End of Summer

3 Aug

Apparently it is already August, which greatly scares me because it means that the onset of winter is imminent.  I’ve been feeling lost lately, like I’m drifting aimlessly.  This is quite odd as this is the most established and secure that I’ve ever been in my life perhaps.  I’ve been at the same job for two years, and was just promoted.  I’ve been living in the same city (although definitely not that same address) for the same amount of time.  I live with Alan.  The first time ever that I’ve lived with a significant other (living in a frat house together for the summer doesn’t count I don’t think.)  And I have a wonderfully cute and needy puppy.  So why am I feeling so anxious?

It could be because Alan’s future is so unknown and I’m taking on his anxiety vicariously.  It could also be because I’m feeling stagnant intellectually.  While essentially waiting for Alan and I to finally be together, I watched so much TV and read so much garbage fiction to distract myself that I feel like my IQ has declined and is steadily dropping.  But now that he’s here, I feel sluggish and dumb.  Sort of like when people, “Ugh, I haven’t been to the gym in so long!  I feel gross!”  Well, that’s the way my mind feels because it hasn’t been put to work in awhile.  I have no one to blame for this but myself, which just compounds me feeling like crap.

In attempt to get out of this mental malaise I read a few pages of book about complex traumatic stress disorders.  But I fear that this is the first and last time that I’ll open the book.  Maybe I need to take a class or something.  I’ll look into night classes.  What’ve I got to lose?



25 Jun

Should I leave Portugal?

I’m at another crossroad in life.  While this is always stressful/scary/exciting, this one is especially exhausting because I feel like I’m making a major life decision every year.  A new country to move to.  A new language to learn.  A new visa to acquire.  A new apartment search.  A whole new feeling of loneliness and excitement at once.

And I’m exhausted.  It has all lost it’s sheen. I just want to be somewhere and stay put.  Do normal things … stay in one house for more than one year, not spend a week changing the addresses on my bank accounts and loans … not have multiple bank accounts, get a dog, not be afraid to get a boyfriend because I wouldn’t be leaving in a few months.  That may be the biggest one.  I know that I’m not old, 26 is still young.  But I know that I don’t want to be alone.  When I’m alone, I have no anchor and I feel like there is no point to anything I do.  Everything seems like a waste of time.  Obtaining degrees and being able to pay bills on time are not what really matter to me.  People are the most important thing in life, and I know I am not the exception to this rule.  So I want someone to share things with.  Someone to come home to.  Someone to be a constant in my life.

Something happy that I can take away from this?  I do know what I want.   It just isn’t something you can send a resume and cover letter to get.

We live in this old aching town

26 May

It has been an interesting week.  I finally got off my ass and started doing some work.    For the most part I have been working on Value Based Management, which in short is an incentive/management tool based on economic profits and firm sustainability.  Very boring stuff.  I understand it well enough, I can talk about it until I’m blue in the face, but I don’t know why.  It has me wondering more than ever what the hell I’m doing in an MBA program.   But who knows; maybe it will all come together one day.  I sure hope so.  I’d like to think that I haven’t just been spending the last year treading water.  I feel like that’s all I’ve ever been doing … waiting for “real life” to begin.  It is difficult for me to live in the now and appreciate each day for what it is.  Instead I feel like I’m always waiting for something else to happen.  I know it’s not a good way to live life, but that’s how I see it, and I’m unsure of how to change that.

This week I also had my last Portuguese class.  My language skills are atrocious, so it was a bittersweet end of the year celebration.  Regardless of my difficulties with the Portuguese language, I will say that I did get to meet some very interesting people, and I’m extremely grateful for that.  My classmates really made going to class every week a joy and have made these past nine months a breeze.  I will definitely miss them and my amazing teacher most of all.

We interview someone to be our new roommate and it looks like she’ll be moving in on Sunday.   It’ll be good to have someone new around, very exciting.

You know, even though I’m not that good at living in the “now,” I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds.  That’s gotta count for something right?

Destino do Porto

The week started off with a bang! The FC Porto team came home Sunday night at midnight to the Stadium of Dragons where their loyals supporters gave them a hero's welcome. Definitely an unforgettable experience.

New people and looking forward to tomorrow make me happy.

Dumb Old Men

21 May

Today was a bad day.  I live in an apartment tower.  There are a whole bunch grouped together, and in the middle of them all there’s a green space with some benches scattered about.  Old couples sit there throughout the day and people walk their dogs there.  I go there sometimes to sit in the sun and read.

