Nascida e criada em Portugal. Já morei na Polónia, no Brasil, na República Checa e agora é a Suécia que me acolhe.
O meu blogue, tal como o meu cérebro, é uma mistura de línguas. Bem vindos!

Born and raised Portuguese. I have lived in Poland, Brazil, Czech Republic and now I'm in the beautiful Sweden.
My blog, just like my brain, is a blend of languages. Welcome!

segunda-feira, 29 de agosto de 2016

Belfast city

Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, situated at the mouth of the River Lagan giving it the ideal location for the shipbuilding industry that once made it famous. In the early 20s, Belfast was the center of Irish industry, namely linen, tobacco, rope and ships. The Titanic, for instance, was built in Belfast. Nowadays, Belfast remains a centre for industry, as well as the arts, higher education, business, and law, and is the economic engine of Northern Ireland. The city itself is populated with gorgeous churches and antique red brick buildings. The architecture is beautiful.

Belfast, a capital da Irlanda do Norte, fica à boca do rio Lagan, dando-lhe a localização perfeita para a construção de navios, o que tornou a cidade famosa. Nos início dos anos 20, Belfast era o centro da indústria Irlandesa, nomeadamente de linho, tabaco, corda e navios. Por exemplo, foi em Belfast que foi construído o Titanic. Hoje em dia Belfast continua a ser o centro industrial, bem como o de artes, educação superior, negócios e legislação, e é ainda o centro económico da Irlanda do Norte. A cidade em si é cheia de igrejas imponentes e de edifícios de tijolo antigos. A arquitectura é linda.



On the right is Elmwood hall, and I couldn't find the name of the church on the left.
À direita está Elmwood hall e não consegui encontrar o nome da igreja à esquerda.

 The Queen's University of Belfast. 

It was founded in 1845 and is one of the largest universities in the UK with over 25,000 students spread over 250 buildings, 120 of which are listed as being of architectural merit.
Foi fundada em 1845 e é uma das maiores universidades do Reino Unido, com mais de 25,000 estudantes espalhados por mais de 250 edifícios, dos quais 120 estão marcados como relíquia arquitectónica. 



Crescent church

Belfast City Hall, a Victorian building built in the Baroque Revival style, with copper-coated domes in green. It covers an area of one and a half acres and has an enclosed courtyard. Its grassy gardens are populated with tourists, teenagers and business men eating their lunches.

Belfast City Hall, um edifício Victoriano construído no estilo Barroco Revival, com as típicas cúpulas cobertas em cobre, logo verdes. No todo o edifício cobre uma área de um acre e meio e contém um pátio interior. Os jardins relvados no exterior são populares entre turistas, adolescentes e pessoas de negócios a almoçar.

 The modern waterfront / A parte moderna à beira rio


 Donegal Quay

 Lagan Weir Bridge



Albert Clock

Custom House Square







Left: Bank of Ireland; Right: Parish Church of St. George

Belfast Cathedral and the Writer's Square, full of quotations from different Irish writers.
Catedral de Belfast e a Praça dos Escritores, com citações de vários escritores Irlandeses.



 Cute buildings and streets everywhere / Edifícios e ruas giras um pouco por todo o lado


 Walking along the river Lagan / Caminhando à beira do rio Lagan


Harland & Wolff's gantry cranes, in the Titanic quarter. This shipbuilding firm was created in 1861, and by the time the Titanic was built, in 1912, it had become the largest shipyard in the world.
Guindastes de Harland & Wolff's, no bairro Titanic. Esta empresa de construção naval foi criada em 1861 e em 1912, quando o Titanic foi construído, já se tinha tornado na maior do mundo.


SS Nomadic is a steamship of the White Star Line. It was launched on 25 April 1911 and now on display in Belfast's Titanic Quarter, as the only surviving White Star Line vessel afloat today. She was built in order to ferry passengers, their baggage, mail and ship's supplies to and from large ocean liners moored off-shore, such as the RMS Titanic.
SS Nomadic é uma embarcação a vapor da companhia White Star Line. Foi inaugurado em 25 de Abril de 1911 e está hoje em exposição no bairro Titanic em Belfast, como a única embarcação que ainda existe da companhia. Foi construída para transportar passageiros, suas bagagens, correio e outros de e para os grandes transatlânticos ancorados ao largo da costa, como por exemplo o RMS Titanic.



