If you are a bit blind like me, click on the image to see it bigger

During my magazine rummages’ve found this article which has been a heaven sent for me. It touches the reasons why I can get paranoid and feeling down from time to time and the interesting thing as well is that they say it is all backed up scientifically proven to enhance health as well!! I am sticking it here so I can revisit these tips every time the cloud comes over my head again. And I thought was quite good to share with everyone. Anything to try and make this a better, more peaceful and kind world.

The second bit of the article is quite interesting as well. Is about the “sickies” that people take in U.K. Basically because the law allows you to take fake sick days (you don’t need a doctors letter up to a certain quantity of days) people can abuse of the privilege sometimes. And even with numbers going down, Spain and U.K are still the “sickie”-kings of Europe!

If there is one thing I really like about my timeline,  is how easy it makes for us to “steal friends” from one another. And there is a reason why both words are inside the quotes marks.

I use “steal” because that is how it feels like sometimes, browsing to other people’s readings, friends in Facebook, or in Twitter, I’ll snatch the contact and make it my own ;;) . Most of the times I a grab these contacts, and from time to time I catch myself talking, chatting and exchanging e-mails, messages with people I have never seen in my life – just because they were friends of my friends…After all, it makes perfect sense, you’d assume they would be in the same wavelength and is always nice to relate with people who agree with us – mind you, sometimes this can prove disastrous, when they start to have completely different opinions from yours and you just want  to jump to their jugular, but I like the challenge as well, and being the pushover I am, is good to change sides sometimes too :-D (and yeah, sometimes they manage to make me do so, like when Mauro stopped me promoting horoscopy things)

And I use the term “friends” loosely, as in my head I need to have clear distinction on who is my Friend, who is my friend and who just makes interesting reading. This has been messed up in my head before, and the amount of damage it made was silly, but huge. Nowadays I believe I am good at separating them three, but from time to time, I need to re-visit, re-classify, re-assess who is who and to which category they belong. But funnily enough, in real life has been the same, re-shuffling and feeling where the friendship is going. It is a great trick I have managed to create to avoid ever getting hurt by these events again.

The good thing about me is that I don’t usually hold any grudges (I can’t remember last time I did really!) so when friends need me, I’ll be there like nothing happened. I am a bit like Spongebob dealing with Squidward really. The reshuffle, then is easy to happen. I understand people may be away, deal with their lives, and then come back. I kinda pride myself in being a person who will always welcome you with open arms, big ears and broad sholders, no matter how long or which reasons made you to distance yourself.

“Stealing friends” is great, but as long it is not stealing, but borrowing. And as long as they are friends until proved Friends – and suffer the reshuffle from time to time /:)  (and I’m willing to suffer the reshuffle myself :-" )

On the trendy subjects going around lately…

*World Cup* :-bd  But then again, I’m this huge fan of the sport, someone who gets all the feelings it has to offer. Spoke about my love football before, but there is something about the World Cup, a pinnacle of the sport, the passion. For me, is all about the underdogs, the ones we can never expect to get any results, but there is always at least one to prove us wrong. To prove highly paid salaries is nothing compared to a heart beating fast in their chest and wearing the country’s shirt means carrying that nation. And watch this space, unless the world cup is really bland and boring, I will put my thoughts in here in how its all gone and why it is so magical to me!

*Sex and the City 2* :-bd Forget about the shoes, the clothes, the frivolity of them never EVER discussing world affairs and what is going on in this planet (mind you I don’t like discussing these things either, look General News bellow). What I like about these girls, is their friendship, the fact life is not easy for them either, and they go through the tough times together. They fight, they make up, they get disappointed (with others and each other) and they survive. For all the bits that I personally think as being wrong “woman role model”  it makes up for that. So yeah, I am one of those going to see the second film, after the first one being very moving and worth the 2-4-1 tickets!

*General News* :-q I have been absent from rants about the Israeli Attack on the Hamaz aid boat, the BT Oil Leak, and general bad news, because I absolutely hate propagating bad news. If you have bad news and have something that I can do to help to fix, assist or change it, fair enough. But I think propagating bad news with no purpose, is only a way to increase the bad feelings already taking over us. At least the way I see it, the frustration, anger, hopelessness generated by the news only generate more actions towards more of these being created. I really do not get how Twitter, Facebook or blog rantings really put a pressure on change. Unless they bring something we can pay for (singles for Xmas chart, help with Haiti Aid) sign for (Number 10 petitions, Kidnapped kids cause) I really don’t know how rantings can help. Most of the time, for me, it only shows how people can be rude when in the net, disregarding other people’s – sometimes your closest friends – opinions, and again, generating more anger and frustration – and here I prove my point. I ignore the rude rants from friends and will never hold it against them (I know they are not like that in person) is just that I am not prepared to do it. And where do I get the news from? Good News with Russell Howard, Mock the Week and Have I got news from you. All comedy shows about the news, which is great to get to know what is happening without getting depressed. Of course, my timeline also tells me about the disasters of the world, along with their personal views, sometimes I even few there is a race to tell everyone what tragic happened that day 8-| So don’t expect me ever to propagate bad news (murders, terrorist attacks, nature’s disasters, political scandals and the lot) unless I can do and tell you to do something about it.

