We spent 7 days in Antuerp. My sister was graduating from her studies, and we just ough to be there. First of all I booked the tickets three weeks in advance, and I secure relatively cheap ones on Ryanair, to Charlorei - a town about 1h120 from Brussels, and about 2h from Antuerp. From Charleroi you take the train.

Two days previous the trip, I check the booking, to do the online check-in. To my own horror, I had booket ticket to Oslo from Charleroi!
Whan I try to understand, the computer reservers your last purchase, and next time you access the website, you have to be extra attentiou and change that more than once!
Last time I bought my sister her tickets to us…

Now what? Well, nothing more than getting new tickets. And of course, they're now more than double so expensive. But well, mistakes will cost you a lot, they say. In this case it was only the money. Imagine if I had gone to the airport, and only there realised that I had a wrong booking? If I could not be able to attend the grad ceremony?

So, I had to put it together (have I said how much I dislike spending money?, and paid for new tickets.

This time our trip went quite well. Except from the fact that the plane was delayed, as they could not start the machine that controls the boarding passes! Amazed at how technology sometimes tricks a whole system? Me too! Always.

Antuerp was imponent as always. But again in a sort of a negative way. I can not stop seeing the traces of African diamonts, most of them illigally obtained. One more time I had myself thinking, wondering, asking what is so amazing about diamonds that can define the world. The fact that I had recently watched "Blood Diamond" again made it certainly a more vivid occasion for questioning. I find, and have said it before, this to be a sick world, based on wrong pillars. How can stones, as brilliang as they can be, determine peace and war, richness and poverty, ignorance and access to education, lack of basic resources or the opposite? Aren't diamonds just beautiful and shinning material?
beware, I am not saying they are not beautiful and atractive. I am saying it is awkward for me that they have so much power in this world.
Of course, this made me think of my own country… Will Mozambique survive these challenges? Why?

Back to Anwerp, I had not realised before how many mosquitoes there are there. Maybe they all came out because it was raining a lot… I don't know, but my poor daughter god a lot of bites. I had to get her a relieving lotion!

We had fun, we ate out, we even went shopping in town. Yes, I don't possess the patience it takes to shop, but I suddenly realised it was summer sales season, and that clothes are much cheaper than back in Norway. We got a lot of children's clothes, and some itens for myself.

When time came, we travelled back home, and again Ryanair was a story of itself. But I am considering writing a specific post on them - and the cheap flyght companies in general!

But back to Antuerp, it is funny to realise that I may not visit it again. The reason why I went there in the first moment was my sister. Now that she's going back home, I see no special reason to visit, unless, of course, I land a gig there! :)

Summer in, Girls out

So… this is the Summer, a few weeks have gone through, and I avoid thinking of the weeks ahead. Why? Simply because it has been raining cats and dogs more than 75% of the summer so far. Now tell me, where will I enjoy the sunny delicious lazy outdoor days?

I have, nevertheless been kind of active.

Girls out night:

I have a Norwegian friend. She might be my only Norwegian friend. I have explained before that I do find Norwegian people in general difficult to open up to friendship, at least to people who do not resemble them. I have done trying hard.

My friend and I are two busy people. She is busier working outside home than I; you see, she is a light technician, and works a lot in creative - and touring - projects. 

So when one day she texted me inviting me to a sort of a festival night, and since I was child free, I immediately accepted. You see, I had never been out with her, in a night adventure.

We met at a restaurant close to my old apartment, and after some food, we headed to "Cafe Mir" together with another friend of her, that I have met some years ago.

Cafe Mir was packed. With a crowd that we could say is not the one I am used to. It kinda reminded me of my times of music student, with free spirits, creators, art lovers, a few supporting parents… a wide audience, but united by the eagerness to listen with respect. I felt merging into the crowd, expectant and free, free to testify a different artistic experience, to just be another arts student, another aspiring soul, another one bitting the dust if you like.

