It has been a while since I last wrote a personal entry. It looks like that I have been neglecting my body, mind and soul for a while. Not writing anything about my life here in Portugal makes me think that I must be moving to fast and hard to get my business off the ground.
We are already in November and almost a whole year passed with a minimal amount of exercise. A few weak attempts of running along the coast in Ericeira or going to my fancy Virgin Active gym in Lisbon has not only left me without energy BUT what is most disturbing to my eyes is my drooping belly and my upper arms becoming more wobbly at the age of 41! Yikes.
It is not really my fault though! Moving countries, building business, learning portuguese and having children makes it not very easy to find the spirit to go out for a run. Well, okay. Maybe it is my fault.
When I left California I was in ZUMBA fever and visited regularly my favorite place in Santa Cruz the Santa Cruz Dance Company. The teachers there are excellent which let me to do a ZUMBA teacher training with Joy Smith (she owns the Santa Cruz Dance Company). I’m not teaching ZUMBA nor was that my goal but I did want to know the choreography and teacher mind behind the thing I really enjoyed the most when it came to exercise. So I took a teacher training. Such fun times.
When we moved to Lisbon, I tried desperately to find a new ZUMBA class in and around Lisbon. No class I took fulfilled my love for dancing. Classes do exist and people seem to enjoy ZUMBA here very much but it doomed on me that I was missing the teachers back in Santa Cruz. I could not carry on doing ZUMBA in Lisbon, if really what mattered, were the teachers who gave the ZUMBA classes. Little did I know what a stranger could do to me. What an effect a single teacher could have on me. There is a person I don’t know, they move their hips in a perfect way, I start admiring them because their combination of dance and teaching makes me feel great, I want more of them, then I move and everything falls apart. Wow.
Anyway, I’m back into exercise business. Through a friend and name friend of mine, Stefanie Birkholz who runs her own Ashtanga Yoga business “Room for myself” in Estoril and Cascais area, I got to know the Ericeira Yoga Studio. Maybe Stefanie will teach one day in Ericeira 🙂
Fortunately she has a good friend, Joana Cadete, who owns the Ericeira Yoga Studio (here is her Facebook site).
This one single referral from Stefanie, was my doorway to fall in love with yoga. It only took me a few years as I was trying to get into Yoga many times before.
I have been visiting classes with Joana with my husband, but last night Joana knocked it out of the ball park for me with her Ashtanga Yoga class. I have never felt so connected and peaceful with my mind and body. Two hours of pure happiness, joy and love. Love and appreciation for my body and gratitude towards friends and people who have the ability to influence my life in such a beautiful way.
Maybe it was the referral of a friend, maybe it was the class itself, maybe it was me being in the right space to receive and recognize this gift. I don’t know for sure but it shows me that one needs to be open to try new things, to engage with the world, to appreciate one another and to really take care of yourself first in order to return a smile and some beauty back to others.
After this class I was so centered & calm that I was able to really love my life, husband and children even more. So Thank you Stefanie and Joana! I will come back next week!
…being here and present for our children and ourselves.
It’s Saturday morning and my son Max needs to study for a physic and history test. I’m leaving on Wednesday to visit my husband, dad and friends in San Francisco and there is soooo much to do. At least in my own mind!
I grab Sasha and give Max time and room to study without distraction. He is easily side tracked and the to-do list is overwhelmingly long anyway and Sasha loves shopping. Well kind of.
For our last items on the list we had to drive by her favorite parc (Parque Desportivo Municipal de Mafra) in Mafra which she frequents with her Dad (he has his own Blog here). She loves these moments with him and I love it when they have them 😉
It took a lot of fast repeating in my head; Katrin take a left turn. Make her happy, take a break and just enjoy…Katrin take a left turn…the car drove, I followed and we had such a beautiful time.
Love your life. Enjoy the small moments. Invite them in more often.
We have been in this beautiful country for a bit over a year now. We have settled in, kids have been going through their first year of school and the second one is starting next week.
Sasha with her 5 years is almost fluent in Portuguese. Thanks to her school Colégio Art & Manha in Mafra and patience of her teachers she reached a level Seth and I look up to.
Max made his way through 6th Grade German School in Lisbon. With the American School System as a background and speaking German only a little he had a lot to catch up to. He did really well. It was the second time that he had to show a lot of persistence and went all the way to make it happen. I can only applaud him. (The first time was his Junior Black Belt at his Karate school in Santa Cruz)
Seth finally managed to take a week off work. He has been working, so it seems, around the clock for the past 3 month. I’m glad we had the chance to discover some other parts of Portugal and spent even a day in Salamanca, Spain. It was definitely a new experience for him to do “European Camping”. I think he was VERY skeptical at first. I tried to explain to him that my fondest memories of my childhood were the Camp trips with my parents to France and Portugal. My memories in short: Instant Camp friends to play with (I think my parents hardly saw me once we set up our tent), Parents could relax with a glass of wine and we took some great day trips returning to a fun dinner in an open air environment. I love camping. He will be probably writing his only little blurb about the trip here.