*TV Series* :-bd As  lately I’ve been refusing to watch the news, I have to fill the TV time with something else. We are very much into Great British Menu, 24 (the final will be aired next weekend), House, Bones, Four Weddings, Come Dine with me and Red Dwarf (on DVD) have been brilliant taking me to Zombieland and forgetting all the doom and gloom outside :-D

*Meeting friends* :-?  Happy with the way I’ve taking the initiative to arrange meet ups with the friends lately. Sad with them not able to make it most of the time. But my motto now is to do my part, what to come, be more than welcome, don’t want/ cannot join us? See ya next time then, I’m going!  =) Maybe this is why I can’t remember last weekend I just stayed put and not done anything :> Not complaining though, never!

In the middle of the big snowfall in UK in the last 30 years, I write this post, hence the pictures…

DSC00435So we’ve finished a decade and started a new one, but yes, I do feel like it was only about 2 years ago I was working during the millennium New Year’s eve (making sure the bug didn’t bite anyone). So much happened in my life since then. Roller-coaster on it’s best form. If I had gone to a fortune teller 10 years ago and she told me everything that happened in my life on the last 10 years I would’ve never ever believed her and think she was having a laugh. Looking back, I see my life was anything but blunt. Despite of what I may have thought at the time…

SAM_0263But last year I was on the process of finishing a chapter in my life to start another.  Saying goodbye to some characters who will not be as present as they were. Getting to know or reconnect with other who have faded away. Meeting new ones, who would make my life exciting, and show me life do go on. So much more ups and downs are still to come in my life, all I need to know now is that. Life do go on, no matter what. There will always be one day when everything will be bright again. And even when that doesn’t happen, the hope for the light will be enough. Life goes on until the end, which is certain, and that’s the beauty of it. And after the chapter was finished, I’ve learnt there is no point – at least for me – to plan. Or to expect things will go your way. And who is to say your way is the best way?

SAM_0274So (from a few years ago and is an ongoing process , is not even a New Year’s resolution per se) my decision is to go with the flow. Is more about the way I do things, than what I want done. Is about how, more than what. Not take things so personally / be less paranoic / give less of me for people who don’t deserve so much / believe and accept people like me / stop thinking the world is against me / stand more for what I think I am doing right / be less resistant to change what I believe is wrong with me / look after myself – pretty inside and outside / Call my friends more / Keep the busy calendar going / do more of what I love in life * Photos * Books * Movies * Writing * Dancing * Singing * Laughing * Cooking * Webdesign * so-much-more-the-list-would-get-too-big-and-boring-to-continue…

This way, I’ve learnt since there are no resolutions in my life, there is no disappointment  when the next 31st Dec comes, about things like “This year went too fast and I didn’t get anything done”. And I will know that I’ve done my best.

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In case you need to translate to a language other than Portuguese, click this link, where I’ve put the text in English to be translated :-bd

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist > Gotta say I was a bit disappointed. I expected something more comedy-like, and faster too. Michael Cera and Katt Dennings didn’t have much of a chemistry and maybe it was something that put me a bit off of it. On the plus point, it was a sweet movie… The gay friends were not (for a change) stereotyped and were my favourite characters. “Caroline” and “Tris” were great and covincing but how can someone stay drunk that long (Caroline) after one stop in the night still surprises me. I think I was expecting more of Juno/Superbad line of movie but this wasn’t it. In the end, it was just a teen movie, which can be attracting to adults (it deals with issues we will have all our lives, young, old, adult or teenagers) like falling in love (for the wrong person), cheating, homosexuality, the dream of having a band, wanted to be loved by who you are, and many more topics like those, but be sure if you watch it, don’t have your expectations too high.

In the loop – If you know and already love the amazing BBC Series The Thick of It, then you will love in The Loop as well. But even if you don’t, it is worth a go. Just like the programme, it is set on the politic background in Britain, and just for the fun of a movie, this time they have to interact with the USA to decide whether or not and in case of a yes, how to start the war against Iraque. Peter Capaldi is amazing and once again had me thinking if he will end up having a heart attack on set while filming this stuff. The plot is so believable Mr J and I were left wondering if this is actually how things happened when the decision was taken in real life. I didn’t find it as satirical as it should be and looks more like a documentary movie to us (we do know full well that is not the case). So if you are into politics, this is more than recommended but if you would like to cringe at gaffes, misunderstandings and the PR world trying to fix it as well, don’t miss it! .

