Category Archives: Olympics

Life in a nutshell

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Today was Laura’s first day at the new nursery – just an hour as part of the settle in sessions. It wasn’t too bad, but she didn’t want to play with the kids, she didn’t want to go to the garden, she wanted to be where her eyes good see me. Fair enough, I would love to have a familiar face very close to me every time I start a new job.

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Sunday we all went to central London to celebrate the birthday of one of Laura’s friend from the old nursery (which reminds me that I have to write to the girl’s mother). It was next door to the nursery and 2 minutes walking from work. We went by train, which proved to be an adventure. Picture this: a pram with a 3 week old breastfed baby, a 3 years old toddler that wants to be with her mum all the time, grandparents that are not familiar with London – one of them doesn’t speak a single word of English. We should have a train from where I live straight to Waterloo, but the train was cancelled. I thought we could change at London Bridge and catch a train to Charing X, but all trains were cancelled from London Bridge, so we had to go to Canon Street (cross the bridge) and then catch another train to Charing Cross (cross the same bridge going back). On a Sunday. A sunny Sunday. The Coronation Sunday. (*)

(*) If you are not from London or UK or don’t know the city, you probably don’t have a clue about what I’m writing here. Trust me: not as bad as it sounds, but not the best of the journeys either.

We got there fine, we allowed plenty of time for this trip. The birthday was at Nando’s, at 2pm – I honestly thought that it was going to be a birthday celebration, so we had lunch before (Laura eats at 12) and the plan was to leave at 4pm. The birthday girl and guests arrived late and they were all going to order food, so the cake and happy birthday only came around 4pm. We left after 5pm and got home just after 7pm (the train to my house would have taken 40 minutes if things were working). Honestly? It was a great day. Laura had so much fun, Bea behaved like an angel, it was sunny and nice. Oh, and daddy had some me-time on his own at home and we managed to watch the game Brazil vs England.

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Speaking of (football – soccer if you are American) games, I know I always say that, but watching Brazilian matches just make me sick. Don’t get me wrong, I support my country, but I suffer so much that I get sick. I feel like after every match I am a year older. So you can imagine how many years “I lose” during the world cup, eh? The match on Sunday was a friendly, but I was so nervous and so annoyed. The team was playing well (especially compared to previous matches) but it just seemed like the English goal was sealed. And of course, the team doesn’t need to play a beautiful and brilliant football to score and England managed to score twice even though playing not as good as Brazil.

Despite trying to support England in any competition, I still cannot support them over Brazil, sorry. We should consider ourselves lucky to be able to cheer four different nations in our house: Romania, Brazil, England (GB) and Portugal. But maybe we should try to get other citizenships to increase our chances in the World Cup and Olympics.

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I can’t believe Bea is nearly a month old. She is soooooo sweet and I can’t believe how peaceful she is despite the craziness going around the house (I mean all the noises, so many people, loud TV, bright lights, etc). Second children/youngest siblings are warriors. And I might write a post about it in a near future.

She’s been trying to lift her head (she can, for a few seconds), she is rehearsing some smiles, the adorable baby noises are more frequent, her funny facial expressions are cuter by the day, she is losing her hair, she sleeps more than Laura used to but gets very cranky and cries a lot after 5pm (like Laura used to), she loves her bath, she doesn’t complain when she has a dirty nappy and she loves car rides.

Yes, I know, it is too soon to describe her “personality” like this, things can and will change, especially during the first three months, when she is still finding her way outside the womb. But I love to see all these changes and try to predict how she is going to be.

She makes some very weird noises too, some of them remind me of little dinosaurs from Jurassic Park (the first film). I don’t sleep that well at night because of these noises, I keep wondering if she is alright, or if it’s really her (and not a little dinosaur in our room). I don’t remember Laura making weird noises at all.

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My birthday is coming and I’m still not sure if I should celebrante it or not. Here is the thing: in this country, you need to send an invitation one or two months before, so people can put the date in the diary. But then, if you want to have something outdoors, you need to wait to see how the weather is going to be. I would like to have some sort of picnic in the garden, something simple and informal, but what if it rains? Picnic in the living room? Hmmm, maybe.

By the way, if you are wondering, the date is 22nd June, a Saturday. ūüôā

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I’m working on a to do list of things I need to sort while on maternity leave. The list is HUGE! So far, I haven’t been able to tick many items, but I’m hoping that in the next months I can say that I’ve done more than just being a mother (between you and me, I think that being a mother is more than enough and this is why I am on MATERNITY leave for, right? now try and convince my brain and husband about it…)

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To celebrate the Queen’s coronation, a range of stamps were launched and apparently only a few households in the UK will get the chance to buy a collector’s card featuring the stamps (50,000 units are available, the brochure says).