Everybody knows the story of Titanic and its crash against an iceberg on its maiden voyage, back in 1912. It was one of the biggest disasters during peace times. Although I heard the story many different times there was still a lot of facts I learned when I visited the Titanic Belfast. 
The sheer size of Titanic and her sister ships (Olympic and Britannic) posed a major engineering challenge for Harland and Wolff. No shipbuilder had ever before attempted to construct vessels this size. Titanic was constructed side by side with Olympic, on Queen's Island, now known as the Titanic Quarter, in Belfast Harbour. H&W had to demolish three existing slipways and build two new ones, the largest ever constructed up to that time, to accommodate both ships. Both slipways can be visited today (photo below). The anchors themselves were a challenge to make with the centre anchor being the largest ever forged by hand and weighing nearly 16 tons! The whole construction was delayed due to such problems and had it been on time and Titanic might have made her first trip earlier and, therefore, not crashed. Her sister ship Britannic had similar faith and suffered an explosion, caused by an underwater mine off the Greek island of Kea, in 1916 during the world war. Olympic, on the other hand, had a career spanning 24 years and was retired in 1934. 

Toda a gente conhece a história do Titanic e do seu embate contra um icebergue na sua viagem de estreia, em 1912. Foi um dos maiores desastres ocorridos em tempos de paz. Ainda que eu tenha ouvido a história várias vezes havia ainda muitos factos que eu não sabia e que aprendi ao visitar o Titanic Belfast. 
O enorme tamanho do Titanic e das suas embarcações irmãs (Olympic e Britannic) fez com que construí-las fosse um grande desafio de engenharia para Harland e Wolf. Nenhuma outra empresa de construção naval tinha alguma vez tentado construir embarcações tão grandiosas. O Titanic foi construído lado a lado com o Olympic, em Queen's Island, hoje conhecida pelo bairro Titanic, no porto de Belfast. H&M teve que demolir as 3 rampas de lançamento existentes e construir 2 novas, as maiores alguma vez feitas na altura, para conseguirem acomodar a construção dos dois navios. Ambas as rampas podem ser visitadas hoje em dia (foto em baixo). As próprias âncoras foram um desafio de construção, com a âncora central sendo a maior alguma vez forjada à mão, com um peso de quase 16 toneladas! Toda a construção do Titanic foi-se atrasando e hoje em dia questiona-se o facto de que se terminada a tempo, o Titanic teria feito a sua viagem de estreia mais cedo e por isso talvez não tivesse sofrido o acidente. A sua irmã Britannic teve um destino semelhante e sofreu uma explosão causada por uma mina aquática, ao largo da ilha de Kea na Grécia, em 1916, em plena guerra mundial. Olympic, por outro lado, teve uma carreira de 24 anos e foi apenas retirada em 1934.

 Titanic's slipway. The vessel took all the space you see in the photo, until the last post further down.
A rampa de lançamento do Titanic. A embarcação ocupava todo o espaço que se vê na foto, até ao ultimo poste lá ao fundinho. 

I really enjoyed learning more about the Titanic and its sister vessels. It was all very interesting and fascinating how they could build such giant vessels with so little technology.
Eu gostei imenso de aprender mais coisas sobre o Titanic e as suas irmãs. Foi muito interessante e fascinante pensar como é que conseguiam construir tamanhos navios com tão pouca tecnologia ao seu dispor. 


All the sights shown in this post are within walking distance of the city centre. In the surroundings of the city there's also the Belfast Castle and an old jail called Crumlin Road Gaol. We didn't have the time for both and we ended up visiting the castle and its surroundings. I will post about it soon. 
I hope you enjoyed Belfast!