Once again I feel good because I was the difference about something I believed in.
Wasn’t such a hugelly important cause, but still… Ok, from the start:
Here in UK, the music hit parade is something very serious. Every week the official chart is released to let people know what is selling more. And one of the traditions for Christmas would be the people waiting to know who would win, it was very exciting times and even betting was taken on it.
Since the music reality shows started (such as PopStars, PopIdol and lately the X-Factor) the Christmas number ones are always the same one. Well not the same ones, but is always the artist who win the programme who goes to win the run for which music will sell more.
But not this year! This year, someone ordinary on Facebook started a campaign to change it. Tired of the old same old predictable fate of knowing who would win, a couple started a campaign with friends to buy the Rage against the machine song “Killing in the name of” to bring the musical war back, the excitement. Against just following the trend of sheep just going to shops to buy the single. And they asked friends to spread the word, and those friends to spread the word with other friends and so on…
And it worked. Today the official results came through confirming Rage against the machine won the battle.
Wasn’t only about buying the single (I only spent 29p buying it). Was about the money they raised for Shelter charity, a charity that looks after homeless people. And so far they raised almost £76000,00! (which I donated £2 for).
And once again, I felt good, for being part of it.
And wasn’t the first time I did it. A few months ago, I was part of a complaint campaign against a fashion company in Brazil because they were portraying violence against women like something that is normal and in vogue. I followed the requests from Denise when she posted it on her blog. And we were victorious when the campaign was taken off air.
It goes to show how people can get what they want done, all you have to do is start it.
Currently, I am also part of the campaign to return Sean home, and I hope to soon be posting good news about that as well.
It proves you can do what they tell you. Just make sure is the right, intelligent, informed thing to do ;)

A few new interesting things that came out from the Life in the UK book that I’ve been studying for my test :)
I have done 2 more chapters, about the people that live in here and the government.
** Wales holds only 5% of UK population, equivalent to 2.9 million people
**The census form (which is sent every 10 years since 1801) has to be filled out and sent back by law
**Mother’s day is the Sunday 3 weeks before Easter – which makes a mobile date every year. No wonder I can never remember it.
**There is no British Constitution written anywhere
**The WHIPS is a small group of MPs whose responsibility is to make sure the MPs attend sessions to vote. Wouldn’t be great to have these in Brazil?? And what about the name? Couldn’t be more perfect!
**Only 20% of the Council (local borough administration department) costs are paid by Council tax. The other 80% are paid from National fees!And here is little me thinking Council tax is expensive as it is!
**I was astonished to learn the UN has written and signed an agreement with its members on “Convention on Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women” and went to look at the member countries and saw lots of islamic countries in there. But I think I will leave this topic to another post, there is a bit I would like to say about this topic. Duly noted.

It was a lot to get through, but I have to confess I am having fun. I am this kind of geek, I like studying and often I get beyond of I should be learning, and including Mr. J on the debates about this and that too.
But it would be nice if it was as easy as the American citizenship test. Mauro poiting that out reminded me of the great Family Guy (mind you Peter still didn’t pass ;) )

Yeah, for now is all I can think about. So most likely my posts will be about it. Living and staying in U.K. And I want to stay so much, they won’t let me go. At all. Even temporarily, for Christmas, to see my family I haven’t seen in two years. No no no, gotta stay they say, isn’t it what I want, after all? But they can’t just take a decision about just letting me stay. Stamp the darn thing, print the darn card. Then I will take my test, become British and stay.Noo, it has to take almost two years for their decision to be taken.

To be honest I only realized I wanted to stay when my life took a turn last year. I had a choice to leave everything behind, go back to homeland, but for some reason, I didn’t. I was so close to get my residence rights, it would be silly to abandon things and go. I wanted to always have the option to come back open. What if I didn’t adapt to S.P. any more? I knew life would be different from when I left 7 years ago, from post-teenagers, all my friends went adults. Work would be different (if I could find one), violence, traffic, everyone tells me things got worse. The plan was to get my paperwork done and decide my fate. But I knew I didn’t want to go without the optionof being able to come back.

Then life took another turn. And now I am sure I want to stay.

Is interesting how I never took this decision for myself before. It was always because someone told me I should stay. But on the back of my mind, I always had that question “What am I doing here?” “Why ain’t I with mum and dad while they are still alive? I am wasting their good years away, my goddaughter years away” “My friends are away, I am alone here”. I always had a doubt in my heart, if I should really be here.

