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March 30, 2014

Blogging is hard

I have to admit that before I started doing it myself I used to think blogging was something easy, fun and fast. I couldn't believe when all these famous bloggers said: I'm sorry for the lack of posting, I had a busy week. When I read this I immediatly thought : Seriously, how hard it is to do a blog post with 2 or 3 pictures about the cool things in your life ? 


March 29, 2014

The little things #2

I decided to make this posts in a weekly basis, not because I had such a good response with the first one, but because I really enjoy looking back at my week and just being grateful for everything that has happened to me. I know sometimes a shitty day evolves to a shitty week and we just want to sit in front of the television watching Keeping up with the Kardashians (I have a love and hate relationship with them, don't judge me !) and eating ice cream. But although I do this sometimes, I also believe that we can always find a reason to be happy and grateful, even if it's as simple as getting excited because it's sunny outside or doing your nails. 


March 22, 2014

Loosely translated

When I decided that I was going to write a blog, one of the many questions that came to my mind was : In what language ? Now, to make things clear, I'm a brazilian, who studied english and traveled to the USA her whole life, who lived in France for 6 months and who has a spanish boyfriend with whom she speaks english (and sometimes portuguese) with. That's a mess ! 

Since I decided to make my blog public, one of the things that was holding me back from sharing it with my friends and family was the fact that it's in english (so silly, right ?). So, I thought it would be best to talk about why I chose to do it like this before people start to think that I hate my country and that I desperately want to live in the USA (I woould live there, but I'm also very grateful for my country and for all my friends and family that live close to me here). 

So, if you are interested, here are my reasons : 


March 12, 2014

The little things

In a world where instagram and facebook shows us what everybody has and where everybodody is going, it is difficult to appreciate what we have and where we are in the moment. Let's be real, guys, is hard to be happy about going to school everyday when you see Kim Kardashian posting pictures on instagram of her doing absolutely nothing the whole day. And that's nothing wrong with that, if she can do it, good for her ! (I wish I could stay all day on instagram just posting pictures of my shoes and bags, although even if I had the time I wouldn't be doing that.) 

Anyway, my point is that we should appreciate what we do have in our lives at the moment. And that's not about settling or not doing things to get a better life. Is about being happy with what you have so you can attract more happy and good things for your life. I'm a firm believer that positivity and happiness attracts more positivity and more happiness. 


Let's cross over : Cancun

First of all I need to say that the only reason I ended up there was because my mom didn't want me to stay six more months in France. And now you might be thinking : ooooh poor you, you were obliged to go to Cancun and to stay on white sand beaches sipping margaritas ! 
Believe me, I am not complaining about it ! I just wanted to explain that it was a family trip and that it was entirely and completely not planned (or paid) by me. Thanks, Dad ! 

To explain the whole trip, we started in Cancun, stayed 5 days there and then we went to Orlando, my favorite city in the world - but let's not get into that right now, in this post I'm only focusing in the Mayan Riviera. 


March 7, 2014

Making it long distance.

If you have read any of my previous posts you problably know by now that I have a boyfriend. But what I think most of you don't know is that we live in different continents, unfortunately I live in Brazil (some new information for you there as well) and he is living right now in France. 

We met when I was studying there and to make a long story short (not exectly that long) we fell deeply in love and decided to give it a go long distance. I know I'm not the most qualified person to be giving relationship advice, and right now a lot of reasons for that come in my mind like : I only had two serious relationships in my life counting the one that I'm in right now and a another previous one that went completly wrong.

But anyways I'm here right now and I'm wiriting this. Well, I mean we are still together, planning a future and I read a lot of articles about this online. That makes me a pro, right ?! Seventeen magazine and Marie Claire know what they are talking about.. 

