Citizens of the world 365: the chronicles.

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Thanks for joining us!

We are citizens of this small village called the world.

Join us while we roam the third rock from the sun.

First stop…Greece.

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Porto!

In anticipation of part II of Porto…Starting Point! here follows a sneak peek.

It all started right here, at the ancient and very noble city once named, in Latin, Portus Cale.

Porto was indeed a starting point for my wife and I… the starting point, actually!

A city with multiple meanings for the both of us: Family, home, birthplace, history, change, lifestyle, beginning, love, romance, etc.

So, of course we took the opportunity to shoot a short video.

We hope you enjoy watching as much as we loved producing it.

The journey continues…

Porto…Starting Point!

Why is the alarm clock going off so early? It’s 2 A.M.! It’s still pitch-black outside!

I was sound asleep and that irritating sound startled me.

“Come on, give me a freaking break alarm clock! After all, it’s Friday and it has been a very long week! I’m weary and I need my 6 hours of sleep!” my mind went on and on with raging thoughts.

What on earth was going on? Why did I set the alarm to go off at that precise hour?

As I picked up the phone from the night stand to hit snooze, I looked across the bedroom, saw the luggage lying on the floor and then it hit me!

That was a sort of a power nap.

A much needed short sleep.

“Wake up man! This is no ordinary Friday morning!” said the voice inside my head.

Quite right, it was in fact the opposite.

The beginning of a very special day for the both of us.

“Let’s wake up honey!” I told my wife in a frantic manner.

“It’s time to head off to the airport. We have a plane to catch!”

After 15 months in Greece we were going back to Porto, Portugal, the starting point of our adventures.

Quick shower, a fast and easy breakfast and, in a heartbeat, we were outside waiting for the bus.

That one-hour trip to the airport gave us time enough to doze off but, we were way too excited for something as frivolous as relaxing.

No way!

We needed caffeine. We needed to consume a psychoactive drink that would enable us to enjoy every single moment of the journey.

“Dýo espresso parakaló” (Two espresso please), I asked the lady at the coffee shop near our boarding gate.

“There is still time for a smoke right?” my wife asked, as I was staring at the screen and realizing that we were just five minutes away from the boarding process.

“Yeah, sure honey!” I replied with a smirk.

“After all, what is the worst thing that can happen to us? Miss the flight? That is just…” hey, hold on! Where was she?

I was talking to myself!

My wife left my sight, smoked a cigarette and came back before I was able to finish my witty remark.

“Did you hear anything I just said honey?”

“Nope, why dear? What were you saying? Some dry humor sweetie?”

As per usual, while boarding the plane, we were greeted by a friendly staff.

“Too early in the morning?” asked a flight attendant as soon as she saw my wife.

“No! It’s a plane!” my wife replied, pouting.

Even though she loves traveling, she is not to keen on flying. In particular, she loathes everything that concernes take-off and landing.

She often says: “I absolutely love being up there, above the clouds, enjoying what I like to call the sea of tranquillity but… getting there and out of there, that is a completely different story.”

With a smile upon her face, the flight attendant asked us where we would be sitting. She added: “I have something for you, don’t worry.”

As we were getting ready to start the flight to Munich, our first and only stop on our way to Porto, we looked outside and saw a glimpse of the moonlight over the runway.

What a magnificent way to say “goodbye, we’ll see you soon.”

I was listening to Portishead and my wife was eagerly holding a stress ball (a kind offer from the cabin crew), while the A320 was making its way into cruising altitude.

On our way to Munich we had the chance to get to know the person that was sitting on our row.

The stress ball and fear of flying gave us the kick-off of what would become a delightful conversation. One that lasted all the way through to our connecting flights.

We covered a lot of different topics.

From traveling, music and movies, to our own perspective on what is going on with the world nowadays and how to deal with that.

At some point of the first leg of the journey, we turned our attention to the issue of how to stay positive during (what I can only describe as) some crazy times (Given the choice….).

“Welcome to Munich!” said the captain as soon as we landed.

Before leaving the plane my wife gave that splendid person, the flight attendant, a huge hug.

We fondly recall the lyrics of Dame Vera Lynn’s song “We’ll Meet Again” as we say “Farewell and Godspeed!” to our travel companion and newest friend.

“Ready?” I ask my wife as we fasten our seatbelts.

She says that she is and holds my hand.

Engines roar. The A321 is ready to hit the skies.

Porto here we come!

To be continued…

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“We Remember”: a short flick!

As I keep on working on my book “Running from myself” (temp title), I fondly recall the last words I’ve written and posted last year.

