shanghai weather

feels like 40° and it’s only june.

ding-dong, ding-dong. said the intercom for the first time since we moved in.

– hello?

– wai?

– hello?, i repeated.

– do you… speak… mandarin?

– ah, no.

– ah, are you from… ah… pu tao ya*?

– hum?! erm, yes!

– i am police man. i want to see you.

i press the button to open the door downstairs and i raise an eyebrow while i put down the intercom. a police man? and he wants to see me? at 9.30pm? did i break any serious chinese law without being aware of?

18 floors after, he appears. very skinny and young, in a blue uniform, carrying a shy smile on his face and some papers on his hands. takes off his shoes at the doorstep despite our invitation to come in with them. his eyes always set on the papers.

– are you this?, he asks me pointing my name on the papers regarding the mandatory police registration i filled some days before.

– yes? is there any problem?

– no! no! no problem! i’m in charge of you, he explained.

– oh?

– can i see your passport? oh, and this number no work, pointing to my phone number on his papers.

we offered him a seat and a few quick questions later he jumps back into his shoes and leaves, even shyer than he arrived.

we closed the door and waited a few seconds for someone to come out and say ‘smile, you are in candid camera‘. or anything. but no.

so, now we have someone in charge of us.

* pu tao ya, is chinese for ‘portugal’

“Dá um mergulho no mar
Dá um mergulho sem olhar para trás
Dá um salto no ar
Só para veres do que és capaz

Arrisca mais uma vez
Nem que seja só por arriscar
Nunca se tem muito a perder
Dá um mergulho no mar

Há tantas coisas por fazer
E tantas por inventar
Dá um mergulho no mar

E tu vais ver
Tu vais jogar
Tu vais perder
Tu vais tentar
Mais uma vez
E tu vais ver
E tu vais rir
Tu vais ganhar

Tens pouco tempo para ser só teu
Não esperes nem deixes passar
Essa vontade que quer
Dar um mergulho no mar”

dá um mergulho no mar, xutos & pontapés

for those who don’t keep an eye on my synapse bar on the right side, i’ve been working on this last months on relocating to shanghai. after my abroad experiences in the netherlands and in the united states, the obvious step is… asia: my mom and i don’t exactly agree on this detail though.

holding hands with my special one, we’ll be flying this weekend to the largest chinese city. besides the new jobs, a cryptic language, new foods, new habits, a whole new culture waits for us. that and a city that has almost twice as much population as our home country.

perhaps because the cultural chock will be bigger than ever, this time there wont be an upper bound on the period i’ll be there. more importantly maybe, there is a lower one: 1-2 years. this should not only put things in the right perspective, but also be enough to properly evaluate this step and not make decisions on first impressions.

i’m going there to explore and to learn, to grow.

it’s so easy to classify something as strange. or odd. nothing is wrong with the act itself, but i’ve learned through time, that strange is most of the times, simply different. and that’s not the same. specially, when you are in a different country.

please don’t mistake me: i’m not about to explain the way the world works or anything. actually, the concept is very simple, i believe. but if it’s not obvious for you, bare with me a bit more.

from the couple of long term abroad experiences i had, it has become more clear to me that when one arrives to a different country he immediately goes through the this-is-strange phase. everything out of ordinary is strange. an uncommon habit, strange. an exotic food, strange. a weird bloke, strange. even the laws can be strange. it takes a while for one to realize that strange is frequently a strong and inadequate word. some never don’t.

go to a country with a closed mind, and everything will look strange, awkward if not offending. but if one does some effort to learn the why’s and how’s, the this-is-strange phase will slowly shift over the time to a this-is-different phase. and that’s when you can take the best out of that experience.

don’t mistake what i’m trying to explain with simply getting used to what is initially weird. it’s more than that actually. i believe that most of the times, it’s the tiny little bits of how a society works that explains it. all the unwritten rules, all the nuances that make a country more or less different than all the others, all the things that  the unwary tourist doesn’t know about. it takes time to fully understand a different society or culture and it’s something one can hardly learn only from books. you really have to see it from close and sometimes, live it yourself.

to sum up, there will always be goods, bads and different points of view in each society and it’s up to us to take the best out of that. i believe that by understanding those differences, one has the best opportunity to question himself about some false dogmas and prejudices in himself or around the world and to learn from that. i truly believe that this makes us better persons.

muito se tem dito em relação a este referendo. dito, discutido, gritado, mentido, ignorado, insultado, enfim: polémico quanto baste. nesta altura já todos vimos os vários pontos de vista possíveis – e até alguns impossíveis; alguns numa tentativa de esclarecer, outros tantos apenas baralhar. isto, de ambas as partes.

para mim, este voto é bastante óbvio: sim. sim, porque a mulher tem direito a uma decisão de consciência. sim, porque a mulher não é uma criminosa e deve ter condições quando precisar interromper a sua gravidez. e sim, porque abortos todos sabemos que haverão sempre, mas só uma das respostas pode prevenir mais mortes: e essa, é o sim.

some people use their 15 minutes of fame to change the world in a positive way. the kind that has the nerves to stand up and shout to those who are blind, making the world step forward in a better direction. even if that can be dangerous to their own life. wafa sultan is one of those persons which i can only admire.

others, just use their share of fame to spread their own mind numbness to others.

and you? how will you use your 15 minutes of fame when you’ve the chance?

snapshot of what i’m studying this days:

Step 5. Routers exchange DBDs listing the LSAs in their LSD by RID and sequence number.
Step 6. Each router compares the DBD received to the contents of its LSDB. It then sends a LSR for missing or oudated LSAs. Each router responds to its neighbor’s LSR with a LSU. Each LSU receives an ACK.

sigh. could be worse… right?

someone stop him

“I feel like if they could be easily explained in the space of an interview, then there’s no reason for them to be songs, you know? There’s a reason they’re confined by that particular creative space, it’s like they have to be songs, you can’t explain them that way.”

joanna newsom

here is how i try to describe her: get a mix of björk and kate bush voices, the sweetness of a lisa ekdahl and add an harp to the plot. yes, an harp – forget the orchestral and medieval sides of it: joanna newsom puts much more value into it creating a whole new music style with the blend of an harp and her voice.

at first, her voice makes you giggle, and it’s likely to raise an eyebrow. and then, you are simply addicted. at least that’s how it was with me back in 2004, when she released her first album milk-eye mender;and last week i was lucky to see her live, singing & playing songs from the upcoming new album ys, to be released this nov. 14th – it overcome all my expectations.

if you like alternative styles of music, please consider trying some tracks by her.