It's been a long, long, long time.
I finally returned to my hometown, a month ago to be exact. It feels strange to start all over again - this time not as the same time when I arrived at Portugal, but it feels the same, with the difference that now i live in a bigger house with a tv and a PS3 and my friends closer to me.
It is good to be here knowing that i am now a "person of two places"; once you live for some time in a different place of yours, you return to your origins feelling different, 'cause you lived a different culture. However, the fact that makes me feel the most happy is that I left some very good friends there - friends that i'll never, ever, forget.
So, last year was a tremendous gift to me: i finally finished my masters, something which sometimes i thought i would never do; i got to know a lot of places that i never imagined to experience, such as Liverpool - i'll never forget this city...so beautiful and wonderful and joyful...it was a dream.There was also London (perfect), Barcelona (pretty wonderful) and Paris (not so nice IMO, but there were some things nice to see).
Besides that, i went to a Cranberries concert in Lisbon, one of the best nights of my life...
Well, this year i dont have any plans. Actually, i kinda feel lost about it. I am just seeking a way to have my own place e be with my friends, that's good enough to me.
Friday, 1 October 2010
"Come, my unseen, my unknwon, let us talk together" - KM´s Journal
Anne E. Rice: Portrait of Katherine Mansfield
During the course of her life Katherine Mansfield considered her not one, but many selves, in many different ways. According to Clarin Tomalin (one of her biographers), - Mansfield transformed into multiple alternative versions to suit different moods, different friends, diferent facets of her personality: Kass, Katie, KM, Mansfield, Katherine, Julian Mark, Katherine Schönfeld, Matilda Berry, Katharina, Katiushka, Kissienka, Elizabeth Stanley, and Tig. These are a whole bunch of names! Katiushka and Kissienka, I believe, were due to the fact that she really loved Chekhov - who was a also a great influence on the way she developed her short stories.
Her stories, although so sad sometimes, are fascinating. I was struck by them at the time I was in college and the first one i could read was Miss Brill. This story is a perfect description of the human loneliness of an old lady. Most of them deal with these simple situations of one´s life: she wrote basically about how difficult was for a woman to live in a world of men. Some of her themes were so unusual for the time she was a writer, like the story «At the Bay» in which she reveals the fact that the main character, Linda Burnell, has this deepest grudge against life because she had to be a mother instead of an adventurer «in the rivers of China». There is this special scene in which she looks at her baby boy and admits she doesnt like him - it is really a beautiful scene for such a sad revelation.
She had to be a very strong woman at the time she decided to leave her family in New Zealand - where she was born - in order to try to be a writer in London and gather all the experiences she could get in her life. And she did have a bunch of these experiences: she lived the First World War years and travelled around Europe very often, just by herself. Unfortunately, they did not end very well - she died from a tuberculosis. However, she strongly wrote until the very last days of her life.
This part of Hampstead recalls Katherine to me - that faint ghost, with the steady eyes, the mocking lips, &, at the end, the wreath set on her hair - Virgina Woolf in 1925
Mansfield was also known to be the friend (and at the same time the rival) of another famous writer: Virgina Woolf. At the time Mansfield died, Woolf published a letter feeling quite devastated about the matter. Woolf also used to say that both of them shared something special: «What a queer fate it is - always to be the spectator of the public, never part of it. This is part of the reason why I go weekly see K.M in Hampstead, for there at any rate we make a public of two» (Virgina Woolf´s diary - 1918).
I had the luckiest fate by choosing to make my master in Women´s Studies here, because one of my teachers, who is helping me in my paper, also has a masters in KM´s fiction. It has been very good to study about this crazy life she had and to go deep down in her short stories, cause some of them have changed in me the way i see some things in life.
One of many letters Woolf wrote to Mansfield
Thursday, 30 September 2010
This week at the university seems to be going crazy, because it is the time people should be finally “delivering” their papers for the masters or pdh´s. It is a strange feeling to watch the air of anxiety and, at the same time, the air of relief. I must say, as I couldn’t delivery my own paper yet, that I just felt quite jealous of observing those beautifully printed papers. I´m just getting there, I know I am.
Only today I found out why we need so many copies of it: 5 copies in paper - to be more specifically - and 2 more in cds. Well, some of them will stay at the university and some of them will be going to the National Library in Lisbon. I felt like “wow, really”? It seems to be a quite important matter.
