Blog Flux LinkLog: Outgoing Link Logging and Click Tracking for Em duas línguas

Sunday, May 29, 2005

A French "non" and Setúbal's victory

Shouts, cheers and hooters exploded from every appartment block in my area as I was walking the deserted streets with my dog earlier today. It took me a few minutes to work out that the shouting had nothing to do with the French dramatic rejection of the European constitution which was happening at the same time - and everything to do with Setúbal winning the Portuguese football championships.

The fireworks go off and the street parties continue. I will hear the story a hundred times at work tomorrow. And I wonder what will happen to the politics in Europe now.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Culture, water and basins

I want to record the reply of my friend, Marco Bettoni, to my question about if he felt like Swiss-Italian or an Italian-Swiss or neither or both or "it depends on the circumstances". I loved the way he put it:

"My 'national' or 'cultural' feelings do not have a definite shape, like a rock, they are more like water, they take the shape of the bottle or basin (circumstances). One reason is, that I grew up (about 0 to 10) in two languages. Furtheron multilinguality and emigrating are a tradition in our family: My great-grandfather Domenico (born 1855) was already bilingual and emigrated from Italy to Germany and Switzerland. Another reason has probably to do with previous lives: I feel attracted by England and english culture (at high school I prepared my final english exam on Oscar Wilde) as well as by Greece and (ancient) greek culture. In Switzerland I like certain aspects of the (alternative) political culture (see for instance Andreas Gross In Italy I like the cooking and all what has to do with the aesthetics (architecture, cars, etc.) but am afraid of the mafia (which, of course, does not exist ...)"

I hope it's just my current headspace, but I worry that there although there are more people whose 'national' or 'cultural' feelings don't have definite shapes nowadays, there are more people concerned with defining the bottles and the basins.

Do you like our weather?

Since living in Portugal I've been asked this question at least two hundred and one times, so you might be suprised to hear that I still pause to answer the question each time it's asked.

The reason is that when someone asks me: "Do you like our weather?" I still consider the following:

Does he (or she) mean: "Do you like this weather that you and I share in Setúbal?"

Or does he (or she) mean: "The weather that you are experiencing now belongs to the Portuguese - do you, as a non-Portuguese national, like it?"

My pause, as I both consider these two possibilities and to wonder if my reply comes from Beverly who lived some years in England and now lives in Portugal or from Beverly who comes from Mombasa where we wore a t-shirt if it got cold, is usually long enough to make the other person either translate the question into English. Or to go on to say: "In your terra it rains all the time."

I sigh at myself every time. Why do I always manage to make things more complex than they need to be? Why don't I just say to such well-meaning people: "Yes, your weather is lovely"?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Who are you?

"I don't see" said the Caterpillar.
"I'm afraid I can't put it more clearly," Alice replied very politely, "for I can't understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing."
"It isn't," said the Caterpillar.
"Well, perhaps you haven't found it so yet," said Alice; "but when you have to turn into a chrysalis - you will some day, you know - and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you'll feel it a little queer, won't you?"
"Not a bit," said the Caterpillar.
"Well, perhaps your feelings may be different," said Alice; "all I know is, it would feel very queer to me."
"You!" said the Caterpillar contemptuously. "Who are you?"

(excerpt from Lewis Carroll, 1978, page 76)

Sometimes I get the feeling that Lewis Carroll already wrote a lot of my PhD for me. This excerpt came from "Advice from a Caterpillar". ... or is it an excerpt from my thesis? ... or is it "Em Duas Linguas"?

Maybe my identification with Alice comes from being an estranha! I notice that I have continued Alice's story from a previous posting.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Living as an estranha.

Today was one of those days. Most of the time I rush about my life feeling happy as anything. What doesn't work in practice I can usually make work in my mind. But today I felt weighed down by all that I have to do and feelings of being on a solitary mission. I wonder if there's a network for people who get no financial, academic or insitutional support for their PhD while also living as an "estranha". I console myself with the thought that most geniuses were only recognised after they died. And I'm really lucky to have two kids who think I know it all!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Pessoas Estranhas

More hours of queuing in the notary today, hoping I won't get the lady with the moustache who rolls her eyes at me as she half-heartedly attends to me but listens conspiratorially to the other people at the counter.

I love the sign above the desk:



(For a good functioning of the services, the entrance of strange people is not permitted).

The meaning of the word "estranha" covers people who don't work/belong here, people who don't fit, and also strange in the English sense of the word. I wondered what the signification of the word was here!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Women bloggers

I'm following the events of BlogHer with interest. For some people the issue of women bloggers is a passion and it's one that excites me too. But I'm so very conscious that it's a truly invisible issue from where I'm standing. Conversations about "podcasting" and debates about blogrolls are so far removed from my day-to-day reality where blogs are still something very new, let alone RSS feeds and the rest. And we are a long, long way from reflecting on the social issues around them.

Friday, May 06, 2005


I'm intrigued by this wonderful blog that comes from Portugal. Not just by the beautiful (and erotic) photos and layout, but also because the author seems to be totally invisible. We just know that it starts with a quote by a recent, great Portuguese poet: "Nós temos cinco sentidos: são dois pares e meio d'asas." David Mourão Ferreira but I don't have other clues.

(I won't translate Xupacabras!)


I have a strong sense of feeling local at the moment. I don't really know what that means, but I think it's related to (in which direction I don't know) speaking mostly/only Portuguese during the day and ... and something else which I can't put my finger on. It's a funny thing, but blogging in Portuguese means I speak more to the people on the street in my bairro neighbourhood. I wonder if that's part of the reason (or the effect). I have a sort of shutting down feeling. I'm also noticing that I'm associating "feeling local" with "a sort of shutting down feeling". Why's that?

And I notice that I could only write this posting in English.

Gosh! There's still so much in life to find out!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Thinking about the language thing

I wonder if (jointly) keeping a blog in Portuguese will stimulate me to write more in Portuguese in this one. Or if it will leave me free to think and write more in English. Or if it won't make any difference. I'm interested to see what the effect will be.