If I were…

Answering Denise’s question, here’s my list:

What would you be if you were…

If I were a kind of music, I would be… fusion.

If I were a month, I would be…may

If I were a day of the week, I would be… saturday.

If I were a time of the day, I would be…sunrise or sunset.

If I were a planet, I would be…… pluto. oh…wait…that’s not a planet anymore.

If I were a direction, I would be…… north.

If I were a piece of furniture, I would be… a comfy chair by the window.

If I were a sport, I would be… dragon boating!

If I were a leisure activity, I would be… a trip.

If I were a moment I would be… a laugh

If I were a liquid, I would be… water

If I were a precious stone, I would be… ruby

If I were a tree, I would be… a maple tree – always different

If I were a flower, I would be… a yellow rose

If I were a musical instrument, I would be… a guitar

If I were a colour, I would be…yellow

If I were a feeling, I would be… love

If I were a spice, I would be… oregano or curcuma

If I were an animal, I would be… a sea turtle!

If I were a fruit, I would be…. a strawberry

If I were an element, I would be… air

If I were a book, I would be…thought provokingIf I were a fictitious character, I would be… Death, of the Endless

If I were a food, I would be… a red curry (from Thailand)

If I were a place, I would be…. Paris

If I were an object, I would be…. a book

If I were a movie, I would be….. Life of Others

If I were a gesture, I would be….. a smile

 What about you?? What would you be?


Seven things…

 I got this from A Comentarista and decided to give it a try. Here’s my seven things:

7 things I do well

1. learn foreign languages, 2. cook, 3. read, 4. paddle, 5. forgive, 6. understand, 7. travel

7 things I don’t do or don’t know how to do

1. drive (I know how to but don’t have a license), 2. choose a favourite movie or book, 3. swim butterfly, 4. eat peanut butter, 5. downhill skiing, 6. dye my hair, 7. strip an engine

7 things that attract me in the opposite sex
1. sense of humour 2. intelligence 3. ability to think outside the box 4.creativity 5.honesty 6. sense of justice 7. sensitivity

7 things I say frequently
1. sweety 2. I’m stressed!  3. so much work, so little time! 4. cool! 5. ¡vale! 6. thank you (or Gracias) 7. sorry… (lo siento…)

7 actors/actresses I admire
1. Kenneth Brannagh, 2. Emma Thompson, 3. Colin Firth (sigh…), 4. Cate Blanchet, 5. Sean Connery, 6. Penelope Cruz (didn’t really like her before, but have recently seen her Almodovar movies), 7. Judy Dench

7 favourite movies [I’m just listing 7 random movies I like, can’t do “favourites”

1. Star Wars (the original trilogy) 2. Pulp Fiction 3. Schindler’s List 4. Life of Others 5. Monty Python and the Holy Grail 6. The Life of Brian 7.  The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Why I blog…

I’ve been indirectly tagged by Erin to give five reasons why I blog. My answers will not be as elegantly put, but here they are:

1. As a way of keeping in touch

In the past ten years I’ve lived in five different cities in three different countries. My family lives in Brazil and I have friends all over the world. When Alan and I set out to spend a year in Barcelona, we both knew it would be one of those life-changing experiences that we would like to share with our friends. This blog, as the title suggests, was created so that we wouldn’t have to stuff our friends’ e-mailboxes with pictures and stories. This way they are free to log on and catch up whenever they feel like it… And if someone else out there comes across it and learning something about Catalunya and Spain in the process, hey, that’s great!

2.  As a travel journal

Because this has been such an amazing year for us, both Alan and I felt that it was important to keep a record of it for the future. Ideally, I would one day host my blog in my own server so I can be sure the content would never be lost…

Like Erin, the act of writing about my experiences here makes me even more attentive than usual to what goes on around me.

3. To share my photographs

I’ve recently taken up photography as a hobby. It helps me get my mind off my studies and alleviates the stresses of an academic life. Plus, going out with a camera forces me to look at the world very differently and the fact that some of those photographs will end up here later forces me to be more sensitive about what is it about this place that I would like my friends to know, what sort of feelings I would like to share… Besides, my writing is not good enough to stand on its own, I need some pretty pictures to keep my readers entertained ;)

4.  The people

Internet for me has always been about connecting with people.

I still remembered the first time I went on the Internet, back in Jan 1996. Commercial internet was barely on its infancy in Brazil but a cousin of my cousin’s had internet at home since he worked for the WHO (world health organization. We dropped by for a visit, he showed us a couple of websites and then logged on to IRC, an online chat server. It blew my mind away. The idea of being able to talk on real-time with people across the globe was just amazing to me. I had internet at home a few months later.