Todos os locais que mostrei ficam relativamente perto do centro da cidade. Nos arredores, um pouco mais longe, ficam o Castelo de Belfast e uma antiga prisão chamada Crumlin Road Gaol. Não tivemos tempo de visitar os dois e acabamos por escolher o castelo. Escreverei sobre a nossa experiência em breve.
Espero que tenham gostado de Belfast!

domingo, 28 de agosto de 2016

Botanic garden - Belfast

The botanic garden in Belfast is beautiful and we found some gorgeous and exotic plants both in the gardens and inside the greenhouse.

O jardim botânico em Belfast é lindo e encontramos flores bonitas e espectaculares tanto nos jardins como dentro da estufa. 



















What did you think? Interesting, isn't it?

Que acharam? Interessantes, não são?

sábado, 27 de agosto de 2016

The post before

I see life as an adventure and I always try to take the best out of every situation. The post published just before (below this post) was written during a bad moment. I tried to humour it which means I was at least having a pretty good day.

We took the job in Prague because it was an offer for both me and Johan. We knew how difficult it can be to find a job, let alone two jobs in the same city. We took the job despite its low salary, never guessing it would be further decreased afterwards. We had met the boss a couple of times before in conferences. He seemed ok. After a week on the job I realised that the job was really not what I wanted. I thought I was hired for my technical skills but when I got there I was not allowed to touch "the buttons" I had touched daily for three years in my previous job. We felt we were expected to work a lot more hours than the regular eight stated in the contract. Truth is, we did more in eight hours than most our colleagues in ten. We were always under great pressure and being pushed and constantly asked to show results. That worked in the opposite direction. I have worked under pressure and it's ok when it's necessary, but it was hard to deal with when it was for no reason and applied on only the two of us. We started being less efficient. Others were less efficient and didn't get as much pressure, so... It didn't work but the deadlines started to be at least a bit more doable. We also learned how to say no. In time, we noticed other problems as well. There was no communication whatsoever. We never knew what was going on in the group. We could be performing an experiment that the boss had already done the week before, unsuccessfully. We would spend three weeks finding the same problems he had found before, but for some reason didn't tell us. We wasted a lot of time that way. There were no compliments (I got one once, in two years) but there was laughing at me when i made mistakes several times. We had a feeling he didn't like our work. On our last month he asked my replacement to pick my brains on this and that, because I did it really well. He had never said it to me directly. It would have helped my motivation. A lot. 

I had already been doubting if this was the career I wanted and the two years at that job made it much much worse. The working ways represented quite exactly everything that is wrong with research these days. The objective of the group was not to advance in scientific knowledge but to increase the number of publications. That meant loads of publications, in average to low quality journals, without good enough results. As soon as any of us had put together 3 graphs we would be asked immediately to start writing an article. No matter how good or important the results were. A few days before our last day the boss asked us to be back two days after our contract ended, to help him look good to some visitors. We refused. The contract would be over. He had no clue of how we felt. He also expected us to finish papers in the following months, that had not been finished. The plan was to finish everything during my contract but he kept giving me new tasks and I ended up not having enough time. The day we said goodbye, the last time I saw him, he shook our hands and told us "so, after you move and when you are ready to work send me an email". Ready to work??? We are leaving and we are never ever going to work for you again! He REALLY didn't understand anything. We made it clear (again!) that our papers would be taken care by our replacements and we wouldn't be dealing with things anymore. A novelty in the scientific world, not working beyond your contract.

I was really unmotivated during those two years. I was so unhappy. I dragged myself to work every morning like if I was going to my own funeral. Sunday evenings were dreadful and I refuse to even attempt to remember going back from vacation. I was always tired. I blamed it on my running but I knew it was not. I had no energy to go out. I stopped having a social life. There was a lot of sadness and there were a lot of tears. Sometimes, I wonder if I even touched upon depression. I was glad me and Johan were in this together. We not only supported each other but we were also the proof that we were not crazy. It was real, we both felt the same way. We longed for the day we would leave. We left. The happiest day was actually the one that happened a year ago. The moment we told the boss we were leaving. The disappointment in his eyes was priceless. He did care about us, so why were we treated that way? Why was everybody in the group treated that way? I will never understand.

