Category Archives: Personal

A single Portuguese year

April 19th. The day I squeezed my luggage in the trunk of the infamous Olde Vechte “blue swan” Daihatsu and made my way to the Ommen train station, off to the airport. It was a sunny day; there was a bunch of people there that waved goodbye at me, just like I did to countless other people before.

Mixed feelings. Is this the right thing to do? What the hell am I going to do for a living in Portugal? Am I gonna be able to be a fully functional adult that pays bills and taxes and everything? I love Olde Vechte, why am I leaving it?

For a while, this feeling of being lost lingered.  Being in a new country, full of new faces, places, things to take care of, completely disoriented me. For a while, I was floating, torn between desperately clinging on memories of Netherlands, sustaining relationships with family and friends spread all over Europe and getting used to the way of life in Portugal.

And as I was mindlessly bingeing on some kind of anime (Monogatari series most probably), it hit me.

That instantaneous limbo, that realization that I’m between setting up my life in a new place and unconsciously letting go of the place I called home. Needless to say the sensation was pretty devastating for a moment; bleak, obscure, sore.

It’s over.

It’s not just the place. Or the people. Or the nature. The buildings, the large open windows. The bikes. The daily intercultural confetti. It’s all of this, carefully blended together in a soup of nostalgia.

I wrote a sentimental post before leaving Athens in August 2015. And a certain Panagiotis said, you’re gonna do the same post when you leave Ommen. I might have. Doesn’t matter. I’m anyway writing about it now.

I Wrote This For You has an amazing post about these kind of heart-wrenching goodbye situations:

{ I hope that in the future they invent a small golden light that follows you everywhere and when something is about to end, it shines brightly so you know it’s about to end.

And if you’re never going to see someone again, it’ll shine brightly and both of you can be polite and say, “It was nice to have you in my life while I did, good luck with everything that happens after now.”

And maybe if you’re never going to eat at the same restaurant again, it’ll shine and you can order everything off the menu you’ve never tried. Maybe, if someone’s about to buy your car, the light will shine and you can take it for one last spin. Maybe, if you’re with a group of friends who’ll never be together again, all your lights will shine at the same time and you’ll know, and then you can hold each other and whisper, “This was so good. Oh my God, this was so good.” }

I couldn’t possibly contain my feelings and memories about Netherlands in a few lines, so I’ll leave it for another post. We’re here to talk about Portugal.

Portugal has been kind to me. Despite my lack of “normal job” skills, I managed to find work in a relatively short while, both times I looked for it. It was actually possible due to the large volume of outsourcing companies (namely call centers) that are currently thriving in the country. There’s an insane number of projects around Lisbon area that feature use of all kinds of languages, surprisingly even Greek. I am currently working for the Greek market, for example. Lisbon, and Portugal in general, has been trendy to move into for quite some time. There is a large number of foreigners coming to live here because it’s so famous; freelancers, climate refugees, retirees from the US and the UK.

I was shocked when I realized what this has done to the real estate market. The rents and house prices have skyrocketed – basic salary is 500 euros and there is people advertising single rooms for up to 600 euros. To be honest, I saw lower prices in Netherlands. Where the basic salary is 3 times what it is in Portugal. While stunning Lisbon is just overflowing with energy and tourists, people with “normal” jobs have to move further and further away towards the suburbs.

I am blessed, as I said; I live far far away from Lisbon ( ok, not that far, but sometimes commuting makes it seem so), in Cascais. Our house is literally 500 meters from the ocean. Summers are cooler because there’s always this wonderful salty breeze. I’ve spent hours since I arrived to Portugal just staring at the ocean. It’s a very different feeling from looking at the Greek seas – I always feel that the ocean can wash away each and every feeling inside me until the only thing left is to breathe.

Inevitably, the one thing that mainly happened while I was here for the past year is learning. I struggled with life and stuff, just like everyone else here. I had the unending support from Paco, without whom I feel this whole thing would be a tad impossible. Since April 19th 2017, we installed curtains, new gas tubes, contraptions to make our tiny kitchen work, we cleaned the house mold 100 times,  we walked far and wide, we melted into the couch playing games and watching tv shows, wrapped ourselves in 5 thick blankets in the dead cold heating-less winter, drank cider with chili in a secret garden, hosted friends from all over on our sofa bed (with whom we always had brunch with pancakes, it’s now a tradition), ate at least 100 pastéis de nata, did approximately 276.3 trips to Lidl that’s 2 minutes away, breathed in the dusk at Torre, had about 50 dinners with friends and in between all that, managed to stay sane and keep growing (25 is a really good age to be in).