The Camping Spot was PERFECT! Camping Toca da Raposa. This little Camping Spot is located in the Beira Alta District of Portugal. The region is beautiful and has a lot to offer. From hiking over kayaking to horseback riding. If you want to have any fun in the outdoors contact Matt at Rock & River. He has a great team which will take good care of you. Our Kayak trip was a 4 hour trip down the River Mondego. We stopped and swam in the river and watched Firefighter Airplanes pick up some water from the river to kill a fire in Seia which was not too far from where we were.
The weather was great and the kids were super happy. Sasha made a new little friend, named Lola. Lola had moved with her mom from England to Portugal. In this case Sasha had no language barriers to overcome.
Max had some great fun with kids from Belgium and Holland. With dutch being a bit similar to German (I said a bit! Lol), English and German he managed to play games, swam in the pool and enjoyed the grand finale of a night long thunder in the mountains with his new Camp friends.
Overall a really successful vacation and Portugal is just beautiful. Happy to live in this country.
When I moved to Portugal, one of the things I was missing the most were Health Food Stores.
Santa Cruz, California had them all. I think there are more Health-Food-Nuts on a square footage than anywhere else in the world. Therefor you can buy the bumper sticker “Keep Santa Cruz weird” (Get a T-Shirt if you feel inclined). And the peeps are. In a loving way.
Anyway, I’m excited to report that we have options in Portugal too! It did not look like it at first, but after lots of digging they popped up. One choice after another.
Here is my list of stores and markets I frequently visit:
BE U – this store is small but has everything you need for your vacation and more. They do offer Pilates, Massage and sometimes workshops.
BRIO – they have a good number of locations now. In Lisbon as well as outside of Lisbon.
Celeiro – this one you can find almost in ANY shopping mall. They do have pretty much everything. The only missing part is fresh vegetables, fruit and bread. But they do have a lot of supplements.
Quinta do Arneiro – now these guys rock my world and of course my children ones too. If you live in the greater Lisbon area and you have a hard time distinguishing organic vegetables from non-organic on the vast amount of Farmer’s Markets you might want to consider to have those guys deliver your Yummies to you. Their website is in English an they are just GREAT. A bit on the pricey side but you know what you get. You can also visit their farm and they will open up a Restaurant on June 13th, 2016.
BIO/ ORGANIC Farmer’s Market – For a perfect Saturday, walk over to Príncipe Real Park in Lisboa. I love this area. So much to do and explore. Perfect with and for children as there is a playground in the park and they do have coffee and breakfast there too!
3 THUMBS up!
From 9am to 3pm, fresh fruits and vegetables, hand-made olive oils, jellies, breads, etc., are for sale at the far end of the tree-lined park. Sit on the benches afterwards and enjoy the lovely neighborhood feeling… and don’t forget to buy a straw bag to carry your goodies home again!
Click the link above for further markets. The above one is my favorite.
This is the question we often hear from Portuguese folks. Well let me tell you why.
Since our move from Santa Cruz, California to Lisbon, Portugal I have not found any motivation to write about our move. While my husband has been writing away (you can read his blog posts here) I have decided to wait until I found a moment feeling inclined to write.
Partially it is because we have experienced one hundred thousand and ten things in 10 month and partially it is because I would like to write in detail what our experience was like. Good and Bad.
Here we go:
Why did we decide to move?
Well….this question is not hard to answer at all. My life has nothing else been BUT a move.
A move from either a house to another. From one apartment to another. From one city to another. From one country to another.
It all started very early and at here I need to point the finger at my mum. I have a mum “on the go” and there is nothing, which excites her more than the slight possibility of a move or the visit of a new city or country. She is a Lady who enjoys new environments and feeds her soul of these wonderful new experiences when you get into a new city or house. I’m nothing less than this Lady.
There are possibilities, you know! There is a new wall, which needs new decoration. There is new entrance, which can be lined with flower pots. There is a new city which can be discovered step by step. Train by Train. There is this distinct new smell of something different when you walk out the front door or when you open your window to the new view. It is hard to convince or explain this sensation when one is not inclined to experience new sights or enjoys to fully inhale this new smell.
With every move I have done in my life I found new challenges to overcome. One would think that challenges are not always needed. And this is true. But there is something else what happens in your brain when you encounter a new country or a new language. My whole body seems to light up and feels alive. Always a bit more than the last time. I sometimes explain my urge to move like an addiction without the necessity of drugs.