Prior to our departure to the beautiful island of Poros for new year’s eve, a couple of friends had the chance to read the text.

“Homage” was on everybody’s mind and that gave us an idea.

Why not turn it into a short flick, a short video?

My wife and I originally started the all thing regarding the videos and the YouTube channel in order to let our family know, as we ventured out on this quest, that everything was all right.

It turned out to be so much more than that.

It became our mutual hobby, a sort of couples therapy, taking care of wounds, specially old ones.

And even though we know we suck at it, big time, we are loving the opportunity of doing them.

After all, we have had some “weary days” before we decided to go for a deep and profound change.

Before we settled on moving to Greece (first stop!) and change our lifestyle.

We set out to improve ourselves, make an effort to become better persons and allow our relationship to grow stronger.

In a nutshell: We wanted to pursue happiness!

That requires, let me tell you in advance, a lot of effort and it is worth it.

So, we turned this particular text into a script and shot a video in Greek, Portuguese, Danish, French and English.

Without further ado, allow us to share this wonderful and very positive experience.

P.S.: we thank our friends for being such good sports and amazing actors.

“We remember…

Those who are no longer with us.

Those who are far away.

Those who are close.

We honour all by remembering…

The moments we have shared and the memories we have created.

We remember…

That we must keep on living with a smile upon our faces.

Above all, we have learned one of the most precious lessons in life: We go through it one day at a time!”

We remember!

We remember…

Those who are no longer with us.

Those who are far away.

Those who are close.

We honour all by remembering…

The moments we have shared and the memories we have created.

We remember…

That we must keep on living with a smile upon our faces.

Above all, we have learned one of the most precious lessons in life: We go through it one day at a time!

As we say goodbye to 2018 and welcome 2019, we remember.

 

Getting back on track

“I’m so fed up!”, that was my very first thought as I entered the hotel room.

Threw the luggage on top of the bed, sat at the room’s desk, took off my glasses, head in hands and sighed.

“What the hell am I doing here?”

Like a machine gun spitting bullets, my head was discharging disconcerting thoughts at raging speed.

At this point in my life, back in 2013, I was in a very dark place.

I had just arrived to Paris on a business trip.

We were getting ready for a major trade show, something that I’ve been doing for the past six years.

I knew the drill by heart and the all operation was a well-oiled machine.

Nonetheless, I was feeling weary.

It was very difficult to change perspective.

Due to a dilemma regarding moral values that I was facing at work, back then things seemed to make little to no sense at all.

I was engaged in battle, one that I would loose later on that same year and change the course of history, ending up in Greece.

Meanwhile, back in 2013, I was missing out on life.

It’s all about the little things.

Five years later, in 2018, as a result of a power outage, my wife and I left home for work, early in the morning, without electricity.

As soon as we got to the office we managed to call the power company.

They said a technician had been sent on site and we needed to be there asap.

I am a veteran when it comes to issues related to “tech on site”.

It does not matter where you are on the map, or if you are dealing with a public or a privately held company, nowadays, when it comes to such issues, most of the times “asap” stands for “htwfalft” (having to wait for a long freaking time).

“Oh, that is just wonderful!”, I thought as I was asking for a day off.

“That is what I call starting off on the right foot!”, I told ironically my wife as I was leaving work.

However, as I was sitting down on the bus, the weather changed from cloudy to sunny and I was able to enjoy a nice, warm and brightly ride back home.

As soon as I got to our building the technician was already there.

“What a nice surprise!”, I thought.

He did not speak a word of English though…

“Excuse me madam, do you speak English?”, I asked a lady that was walking by.

She did! And she was kind enough to help me with the translation.

As it so happens, the blackout had blown a fuse in my power box and I had to buy a new one.

Thing is, according to the technician (an expert on such matters!), this particular fuse would not be easy to find and he had to go on his merry way for that was none of his business.

He had solved the issue outside our place. Regarding the issue inside our place…good luck with that.

No worries!

Due to the wonders of internet, one of our friends quickly pointed me out to a store near by.

“This material it is not easy to come by. I need to order it and it will take, at least, two days to arrive.”, said the owner of the establishment.

Order placed and head back home to think about what to do, especially with a defrosting fridge.

“Hold on!”

As I was opening the door, I remembered something.

A few months ago, I saw what resembled home appliances on one of the boxes that belonged to those who used to live in the apartment before us.

Eureka! I had just found one of those very special fuses!

Issue quickly solved, power back on… I had the rest of the day for myself.