I never let go of my goal. I am a personal cook and I will open my own catering company as soon as possible. I have so much to learn, which makes it exciting, and Portugal is an incredibly suitable place to get the best ingredients. Portugal’s food culture, although initially disappointing (way too much meat-focused, if you ask for vegetables in a restaurant they bring you whole boiled potatoes usually) is rapidly expanding due to the gentrification process mentioned above – there is not a single thing that I haven’t found, restaurant or market wise in this country. There is even a food truck, o Pirata Grego, that resides in Lisbon and serves Greek souvlaki, frappe and Greek artesanal beer. (Paulo is really nice, a stop there is worth it) There’s a couple of Greek restaurants as well, that I will visit shortly to make up for all the baklavas and pitas I’ve missed.

(I want to note here the uncanny resemblances between Greece and Portugal; Especially Finanças: it is EXACTLY the same as its greek fiscal counterpart. Same 50+ rude and unhelpful employees, same bureacracy, same procedures. As expected.)

All in all… I love Cascais. It’s home now, just like Athens and Ommen. Our hood is awesome and full of insane murals and graffitis on the old, moldy buildings. Full of kids competing with a ball or roller blades, and people making barbeques in the street. It’s colourful… Just like I like it. And Portugal gives me great energy, even though I don’t want to stay here forever. If you’ve read so far, you might have noticed from my writing that I have mixed feelings about living in Portugal. Oh well. I’m not sure if it’s a transitioning phase from one place to the other or from childhood to adulthood, but heck yeah it’s a hell of journey. What’s important is that I know where I’m going, I am sustaining myself and establishing my life path with slow but steady steps. Way to go Daphne, you’re adulting! Woop!!

So that’s a lot of memories, all of them hoping not to be forgotten, thus here are some stills from a year well spent in Portugal.

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Lisbon pastel dream

Lisboa

More pastels from Lisbon

Lisboa view

Café da Garagem | Lisboa

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Cascais

Guincho Beach 5

Guincho

Cascais Marina love

Cascais

The Cascais Ocean 1

Cascais

The Cascais Ocean 3

Cascais

Home

Torre

Our Hood

Torre

Lumina

Cascais Lumina festival

Lumina Festival Cascais

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Mango lime baked cheesecake

Food 8

CARROT CAKE!

Food 7

Hello Mrs. Fancy breakfast

Food 5

And another cheesecake because I can never make enough

Food 4

Learning how to make awesome crunchy bread

Food 2

Guess what. Cheesecake

Food 1

Chocolate banana bread @_@

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FALAFEL! Best thing ever

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Picture: Paco | Model: Despi

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Sintraaaa

Hellooo

Olá! From the very first days I was here (oooold TV in the background and my long hair flowing everywhere)

 

 

 

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2016 through sound

This year brought me everything that every other year brings.
Pain-first emotion that came to mind; too many farewells these days, too many walls being raised simultaneously. Love-finding it, as always, in the strangest of moments.
States of bliss, of sorrow, beauty, desire.


Epic screenings, followed by epic music.

Gaming as a form of meditation.

Visualising love through cooking.

And as I am spending the last day with loved ones, I would like to close it with this piece of art. I started this year with watching Episode VII of Star Wars and I end it with Rogue One. Rebellions are built on hope, no matter how grim things may look.

ljós-φως-foss

The closer you get to light, the greater your shadow becomes.
– Kingdom Hearts

In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.
Francis Bacon

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
-Edith Wharton

What is a soul? It’s like electricity – we don’t really know what it is, but it’s a force that can light a room.
Ray Charles

There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.
― Leonard Cohen

We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining – they just shine.