I don’t collect stamps, I don’t collect merchandise of the Royal family, but I got my sample, just so I don’t regret it in the future.

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Life in pictures:

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Olympics wrap up

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And the Olympics are over and we have a little pause until the Paralympics start. Here are the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, in my humble – and very personal – opinion (*):

The Good:

London as the host city did an excellent job. There was very little or no disruption to day-to-day, despite the warning that public transport might collapse. A lot of money was invested, many people was against it, but in the end we were all happy to be part of it. 10 out or 10.

Team GB did a fantastic job and collected a record breaking number of medals. Well done to all athletes, you made your country proud. 10 out of 10.

The Brazilian athletes that got a medal, whichever colour they are. It is hard to compete with the biggies – USA and China are just invincible. Team GB proved that with a lot of dedication, training and shit loads of money, you can build an amazing army of athletes. We got more medals than in Pequim. We missed some important medals, got some unexpected ones. And we hope for more in 2016.

The Brazilian Women’s handball team didn’t get a medal, but deserved one. They played beautifully and were so close. For me, this was one of the big medal miss for our country. I’m pretty sure we will see this team shining in 2016.

The Bad:

BBC commentators were a bit of a pain in the neck at some of the matches. You could clearly see that they had no experience in commenting volleyball for example. Best games were late in the evening, when there was no commentators (unless Team GB was playing).

Brazil vs Mexico match was painful to watch. Mexico did well, congratulations for the gold medal. But we were all expecting if not the Gold medal, at least a hell of a fight between the two. The biggest frustration come from the fact that most of the Brazilian players are more popstars than actual football lovers. Some of the guys earn more than a whole football team and you expect nothing less than a fantastic match.

The Badminton teams that played badly on purpose not to get stronger teams in the next match. They blamed the new rules, but hey, this is not how you fight the rules! If you are competing, you have to COMPETE – compete is more than just play. And I don’t get the story is avoiding to get stronger¬†opponents to be honest.

The Ugly:

The Brazilian press was irritating with their unfortunate comments. Words like disappointing, fail, frustrated were always present when talking about our athletes. It was upsetting and sometimes very unfair. We expect the¬†athletes¬†to give their best, to play with passion, to do what they know best. The medal is not only down to them. To say that they disappointed the nation is a big BS and also unfair with the opponent. What is the problem in losing to someone that was better than you in the game? I know this is not an exclusive issue of the Brazilian press because the BBC did the same with their sailing team, who won “only” a Silver medal.

(*) Based on what I’ve seen, of course

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I watched two games in loco: bronze medal for both women’s volleyball (Japan vs South Korea) and men’s handball (Hungary vs Croatia).

The volleyball was in Earl’s Court. The venue is quite old but received a make over to host the volleyball matches. There were some empty seats, which annoyed me, as it was impossible to buy tickets online to some of the matches. So here is the background: the Brazilian team lost by 3 x 0 to South Korea, but defeated the Japanese by the same score. The Brazilians took the Gold. What do you conclude? That Korea will beat Japan. Errr, not really. I have no idea what happened, but Korea didn’t manage to win one set. Ok, they didn’t give the match away, but still… The supporters were a bit too quiet for my liking, but I don’t know if there were many supporters in the stadium anyway.

The handball match was in the Olympic Park and I loved being there. Hungarians were majority in the audience, with some Croatians and very few “rest of the world”. I was (trying to) support Hungary – they were very¬†passionate, agile, and played a fun fast paced game. The Croatians preferred to think, study the other team, take their time. Also, I was annoyed by all the pauses in the game. Loads of fouls, wet floor, etc. When you watch on TV, these breaks are masked by replays, so you don’t feel them. ¬†Other than that, it was a good game, with Croatia winning.

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The medals of Brazil (from http://www.london2012.com website), comments are mine:

Sport
Gold
Silver
Bronze
Total
3 5 9 17
Beach Volleyball (I had high hopes here) 0 1 1 2  
Boxing (That was a surprise for me) 0 1 2 3  
Football (I was frustrated, was expecting gold) 0 1 0 1  
Gymnastics РArtistic (YEY, loved this) 1 0 0 1  
Judo (Well done for the medal, that’s brilliant!) 1 0 3 4 ¬†
Modern Pentathlon (That was another surprise, last day gift) 0 0 1 1  
Sailing (The guys are gold despite the bronze) 0 0 1 1  
Swimming (our boys are better than the medals they got) 0 1 1 2  
Volleyball (our girls converted frustration into power and the boys were great but it wasn’t their gold) 1 1 0 2

I hope our athletes get support for the Olympics in 2016 – they are more than capable of competing with the big guys!

Nothing special

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…for you, maybe.