But during the last year, they were close than ever, my friends here proved to be more than acquaintances, they were the ones that kept me standing. My family was on the computer anytime I wanted and needed them. My friends from the world (some in Brazil, some in the States, even one in Serbia) were closer then ever, e-mails flew back and forwards. And I was proven the distance doesn’t take anything away if you don’t let  it do it.

So yes, I do want to stay. Permantely, for more than one reason, I feel at home in London. I always felt I wasn’t the typical Brazilian. I never loved the hot weather (actually I am literally allergic to it), I will eat any food (when I am away I crave for fish and chips!), I love a clear-blue-sky-winter-midday, I like the rain, I love football, I am NOT and never been a social being. I have a few (but great) friends, I love the architecture here, the 4 seasons, the landscape, the grumpness ( I am a grumpy master myself). I love almost everything about this land because there is always their immigration services to hate.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Brazil. I just don’t miss it. What I miss immensely is the people there. My family, my friends. And that’s all. And some food, sometimes. But nothing that can’t wait until I go there for visiting.

Last time I went to Brazil I was disappointed on how rude the people have become, I was hurt by some people on the supermarket queue looking at my mum as if she was crazy because she was initiating a chat with them without knowing them. My heart actually sunk. It made me realize the Brazil I knew is not there any more… And it made me once more remeber of my favorite movie of all times, a quote I’ve always took in my heart:

Alfredo: Living here day by day, you think it’s the center of the world. You believe nothing will ever change. Then you leave: a year, two years. When you come back, everything’s changed. The thread’s broken. What you came to find isn’t there. What was yours is gone. You have to go away for a long time… many years… before you can come back and find your people. The land where you were born. But now, no. It’s not possible. Right now you’re blinder than I am.
Salvatore: Who said that? Gary Cooper? James Stewart? Henry Fonda? Eh?
Alfredo: No, Toto. Nobody said it. This time it’s all me. Life isn’t like in the movies. Life… is much harder.”

And that kind of says anything doesn’t it?

Maybe they-who-have-the-power will make me go back. And I will. I will be happy by going back. Is where I grew up, where mum and dad raised me so happily. I won’t be sad because they would send me back, but I would be happier being able to stay, because that should be my decision and not anybody else’s. Not any more.

As it should be my decision when I decide enough is enough on what says I miss my family and want to go and see them. I hurt inside so desperately, because so many things could happen in 6 months, and it haunts me the bad things and that I wouldn’t be able to see them again. And that’s why I hurt, and cry, and start thinking if I should be here. But then Mum and Dad says I am living a better life here and they are happy for me to be here, living my life, away from everything bad that is happening over there. And it hurts and I cry again, because they are so great by being so selfless and telling me I should stay even if they are crazy to see me too, and I love them so much….

Today I’ve started to study for my “Life in the UK” journey into my citizenship to become British.
One of the requirements is that you prove you have a fair knowledge on what people living here for 5 years (I’ve been here for 7 actually) are supposed to know.
I don’t want to get on the vast debate which has been done and redone on how unrealistic the test is – Mr J who was born and lived here a big chunk of his life did not pass the mock test – but the fact is I’ve gotta do it and there is no way out of it, so tonight I took my dusty notebook out, my colour pens and went to study the first chapter of the book I’ll have to ge to know upside down, back to front and the normal way of course!
Won’t bore you with most of the things I have to learn, but here are the most interesting in my opinion: (mind you everything is interesting for me, I love to study!)

** Huguenots were protestants French people who left France (and were accepted by the U.K.) between the 16th and 18th centuries
** Pogroms were racist attacks against Jews from Poland, Ukraine and Belarus between 1880-1910 – to who U.K. also gave shelter
** Yes, there is only one football squad for Olympic games, but for International Matches (like the World Cup) there are four (one for each country): England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
** Until 1882, the property of a woman, along with her money and earnings were automatically owned by her husband the moment she got married.
** Nowadays, 51% of the population is composed by women, and 45% of the workforce (yeay for us!)
** Girls leave school with better qualification (in average) than boys and are also in bigger number in the University (yeay for us again!)
** Currently only 65% of the children live with both birth parents. A whopping 25% lives with lone-parenting families and 10% with step-families.
** Alcohol and Smoking are on the rise amongst young people, and half of them admit having used drugs at least once (which I thought was high as well)

That’s it for tonight, it was only one chapter… I am struggling with dates and some % but I haven’t even booked the test yet or don’t even know if I will be allowed to apply for it yet, but I am having fun getting this knowledge nonetheless :) And when the time comes I will be already prepared.

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