Dec 26, 2013

My Christmas Eve Tale

This year, Christmas Eve was made of a varied set of emotions...

Family would gather at our home, so I took the day to help in the kitchen.

All went well until electricity decided to fail at lunchtime and not return during the whole afternoon.

My parents became very stressed out as they believed that the 'proper functioning' of Christmas Eve depended on electricity. The complex fireplace system in the living room, where I set the table in the early afternoon, needed electricity. Drinks needed ice, created with the help of electricity. The preparation of the one thousand and one different dishes needed a good source of lighting, so we could see what we were doing. And we needed to take a bath in water heated with... Electricity!

Stress and chaos grew exponentially, until my brother exclaimed: "Let's just take the food to Aunt Z., who has electricity, and have Christmas there!" He immediately called her, and she willingly replied: “No problem!” But my mother faltered… "Oh, I really don’t like that idea…" And I supported her: "Well, you know, mother put a lot of effort on Christmas decoration and she even bought new holiday linens, and she's really eager to host Christmas this year…" My father grabbed the phone and told my aunt that everyone would come to our house and we would have a nice romantic candlelit dinner.

Everything was prepared on time and, as if by magic, ten minutes before guests arrived... There was light!

Aunt Z. arrived and put all the gifts she had brought from her home around our Christmas tree. And the tree, which was once almost naked, was suddenly swamped by a mountain of gifts.

Dinner was held in the dining room, as originally planned, near the toasty fireplace, and at two tables covered with fine Christmassy linen. The smallest table is traditionally called 'The Children Table', even though there are no longer children in the family. I, my sister and my two cousins sat at this table​​. And dinner was made of yummy food, happy conversations and much laughter. What a delight!

Around midnight Aunt Z. began distributing gifts, perfectly embodying the role of Mrs. Claus. "This one is for you, and this one is for you, and this and this and that!" And the presents seemed to multiply as they were being distributed.

My sister was thrilled and said, jokingly: "I think I’ve never received so many gifts in my entire life!" In our childhood we never got many gifts, but she was clearly exaggerating, carried away by the exuberant enthusiasm of Aunt Z.

Finally, not long after, everyone said goodbye, and we stayed in the kitchen for a little while, cleaning up and commenting on the joy of the evening.

After my parents and sister were gone to sleep, I lingered on the sofa, drinking hot tea and leafing through one of my gifts: the book ‘Miopia e Astigmatismo’, by Nuno Markl. Before bed I still gave the finishing touches on my gift to B., which this year was handmade by me.

And so it was a happy Christmas Eve... :)

(Note: This 'tale' was originally posted on my other blog, in Portuguese.)

Dec 24, 2013

A beautiful Christmas

I'm writing just to wish you all a beautiful Christmas, full of hugs, yummy food and laughter :)


(Image: internet, exact source unknown)

Dec 16, 2013

What I've been up to

It's been almost two months since I last wrote here. I made a commitment to write more, but instead I disappeared. I don't have a perfect justification, so I'll just apologize to those who may still read these words.

So, what have I been up to?

- I've been writing daily on my new Portuguese blog, since I turned 30 (it's kind of a journal / diary). It's been an interesting and therapeutic challenge and I haven't missed a day so far which, to me, is an amazing feat!
- I haven't finished my PhD yet... But I'm working more than ever and I'm feeling the end getting closer. It's been a hell of a journey and sometimes I still wonder if I'll really get to the end. But I will. I know I will.
- Since money has been short, I've been living more frugal than ever, and it's been OK.
- I'm still doing Project 333, even if not in a very methodical way. I can't remember the last time I bought a piece of clothing (it must have been more than a year and a half ago), and I still feel I have too many clothes.
- I've read some great books lately. Some of my favorites are:
      > The Mind and the Brain   
      > Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
      > Walden
      > Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found (I'm finishing this one)
- I'm more and more in love with tiny houses (like this one!).
- I still struggle with my old depression symptoms, but I've been using several strategies that are helping, such as:
      > Exercising regularly
      > Getting enough sleep
      > Doing mindfulness exercises
      > Respecting my introversion and high sensitivity
      > Savoring the present and the tiny pleasures

Things are far from perfect. Objectively, I'm this thirty year old woman without a job, living at her parents' home. I struggle with shame and lack of motivation almost every day, but I decided not to give up on myself. I'm doing everything I can and know to keep going.

It's been good to write here again.

Be well :)