Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Facial Recognition

Hello Blog,
I’m back from a weekend in Lisbon! There was a book launch, a workshop and a lot of picture books all around me:

Book launches are usually a trigger for one of my biggest fears, living in society: not recognizing people’s faces or not remembering their name. 
I feel like I have a very good memory for what people say, and memorize a bunch of pointless details about them, but not the faces. Let me demonstrate: 

I wish we could all live in a society where it's not rude to not recognize someone we have met before, and people would simply introduce themselves over and over until they are best friends. Can we all agree to do that, please? And not assume our faces are that special and unforgetable? Because they are not! Faces are all very similar, they usually have a nose, eyes, mouth and some type of hair surrounding the whole thing. (By the way, bearded faces are the worst of all! I gave up trying to tell bearded men apart. My brain says you are all the same person.)

As with other of my faults, I completely blame genetics for this. Both my parents are very bad at facial and name recognition and good at remembering everything else: I've heard my father talk about the car model and registration numbers of people he couldn't remember the name (and no, he is not a mechanic). And I’ve witnessed my mother talking to costumers like old time friends and, as soon as they leave the shop go “Ouf! No idea who she was!”. 

This family problem has led to one of my weirdest moments in my childhood: 
One time I was walking with my mum in the street and a man weaved at us and came to greet me. I assumed he was some distant relative I couldn’t remember and politely played along.
My mother thought he was someone from school she couldn’t recognize and did the same thing. 

NONE OF US KNEW HIM. But we only realized that he was stranger, and also drunk, when he lost balance and fell over while greeting me. I have a vague recollection of laying on the ground with a strange man on top of me and my mum very cartoonishly hitting him with an umbrella. 

 Afterwards my dad came along and helped the man get up and go somewhere. I would say I never saw him again but probably I did and just didn’t remember his face.

Friday, 21 April 2017

The kid is back, she's back on track

Hello blog!
It has been a whole year since I last wrote here, and today I decided it’s time to come back.

For some time I didn't want to write here again because I worried I wouldn't be able to keep it like it used to be. I'm not traveling or living in a new country and, except for some new Airbnb (mis)adventures, I have an insuficient collection of embarrassing stories to keep up a blog the way I did before. 
Buuut, this is a personal blog, and I hope you understand that it's bound to shift in a way a person does. And lately I really missed a place where I could write things that are a little longer than a facebook status. So, I'm back!

To give you a brief summary of what went on in my life since my last post:

1- Worked part-time at a design studio doing publications for facebook. Amongst my greatest creations was this baby Jesus with a hamburger:
This is what I went to design school for.

2 - Wrote and drew two children books, which have been published for real, and not photocopied and stapled at the print shop. (although I continue to print and staple things at the print shop.)
They have hardcovers, which is the book version of wearing a suit. 
One is about sisters:

and the other is about hmm... it's a retelling of a famous portuguese folktale... but also about depression.. and about being a foreigner...

3 - Meanwhile I also met girldfriend-who-shall-remain-unnamed. This is the nicest photo we have together:

We met on the street, so sometimes when people say love is just around the corner they mean that literally. 
Also, I learned that staring intensely at someone you don’t know and praying on the universe to give you a chance to meet that person by some chaotic coincidence is a thing that can work for you. But it will take two weeks or so.

Also, she used to read this blog, before meeting me in person. 
I have conflicting feelings about that.

But I guess now my advise for anyone looking for a special someone is: forget Tinder, start a blog. Extra points if you write about seaguls shitting in your face.

For the rest, everything is the same, I’m still in Porto, same street same house same room. To be honest I barely even moved from here. I haven’t travelled in a long time.
But I have a feeling this summer will be full of book related events and small trips, and I'll be here to tell you all about it!

Saturday, 12 March 2016


To give you a quick explanation of why I decided to sell my soul and sign a 6 month contract with Virgin Active let’s just say there’s this thing called muscles and I apparently didn't have any.

And since I can’t do any sort of physical effort without being tricked into it by music, choreography and a fair amount of group pressure i’ve been going to the gym classes. Mainly this three:

Smile Yoga. 
Just like normal yoga, but the teacher insist on us to smile, a lot. I know she means well but it’s mildly annoying to have a stranger telling you to smile. I fear that one day I’ll crack up and start screaming “YOU DONT KNOW MY LIFE LADY, MAYBE THIS IS THE ONLY PART OF MY DAY I DON’T HAVE TO FAKE SMILE TO STRANGERS LEAVE MY FACE ALONE”

Boring Ballet
also known as Pilates. 

This one is my favourite. Most of the staff at the gym has that contractual fake happiness that makes me uncomfortable. They are all giddy and supportive in a way it’s not natural, but the pilates teacher is having none of that. She never smiles, and has no problem in scolding an old woman for making a wrong Roll Up. She’s possibly the grumpiest person working there and therefore I love her and fear her in equal amounts.

