, that was partly along a lake. The other half was a full lap around the most famous lake of Växjö. There was a point in which the path actually went in between two lakes (or if it was through the same lake, I actually don't know). It was warm but not too warm, the sun was shining and the water was reflecting the light in a beautiful way. There and then I had my runner's high - that moment when the endorphines kick and the world is beautiful. 

I'm so lucky to be here running, it's so beautiful, my life is so beautiful, everything is perfect, oh how lucky I am.

Down there in the background is me. It was really nice to not run in a crowd like in most races.

Of course that was during the first lap, when I had 11km to go. In the second lap, with 1 km to go, I tried to go into that mood to forget how tired I was. The feeling was still there but it was a bit faked. It still kept my mind busy and I ran the whole thing without ever stopping. It was not the easiest half marathon I have ever ran and the fact that I hadn't training enough was clear, especially the day after. Still, I did it and I was super proud of myself, because I actually broke my record in an official race (my current record is during a training... I know, not common, but I was inspired that day). 

The boys also did quite well and we were all happy to be there. We had a wonderful supporter that did her best to be present and cheer us up when we most needed (with 2km to go I was dying...).

I wish I had pictures of the course but I don't. I do have some pictures of the city and I will be posting those soon in another post.

 Växjöloppet, May 2017, 1h50m46s

quinta-feira, 4 de maio de 2017

I laugh...

... at the time that I was going to school 3 days a week and I thought I was so busy that I didn't have time to do everything I wanted. 

Now, I not only have the time but I don't have the energy either. I'm always dead tired at the end of the day. Hopefully, it gets better as I get used to having a full time job again. Running a half marathon on Monday might have greatly contributed for how tired I feel, but it also gave me material for a couple of posts, so it was worth it. I will be posting something more proper soon!