We ordered one beer each, and accommodated ourselves as best as we managed. 
We first watched this presentation by a dancer, combined movement with words. A beautiful one woman production, that should be given the opportunity to live longer, and reach bigger venues to bigger audiences.

Then there were to acts by two gitarrists, both improvising, and playing beautifully. I felt peace and calmness. Amidst the chaotic world there were still people who did art for the sake of it. Younger people who can afford to be just free and work.
I wanted to shout to them all that they should just keep ding what the loved, with the same passion!

During the breaks, my friends and I were chit chatting. Småting - as they say in Norwegian. And having one more beer. And the head started to go in circles. I started to become lighter, and the tongue got an inch more free. We were telling stories and laughing, having a good time.

I had to sit down. I found a chair close to my friends, and threw myself on it. An older lady explained me that she was the mother of one of the evening protagonists. She was so proud of her daughters work that she could not stop talking about her. To the point that I asked myself if whether she was really proud, or if she was actually trying to convince her own self of the value of her daughter's choices. We all know that it is often difficult for parents to accept certain realities, and then they choose to protect them - in front of the world - when deep inside they suffer.
Well, I said to my own self, let the woman be - cada um com os seus problemas (2), actually why should you always see problems everywhere?

Suddenly, after she had talked to me for about 20min, she starts focusing on me. It was too good to be true, that I would just have a "normal" conversation with the lady. She asks me:

- So, you… where are your parents from? I assume you are Norwegian.
- Actually I am not Norwegian, I am from somewhere in Africa.
- … Do you understand me? - Forstår du meg? (3)
- oh, yes, I understand you, I am not so drunk. You just go ahead! (Hahahaha)

That was so awkward that I just had to get up and meet my friends and laugh about it! How come that lady asked me if I understood her the moment I told her I was not Norwegian, waaaay after we had started the conversation? That was so hilarious, we laughed and laughed and laughed. And by the way, I am smiling now as I remember the scene! Hahahaha!!!

Well, after a while, I decided to leave my companion and head home. It was a warm summer night. People laughing, talking loud, the boys selling hashish along the river, a certain chaos in town, and yet, peace in the heart…

I was so grateful I had finally managed to go out in the night with my friend and her friend, after having known her for 5 years! I realized one more time that she is a wonderful fun person I like to be around.

I came home, and with that peace in my heart I went to bed happy for thet evening.

1. Småting - pettiness - Norwegian
2. Each one with their issues - Portuguese
3. Do you understand me? - Norwegian


here, there, here, there?

So, days go by, time flies, and you are still guided by the same star. Your soul wants to be somewhere else than where you are. Everything you do, you plan, you wish for, you see for your self takes you there. or is there already.
It could become a nightmare. 
I concentrate on the now, enjoyment and fullfilment of Life in the now.
Everymorning I give thanks for the present stage of my Life; I practise my piano, continue the journey of learning more by my self. I repreat, repeat and repeat. Now I also play along. But most of it, I listen, for it is the prints in the mind that will be understood.

I read a relaxed book.

And entertain my daughter. We play, we learn, we talk, we argue, we laugh and then I rest.
We cook, dare more in the kitchen, even if just for the two of us. It does not matter. We will have the best out of this life of ours.

Days pass so quickly. Sometimes we go out for a walk, to meet friends, or just to play outdoors.

When the day is over, we give thanks for each other, I read a bit more, watch some tv, and go to bed. And so I fly away to that secret place I am longing for!!!!!


Strike in the North

It’s been a long time since I last shared my readings of this city where I live.

I have once again restarted my life. Dreams have turned into reality, and reality has also turned into dreams.
I have no idea of how to structurate this post. I am nnot sure of how much I should write this time, and still give you as much as I want to transmite.

But, let u stry with now, right now, and eventually I will come back to the recent past, and maybe to the several months I was silent here...

There is a strike in Norway.