I have a theory that I was never inclined to do drugs like alcohol in excessive amounts or drugs of any sorts because my life was too busy to get adjusted to a new situation. I had no time to “hang out” and do drugs.
Anyway…I’m getting of the question a little bit here. Well there is just so much to talk about. Anyway.
We have two kids. At the time of writing they are aged 12 and 5. At the time of the move they were 11 and 4. Max was finishing up 6th grade in California. Sasha was still in a fantastic preschool.
This was the time to move. Max was still in an age where he could have one more change before the teenage years started. I did not want to have the same experience for I had when my parents moved from Germany to Switzerland at the age of 14. Now at the age of 40 I’m not saying that it was a bad move but it REALLY hurt at the age of 14. You are starting to build your own life. It felt like I got ripped out of my circle of friends and Switzerland was not a piece of cake at that age.
So for me it was clear that I would not do this to Max or Sasha.
Max needing to change to Junior High after 6th grade was the point of now or never.
The school system seriously sucks in the California and maybe even the entire United States (I could write a whole post about that too as we have done a lot of comparison in schools systems. Yikes). Another big decision point why we wanted to move. We could not afford private school in California as the price tag comes at 1700-2000 Dollars per child. Haha. How much more should we work in our two corporate jobs we had in order to pay this amount per month. Take some side jobs so we wouldn’t see our children at all anymore. Sick! Sasha’s daycare was already 1200 per month, which is a normal sum for daycare in California. Again, this daycare was amazing! I could write another post here too as this farm-like upbringing every child should experience.
Anyhow. Our monthly costs were almost exceeding our income and we were working like dogs. Let’s not even start talking about the vacation time we did not have.
A decision needed to be made. Kids were included in the decision process as this was not a trivial move. Max, as always, could not wait to step into this airplane to go to Europe. He is VERY much a habit person. Don’t you move his animal, flower, toy or even think about discarding this old, filthy smelling T-Shirt which he outgrew 2 years ago. He did not like to loose any of what was dear to him BUT he is a mover. He enjoys traveling, he gets a kick out of moving and he loves to see new environments. Really strange but I could go out and steal horses with my son. I so love him for his excitement of traveling and moving. I guess no wonder given my history.
Sasha was surely to little to comprehend what a move like this meant.
Knowing very little about Portugal (visited it once for a week 6 month before we moved) I was still concerned about Max getting adapted. New country, new language and new everything.
Sasha, I thought, would adapt really fast. It was exactly the opposite. It took Sasha 8 month to be okay. Every morning she would cry. She wanted her “brown house” back. She wanted to see her friend Amelia who lived down the road. Little did we knew HOW much she loved her environment. Heartbraking. It all got better after 8 month.
And then there were these corporate jobs. I worked for IntraLinks, which was a remote job position. So I worked from home. I had the best boss and team on earth. The best job experience I could have wished for given the fact that working in a corporate environment can make you feel just like another number. Not this one. As far as it goes for corporate job this job was as good as it gets compared to any other one I had before. It was certainly VERY stressful at times but I would always return if need would be.
My heart was longing for this opportunity to show my children the world. To make them understand that there is so much more to life than working your ass off to make a living. To show them that we, as parents, can make choices. The choice to not be in this, very well-known, Hamster wheel you get plugged in. Schwuppsdiwupps.
Sleep, Work, Weekend. Sleep, work, weekend. Sleep, Work, Weekend. Oh wait, there was a Holiday. Yeah. A long weekend.
40 years later. DEATH.
I also was craving my creative side again. Luckily I have the best partner in the world. This man is one amazing human being, which entered my life in 2009. He is Alaskan. He acts like one too (means: He is a real MAN. He stands to his words. He loves like a man. I can let myself fall and NOT be superwoman all the time. No bullshit. No therapy is necessary. No freaking thinking “When the children are 18 I’m out of this relationship”. Just straight forward honesty and love. Life is difficult enough, right? J ) I love him to pieces and without him it would be either impossible or soooo much harder to follow through with the above. I would have done it no matter what but how lucky am I to have him by my side.
So he has currently a remote corporate job working for a company in Florida. But wait! This wasn’t all that easy to get to the point we are now.
I will write more later. Now it is Saturday. Coffee time and Sasha time as Max is having a sleep over at a friend’s house after a Dance party yesterday and before a big Birthday party. This Dude is enjoying life, like never before and he does not want to move back to California!
Happy Saturday everybody!
P.s. If I’m writing a in a funky English…it is because I’m having to many languages in my head, no coffee yet and I’m writing as my heart goes. I might correct mistakes later. You can look for corrections then J