It means, as the way a Portuguese guy put it, that “we are now gonna live forever” in these publications. It is almost like writing a book - I guess you just suffer the same way - or the verb “deliver” wouldn’t work as a metaphor for both terms – writing (a paper, a thesis) or a book.
Now, speaking about books…I actually don’t know if it is because I have been spending so much of my time inside libraries, but I grew such a passion of being around books. By saying that, I just don’t get how people can actually be able to ready an “e-book” on computer. Well, I cant. It is so strange to me not feeling the smell of old or new pages, not being curious to get to the next page. Maybe I am just way behind the evolution of technology, though i must say I love computers to play games and watch music videos on youtube. But, sometimes, i´d rather be in company of a book.
Being around books, physically or spiritually (when I think through and through about some stories), brings another fact: everytime I go to the malls I enjoy spending my time at bookstores, especially if there´s also a stationary store inside it. Oh, how I love all the colorful and neatly organized shelves of notebooks, pens, pencils, markers and moleskines...they make me calmer! :)
I have a very nice history with books, because I developed the love of reading since I was a child. Later, as I was growing older, books were my company at school (at a time of my life in which I was very shy and lonely). I remember that at 16 I started reading Fernando Sabino, still one of my favorites Brazilian writers. One of my great memories of this time was that I used to spend my Saturday afternoons inside of my hammock reading my fave Sabino´s book: O menino no espelho. He was from Minas Gerais and I remember now that I would have loved to be born there just to be like him. He is still such a wonderful storyteller to me:
The master Sabino...
Since I met my husband – at the time he was only my boyfriend at college – he influenced me to read another kind of book: the comic books. Before that I already loved Peanut´s strips, but I just read them at internet. He showed me the marvelous universe of Spider-Man stories, especially the universe of 60´s decade when spidey just started being a superhero and was written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko. Although my knowledge about comics is not big we still spend some time talking about the stories he reads from Marvel and DC.
In my teen years I already had decided that I would like to be an English teacher someday, although i could never imagine that i would end up dedicating my life to literature. It is still a very pleasant surprise to me, although it is all the same a very tough life. But i like it and i feel that i´m still gonna like even more, for the rest of my simple life.
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
I´ll repeatly say that during November!
It´s been a long time away from here. I wish i could have more time to do stuff i like right now, but lately my life has been focused only on working my thesis. Thankfully, it seems to be that i will finish everything at the end of October.
Until there i am planning a little time off already, because that´s all i need right now. First, i´ve got to say how happy i am to finally go to Liverpool and breathe The Beatles universe for 3 days. It´s gonna be magical, im sure.
Later, as soon as i finish my masters i´ll take a IELTS, which is a certificate of proficiency in English language. And then, after that, oh...i will just rest infinetly :).
I know i´ll need a week to sleep as much as i can, specially because it´s gonna be colder - so it´s perfect time to rest.
But more importantly, i´ll have to take care of my back, which is being in constant pain since February. Now i realize how Dr. House is so cranky about eveything...pain makes me feel restless and down most of my time.
I´ll go back to my crochet activities, which i love deeply; i´ll spend more time with my husband, which is in the same situation right now (doing his thesis) and i´ll start to pack my baggages to go back to my city.
Not too much to say, but i keep biggest hope inside my heart.
Not too much to say, but i keep biggest hope inside my heart.
Monday, 19 July 2010
At first, it really seems strange to say goodbye to something that i know it will happen only within 6 months. But it is due to the fact that yesterday we bought, at last, our one way ticket to home and that made me feel a litlle bit «out of place» inside my deepest self.
I have talked a little bit about my first experience here before, but it is funny to say that - different from everybody that i know -, i could never imagine how much i could myself grow some roots in a place that is by far quite different from my actual home.
In this case, it brings to my mind another question: what is really home to someone? I used to think that «home» would always - would ever be - the place i was born. However, it took me around 6 months to change my view about this misconception. Finally, during the summer of 2009, i accepted Porto as my home by heart.
And then...time has passed so fast.
Only a few days ago i realized - during some walks around the town - how much i´m gonna miss all this city has always offered to me - its history, its cafés, its silence, its cold and greyish sky during winter, its deep bright blue sky during the summer, its parks (especially this one - my favourite place on earth), its food, and the most important fact - many great friends that we made (me and my husband) during these almost two years of our lives...