No one deserves to feel that way. I hope none of you does, and if you do something is wrong. It is not supposed to be this hard. Or at least I want to believe so. This was the last time I wrote about this. Looking back I know it took me months to recover. To let go of the hate and of the cloudiness in my chest, but it's all gone now. I won't even think about it anymore. It's behind me now. 

Now, I will go out enjoy the sun, the day and life in general.

10 signs you might need a new boss*

1. In your first day she/he pointed to all equipment and cited the price.
2. She/He asked you to start doing something complex at 16h on your 2nd day, making you stay 4h extra that day.
3. She/He asked you if you are coming on Saturday during your first week.
4. She/He decreased your salary after 2 months, blaming it on miscalculations.
5. She/He laughs at your written grammar, but she/he makes worse mistakes.
6. She/He still uses internet explorer?
7. Her/His way is the only way.
8. Her/His motto is: More pressure more motivation.
9. Her/His other motto is: quantity is more important that quality.
10. She/He thinks she/he is the best boss in the world.

Key:
1-2 options are true: it might not be perfect, but it never is.
3-4 options are true: start looking up for other options.
5-9 options are true: you are desperate to leave!
All of the options above are true: you should have left, preferably the day before you started!!!

*I wrote the text above on a really bad day at work. That day I realised I really had to leave my job as fast as I could. I held on to this post and I thought I would publish it on the day I would finally quit. That day is today for me (YAY!), as I am writing, but it was a year ago for you, that are reading. I decided to not publish this post today, because liking it or not I still have to work for another 3 months and it would not be correct to publish this just yet. That's why you had to wait for a year to laugh at my magic quiz!

quinta-feira, 25 de agosto de 2016

You got to love Sweden #12 - Services

Services in general are great and very efficient in Sweden. 
Here is an example from today:

I had an appointment at 14:50, at the migration office to take my photo and fingerprints for an ID card. As a good Swede-pretend I got there at 14:42. I was welcomed by a nice lady who registered my arrival through my appointment code. She asked me to take a seat and wait until my code was called on the TV screen. I sat. In less than 60s I was called. My photo was taken. My fingerprints were taken. I signed on the machine. That was all.
I exited the office at 14:49.
The card is free.
The card will be sent to my address.
No fuss.


PS. Of course not everything is a bed of roses and I have had to stand in queues here as well, but for less time, and way less often than in all the other places I have lived.


Em geral os serviços na Suécia são bons e eficientes.
Aqui está o exemplo de hoje:

Tinha marcação às 14:50 para ir aos serviços de emigração para que me tirassem uma foto e as impressões digitais, para fazer um cartão de identidade. Como uma boa sueca-a-fingir cheguei lá às 14:42. Fui recebida por uma senhora simpática que registrou a minha chegada através do codigo da minha marcação. Disse para me sentar e esperar que o meu código fosse chamado no ecrã. Sentei-me. Em menos de 60s fui chamada. Tiraram-me a foto- Tiraram-me as impressões digitais. Assinei na máquina. Tudo pronto.
Saí de lá às 14:49.
O cartão é gratuito.
O cartão vai ser mandado para o meu endereço.
Sem problemas.

PS. Claro que nem tudo é assim tão bom e também já tive que esperar em filas, mas nunca tão demoradas nem tão frequentemente como em todos os outros sítios onde morei.

quarta-feira, 24 de agosto de 2016

Amanhã tenho teste

Há anos que não dizia isto.
Amanhã tenho teste.
Pequeno, mas ainda assim um teste, por isso hoje não vou escrever a história semanal do costume.
Para a semana...