On Friday one of my work colleagues (and partner in gossip) is leaving. She decided to go to Australia for a year. I am so jealous – Australia has always been part of my dreams since I was quite young. I’m happy for her, but sad for me as I’m going to be on my own for a month, until I have a new boss. Lose a friend, win a boss. Good deal?

We finally decided on a nursery for Laura. It’s very close to my work (in fact I can see it from my window). It’s spacious and bright and kids seem to be happy. Pros: 1) being close to work I can be there in 5 minutes to collect her if needed. I have more flexibility at work – before I had to leave work at 4pm to make sure I got at the nursery on time. Now I can leave work at 4pm to get home early and spend more time with her; or stay a little longer at work in case an urgent meeting comes up. 2) she will have loads os little friends to play with – including a 1/2 Brazilian boy. 3) no more daily cooking. Cons: 1) it’s close to MY work, not Mr. C’s – we will have to pre-arrange if I have an external meeting. 2) No more working from home – no point if I have to take her to the nursery near work. 3) no more late mornings in bed on weekend – grandparents leaving in less than a month.

Hmmmmm… And those are the major things going on in my life outside the routine. Boring, eh? Not really if you think Laura wakes me up every day whispering “mummy” and kissing and hugging me. And she loves to dance and play and go out and draw and run. It’s all part of my life and keeps me very busy.

Olympics: I’m trying to follow the games, but some of them are too late. And sometimes I get bored – I can’t watch football anymore, after the overdose of volleyball and handball.

A little (boring) reflection on the Olympics

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Sorry, until the Olympics games are over, this might be a recurring topic here.

Watching the Brazilian athletes playing drives me crazy, makes me nervous, sometimes angry and frustrated, sometimes proud. Yes, we played some really bad games and, in the heat of the moment, we tend to blame the athletes for not giving their best.

After watching several games – not only the ones Brazil is playing – here are some of my thoughts:

* Athletes are extremely capable people. They do things that normal people wouldn’t dream of doing. But they are not super heroes. They are human and humans do fail.

* Every competition has a winner and a loser – nobody likes to lose, but it has to happen. Unfortunately we lost quite a lot of games…

* Four years ago, when the Brazilian team won Gold for women’s volleyball, I read an interview with their coach saying that when he decided to move from men’s to women’s volleyball, the Russian coach told him “good luck, it’s going to the hardest work ever. Women are really hard to work with”. He was talking about all the mood swings, PSM, being so emotional, etc. Yes, our volleyball team is like that – very unstable. BUT if this is something to do with women’s team, all teams should be the same and have their bad moments, right? So why blame our team for being so unstable? I don’t have an explanation for why the team made so many mistakes against Korea yesterday. I don’t understand why we lost by 3 sets to 0. One thing nobody talks about: why can we just admit that Korea (and USA and whatever other team we play against) simply played better than us? It doesn’t mean we aren’t capable, but it justifies why we didn’t win and gives the credits to the winners. The Korean girls played beautifully! Well done them. And well done all other athletes we played against and lost to, and well done all our athletes that won – and those who got very close but didn’t get it. At least they try and they try hard.

* What about the gymnasts? The first time in I don’t know how many Olympics that our team doesn’t go to the finals. Daiane dos Santos, Danielle Hypolito, Diego Hipolito, where were you? If you followed the Olympics, you will agree that against the USA team (OMG, they are AMAZING!!!) and Russia and Romania is impossible to compete. They are fantastic, they deserve the medals. I thought our presentations were good, but quite conservative compared to the¬†opponents. But the question that keeps buzzing my head is: why so many primary mistakes? They proved they are capable, because these guys have won medals in World Championships. They are good, they know that, we know that. So what the heck happens in the presentations? Honestly, I have no clue, but my guess is the nerves. There are people that simply panic in certain situations. World Championship seems to be no big deal, but the Olympics are. They panic, they freeze, they commit basic errors. I would do that. That’s why I don’t compete in the Olympics. But I don’t blame them for trying – it’s a little bit¬†embarrassing to watch, but isn’t sports all about competing and good sports and all this? How about the errors of the other competitors? The Americans also had some errors. The Russians? The Chinese?? The Chinese were also out!

* Is it human “nature” to be so critical and tough with others? (well, it can’t be natural, but just wondering if this is across the board) Is this part of the Western culture? Or just the Brazilians (or maybe Latin people) are that mean? So, if we do something wrong at work, should we be “humiliated” by our bosses and colleagues? Do we deserve being called cowards?

* I’m watching Brazil vs USA on men’s volleyball. It’s an amazing match and Brazil is winning. I’m wondering if the Americans are calling their team “idiots”, “lazy”, “unstable”… I think both teams are playing very well.

* I do support my country¬†unconditionally, but I also like to watch good and exciting matches. We don’t have a men’s team for handball but I really enjoy watching the games – some are just beautiful to watch.

