tiistai 24. tammikuuta 2017

My not so Portuguese neighbourhood

I live in the very heart of Lisbon, however my neighborhood is the least Portuguese place in town. Welcome to small India! Don't take me wrong, I really enjoy living here.

Not so many years ago, this centrally located neighborhood was one of the worst neighborhoods to live in. Even today, when I tell people where I live they look at me like Dory in Finding Nemo.

Moving to Martim Moniz almost a year ago made me like Lisbon. We used to live in Bairro Alto. Bairro Alto is THE place to party on the weekends with loads of tourist restaurants and small shops. Once I was told that there are 168 restaurants in Bairro Alto. Dude! The place is not that big.However, when we were living in Bairro Alto we realized that absolutely no Portuguese live in this neighborhood. Why? Because the houses are built 200 years ago, they are in bad condition, cold, not isolated, full of mold and the story goes on... Tourists and students usually occupy these houses.
Imagine going to bed on a Friday night before 2am? Sadly, you will not be able to sleep a wink.

Another sad reality of Bairro Alto was that me as a blonde was harrassed constantly. I was twice persecuted and touched inappropriately during daytime, plus the additional yelling things like I am an object. It really was nasty.  One day when I stepped out on the street in the morning I was offered "Hashish", "Cocaine" and other things I did not know of. I have never been the "try everything" kind of person, and therefore my bewildered expression and question, What is that? Resulted in confusion maximum... for both parties of the conversation.

Back to ...

... Martim Moniz, peace and quiet, Chinese restaurants (illegal and legal), Chinese pottery shops, Chinese food markets, Indian kiosks, Indian markets, Indian kebab, Indian restauarants. I am a foreigner too ...although my ethnicity is more of the Northern kind. I walk down the street in peace, with my head held up.

We also have the best rooftop bar, Topo, which plays funky music and have good drinks. Topo, overlooks a plaza where events of all sorts occur. A couple of weeks ago there was an Indian all women's event. It was beautiful to follow. During the summer, the plaza was full of small bars where people could have their drink in a chilled out atmosphere. Every Thursday we have a Kizomba party. The place is packed.

Best seafood place in Lisbon is Ramiro. If you like seafood, this is a MUST.

And I would also like to give attention to the homeless (yes they exist here too) who live outside of our house. Who kindly greet in the morning, may they be high on something or plainly drunk...


Martim Moniz

lauantai 14. tammikuuta 2017

Different personalities in different cultures

It is actually true. I was not sure whether to define it as, language-personality or culture-personality change. Language is part of culture and therefore I thought it was proper to define it as culture personality.

I noticed this personality change when I was living in Spain. First I thought it was the Alicante people and sun which had the impression on me, but moving to Lisbon and integrating myself to the culture proved my speculations right. I have several personalities (I am not schizophrenic), my personality changes with the culture.

The best part of all. I am Finnish-Swedish but do not feel comfortable with my Finnish-Swedish personality. I have always avoided being Finnish-Swedish. I always tell everybody what I am (now I sound like an animal..), but having to be among others alike and being in my respective personality feels awkward, like clothes that do not fit. However, being Finnish has always been the thing. I feel super comfortable in my personality. My way of being, speaking and acting suits my inner personality like a glove. I have other friends and also my sister, who are very much alike in this matter. Proud of their mother tongue and heritage, but not fitting into their Finnish-Swedish clothes.

American me 19 years old xD
My English personality was established way back when I was a teen. I had an Amercian boyfriend who thought me to speak English - in his way and manners. I learned how to be American, I imitated the way of talking, behavior and the girls in general. All did not suit me, but I created a personality. And there I was, my third personality established and I really liked it. Of course growing older and more mature made my personality less black and white, and Lil Wayne is not the God anymore.

Enjoying a morning hike at the beach in Spain

Moving to Spain thought the Spanish me to love life and myself. Having a wine here and there did not make a difference to my overly healthy lifestyle. Speaking in an easy sloppy manner, joder and all those other colorful expressions in Spanish I do not want to reveal here. The nicest thing is to escape to Spain to fulfill the role and personalty I have there. The more laid back me. It is like having a vacation from your other self as well, not only the 'normal life'.

Finally, who am I in Portuguese? In the beginning it seemed like I was going to be the Grumpy Cat of all times. I had a sarcastic comeback to everything and
nothing seemed to suit. It might have been also the pain of growing into a new personality. The last months have showed me that I might have almost grown into my new personality. Having moments to laugh from the bottom of your stomach, a real joy and having the possibility to understand and joke around with people in Portuguese. I think I am on the brink of establishing the Portuguese me and it seems to suit me just fine.