Through this blog and the blogs of the people who come here, I’ve met many incredible people.  Some have inspired me to be more engaged with the world around me, others have touched me for their open-mindness and positive attitude, some I have met personally, others I keep meaning to, and some are friends or family who have since created their own blogs… The ability to be able to exchange opinions and learn from all the amazing people I have met since I created this blog, keeps me coming back…

5. It helps me think and take a position

People like Denise, Erin, Regina, and my brother Jota, have really inspired me to think more clearly about some of the issues that shape our world today. One of the things I enjoy most in life is to be able to have a good conversation with someone, particularly if that person has different ideas to share. This blog allows me to share something that has been bugging me lately with friends & family around the world, who can then discuss the matter with me…


Anyone else out there wants to take this on? Let me know if you do!


This list of questions was posted by Denise in Portuguese in her blog and since I can’t resist these questionaires, I’ve translated the questions here and answered them ;)

HEIGHT: 1.78 m. no, it’s not great to be so tall. not when you are so disproportional: my legs are as long as someone 3-4 cm taller, which means I can never find pants!
WHAT SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? hum… none. I’m in bed.
FEAR? snakes.
OBJECTIVES YOU WANT TO REACH: I’ve made a few lists about those, but I guess the main ones are to finish my PhD and become a good teacher
BEST PART OF THE BODY: my breasts. That is followed closely by my glasses, which have become an extension of my body.
SWEAR WORDS? I swear a lot in Portuguese but somehow not as much in English . Maybe it lacks the punch for me. Lately, I’ve picked up my friend Jackie’s habit of saying “FUUUUUCK”.
SIDE OF THE BED? never had one. I’m not a creature of habits. but since Alan does, than it means that by default I get to sleep on the right side (usually, his side is not actually the left, but the side furthest from the door which more often than not, ends up being the left). But as soon as he gets up, I move to the middle.
DO YOU SHOWER DAILY? Usually. I’ve taken up the Canadian habit of showering first thing in the morning and I have to confess that the days I don’t do it in the morning because I’m late or whatever, I end up not doing it later… Unless it’s summer, of course.
DO YOU LIKE HOT TOWELS? not in the summer.
TEDDY BEARS? never had them. I was a dog-freak and had stuffed dogs instead
DO YOU BELIEVE IN YOURSELF? I used to be totally confident in myself. There was nothing I thought I couldn’t do if I applied myself. But grad school has shaken that a bit… And I don’t know why since so far my experience has been 100% positive as far as feedback and results are concerned… But the further along I get, the less self-confident I become. Right now I’m thinking I’ll never finish the thesis and I’ll be a lousy TA…
DO YOU GET ALONG WITH YOUR PARENTS? sure! particularly at 5,000 miles away ;) my mom and I have always had a difficult relationship but the distance has improved it a lot. We now spend hours on the phone…
DO YOU LIKE STORMS? love it! particularly in high places.
SPORTS? thanks to Alan, I can’t be sedentary without feeling terribly guilty. In general I favour swimming, weights, walking & cycling but my efforts to do it consistently have never really worked. The only exception is when I belonged to a kayak club and dragon boat team (we paddled EVERY day, sometimes twice a day, plus had dragon boat practice at least 3 times a week; I’ve never looked better and developed muscles on my back I didn’t even know I had), and when I worked out with Dana last year. As a spectator, I love watching football (soccer) and have been following the Spanish league attentively.
HOBBIES? photography & internet
TICKS? nope

HOW MANY TIMES HAS YOUR NAME APPEARED ON THE NEWSPAPER? that I remember, about 6-7 times. If we include university newspapers, then add another 2.
ANY BODY SCARS? let’s just say I had a happy childhood
A PLACE YOU’VE NEVER BEEN THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO VISIT: anywhere I haven’t been. for some reason, I’ve been wanting to go to Thailand and India lately. I think it’s mainly because of photography…
MORNING OR NIGHT? I like dusk & sunrise
WHAT DO YOU HAVE IN YOUR POCKETS? like I said, I’m lying in bed. But if I were wearing my coat to go out, you would find all kinds of stuff… cellphone, change purse, bus/metro pass, keys, odd bits of paper, restaurant cards, lip balm, hand cream… whenever I have to change coats, it always amazes me how much stuff I can put in my pockets…
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WERE PRIME-MINISTER? I guess it depends of which country. In general, I would like to see every country matching each dollar they spend on weapons & the military with the money spent on development. In Spain, I would improve the services offered to immigrants to help them settle and start a massive education campaign on immigration to erase the notion that it’s a “problem”. In Canada, I would invest more in education and health care and improve the way we absorb skilled immigrants. In Brazil,…. where do you even start?? I would end mandatory voting, invest everything I possibly could in education, and abolish entrance exams to university as well as exams for public jobs. Oh, and cut salaries of politicians and many public jobs, which are way out of sink with reality.
IF YOU WON THE EUROMILLIONS, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? help others and travel the world
IF YOU FOUND ALADIN’S LAMP WHAT WOULD YOU DO? WHAT WOULD YOU ASK? I get 3 wishes, right? well, that there were no more borders, that we all saw each other as equal, and that we treated each other as we want to be treated. That would be a start…
IF THE WORLD ENDED TODAY AT 23h59m WHAT WOULD YOU DO UNTIL THEN? call my family to say see you soon, and go someplace peaceful with Alan – maybe a beach or mountain outside the city…
IF YOU HAD A CHILD WITHOUT KNOWING HOW, WITHOUT ANY REASON, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? huh? does it mean it was unplanned or that you are a man who had a child without knowing? either way, I would raise the child to the best of my ability…


