Friday, 9 December 2016

Dezembro is here, but the summer too :)

Yesterday it was two months I am in Lisbon.
I feel like I have been here for quite a long time: I already have my friends, my routine, many goals set for the months to come. The weather is still treating us well - it reaches 20 degrees out quite often on the sunny days!
And Christmas is coming up; my family will visit me here, so I won’t get to go back home - which is a little strange - I was kind of hoping to get to see my friends again, but they will eventually be here soon.
Work at Check-in is also going well; I am working on making a new website together with Virgilio, who is doing the writing and coding - which is something I had never undertaken before and that I really hope will work out how we want. The whole re-branding of the association’s image needs to be done and we are working on it, but it’s a process that needs some time: with Flavio, a volunteer who is studying marketing we are going to re-think the whole image and concept and try to draw new designs on it. It’s a big process and very challenging.
Also, we are thinking of new activities for the year to come, on a local level. We have a whole lot of ideas for what could happen in Checkin - also aced the question on Facebook to our “likers” and are hoping to get some feedback we can base the programming for 2017 on.
On Nov 26th we also had our first open day, which went pretty well: we had organised an afternoon of games and sharing of experiences by the people who took part to projects all over Europe through checkin, and we finished with a german aperitif and an italian dinner! Many new and old people showed up and it was a good chance for me and Antoine and Federica to meet the extended Checkin-crew and understand better what the association does.

Lisbon's Pastelarias in Christmas attire

Lisbon still has many good things to offer; the last month I visited the Oriente Foundation Museum, which displays a big collection of artefacts from Asia (mainly from ex - portuguese - colonies and the countries Portugal used to have commercial relationships during the big Navigator’s times) and has now an exhibition up about Chinese Opera; I also visited the Museu National do Azulejo, which is a good one. The building in which the museum is situated is already worth the visit itself; an old monastery with beautiful gardens and rooms covered in baroque azulejos, it displays a collection of azulejos that goes from their first appearance in Portugal - about 1000 years ago - until nowadays. I heard live fado for the first time, in a small Tasca in Bairro alto - Tasca do Chico - which i was not crazy about though; there was mainly tourists coming in and out of the place and everything seemed quite staged; really like the singers were tang the same turns every night; which took a bit of the charm out of the place. 
Garden of the Museu do Azulejo
Festival Imigrarte also took place a couple of weeks ago, which was amazing: 3 days of workshops and shows of all types, run by the different migrant communities present in Lisbon: I took part to an african dances workshop and a salsa one, a drawing class, a forum theater representation by a feminist group, and listened to amazing concerts by musicians who were playing music from Sao Tomé, Nepal, Portugal, Brasil; Argentina…there was such a good energy! The location where the festival took place was also very beautiful; it’s in an old school in the city center of Lisbon, a neoclassical run-down building on 4 floors, very charming.. it was also super moon that weekend so from the top you could see the most amazing moon. The location is going to be turned in a luxury hotel though very soon; it is very sad to see how mass tourism is transforming the city at such a quick pass, not in a good way to me.
 performance-watching at Imigrarte festival
Talking of that, tonight there will be the screening of a documentary, “Terramoturism”, that i am going to watch, in order to have some more insight on what is happening in Lisbon, when it comes to gentrification and un-sustainable tourism. I guess a small part of me is already thinking of staying in Lisbon after EVS and I already feel weirdly involved - like if I was in an actual relationship with this city :) ; I’d like to understand her and contribute to the discussion that is taking place, here and now, to contribute to making a positive change and minimalize as much as we can the damage they mass tourism might bring to this capital.

It’s lunch break now! time to catch some sun outside of the office… beijinos!

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