Desejo-lhe um bom fim de semana! :)


sunnuntai 8. tammikuuta 2017

Visit to the emergency - Portuguese style

We were supposed to have a nice sunny Saturday, slow brekkie, thesis (uff), lunch and then off to the park to read our books (in Portuguese!!). However, Nik slit his finger with a knife. Fiskars knives are efficient - we know now.

So off we went to the nearest hospital. Literally 200 meters from our house. It is not actually a hospital, referring to a building, but a massive complex. We figured that when we entered. It must have looked kind of funny, us running back and forth. Nik with his finger in the air. (It was plastered alright but bleeding heavily). After 10 minutes of searching we found the emergency.

The receptionist asked where were from. Then they started listing up countries they have agreements with; Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Russia... apparently everything around Finland but not us. 168euro -said the lady. WHAAAAT!? We would have had this fixed for 70e in the private hospital. Not cool. Then we figured to show the European emergency card. That was cool, since the price of treatment suddenly dropped to 18e and an agreement with Finland was established.

We were rapidly redirected to the small surgeries area. There we had to wait almost two hours for treatment. Finger tingling and still bleeding. But this is Portugal. Wonder if it would have been faster if the finger would have been completely off?...

It was an interesting place, the Portuguese emergency. Casually sitting beside me was a lady who was keeping it calm and bleeding directly to the floor. Every 15 min a cleaning lady came and cleaned the mess up.. On my other side was a very friendly drug addict who seemed to have lost half of his nose and front teeth. He did not remember when this happened, but it might had been this week, he said. A nurse also casually asked him if he had taken drugs. Obviously he had. 67 mg of heroin, he declared. And still standing, asked the nurse. Well, you know me, he said. Another nurse pointed out to us that if I were to speak Finnish to him now he would understand it better than what the drug addict was trying to say. Lovely. We got in and out from the hospital in 4 hours. Fast in my opinion after hearing the horror stories of friends being wrongly treated and in the emergency room with an actual emergency for 6-12 hours.

We survived with three stitches and an adventure.
It's time to celebrate with sushi.

Bom fim de semana


perjantai 6. tammikuuta 2017

Portuguese manners for a beginner

Surprisingly, the Portuguese are like the Finns. Closed people who do not want to make too much noise. Note: Does not apply when drunk. On neither one.

Working in Portugal has been the closest thing to culture exposure. I also studied (still do) at the University of Lisbon. However, the kids and the culture are very international. No weird manners noted. However, at work I came across some funny manners (for a Finn).

The most recent learning experience is that you say Happy New Year to everybody, clients, colleagues, the cleaning ladies, the guard... Anybody you see during January who you have not seen yet. It goes like this: *muaks* *muaks* (cheek kisses), BOM ANO!!! Lovely, in Spanish it means *muaks* *muaks* GREAT ASS!!! Because I seem to have a dirty mind, I cannot see this one escaping my attention. It is correct, but I am kind of bilingual Portunhol (Spanish-Portuguese).

Regarding the cheek kisses, they are given to everybody you meet, may it be the first time or the hundredth. If you act Finnish (or basically any other not Southern country), you give the hand. This is kind of bad mannered because why wouldn't you want to kiss this person? Does he smell? You will be greeted with a sloppy-surprised hand. Cheek kisses. Always. Btw, don't kiss the actual cheek, kiss the air and make the *muaks* noise. If you kiss the cheek it is weird again. (This was for over eager kissers.) Funny story, when I was in Finland over the holidays I gave cheek kisses to everybody. OMG. Private Territory. Hand. Always. My bad.

However the most interesting thing is sharing. That is certainly not something we Finns like to do. Especially with alcohol. Anyways, you are obligated to ask if anyone wishes to have some of your food when you have food. (Does not necessarily apply during lunch hour, but should be offered anyways). Está servido? Are you served? Even if you had ONE nut in your hand, you shall ask!! Super badly mannered me who ate an almond and did not offer a taste to the five other people the same room. Once I ate yoghurt and then remembered, ohh I need to ask: Está servido? To my surprise the person tasted from my spoon. :D:D Never underestimate the situation.

I put a picture of food to reinforce the text. Its a Spanish omelette with a twist. 
Otherwise, the Portuguese are so alike us Finns. It would be weird to have a culture collision here. People are pretty straight forward and sincere. Could this be a small country thing?

Até próxima,