I see the dawn of a new beginning

Searching for a job in Portugal is not that easy, especially as there is this crazy idea called professional internships, which is basically slave work, only approved and supported by the government. Because of that, companies think that it is ok to offer underpaid jobs to people they want to be 200% committed to the project.

As I was in a humongous existential crisis, being out of job didn’t exactly hit me like a bullet. I actually faced it as a I-have-nothing-to-lose kind of opportunity.

Nevertheless, I had a plan, composed of several sub plans, which consisted of not staying inactive, with no income whatsoever. Furthermore, I had decided not to stay more than one month unemployed here in Porto. I was already searching for jobs in Lisbon, in London and in Paris, but after that period of time, with or without a job, I would leave. The destination would be London.

I decided a date, then I changed it because I was waiting for a feedback on an interview, then I changed it again and when I had decided I would leave on the second week of March, I got the one positive answer I wasn’t expecting, as I was already too skeptical regarding working in Portugal.

I am beginning a new journey, starting of tomorrow: I will be moving to Lisbon, one of the cities of my heart, to work on a project which is completely different from what I am used to.

Despite of being excited, I am kind of terrified of not fitting, not feeling it as my home. Of failing.

But I will take this second chance that I called to myself, that I thought of so hard, for such a long time, that I think came at the right time.

I still don’t believe there are angels looking after us from heaven, but I think, for sure, that my life changed so much this year for some reason and because of a series of apparently independent events which are – I truly believe that – in fact related.

I’m on my way

No time to pretend
Dust off and try again
Straight out of lion’s den
Strong as a thousand men

I’m gonna hit the lotto
I’m gonna place my bet on every step I take
Go tell everyone under the sun
I’m on my way

This song has never made as much sense as right now. The lyrics, the rythm, the place where I heard it live…

Go tell everyone: I’m on my way!

 

Recipe – Duck legs with orange and port sauce

pato

Last sunday we were six people having dinner at my place, so I cooked duck legs. I had never cooked such thing, so I used my imagination and some stuff I searched online, and I came up with a very yummy (modesty aside) meal.

Ingredients:

6 duck legs

3 oranges – juice

White port wine (Favaios)

6 garlic cloves

Pepper

Salt

Ginger

Olive oil

 

Preparation:

Preheat the oven (180ºC).

Put the duck in a pyrex platter and season with salt, pepper, ginger and the olive oil. Peal the garlic cloves, smash them and add put them in the platter. Baste it with the orange juice.

Place it in the oven for about 45 minutes.

For the side dish, I made cauliflower purée, which is extremely easy to make: cook a cauliflower until it is soft enough. Blend it with a hand blender, season with olive oil, salt, pepper and ginger (I was really hitting on the ginger that evening).

Abs – Evolution

It makes me a little bit dismotivated looking at the mirror and not seeing any differences at all on my belly. It is hard to lose all the necessary fat on that area and to develop abs and I already know that this is the last part of the body where we can see results, but it would be nice to see some changes, at least.

That is why I have been keeping record of my belly week after week. At first it was an incentive, lead by a negative example (see how big that is? Work hard! Harder!), but it became the only way to not giving up, as looking to all four pictures I can notice some (although tiny) changes. And that is enough to keep me waking up early and following my eating and workout plans.

You can see the dates by hovering the mouse over the pictures.

Snacks

Being at home might be a bigger problem than spending your whole day at the office: you don’t plan your meals ahead and it is easier to skip meals or to keep eating non stop. It requires a great discipline.

Therefore, I try to keep my eating routine as similar as possible to the one I had when I was working, although it is not that easy to respect the same schedule.

Snacks are, thus, very important: you need to take them, but you also need to keep them healthy, without abusing on fat and on sugar.

Here is where I go back to my faithful quark and mix two dessert spoons of it with seeds, fruit, oat flakes, etc.

It tastes very good, it satisfies your hunger and it keeps you on a healthy diet.

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With red fruits, half of a banana, sesame and sunflower seeds
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With red fruits, sesame and sunflower seeds, oat flakes and dark chocolate chips

Lisbon is alway a good idea

Tuesday was a day entirely spent in Lisbon.

I have always had a huge crush on Lisbon, I go there whenever I can, but it doen’t happen as often as I wished. So when I knew I had to go there, it wasn’t a problem. In fact, it was the breath of fresh air that I needed.

After a whole week of rain and winds as strong as tornadoes, it was sunny and not cold at all. Perfect for a 3 hours trip (during which I slept almost the entire time), for which I only had three plans: attending my meeting (it was the compulsory one), having a Pão de Deus from Padaria Portuguesa (sweet breads with coconut on top – the best ones ever!) and meeting my cousin.

In fact, plans never go as we intend them to, so I ended up being driven around by my uncle, who even offered me lunch, which meant that I had time to take my Pão de Deus with a white chocolate latte in Starbucks, under a nice, warm sun, in Belém.

Later, right before the sun disappeared, I walked along the river to Rossio, where I met my pregnant cousin, who drove me to my cousin’s place. I hugged him for half an hour and his mother drove me back to the bus station.

And everytime I go there I come back sure of the same thing: Lisbon is beautiful, indeed, but it is its light that makes me extremely happy.

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My breakfast on the bus: the best muffin ever and a good book, under the sun
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Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

 

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Not so healthy snacks
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Fernando Pessoa’s quotes in Starbuck’s’ bathroom

Workout plan – Day 1

I was a bit tired of repeating the same exercises all over again, although I had two workout plans.

My awesome sister in law heard me complaining about it and about how I couldn’t see as many changes as I thought I would, so she recommended me the website bodybuilding.com. I wasn’t that convinced, as it was strange to have my exercise plan made by a computer and not by a person who would look at me, know my abilities and make my physical evaluation. But I went for it, and downloaded a 28 days workout plan, each day for each part of my body. Starting monday, with chest and triceps.

So there I went to the gym, 35 minutes walking, to begin this new lifestyle, skeptical as always.

It felt actually great, especially because I was challenging myself, pushing a bit forward, trying to make it count for real.

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Narrow push-ups kill me!
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Post workout: red fruits jelly with quark