Body Balance
Just blend yoga, tai chi and pilates and put Adele playing. It’s a mess, but you are no one until you have reached for your toes to the sound of Someone Like You.

Anyway, this week I was at the gym and overheard someone commenting about how now is the time they have more attendance, because people start to worry about the summer and not having a “beach-body”.  And I thought I might have some insight to share with these people, as a person who has been skinny all her life (except that first year of college when i stress-ate pasta and bread to a point none of my jeans fit). So, if you are someone who is losing weight for the summer, let me tell you what’s in your future:

1- Bones sticking out
When I sleep on the side I need to put a pillow between my legs, so that my bony knees don’t touch each other. 
I’m assuming that’s a common thing.

2- The world is colder.

I mean literally. You need warmer clothes. Which brings me to the next topic:

3- It's not like all clothes will magically fit you all of a sudden
So, models are skinny, and I'm skinny, fashion was made for people like me right? I should be swimming in amazing well fitted gowns and dresses and perfectly sized jeans! 
But not really. Once you are thin you'll just find a bunch of new ways your body can be disproportionate. The struggle to find clothes that don’t make me look like an anemic toothpick is real.

this one is a no-no

4- Accidentally touching an organ.
Sometimes I'm lying in bed and I touch some part of my belly and I feel something there and it hurts and I start freaking out. Why does it hurt? Maybe I have something growing there? what if it's cancer? and then it turns out I was just touching my liver and it hurt because its normal to feel pain when you repeatedly poke your organs.

5- You can’t complain

When you are skinny you can't say anything negative about you're own body without being immediately told to shut up.  But don't worry, there are still a bunch of things you can be publicly insecure about without stirring controversy! Like being bad at math, having dry skin or an annoying voice.

6- You will need a belt.
You will also need to learn the ancient art of punching new holes on that belt with a scissor during a trip to Austria where the food was so bad you lost 4 kilos in a week, just a heads up.

7- Being called a stick figure in that song About That Bass
Well great for you Meghan Trainor, if you have “that boom boom that all the boys chase”
Rest assure that although I don’t have “all the right junk in all the right places” I have a ribcage and colar bones that can be seen from a distance. 
Not that all boys chase that, but they probably have some scientific curiosity about it.

So that's all! Hope that puts some things in perspective, now go back to your burpees or squats or whatever you people do.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

a pocket full of metro tickets.

I spent 10 days in Paris and it was pure bliss. 

Infinite museums and bookshops to browse about, a city that is so beautiful it’s ridiculous and the company of an old friend and a new love. 
I couldn't have been happier and more carefree. It was the best time I had in ages and came back feeling lighter and jokingly saying I felt so light because I hadn’t fully returned yet.

Imagine my dread when, a week later, the bloodshed happened.
I stared at my phone with sweaty palms and a heavy heart as news reports got darker and darker by the hour.
I had no words.

I have no words.

I live in a place where terrorism isn’t a major threat. It’s not that I’m indifferent to mindless random violence happening in other countries. But it's a distant reality.

This time was different. 
There were people there I call mine. 
It was on the streets they walked.
It was on the streets I walked with them. 

I went from wanting to read all about the attacks, every tiny detail, because I thought that would help me make sense of it, to feeling so sick about it and getting off the internet completely. 

I know the shock will fade away. But my carefreeness took a huge blow this weekend.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Ikea is Hell

I moved, again! It’s the 5th time since I’ve began this blog, and, I think, the 9th in total.
My parents said this was the easiest move so far. I left Mariana’s house and my stuff fit in a total of two carton boxes, three ikea bags and a backpack. 

I am now living in the house my family bought in the city. A friend told me it looks like an apartment that was renovated by an old lady, and I think that's the best description I can give you of the place. The house manages to be both new and antiquated.
And not in a hip-vintage way. 
But I like it. It looks like the places I rented before. Only newer. and the chairs aren't plastic, and the windows don't shake when a bus drives by, and there aren't seaguls fighting with cats outside my bedroom window.

Still it was strange to move here. I spent seven years and nine houses perfecting the art of keeping it to the minimum. I didn't need all my books, I didn't need all my clothes. I rarely ever bought decorations. 
I accommodated to my restrictions of space, and to the restrictions of not knowing where I would be in a few months: I had small wardrobes and short term plans.

But now, there’s more space than things and my whole “take only what you need” philosophy is worthless! My parents brought me another shelf today because “it’s going to be useful, you’ll see” and swear to god I’ve been going around the house trying to find things to put on it and I have nothing. It’s just sitting there half empty:

I'm also expected to have opinions on curtains, rug colours and positioning of a dinner table. and I have no idea. I have honestly no opinion formed on where a dinner table should go. Anywhere is fine. As long as I can sit and have dinner on it.  
But whenever I express that to my mother she looks at me with disappointment, because I'm not rejoicing on the privilege of being able to pick a place where my dinner table will be located. 
BUT I DO!! I'm happy to be able to decide how and where I want my dinner table, it's just that that doesn't make me any more qualified to actually pick a place for it!
 I never in my life entered a room and felt a certain table was out of place! NEVER! ANYWHERE IS GOOD!