I went today and no one was there except a really old man, probably in his 70s.  He was staring at me, but I figured … he’s an old man … they do that.  He went and sat down on another bench and I forgot about him.  A little while later he shouts over to me, calling me “menina,”  what you call girls here, telling me to put something on my head because of the sun.  I told him it’s ok, thank you.

He wandered around a little more.  Some other older gentleman came and talked with him for a little bit.   Then we walked closer to me and again told me that I should put something over my head.  I again told him it was ok.  He came and set next to me, touched my head, exclaimed that it was hot.  Very old man things.  He began talking to me, well, more talking at me as I wasn’t really participating in the conversation due to lack of language skills.

At one point he put his hand on my knee while talking, but I tried not to think anything of it because people touch a lot here and he had just randomly done it while talking.  He wouldn’t stop talking about the sun and I was getting uncomfortable so to try to get him to stop I tell him I don’t understand Portuguese.  I try to pretend I’m ignoring him and reading my book.  He starts telling me how pretty I am, over and over, and then asks me to take off my sunglasses so he can see my beautiful face.  I tell him no.  He tries to take them off and I hold his hand back with my own.  He kisses me hand.  I tell him “por favor,” and move away from him.  He puts his hand back on my knee and runs it up my leg.  I tell him to stop, “para,” and remove his hand from my body.  He gets angry and tells me that he’s not doing anything wrong.  He’s just trying to be nice.  I begin to think I’m just making this up in my head,  I’m only seeing the negative things, he is after all just an old man.   I go back to pretending to read my book, ignoring him.

A teenage boy walks by us and the old man stops talking to me.  As soon as the teenage boy is gone, the man starts touching my shoulder and arm, again telling me how pretty I am.  I yell at him to stop, and again use my other hand to remove his from my arm.  He grabs that hand and starts rubbing it and my arm.  I yell at him again to stop.  I don’t know the words in Portuguese to tell him that he needs to be acting like a man and not a child and that he’s being disrespectful and disgusting.

So I throw everything in my bag and run away instead.  I take a different way to get my building, more indirect, in case he’s watching where I’m going.  I cry the entire way home.  I hate being a girl.  I spend the entire day in my room traumatized and unwilling to go outside.

So where’s the happy part?  I didn’t know what else to do, so I emailed two friends, one in New York and one in Washington DC.  I haven’t seen them in almost a year and I can’t remember the last time we spoke on a phone.  But they immediately wrote back with messages of anger, support, and kind words.   Later on it was the same with my perpetual boyfriend when he sent words of reassurance.   I receive two more messages, unrelated to the events of the day, from friends that I had no seen in over a year.  Wonderful messages, full of love.  And then to seal the deal, my roommate knocks on my door and then comes in a says, “I’m worried about you,”  and sets down an extravagant dinner plate with so much food on it that it took me about an hour to eat it all.

So no matter how shitty things get (and they can get pretty shitty) my friends are always there for me, sending good thoughts from across the globe.  And that makes me happy.

Honest Sex

19 May

Honest discussions about sex make me happy.


19 May

Impromptu celebrations in the streets make me happy.

Two Northern Portuguese team making it to the Liga Europa final and then FC Porto winning  is also pretty fantastic.

“We expect 150%, not just 100%.”

18 May

When an NGO describes itself as “result oriented,” expecting “excellence,” and operating with a “sense of urgency” it inspires me and makes me happy.

Good things come in threes

13 May

After getting back from Lisbon at 1:30 AM, this was waiting for me in my inbox:
JoyTwo interview requests in one day after a 19 month drought?!

An interview request with the organization that I respect most in the world makes me ecstatic.

Electricidade de Portugal (EDP) and a Kenyan Refugee Camp

13 May

I traveled to Lisbon today to have a meeting with a bank there that wants to hire me.  The meeting was awful, and I wasn’t looking forward to the networking event my program was putting on in the capital that evening.  However, within minutes of arriving the following took place:

Luis: Sam, you need to come with me.
(He drags me away to a group of people talking.)

Luis: This is my friend Sam.  Can you repeat to her what you just told me?

Woman from EDP: I work with the EDP Foundation and one of our main activities with working with the UNHCR in a refugee camp in Kenya. ….that’s something you’re interested in? (More specific info about their work in Kenya.)

Me: Working in a refugee camp is my dream! (Babble on a for a little bit about how much I love refugees.)

Woman from EDP: That’s great!  I’m going to put you in contact with the camp director to see if we can get you working out there.

UNifeed: Kenya/Guterres Solar, good PR, but I can’t help but think … what happens once one of the light bulbs breaks?

Regardless, random chance encounters and incredible opportunities make me happy.


13 May


Receiving a request for a job interview for the first time in 19 months makes me happy.  And smiley. 🙂