wow, this took a lot longer than I thought…

Five objetives for 2007

Someone asked me for my five objectives for 2007. I probably did something similar back in January, but since I can’t resist a little list, here’s mine:

  1. start writing my thesis
  2. do some volunteer work – I’m interested in working with children or immigrants, particularly with literacy
  3. learn hebrew
  4. take an Indian cooking class
  5. travel more

What about you? what are your five objectives for 2007?

Five things you might not know about me

Following the leads of JP and AN, here’s my list

1. I was a dog-freak as a child and have probably watched every Lassie, Rin tin tin, & Benjie movies out there. It took me until I was 17 to convince my mother that we should get a dog.

2. I didn’t go to kindergarden. My older brother taught me to read and write while he was attending kindergarden – each day he would teach me everything he learned at school that day and by the end of the year we both knew how to read and write. He was 6 and I was 4.

3. I used to be addicted to comic books. I had a huge collection of marvel & dc comics and was on a first-name basis with every comics shop in Rio. I quit cold-turkey when I moved to Canada and started my history degree. My favourite was The Sandman by Neil Gaiman. The man is brilliant. Alan Moore is another genius of the craft…

4. I’ve read the Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley about 6 times. It was the first “grown-up” book I read. I used to be a lazy reader and wouldn’t read anything over 100 pages so my brother tricked me by giving me just the first volume of the book (in Brazil it was published in a multi-volume set of 4 books, each with over 200 pages) and betting I wouldn’t go beyond the first chapter. I was 12 and I don’t think I really understood the first chapter but had to prove my brother wrong. By chapter three I was hooked and read the remaining three volumes compulsively. When I finished the last page, I re-started again from the beginning. I became obsessed with England and its monarchy. How I ended up studying the Jews of medieval Iberia is still a mystery to me. I think my undergrad supervisor hypnotized me.

5. I lived in the Amazon when I was a child. We lived outside the city and my brother and I used to disappear in the jungle (I was 3, he was 5). Don’t know what I was thinking; I have a phobia of snakes.

New Year’s meme

It’s the first line of the first post of each month. Mine goes back only as far as April, because that’s when I started this blog. I found it at landismom’s site.

Wednesday, April 17th – Standing on a 45 degree angle from the surrounding Eixample grid system, this hospital was built by Domènech i Muntaner based on the notion that aesthetic harmony and pleasant surroundings were good for the health.

Wednesday, May 3rd – In the basque language (Euskera),txacolín is a fizzy, dry white wine poured from a great height.

Thursday, June 1st – Enjoying some cava and tapas on our balcony…

Monday, July 3rd – Now… this one I didn’t foresee: that no only would Brazil forget how to play football but that we would have to be reminded of it by the French.

Sunday, August 6th – Some cities are beer cities while others are wine cities.

Saturday, Sept 2nd – One of the things I most enjoy doing is learning about different cultures and participating in popular cultural events.

Sunday, Oct 1st – My parents, my brother, his wife and three-year old child have just left Brazil on their wayto Europe.

Saturday, Nov 4th – Tonight we went to the movies with Jackie, Sebastian, Francisca,Isa & Jordi to see Copying Beethoven.

Dec, 1st – Christine, a friend from Montreal, was visiting last week and in between tourist sites, we took her to Wushu, our favourite restaurant.