If not for small issues and the way I faced them, it would not be possible for me to keep on working on my book (a goal) and fully enjoy the day!

One that ended with a wonderful dinner date with my wife.

When facing a similar issue five years ago:

1 – I would get immediately cranky;

2 – I would be upset at everything;

3 – I would be ending the day bitter and thinking “WTF! What else do I need in my life?”, no matter what happened.

Like I said before, it was very difficult for me to change perspective back then.

As soon as I got back home from Paris, my mood did not improve that much.

Until the end of 2013 things would get a lot worse.

I was stuck and focused on the negative.

I would loose the battle I was engaged in.

I would get an important warning from my doctor.

As time went by it reached a certain point in my life when it finally hit me (better late than never, right?): I was in fact in a state of denial, running only from myself.

I am, in fact, my worst enemy: As soon as I truly realized that, I became aware.

I started to pay attention to the little things.

Instead of thinking that the universe was plotting against me, I understood that it was trying to tell what to look for, what should I pay attention to.

I got back on track and embraced the change.

It’s not an easy process, as far as I am concerned but it’s worth it.

So, five years later my wife and I are in Greece, with a different mindset.

You go down. You get up.

As simple as that. One day at a time.

Whatever lies ahead, I will welcome it.

The journey continues…

Dealing with negativity.

“How is it that, every single time I see you, you’re smiling?”, asks a colleague of mine as soon as I get to work.

“Am I now? I was not aware of that and I’m quite sure that, from time to time, I’m glowering.” I replied.

“Maybe so but, as far as I recall, you are always smiling.

How is that possible, especially here?”, she carried on.

She was referring to workplace and the competitive environment that you usually encounter there.

If you do not enjoy what you are doing for a living, but you need to pay the bills, you need, at the very least, to be able to put food on the table and have a roof over your head, you have to suck it up.

That’s life, right?

So, you must endure what it feels like hardship and, therefore, your first day of the week (may it be Monday or any another day) is when you start that very special clock: A countdown clock to your days off!

Passion slowly fades away from your life and turns into bitterness and resignation.

If you’re working from Monday to Friday, Sunday evening is when you generally start feeling sick: It’s when anxiety kicks in.

So, in those cases competitive environment is actually a euphemism. It can easily stand for hostility, envy and rudeness.

In a nutshell, a place full of negative energy and where your dreams go to die.

While at work you think about spending time with the ones you love, you are eagerly looking for Friday to come, wishing for vacations and first and foremost you dream of winning the lottery.

Of course you put on a smile at the workplace once in a while but, it is mostly a fake one.

It means that you are player and perfectly understand the rules of the game.

After the last global economic crisis, that started back in 2007, things have gotten worse.

On top of that, nowadays we just need to go online, turn on the TV or listen to the radio to get an abundance of negative thinking and gloomy portraits of society and the world.

Given all that, it is very easy to go down the rabbit hole.

“Let my take a wild guess, my dearest friend, and say that you do not enjoy what you’re doing.

Workplace means disappointment, frustration and it is full of people that you do not fancy that much.

It is the last place, on dear old planet Earth, where you would like to be and, therefore, you are not happy.

Am I right so far?

I let you in on a little secret: Most of the people that you see here they feel exactly the same way!

Particularly those that seem to be angry the all freaking time, the ill-tempered, the ones that tend to get on your nerves!

I’ll bet you they are the first ones in line, when it comes to getting the hell out of here!”

She starts to laugh.

“That’s it right there!”, I said with enthusiasm.

“I try my very best to greet people with a smile, expecting nothing else but a smile in return.

Chances are it may be not happen right away, or on that day or week even.

But, eventually it will. And when it happens it is quite fulfilling.

Especially if you are feeling blue.

Just like finding a needle in a haystack, it’s not easy but it’s totally worth it!

Your laughter fills me with great joy. Thank you kindly my friend.

It’s a great way to start the day at the office and I’m truly grateful for that.”

She starts to ponder.

“There is more of course!”, I carry on.

“I have a different perspective on things: I wanted to come and live in Greece and this job gave me the opportunity of a lifetime.

Furthermore, I do not give up on my dreams. That means that I have to keep on fighting, no matter what.

From time to time I will fall, and you know what?

I just need to pick up myself on those occasions and get back on track. That is part of being alive!

I also have that special someone with whom I share precious moments, something to be grateful for as well.

Last but not least, I have a hobby that helps me balance out all that is not so positive: I write.

I’m fully aware of the fact that I suck at it, but I keep doing it anyway: It’s for my own good.”