Anyway, we survived five Ikea trips, we'll make it through this.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

I started coughing a month ago.

And haven't stopped since.
At this point I've went to see two doctors, took 5 different drugs, and 2 brands of cough drops. And nothing stopped it. 

I'm kind of getting used to it, and now it's mostly just annoying everyone else around me.

Aside from that, I'm afraid I don't have many news, dear readers of this blog.
The only pause from immense boredom was São João (If you don't know it look it up) and I had an amazing night!! You guys, I arrived home at 8!! In the mooooorning! I saw the sun rise while dancing in the streets! Literally! 

Maybe this is not so amazing for the average person, but I very rarely stay up all night partying.
I've spent more nights drawing all alone in my parents living room than in clubs, drinking and attempting to dance by moving my body weight from one leg to the other.
It's not that I'm a boring workaholic (well, maybe a little), but I don't usually have a lot of fun while going out. I just get tired and hungry and cranky. 

Like a baby in a wedding.

Let me explain to you how a night out usually plays out in my life:

The Night Out,
a three part drama

part 1 - Leaving the house

I carefully plan what I'm going to wear. I'll have to walk home alone and my street has a lot of prostitutes. I hate when cars stop for me, so I usually take a backpack, because hookers don't wear backpacks. Also, that way I can bring some food and toilet paper. Going out is like camping and if I'm being extra prepared I may even take water and an extra pair of tights.

part 2 -  We go for a drink

The group is made out of 3 different sorts of people.
  • Those who are satisfied wherever they are, even if we are just standing in the street, in the rain, sipping beer under our umbrellas.
  • Those who are never satisfied and deeply believe there's one magical super-fun place waiting to be found.
  • And those who are always in need of a toilet.
Eventually we end up in one of these places:

The Bohemian Chic
A place with second-hand furniture and overpriced drinks, where the music is too loud to talk but no one is dancing. 

The Hipster Mob
A small club, very crowded because there is some famous dj that night, but to me it sounds exactly like all the other djs in the world. There's usually someone smoking next to me and the smoke is flying directly to my face but I can't move away.

The Side Street
We just stand drinking outside because we couldn't agree on a place to go.

Part 3 - My night ends when everyone else's starts

By then it's 4 am and I'm officially a zombie. I'Il leave the bar and find a queue of people waiting to get in. They are getting in! It's 4 am and they are going to a place!! Not coming from it!! Don't you people have jobs? or school?! I HAVE NEITHER AND I'M TIRED, HOW CAN YOU DO IT?

The thought that anyone would choose to be somewhere other than in bed troubles me. I start to feel depressed thinking I'll never fit in the nightlife and am missing out some sort of parallel universe of fun. I'm also very hungry.  

I start to wonder if anyone else in the bar was hungry.
How can people stay there for so long with no food?

Finally, I eat a banana I had in my backpack and walk home.

Friday, 5 June 2015

I sure travel a lot for a person with no measurable income.

Remember that time I told you my comic book had been translated to French? So, I took all my money from the royalties and went to NY, last month.

I'm like a kid who gets some money and immediately spends it all on candy.
Except that instead of candy I bought two eight-hours-long vomit inducing flights.

Anyway, I was traveling alone, so I don't have a single photo proof that I was in New York City and you will have to look at this sky scrapper pictures and believe me.

I mainly went there for a conference, that I wrote about here in this website

And after that I spent some days in the city, doing the things you are supposed to do while in NY:
I walked all over Manhattan, took a nap in Central Park, watched a broadway musical, hated Times Square, visited museums, found a store that sold raccoon penis bones, went to a free stand up show, crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, saw a HUGE rat, got a sunburn, ate chinese takeaway at the Lesbian Herstory Archive, complained about fruit prices, bought a ton of books, and had a handful of strangers telling me I look nice. 
Seriously though, I got more compliments on my looks in 10 days there than in 3 years living in Porto

"I must be beautiful."
I partly expected that because my friends who had been to NY warned me new yorkers compliment strangers a lot. But I must say I didn't anticipate that this would happen with airport officials too.

Coming in, the US Costums officer who checked my passport said I had a pretty smile and gave me chocolate!
and, coming back, a lady in the security line told me I looked like Emma Stone.
fucking Emma Stone!

I have no idea why she said that. But I really want to believe that, thanks to some freakishly flattering airport fluorescent light, this woman looked up at me and saw this:

I know that probably the airport staff was so nice because I'm white and a tourist, and if I was flying from/to somewhere else they wouldn't be as genteel. But, nonetheless, I was very happy with all the pampering.

That is, until I got inside my plane and all joy was gone forever.
Long story short I came back with a throat ache, zero hours of sleep, half deaf, and my hair smelled like vomit.
Even if there had been a resemblance before, by the time I landed in Porto I looked nothing like Emma Stone.