Ten things I want to do in 2007

1. Spend less time on Internet and more time at the gym

2. Become less politically alienated – learn more about the issues that plague the city, country, and world in which I live

3. Be more creative – I want to rejoin the Hart House Camera Club and take more photography classes. I also want to take an intro to Art History class

4. Teach. I’ll be a TA (Teaching Assistant) for the first time this year, which is something that I both need and want to do. I’m also a bit nervous because I really want to be a good teacher…

5. Learn Hebrew. It’s only fitting since I study Jewish history…

6. Do volunteer work. I worked as a volunteer in Montreal in an elementary school and at the volunteer bureau’s office. It was a very fulfilling experience and one I hope to repeat one day.

7. Start writing my thesis. eeeeeek.

8. Take an Indian Cooking class. Hopefully my friend Gen will join me! Anyone else from Toronto care to join?

9. Show Toronto to my Barcelona friends

10. Read more literature

What about you? what do you want to do in 2007?

PhD Comic

It’s Friday!!

I came across this list on this site. Since we all know I like a good self-discovering list, here it goes. Feel free to post your answers in the comments!

1. What time did you get up this morning?
7:15 am – or at least that’s when I started pushing “snooze”

2. Diamonds or pearls?

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Copying Beethoven – the story itself isn’t that special but has superb acting by Ed Harris and it also features Phyllida Law, one of my favourite british actresses.

4. What is your favorite TV show?
at the moment, Lost and Everwood.

5. What did you have for breakfast?
hmmm, cheese sandwich (very tasty baguette bread with tomato) and an espresso at the bar. I know, not that best, but I’m afraid I pushed the snooze button one too many times to have time to prepare my own breakfast.

6. What is your middle name?

7. Favorite cuisine?
not the kind of question to ask a foodie. it changes every month anyways. Right now I’m discovering Indian cuisine
8. What foods do you dislike?
can’t eat meat fat. i’m always closely inspecting my steaks and cleaning even the tiniest bit of fat away. i guess that’s not really a dislike, my body just rejects it right away. i also tried snails (escargot) and didn’t like it. cannot make myself eat brains.

9. What is your favorite crisp (potato chip) flavor?
I have to agree with the lady that did this before me: “like plain Spanish chips, which are done in olive oil.” Very yummy.

10. What is your favorite CD at the moment?
hmm, don’t have a favourite cd at the moment but my iTunes has been playing a lot of Legião Urbana (Brazilian rock), Ramones, The Donnas, and Jesse Cook.

11. What kind of car?
a white and yellow mini cooper

12. Favorite sandwich?
again, hard to pick a favourite food thing. I have been eating a lot of “bodadillos de tortilla francesa”, which are omelette sandwiches served in a baguette bread rubbed with tomato & olive oil.
13. What characteristic do you despise?
nothing bothers me more than people who have no respect for others and people who discriminate against others based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, you name it.

14. Favorite item of clothing?
at the moment, my camper shoes…

15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation
where would you go?
right now? New Zealand… It’s been 10 years now since I wrote to a park in the South Island and started dreaming about hiking there. On another note, India has been growing on me since I met my friend J. and got interested in photography.

16. What color is your bathroom?
it’s sort of mismatched tones of blue. nothing to do with me, I swear!

17. Favorite brand of clothing?
anything that fits properly. i have a non-standard body in a world that only makes clothes for standard people. i really hate shopping for clothes; it’s very depressing. I see lots of really nice clothes, get all excited, select dozens of them only to come out of the dressing room all depressed because nothing fit… ARGH
18. Where would you retire to?
don’t really know. actually, i don’t even know where I want to live before i retire!!

19. Favorite time of the day?
sunrise and sunset. it’s just magical.
20. What was your most memorable birthday?
16… I made it really memorable for all my friends in high school. I reminded them daily of the event for 45 days prior to the date. I recently ran into one of my high school friends on the internet; she still remembered my birthday ;) That one was most memorable for others. For me, I guess it was when I turned 20. I loved getting out of the teens.
21. Where were you born?
Resende, a town by the mountains, 170 km from Rio de Janeiro.

22. Favorite sport to watch?
Football (soccer for those of you in North America). Dont miss a Barça game.

23. What fabric detergent do you use?
no idea. Alan does the washing.
24. Are you a morning person or a night person?
I’m a morning person who has a hard time getting up in the morning. Does that make sense?
25. What is your shoe size?
7.5 US/38 Euro

26. Do you have any pets?
not anymore.
27. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share with
friends and family?
It’s Friday!!

28. What did you want to be when you were little?
I think I wanted to be a veterinarian (what child doesn’t?) but then I saw a Miss Universe competition where the winner won all sorts of awards (a house, a car, tons of clothes & jewelry…) so I decided I was going to be Miss Universe. Later on I decided I wanted to be a diplomat.