So, to stop rambling I have to begin with (and this goes to everybody that is in a relationship, it doesn't need to be long or short distance) : Facebook is your ENEMY. I cannot count how many times I had a fight with my exs because of this lovely social media. Just to make things clear, I don't have anything against facebook but you need to agree with me that sometimes it gives you more information then you need to know. And more importantly information outside its contexte, so for example your boyfriend is hugging a very atractive woman in a picture and you go all crazy at him, just to figure out after that the woman is a happily married lesbian with two adorable daughters. So you get my point, don't start looking for things on other people's walls and everything, because if he is cheating on you, girl, you are not going to find out with a picture. Instead I suggest you using it to leave cute messages for him or her ON THEIR INBOX (nobody likes overly romantic couples) and calling them by the little chat when skype is too annoying with that connexion.

Talking about Skype, here is your best friend just like viber, whatsapp and all of those amazing technological things that help us talk and comunicate with our loved ones that are far away without suggesting anything. And along with that comes another advice, communicate. I think it's extremely important to have a skype rendez-vous at least once a day. In my opinion, if you can't be with the person everyday it's important to make them feel like they are still a part of it. Talk about what you ate, what you did, what movie you watched, what you did in the gym, your hopes and dreams, your fears, the weather.. everything is important when someone is very far away. 


It's also important to don't get very excited with the communication. Talk and everything but don't exaggerate, because you don't want it to become something annoying or an obligation and if you are not living your life you are going to run out of things to talk about anyway.



And next comes, trust. If you don't trust them, all the little things are going to be a problem and you are going to go cray cray (is that still a thing ??). Because you can't expect them to not go to a bar or a club or to not be friends with people of the opposite sex. And let's face it, if someone wants to cheat they are going to do it, no matter how many questions and restrictions you do on skype. 



Now, to more positive things. Know the date or have a strong idea of the next time you are seing eachother, it's important to have something to look foward to. And another thing that for me is the most important one, only put your effort into this if you really feel like this could have a future, because it is extremely hard and if don't see it as a temporary fase I don't see how this could work. 



And my last advice is to make the best of the distance. Send a surprise package, letters or make them a playlist of your favorite songs... And something that I also read somewhere and my boyfriend really liked, it's a little stupid but make a video of your day for them, it is going to make them feel like a they were spending that day with you. 


My words of wisdom end here today. 
If you are in a long distance relationship and has more tips on how to make it work please share, trust me I need it. 


Wish you all a wonderful day and thanks for reading ! 















March 5, 2014

My Favorite Learning Apps.

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When my boyfriend first told me about the possibility of him moving to China, after I stopped hyperventilating and questioning why God was doing this to me, I started downloading apps to learn Mandarin. It's not that I think that I can learn the most difficult language in the world (in my humble opinion) using an app, but I thought : heey, why not check it out?! It can't hurt..

So there I was, 2 in the morning on my couch downloading apps from my kindle App Store. All I did was type in "language learning apps" and choose randomly from the huge variety they offer. Some were good, some were really bad, there's a little bit of everything. If you really want to learn a new language on your own, I think you will need to pair the app with other resources, like songs, movies and books. But, if you really don't feel like going to classes or you just don't have the money right now and you already invested on a Kindle or an Ipad or another electronic device of some sort, I think these apps are a good option. 
So, on with the apps ! Aaaah, and the best part is: they are all FREE! I don't know why but I just cannot bring myself to pay for apps... 

Duolingo // The first person to recommend this for me was my ohsomodernandtechnological dad. And although I was very skeptical about it at first, the app is actually very cool. It's just like playing a game, you can keep scores, you need to pass the levels to unlock the next one, you can share it with your friends on social media and everything. It is very easy to use, I mean my mom could figure it out alone and the woman needed a team to learn how to use an iPhone for the first time. You can also go directly to their website: www.duolingo.com, which is what I usually do. This on is by far the one I most use and I use it mostly to keep the french alive in my brain. 

Babbel // This one has a very similiar approach to Duolingo. There is not much left to say other than you should try both and see which one works best for you. You can download the app or just go straight to their website too: http://www.babbel.com/.