-Dwight L. Moody

It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but that you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it.
― Arthur Conan Doyle

Γιαγιά

 

 

Introversion

“As an introvert, interacting with other people feels like exercise. I feel better about myself every time I do it; it makes me stronger and healthier. It also exhausts me, and if I do it too much I feel sore and cramped. But if I go too long without it, I feel sluggish and stifled. Ultimately, it is the space between that energizes and sustains me. And some days, I just don’t feel like working out and would rather sit on my ass and read a book by myself.”

-Daniel Miles

Original post by Cubilone

You feel like home

I have been looking for a good way to start this post but none will ever be good enough I guess. So…

edit: It turned into something other than expected! hah.

We are very privileged people. If you have a computer and/or a smartphone and are reading this right now, take a moment and be thankful for it maybe. I consider myself quite a privileged human, because I have had and will have a huge amount of chances to go out of my comfort zone, to travel and meet people. Lately I’ve been grabbing these chances almost before they appear… I have some youth exchanges down my personal history book (hungry for more!), I started mentoring EVS volunteers, and generally the past year I have been to so many places, met so many people and made so many friends that home doesn’t feel like home anymore.

And what does feel like home then? The people. The people feel like home. Home is wherever I’m with you… And if we’re talking about the people who are or would love to be free-spirited ever-moving-place-dwellers (what?) like me, it’s a win-win situation.

I found out during this short quest of self-discovery that not only do I feel at peace when I am anywhere but home, but also that I am much more solitary than I thought. Which only means it’s a matter of time before I leave this shit of a city-I unconsciously started cutting my ties to everyone and everything years ago. Of course, as with everything, there are exceptions… There’s a tiny handful of people for whom I would move continents for, no matter what. Cubi being their king.

So, travelling… I basically started writing to account my Cyprus adventures (or lack thereof) ^^;
Who would believe it one year ago that I would have jumped on a plane to visit a lovely Catalan I met in the Netherlands and that I would stay in 5 different places, one for each night, one of them being the house of the boyfriend of  one of the volunteers I’m mentoring? (Scheisse, that was complicated even to write)

I want to make it my life purpose to get people out of their comfort zone because I’m struggling with it too. A lot of friends of mine said they admired my courage and effort to visit “these people” who are so far away yet so close to my heart and it made me wonder how much (or little) people value human relationships and fresh experiences at the present time. I mean, come on! They’re only a plane or a bus away, and thinking of the endless possibilities of food tasting and people gathering boggles my mind.


If I hadn’t taken the step to go out into the unknown territory of a distant friend reunion, I would never have known the pure perfection of this vacation. I would never have known the serenity of lying silently on fresh grass in extreme heat, the blessed feeling of going to sleep and waking up with the sky staring at you, the cold stone ice cream, the empowering feeling of overcoming my fear of biking through a city. I would never have been introduced properly to GeoCaching, I would never have met a guy who liked my drawings so much that he wants me to visualize his idea for a graphic novel, I would never have realised how careless of a cook I am or never found Bulgarian beer in that god-forsaken island.

6 days so lazy but so full, full of laughter and weird deep conversations and food, lazy with jabbahutting [just lying somewhere, preferably on sand, doing nothing but talking nonsense] and butt-burning at the beach and frappe and Kamenitza and failure cookie-tasting.

Cyprus felt like home for some reason, the scenery was totally Greek to me and a lot of other places reminded me of Thessaloniki or Patra or Halandri and I guess it’s true-only lost people come on this island trying to find something, and surprisingly I found it, even though I didn’t know I was looking for it.

This world has a weird sense of humour, sometimes twisted, and instead of trying to understand it, I am trying to go with its flow. It’s not easy, nobody said it would be. Get out there, surprises imminent.

I’d like to thank all the people who made this trip truly unique in their own (helpful or not) way! ^ω^

Scan

inner conversation: -This is so silly, I shouldn’t even have scanned it. -Nonsense! It’s cute, it’s nice thing to complement your post. -But the people are all wron- -Shut up and drink some frappe OK

(I am sure I forgot people and wrote names wrong. And the scan is not so good. OH WELL)

 

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[Later] -It’s a lighthouse. – No, it’s not.

Planets made entirely of water and golden and blue lights entering liquified dreams.