This is not the first time Norway is hit by a strike. In my time here (almost 8 years), it has been at least twice that the negociations between employers and employees have taken longer to conclude, and employees have had to observe their right to strike.

However, this time it seems to be taking longer.

Allow me to share with you how and why this seems special before my eyes.
Unions have a strong presence in laboral Norway. Sometimes I even wonder if not too strong a presence – too much power, or not a party-allied position.

However, every abril-may unions and employers revise their relationship. I my eyes, they review salaries. And like I said before, it may take short or long to come into an agreement.

The point is, when there is no agreement, unions call for a strike. Now, this is where I find it interesting. I admit that I dont know how it works in other countries than those I am related to. But in Norway, unions call for a gradual strike.

So, during the first days you may choose to ignore the consequences of the strike. I mean, in the first week, I saw some owrkers at Universitie, having a coffe, and distributing flyers where they explain the reasons of their strike. I mean, very few have even stopped to get a flyer. You may ask why I was interested... I will tell you straight, I have my left wing inspiration, and a deep respect for working people who fight for what they mean is fair (which can be relative).

As I was saying, some people were out striking. Some kinder out in some small towns were closed, and as I said, it was kinda far away from the majority, at least in Oslo.

After some days, some of the unions reached an agreement with their employers, and those workers were back to work.

The Unions that are still on strike, however, are taking more people to th strike.
So today we had the following picture:

-       less security for transport services (hahaha people can officially snick in, anyway the control service has been bad for the past 5 years)

-       less police in the streets (ask the Ministry of foreign affairs when they had Hillary Clinton visiting last weekend)

-       less cleaning personal – so for once Oslo has become one stinking town. Ok, still at European standards, but it is not fun

-       Newspaper report that some health services are down

-       And from today more kindergartens are being closed. Including the one my daughter attends. The closing is gradual, and therefore she can still be there between 10 and 14. But hey, imagine those parents working 08.00 – 16.00!

I find it very interesting! So actually the country can stop! So actually politicians, policy makers and employers can understand the importance of the working class!
I know that they will eventually reach an agreement. In a way it even feels as if they are just playing their parts. Soon they will shake hands, and the newspapers will tell us that ”så mye har du å slåss bort i år” (You have got so much $$ to mess with, this year”)...

I am just glad I am already on vacations from Uni, and I can spend my days with my girl.

But I must confess, I would like to see this strike go on for at least two more weeks.


How do you pick up the pieces of your life after a terror attack?

I just came back from Antwerp today. I hold my child's hand, as we get out of the train station. We're singing.
Suddenly I se them, three, four, five policemen. She gets so excited "mummy look, policemen!!!". My heart shrinks so suddenly, so fast, I loose the balance. I look around, and I see two, three police vans, and from one of them about 8, 10 policemen getting of. all full dressed, including protection masks and bastons, or sticks, as you please.

I start crying, holding tighter my child's hand. What can have happened now???

I get approach the closest policemen group and ask to one of them:
- Has anything happen?
I read his face, as he looks restless, yet tired. I fear another young lives ripped away coldblooded. 
- Yes… there has been a manifestation.
- Oh! - I breath very deep. - I was so afraid.

I resume my walk, still holding my child very tight, and can't stop two things:
1 - the tears and the thought of imagining how Life is fragile, and how I can not secure my little girl a safer world, and how vulnerable kids wherever are, to my dismay.
2 - How differently the policeman and I see things: while he's restless because of a manifestation (we're talking a manifestation in Norway), I just take the same manifestation as citizens exercising their right to do just that, manifest. "Daaaa", I think, especially considering that if by any chance the manifestation got aggressive, all the police had to do was to go get their heaviest repression apparatus, like se saw in 2007.

I decide to read more about this manifestation. I know VG always has updated news especially about Oslo. To my disappointment, there's no reference whatsoever about this event on the main online newspapers…

I kiss my child in her cheek, and tell her to remember always that I love her.