China Finance // Now this one is totally directed to people that need to learn Chinese for work.  It teachs you the currencies, numbers, countries and a lot more. It's extremely ease to use and really helpful if you're moving to China tomorrow and you need to learn the basics really fast. You put those 20+ hours on the plane to good use. 

iTunes U // This one I didn't get from kindle of course and it's not just targeted towards  learning languages but it's still really good. It's a very complex app and, to be completely honest, I don't use it very much. To begin you can go in their catalog and choose some classes and papers and download it in your iPad (if you have one and you want to try this app I suggest it because it has a lot of different features that are best used on a bigger device) and start the studying. They have some big name universities like Harvard and Oxford. I love the fact that it is free and you have access to the lectures and the material that people out there are paying a lot of money to get - I don't know if it's the same material, though.   

Last but not least, I wanted to mention a book I got a couple of days ago, also for free on kindle, which I think is very useful. I don't know if you can find it in other places but I've stumbled across it on the kindle store and thought I'd give it a go. It's called "How to speak german in 90 days " by Kevin Marx. The book gives you a different lesson everyday and I'm finding it very helpful - I'm not doing one lesson everyday, but it's been fun to pick up every now and then.

I hope these help you out in anyway! Learning a new language, specially all by yourself, is really hard so don't be hard on yourself. If I had to pick only one of these, it would definitely be  Duolingo - I think the lesson in each level are very good and entertaining, it's just the one that kept me focused the longest. Let me know if you got the chance to try out any of these how they worked for you!

Do you have any apps to share?!

Let's chat!

Thanks so much for stopping by and have a great day!



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March 3, 2014

Let's cross over : San Remo

I first fell in love with San Remo when I was traveling through Europe while I should actually be studying. I was just talking with some friends at my university when they said that our school offered some very interesting excursions to some cities close to Nice. So, because I'm the biggest traveling freak in the world, I decided to check it out. And the first excursion they had was to Marseille, wich I went on and was surprisingly cool. And then, me and my friend decided the we would keep doing this little travels with the university until our time there was over, and we saw that the next one was to San Remo. 

The first thing that I did when I got home from school was to go on our lovely Google and just type in the name of our next destination, enough to put that idea that I just had to go there in my head. But unfortunatey, my so very busy mind forgot the day of the trip and we ended up losing it. 

But I wasn't ready to give up San Remo yet. And that's when  my faithful companion (best boyfriend in the world) accepeted my invitation to go there. And the next day I already had everything ready, I went to the little store to buy the train tickets (extremely cheap - I believe it was only 15 euros to go and to come back) and we decided (actually it was my decision because he lets all the planning to me, he only butts in when it starts to get a little expensive) to not spend the night there because the hotels were a little out of our student's budget and because the last train to Nice left around 22:00 (plenty of time to explore the city). 
    
Now to the city itself. 
              


             
The city is actually pretty small. It's part of an Italian region called "Liguria" which is also known as the "Italian Riviera". Just like all the small cities of the coast of Europe (Nice, Cannes, Monaco and many more) San Remo's highlights (in my opinion) are the casino, the beach, the port and the center. 
        
In that note, let's start with the Casino. I don't know if it's because where I live we don't have casinos but they are always my favorite part - they always make me feel like I'm in a glamorous movie scene, just like 007. 


        
Unfortunately I couldn't go inside because I forgot my passport and I'm not from the EU so I cannot go inside woth just my ID. - believe me I really hate myself for that, so please learn from my mistake and ALWAYS bring your passport. 
           
Next we went to the beach, even though it was winter, as you can see in the pictures it was a beautiful sunny day, just a little cold. There we did a picnic, because let's face it we are poor students. 


                 
After the beach we headed to the port to see all the rich boats and to watch the sunset. There you can find a lot of very cute restaurants and bars if you want to eat with a gorgeous view. 


And then, on our way back to the center we did a few stops for shopping (AMAZING SALES IN ITALY - I bought a pair of boots for FIVE euros, yes that's right FIVE EUROS !), gelattos, coffee and some pizza. 