Let your younger self inspire you

While browsing through posts of my god-forsaken Google+ profile, murmuring jesus how old is this post and what WAS I thinking back then *delete* *delete*, I came across a photo album I shared close to 3 years ago. I was ready to delete this too, scoffing at my “mediocre attempts at photography” so long ago. But then some kind of magic took place and I decided to take a proper look at these photos…

Surprise! Two minutes in, my mind was overflowing with memories from the trips and situations portrayed, and it went so far as to like a couple of photos very much.

First year of University

I remembered how proud I was back then of these attempts. I had a little compact camera full of dreams, and I was just discovering the real magic of photography. I was passionate, going to extreme lengths just to photograph something that caught my eye. I didn’t care that I had no professional camera, my mind was free of judgement and my eyes full of wonder. I let my inspiration be my surroundings only – compared to today, where I have followed a ton of photographers on Flickr and I drool over their work, sadfacing because “I can never be that good”.

WHY does it always result to “I can never be that good” these days? Where did inspiration from both external and internal stimuli go? We had this talk with sir Cubilone 1,5 year ago on our first date (or was it second?) – the internet nowadays is way too overwhelming for our brains, my own puny brain included of course. I can never be that good results to why should I even try and you kind of abandon the whole idea of going for what you love. What the hell does “that good” mean? We all have different styles that appeal to different people. If you never try, yes, you will never appeal to anybody.

Caminito

I feel kind of pretentious writing these lines. I feel like I’m mocking my own self and the people reading it (if any). I feel as if none of this really matters, I’m gonna die one day anyway and who’s gonna remember me and the shit I wrote and did? Well fuck you too, brain, I’m not giving in to your crap anymore. I’m not able to change how rotten this world is and where it’s heading, but I might as well live this crappy life to the fullest. And if nobody cares about this post, then so be it, I care, and I will make my time on Earth worthwhile while I still can.

I’ve spent years worrying about these things. I’ve been through extremely nihilistic phases, but what good does it do? Am I going to live my remaining years surrounded by the cloud of Pointlessness?
Nope. Nope, nope.

Looking at the photos of my younger self, I found that my depleted pool of inspiration was refilled. How many times have I advised people who just now have started, i.e., drawing, to never delete/tear apart/throw away stuff they do because they’re gonna look at it some years of now and be proud? Why can’t I follow my own advice?

I’ve been doing tons of things to try and inspire myself again. The fire has been burning low for years, with only short intervals of creative explosions, which became more and more rare. But I never thought that looking at my old work would give me such an empowering feeling… It’s the same with my drawings. Where did passionate Daphne go? The Daphne that didn’t give a fuck how good other people were? (I believe one of the biggest reasons of my downfall was that in 2010 we started having and internet connection at home.)  The Daphne that drew inspiration from within, that saw other artists as equals and not masters who she would never reach? The Daphne that presented her work proudly, but without a speck of egotism or self-doubt?

So what if they have 3, 15, 50 more years of experience? There’s no “patience, you’ll get there sooner or later” for me anymore. By the time you get “there”, “they” will have moved on to something greater – there will always be “someone far greater than you”.

What happened to doing something just for yourself? Almost all of us kind of obsessed with showcasing our work, mostly for getting likes and favourites and all that bullcrap. (exposing your work for getting a job is a different thing, I believe.) You do stuff thinking, oh hey, people are going to like this thing, let’s do it so they can like it. Yay! You add virtual prestige to your online image (kind of related!)  and you feel your ego swelling, but are you yourself satisfied with the results of your labour? I am definitely not denying that I am guilty of doing this too, a true victim of internet addiction-which I am slowly changing, by the way. (Remember: Do or not, there is no try.)

Do things for your own sake, look at the stuff you accomplished a while ago, remember how proud you were of them back in the day. They might seem like a load of crap to you (and other people) but look closely, you might find some unexpected diamonds just lying there, waiting for you to grab them and use them to make the finest jewelry possible.

I love photography. I really do. I’m not talented at it, I know that well, and precisely because I know that, I’ve worked hard to achieve what others might do effortlessly. I am proud of my photos, looking back at how I started and what I can do now. Who knew I could shoot a whole film manually and not ruin almost any photo?

[still: people will continue to inspire and amaze me, as it is inevitable. let them flare up my passion.]

Inspiring people: katrinpi | V + V | koukoula | Benacris | seasiderain | Garret | Basslauf | tixaio | qb

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