Her smile gets bigger.

We wish each other a wonderful day.

That was the end of what it felt like a long week and I was feeling tired.

That precise moment… that was the needle in the haystack!

A reminder that one has to keep on searching, despite the prevailing circumstances, one day at a time.

It is effortless to be a pessimist.

It requires a great deal of determination, passion and resilience to be optimistic.

The journey continues…

Passion, perseverance and resilience!

“A day in our life” revisited…

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I feel the warmth of the sun on my face.

The sun-rays seem to be peeking through the wooden shutters, trying to make their way into our bedroom.

“Let there be light!”, it appears to be what the star is telling me in a soft and gentle tone.

It wakes me up before the alarm goes off.

As I stare at the ceiling a kind of peacefulness overcomes me.

My wife is still sound asleep, looking very serene so, I let her be.

I start to listen to some music on my headphones and go about my morning ritual.

Standing at the veranda I see one of our neighbors, a nice old lady, at the building across from ours, watering the plants.

I wave and say in Greek, “Kaliméra! Óla kalá?” (Good morning! Everything ok?).

She answers back with a huge smile on her face.

I fondly recall the conversations between her and my wife over the past months, almost every single evening, from the veranda.

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She does not speak a word of English.

We are still learning the basics of Greek.

So, instead of ideas and point of views we are actually talking about two persons exchanging pleasantries and interacting at a very basic level.

Thing is I find the effort, the attempt to overcome the language barrier, to be more meaningful than some conversations being held in your own native tongue.

Often people open their mouths, words come out and, at first glance, it looks like they are engaged in a relevant conversation. But, unfortunately, in some cases it is nothing more than a huge waste of time.

That is not the case here. A bridge is being built.

“Bom dia!” (Good morning!).

My wife greets me in Portuguese and gives me a hug and a kiss.

We finish breakfast, prepare lunch and head to work.

It’s going to be a very warm day, we can tell.

A hot breeze from the Aegean sea engulfs us as we get out of our building.

Walking down the street, we greet another friendly face.

This is a person that has distinctly seen too many winters.

This is someone that, I believe, should be enjoying his golden years somewhere else.

Someone that, gracefully, should be giving us all greater knowledge and understanding of life due to his experience.

He stands at the corner of our street instead, waiting for gentle souls. He is not the only one, regrettably…

We share our lunch and ponder about mankind and what it must be perceived as a low point.

He smiles and waves us goodbye.

“Yassas!”… he wins us over with his perseverance and resilience.

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On our way to the bus stop we exchange glances and smiles with the fantastic group of persons that, every single morning, are at the public park near to our place.

They are mainly pensioners and homeless people who share not only the weary wooden benches, but as well narratives of the olden days.

This band of brothers they are engaged in warm conversations about society and how it all should be.

Comrades of life talking about the unpleasant changes of circumstances and fortune.

They are enjoying each others’ company and attempting to find solace.

“Our bus is here!”, my wife tells me and we pick up the pace, leaving behind a scenario worthy of meaningful attention.

We find some of our colleagues already inside and we shift our awareness to the issues of a much younger generation.

They don’t dwell on the past. They are focused on the future, on how to get a better life.

The two generations they have something in common though. They both wish for a change.

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“Get off your seat, press the stop button and driver, please do slam on those brakes for we’ve arrived at work”, says the voice in my head as soon as I realize we have reached our destination.

The time as come now to focus on what worries our customers and how to surpass the challenges we encounter at the office.

It is a rather unique beat that we dance to throughout the remaining of the day.

Sometimes it might sound a lot like routine and that is quite a challenge per se.

I remember the reason why we are here and that puts a smile on my face. Determination comes along and does its duty.

I marvel at the character of my peers, each one of them with a formidable story to tell, and that adds value to the equation.

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At the end of the day my wife and I, seating across the dinner table, talk about what we have experienced.

The funny thing about what I have described is that it could have easily taken place anywhere else in the world.

We currently face the same issues across the globe.

What changes?

The people and the perspective.

It may seem all black and white but, believe me, there’s some color out there and it’s worth the search.

We must observe and interact.

My wife and I remember that it is all about living life one day at a time and add some spices to our journey: Passion, perseverance and resilience!

It is all that we need.

After all, little more than one year ago we were in Portugal and now we are in Greece!

Who knows what lies ahead?

Life is full of surprises.

I’ve said it before: All days are alike because they are different and that is just wonderful.

Off to bed now and hit the reset button… new memories wait us!

The journey continues…

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