Tomorrow I have a test.
I can't remember the last time I said this.
Tomorrow I have a test.
It's a small test, but still a test, so I won't write the usual weekly story.
Next week I will...

segunda-feira, 22 de agosto de 2016

See you in 4 years

For two weeks I had the olympics for company. All the time I was home I had the TV on. I watched golf and wrestling for the first time ever. I watched diving and water polo for the first time in four years. I watched, mesmerised, the best gymnasts in the world do their thing. I supported the underdogs in table tennis, tennis, basketball, handball and in other sports. I supported Portuguese athletes. I supported Swedish athletes. I supported other athletes. I admire their effort and their fair play. I enjoy reading about the stories of the olympics. Like the boy who 8 years after taken a picture with his idol, beat him in the pool. Or the girl who stumbled, lost her shoe and ran her race barefoot. Or the man who after beating cancer, trained hard and got a gold medal. Or the girls who got engaged right there, in front of the whole world. That's what the olympics are all about. It's not (only) about the medals or who wins and who loses. It's about the tears of happiness. It's about the tears of disappointment. It's about persistence, motivation and willingness. It's about fair play. It's about peace. 

And that's why I will miss the olympics, as I always do.
207 weeks waiting.
2 weeks enjoying.
Persistence.


Durante 2 semanas tive os jogos olímpicos como companhia. Sempre que estava em casa a TV estava ligada. Vi golfe e luta greco-romana pela primeira vez na vida. Vi mergulhos para a piscina e polo aquático pela primeira vez em quatro anos. Vi, pasmada, os melhores ginastas do mundo a fazer aquilo que melhor sabem. Apoiem os mais fracos em pingue pongue, ténis, basquetebol, andebol e em outros desportos. Apoiei atletas portugueses. Apoiei atletas suecos. Apoiei outros atletas. Admirei o seu esforço e fair play. Adorei ler sobre as suas histórias. Como a do rapaz que oito anos depois de ter tirado uma foto com o seu ídolo, o bateu na piscina. Ou a rapariga que tropeçou, ficou sem um sapato e fez o resto da corrida descalça. Ou o homem que depois de bater o cancro, treinou que nem um louco e ganhou uma medalha de ouro. Ou a das raparigas que ficaram noivas ali mesmo, em frente ao mundo inteiro. É sobre tudo isto que são os jogos olímpicos. Não são (só) sobre medalhas, quem ganha e quem perde. São sobre lágrimas de alegria. São sobre lágrimas de frustração. São sobre persistência, motivação e força de vontade. São sobre fair play. São sobre paz.

E é por tudo isto que eu vou sentir saudades dos jogos olímpicos, como sempre sinto.
207 semanas à espera.
2 semanas a aproveitar.
Persistência.

sábado, 20 de agosto de 2016

Scottish Highlands

Last time I had been in Edinburgh was back in 2011. It was summer. My sister was on vacation and joined as well. Johan had just defended his Ph.D. thesis and was about to move out of Scotland. After being in the city for a couple of days we decided to take an excursion to the Scottish Highlands. There's a lot to see in the Highlands, as it is a very rich area in history, and probably the best way to visit the area is to rent a car, but there are also many excursions by bus. We found a bus tour that took us to a few iconic sights and we had a good time. The weather helped! For some reason, that trip never got posted here and I took the chance to do it now. 

A última vez que tinha estado em Edimburgo foi em 2011. A minha irmã estava de férias e encontramo-nos lá. O Johan tinha acabado de defender a sua tese de doutoramento e estava prestes a mudar-se da Escócia. Depois de estarmos na cidade uns dias decidimos fazer uma excursão pelas Terras Altas escocesas (Highlands). Há muito para ver porque é uma área muito rica em história. Provavelmente a melhor maneira de visitar as Highlands é alugando um carro, mas também existem muitas excursões de autocarro. Encontramos uma que gostamos e que nos levaria a vários sítios interessantes e gostamos muito. O tempo ajudou! Esta viagem acabou por nunca ser documentada aqui, sabe-se lá porquê, e aproveitei para falar sobre ela agora.