* For the records: I still suffer like hell when Brazil doesn’t play well and loses a match.

 

The Olympics, Euromillions & I

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As you all can imagine, London is bubbly these days. It’s amazing what the Olympics can bring to the spirit of the town. Yes, yes, the whole country is happy happy joy joy, but there’s something special about London.

Like it or not, London is a special place. Full stop. When the sun is shining and the Olympics are on, boy, it just take “special” to another level. There is no place I would like to be more than being here.

I haven’t been to the games yet, but have been watching some. I like watching random sports of random teams. Handball match between Spain and someone else I can’t remember, hockey between Belgium and Holland, basketball between Argentina and i can’t remember… For me it’s not about the teams, but the sports per se. So much that sometimes all my brain registers is “the team in blue vs the team in red”.

Then there are the Team Brazil games. I really suffer when these are on – beach volley and volley ball being my favourite. I feel pain on my chest with anxiety.

And there are the team of the heart: Romania and team GB. I’m glad they are both competing in the gymnastics. Team GB with great chances to win some gold medals and make the country happy.

And then there are the athelets that simply know their thing, like Federer for Switzerland, Bolt for Jamaica (how not support Jamaican athelets?), a bunch of Americans and Chinese – great in so many categories.

I’m loving the whole Olympics mood and I wish itnwould hang around for longer.

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On a sad note: I’m not one of the euromillion winners. ūüė¶

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I met a lady from Ghana on Friday that inspired me. She is learning to swim and next in her list is learn to drive. She is my age. I don’t know if she work and/or have kids, but that’s not the point. We have to make time to tick the items in our to do list. So watch this space!

Olympics, here we go

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Our tickets arrived last week!

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I don’t know if it happens in all countries, but I was pleasantly surprised that the transport is included – zones 1 to 9, so even if you leave fr far away, you won’t need to pay for your train/tube/bus/tram. Very handy.

We are going to watch a match of handball and volleyball in August.

Life: quick updates

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London 2012, here we go!

So, we got tickets to watch the match for bronze medals for both female volleyball (I hope it won’t be to see Brazil, because they are supposed to fight for gold, as per last Olympics) and male handball (Mr. C and I are both fans of the game, but our teams suck at it). I’ve checked the list and honestly there isn’t much I would like to watch – apart from Gymnastics, I don’t care that much about the rest. Ok, it would be great to watch all volleyball finals – including beach volley, nice to go to a basketball match, and football and tennis are only worth it for me if it is against two biggies. These are all sold out.

So, 11 and 12 of August next year we are off to see some action.

Beep Beep

So we have a new car. Big, beautiful, black. The joke in the house is that it is my “birthday” present, but 1) it’s on Mr. C’s name because I wasn’t here to sign the papers, 2) I’m not insured to drive it yet, 3) I can’t drive a big car. So little Micra is still my car.

After driving for so many year our tiny old car, being in the back seat of the “new” (it’s used) Skoda Octavia feels like I have my own private minicab with driver. Not bad at all; I just need to win the lottery now.

Not ready yet

I went to work today, for 1/2 day. It was good and strange at the same time. Good to go to central London without a pushchair, not to worry about seats or a crying baby, walk at my own pace, etc. But I don’t feel ready to go back to work. 13 months went by too fast and I feel I didn’t have enough time to do stuff – stay with Laura and watch her developments, decorate the house, enjoy the sunshine. I’m also not ready for all the stress that a full time job beings with it. At least my bosses (yes, I have two now) seem nice – my old team of 6 is now a team of 11 and out of those, I only know one person and my replacement. Despite scared, I’m also excited to be part of the new team and see what the rest of 2011 brings to me.

Let’s talk about the weather

I had a great time in Brazil – the weather was AMAZING compared to this British summer. Temperatures there were around 25C, sunny and hot; we even managed to go to the beach and sleep with the fan on a couple of nights. Speaking of nights, one thing I simply adore about warm nights is that I can wear sleeveless t-shirts in the evening. And I did almost every single day. Back to the UK, I’m wearing socks and long sleeves to cope with the cold. Not that it is that cold, but the wind and rain don’t help. Forecast say that we will have a warm weekend with temperatures between 25C and 30C during the day. Let’s wait and see.

Happy birthday to me

Yes, it was my birthday on Wednesday. I was exhausted, jet legged and all I wanted was to sleep. I’m still tired and will still be for a long long time, so no cakes or celebrations. But my mum is here and it’s always good to have family around on these occasions.

Plans

Since mum is here, we will do some work in the garden and the house. Little projects, nothing to break the bank or our backs, but enough to keep us busy and happy to see some progress around.

Photos

I can’t find my camera. I can’t find my Oyster card. Yuks.