2007 in pictures…

It was fun doing this last year, so I thought I’d continue…

January

We watched the arrival of the Three Kings in Barcelona, walked along the beach in Barcelona, went to the calçots festival in Valls and happened upon the wonderful monastery of Poblet along the way, and discovered the little town of Arenys de Mar – more pics here.

Three Kings Barcelona beach ArenysPoblet Calçots

February

In February I met Moussa ag Assarid, enjoyed the Festes de Santa Eulália, a festival dedicated to children, and had lunch on top of a mountain near Vic.

Moussa Castellers de Barcelona Festes de Santa Eulalia Lunch at Vic

March

In March Alan and I went to Girona for a bit of a research trip, where we also had some amazing food and I became tempted to find a project that would allow me to spend a year in that amazing city

Street in Girona Tourists in Girona Old books

April

Last month in Barcelona – we visited friends in Mataró and otherwise simply hanged out in Barcelona

Archives Mataro View from Sara's house in Mataro Capoeira in Raval

May

Back in Canada after 13 months in Spain! We stayed with our friends Pearl and Al for the first two weeks and then left for Brazil to visit my family. While we were at Pearl’s, she took us to Todmorden Mills and Bufflers Park.

Yonge & Bloor Good friends Good friends 2 Todmorden Mills Bufflers Park

June

We moved into our new apartment and enjoyed summer in TO; I invented some cool salads and we had a blast at the Pride Parade.

Welcome basket BCE Place Kensington Salad Friends Pride Parade

July

We celebrated Canada Day at the harbourfront and visited Montreal, where we had to spend a few hours at the market. We also went on the first of many photo shoots with Mel and discovered Ireland Park.

Canada Day Montreal Ireland Park Toronto urban beach

August

A great month in Canada. We cycled quite a bit, watched the opening of the CNE, and I got into black & white photography.

Opening of CNE First b&w Bike ride - harbourfront East Chinatown Little Indi

September

September was back-to-school month. Super busy, no time to go out and take pictures. But it was also the month I got my piercing and Alan got his tattoo.

Piercing Tattoo

October

Halloween month! So of course we checked out the action at Church street and I got some good pictures

CatCat Warrior Geisha

November

Remembrance day and another trip to Montreal

End of fall Montreal Remembrance day

December

It seems all I did between November and December was mark papers and exams. But there was also a snowstorm in TO and our trip to Barcelona and Paris!

Snowstorm Barcelona Riding on bicing Kids playing in Paris Invalides

And 2008 arrived like this:

Snowstorm

The end of an era…

My grandma & I

My grandmother passed away this afternoon. She was the last of my grandparents still alive and quite a remarkable woman. I wrote about her not too long ago. Although we were never the kind to sit and have intimate conversations, we have always had a very special relationship. My older brother and I were the first grandchildren of the family and while my brother was my grandfather’s favourite, my grandmother always had a soft spot for me. She was pretty much the undisputed matriarch of the family and I grew up in awe of her. I have just found out about her death, so it doesn’t feel quite real yet. She was 91. The picture above was from my last visit, back in May.

Update: For those of you who read Portuguese, my brother wrote a nice post about my grandmother. I couldn’t have said it better. Thank you for all those who left messages here. I appreciate it. As my brother said, knowing that my grandmother isn’t really gone and that she’s still around watching over us is a great consolation. Once I’m back in Toronto and have had time to digest it all, I’ll write something in her honour.

Grandma at graduation

Saying goodbye to amazing friends

Our year in Barcelona was truly amazing. We traveled around, visited many places I have studied, I collected thousands of documents for my thesis, my cooking has greatly improved, my Spanish improved dramatically and I now understand Catalan well. Barcelona is an incredible city, so creative and alive that kept us buzzed with ideas all the time. Yet, the most important thing we got out of our year here was the number of incredible friends we have made. We feel we have made friendships that will last our lifetime… It was really a life-changing experience for us. The people I have met here really broadened my horizons, made me think in new ways, gave me so much that I’ll never be able to repay them.

Today we had a lunch party with about 15 of our closest friends here. They hailed from all parts.

From Catalunya: Pau & Mireia, Eli & her boyfriend; Mexico: Jesús, Citlali; Uruguay: Andres (who taught me to make mate! more on that later…); Germany: Sebastian, Sylvie; India: Jacquie; Canada: Joy; Australia: Zephyr; Chile: Francisca; Andalusia (Spain): Carmen; Brasil: Carmem

I was very proud of all the food we made. For starters Sebastian made a cured Salmon filet, and I prepared some fresh veggies with dip. Lunch consisted of Chicken Marbella (a recipe I got from a professor in Canada),  Basmati rice,  Gratin de Chou-Fleur, Fennel salad with red peppers & green onions, Spinach salad with pinenuts and honey-balsamic dressing.  Desserts were completely Catalan: Flam de Mató, Mel i Mató (both from Granja Viader, the oldest dairy house in Barcelona and home of the best mató in town), Musik (dried nuts), all served with heaps of dessert wines (Muscatel in a porrón, icewine, orange wine…). Pau has made Alan an honorary Catalan citizen for his expertise with the porrón and will be sending him a Catalan ID card soon ;)

In usual fashion, we sat down to eat at around 3 pm and the first ones left at 8:45 pm while the rest trickled our around 11:30 pm.  We had an amazing time with everyone and will hold each and everyone of them in our hearts when we leave…

[note: tomorrow I’ll post pictures here] 

Chicos, espero veros todos en Canada un dia!!! Volveremos a Barcelona pronto!!

A talented cousin…

My cousin Otavia started decorating cakes when still in her teens. She enjoyed doing really complicated designs that took days to finish and as she grew older she started decorating cakes for family and friends. That was her hobby. As a profession she got a law degree and started working as a lawyer in a family law firm but her heart was not in it. I always thought she should devote herself to her cake decorating business and I’ve now heard that’s the way she has decided to go. She’s only 27 and I’m sure she’ll be quite successful!

She has recently started a blog dedicated to her cake decorating, click here to see it. Here are some of her recent creations:

wedding

Gift box

Maltese dogs

The cake above was done for the birthday party of a two-year old girl who loves her Maltese dogs. Notice how the candles were incorporated into the design.

Patchwork

This one was done for the birthday of someone who was into crafts, particularly patchwork. It’s one of my favourites!

Isn’t she amazing? I’m very proud of my little cousin…