 The highland cows / As vacas das terras altas


 Glencoe

Glencoe is actually a village that is located on the site of the Massacre of Glencoe in 1692, in which 38 members of the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by forces acting on behalf of the government of King William III following the Glorious Revolution. The village is surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery and is popular with serious hill-walkers, rock and ice climbers. It has been seen in numerous films, including Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as the home of Hagrid, and the 2012 James Bond movie Skyfall, also known from Ian Fleming's original novels as the birthplace of James Bond's father Andrew Bond. It is a very special place and its beauty is unique.

Glencoe é uma aldeia localizada no sítio onde ocorreu o Massacre de Glencoe em 1692, no qual morreram 38 membros do clã MacDonal de Glencoe pelas mãos de forças do governo do rei William III, a seguir à Revolução Gloriosa. A aldeia é rodeada por montanhas espectaculares e muito populares para caminhadas de nível difícil e escalada. Esta área tem servido de cenário em vários filmes, como por exemplo em Harry Potter e o prisioneiro de Azkaban, onde era a casa de Hagrid e em 2012 no filme Skyfall de James Bond. Nos livros de Ian Fleming, que deram origem aos filmes de James Bond, esta área é também conhecida como o local onde nasceu o pai de James Bond, Andrew Bond. É um local deveras especial e de uma beleza inacreditável.

Still Glencoe. Look how small I am! / Ainda em Glencoe. Tão pequena que sou!


 Loch Ness (from the bus, therefore blurred) / Loch Ness (do autocarro, logo desfocada)

 Urquhart Castle, the highlight of our tour / Castelo de Urquhart, o ponto alto da excursão


Urquhart castle sits on the shore of Loch Ness and it is one of the largest in area in Scotland. The present ruins date from the 13th to the 16th centuries, though built on the site of an early medieval fortification. Founded in the 13th century, Urquhart played a role in the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century. The place breathes history and the best of all is that one can go about exploring it all. It was our favourite sight that day. How couldn't it be?

O castelo de Urquhart fica na margem de Loch Ness e é um dos maiores castelos na Escócia em área. As ruínas actuais são de entre os séculos XIII e XIV. No entanto, foram construídas sobre uma fortificação já existente na altura, que se julga ser da era medieval. Fundado no século XIII, Urquhart teve um papel importante durante as guerras da independência da Escócia, no século XIV. No castelo inteiro se consegue sentir a presença de uma história tão rica e o melhor de tudo é que se pode visitar e explorar tudo. Foi a nossa parte preferida da excursão. Como poderia não ser?






 Me and my sister having fun / Eu e a minha irmã a divertirmo-nos à grande


The tour ended with us navigating in the famous Loch Ness. Loch Ness is the second largest Scottish loch (the gaelic word for lake) by surface area (56 km2). It is quite large and very deep (230m is the deepest point), so in volume it is actually the biggest. It contains more fresh water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined! It is most famous for the alleged sightings of the cryptozoological Loch Ness Monster, also affectionately known as "Nessie". Of course we saw Nessie, but shiuuu, don't tell anyone...

A excursão terminou connosco a navegar no famoso lago Loch Ness. Loch Ness é o segundo maior loch escocês (loch é gaélico para lago) em área de superfície (56 Km2). No entanto é também muito profundo (a parte mais funda chega aos 230m), portanto em volume é o maior lago. Existe mais água doce em Loch Ness do que em todos os lagos de Inglaterra e País de Gales juntos! É famoso por os supostos avistamentos do Monstro de Loch Ness, carinhosamente apelidado de "Nessie". Claro que nós vimos a Nessie, mas shiuuu, não digam a ninguém...

Urquhart castle view from the lake / Castelo de Urquhart visto do lago 

It was really nice to write this post today, and remember this wonderful day we had in the Highlands. I would happily go back and explore other castles and beautiful sights in Scotland. I hope you enjoyed it as well. 
Foi muito bom escrever este post hoje e recordar este dia fantástico que passamos nas Terras Altas escocesas. Gostava de lá voltar para explorar outros castelos e locais da Escócia. Espero que tenham gostado também.