To finish things off my tips to anyone who is thinking about going to San Remo are: 
                        1) No need to stay the night. Sure if you are looking for a romantic getaway with your significant other is different and I think you are really going to enjoy your time there, especially in the winter because you have a sunny but cold day and you can get a hotel with a fireplace.. 
                        2) It's a city to spend one afternoon. 
                        3) And this one goes to every city in Italy : Go with your stomach empty. If you love food, Italy is your country, you're going to get lost in all the pizza, gelatto and pastries (my personal favorite sfogliatelle - just try it and you can thank me later)
                        4) Enjoy the sales. Seriously people, boots for 5 euros - I don't think I need to say more. 
                        5) Last but not least, take your time. The city is small and you'll have plenty of time to explore it, no need to rush. 

Hope this was helpful to some of you, or just interesting to read ! 
Have a wonderful day !


                                                                              -Michele Mattos

March 2, 2014

Change of scene.

I think that no matter how old you are and what you are doing with you life at the moment, there comes a time when you just need a change. It doesn't mean that you hate the place that you are, or the people or the environment. I am a firm believer that changing, usually (very important the "usually" here), brings something good and in the saying that, when one door closes another one opens.. or something like that.
      
To narrow it down to my life experience (not that I have lot of it, I'm just 21 years old), my time to change came 6 months ago. I was feeling like I hated everyone and everything and that nothing was working and that my life was not going anywhere.. (oooh, the joys of being in your twenties..).
      
So I started to think what should I do. Get a job ? Nooo, too much work and I'm still studying. "Break  up" with all my friends and get new ones ? I don't like them right now, but I love them so much. Change degrees ? No way, I already put one and a half years of my life in this university, I'm not changing now !
     
And then the idea came to me, why don't I do an exchange program ? I always wanted to live outside my country, I love traveling and I can't stand this city anymore. Yes, I thought, that's what I'm going to do.
And that's what I did. I got in the website of my university looked at all their exchange programs and with a lot of bumps on the road, anxiety, fear, doubts and all that jazz.. I finally did it !
     
I got on a plane to Nice ( South of France ), alone, not sure if I had a place to live or if I was going to be homeless (because the lovely student's residence didn't answer my emails) and not speaking the french very well. But at least I had a friend that was going to meet me there so I wasn't completly alone. 
     
So my point with all of that blabbering is that, I know that changing is hard, but at least for me was not just worth it, but completly necessary. And now that the experience is over and that I'm back safe and sound at home I can see that, honestly it was the best time of life. It was unbelievably hard at first (let's just say that my mom put up with a lot of crying on skype ), but when I started to accept the things that were different and just roll with it, things got really really amazing.
     
My advice to people that are thinking about doing something similiar to this is : stop finding excuses and JUST DO IT. And if you regret it (wich I think and hope you won't ) you can always go back home and pretend that it never happend !
Hope everybody is having a great day !

                                                                                                           






                                                                                      Michele Mattos 

The most difficult part : the beginning.

I wanted to write a blog for so long, maybe for 2 to 4 years I've been annoying one of my best friends to start a blog with me. But always when I thought about it there were so many questions and doubts that came to my mind, like: what am I going to write about ? In what language ? Is anyone going to read it ? Are people going to make fun of me ? What are people going to say about this ? Are they going to think I'm ridiculous and pretentious ? 

And to all of those questions I always got the some answer : I DON'T KNOW. And to be honest I will never know if I don't try ( so cliché.. ). So instead of giving up, this time I decided to just sit at my desk, ignore the fact that I have at least 3 books that I should be reading for school and just do it.
I have no idea if this is going to work or if I'm going to keep writing, but this is finally my first post. 

I hope you (I really hope there is a "you" reading this, actually I know there is a "you" reading because my supportive boyfriend would never give up on me) enjoy all the crazy things that I have to say about everything that goes on in my life. 

And I think you should start reading this blog with one very important thing in mind : my life is not that interesting. 

So, here goes nothing !





                                                                                                                   Michele Mattos