Pieces of myself

 

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“The son of a fish can swim.”

Riding the bike was never my thing. I think I just learnt how to use such vehicle when I was already 10. But I learnt how to swim pretty early though. In fact, I can’t remember when. I don’t recall not swimming.

I’m not the son of a fish. But the son of the sea I certainly am. Everyone else in my family are fishermen, shellfish farmers, or run a business somehow connected to the sea. According to history (or as it states my first photos and curiosities album), Paulinho’s first laugh was when the fish slipped from grandma’s hands while she was cleaning it. By the way, Paulinho is a short name for Paulo. Yes, short name. Though it’s longer. Don’t ask me why.
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I had a very happy childhood. I’m sure. Even though, I can’t really say I have a lot of memories from when I was a child. I can’t remember much from elementary school. I know I had really good grades. But I can’t remember how was the average day of school. I don’t know if the people who remembers every single detail from when they were young do really have such a great memory or if they just think they do. False memories are a real thing.

Honestly speaking, I could really be an unbearable diarrhea when I was young. Putting it in other words, I could be anoying as hell. I remember laying down on the floor in the middle of the street and throwing a neverending tantrum when I wanted something. Specially toys. I don’t blame mom for flogging me occasionally. I would drain the patience out of a saint, as we say it in Portugal.

9645240505_86659ee62c_mMy father is a shellfish farmer. He has always been. And he will always be. From his mouth come things like – “I should be winning the lottery to take my helicopter to the farm.” My dad really likes what he does. This probably doesn’t make much sense for people who can’t really picture a shellfish farm, but it works pretty much the same way as any other very small farm, except that your land will be under the sea most of the day. My oldman, just like a great part of the other islanders, makes is life raising and selling shellfish, more specifically clams and oysters.

beneficios-e-maleficios-dos-rebucados-gomas-e-outros-docesMy mom is a housewife. When I was a kid, she and my Aunt Mena (who’s unfortunately no longer among us) use to have a clothing shop – A Casinha – It means The Little House in portuguese. Later on A Casinha became Ponto de Passagem (The Waypoint), a busy café. This time the owner was my Aunt Mena, but my mom use to work there. She had worked there for many years. I remember my school mates telling me how lucky I was for spending so much time in a café full of candy. I always hated candy.

ericcartmanAt the house, there was always fish and shellfish around. Easy to get that. That’s probably why one of my favorite dishes was grilled sardines. Grilled sardines and the traditional portuguese stew. Those were my favorite dishes. But I always was a “fish guy”. In fact, I was always a good eater. That’s why I went from “Paulinho gecko face” to “Chubby Paulinho”.

I am a son of the island. That’s for sure. My heart belongs to the Culatra Island, the place where I was raised and where I still have all my family. But it would be quite unfair to do not refer that a part of me is also olhanense. It was in Olhão (amongst other cities) that I went to school. It is in Olhão where I still have a great part of my friends. Well, some aren’t already there. The economical crisis made them leaving the country. Just like me. 403840_2103518366740_368654703_n

In the Island there are no cars. The only way to get there is by sea. Pretty much every islander owns a boat. There are also several ferries a day leaving from Olhão to the islands. Many islanders take it on a daily basis, some to get to work, some to get to school and many just for shopping or taking care of something in town. The 07h45 ferry from Culatra and Olhão is normally quite full. It is a hard routine during winter times. Don’t fool yourself thinking that it’s always summer in the Algarve.

I’ve always been a good student. I was never much of a “home studying kid”. I never enjoyed sitting on a chair reading and memorizing notes. But school was never difficult for me. I always found school quite easy. In my school, the most challenging part for many was not even the school subjects, it was the school itself. You see, from 5th to 9th grade I attended to this very special school very well rated regarding its marginality and juvenile delinquency. EB 23 Dr. Alberto Iria School in Olhão, also known as C+S or the school by the jail (because it is located just right next to the city penitentiary facility). A lot of good fellas from back then are incarcerated, dead or simply connected to crime and drugs.

I was very young when I met rock. I blame my friends for it. Specially Pedro Rias. When I was a kid there was no highspeed internet to download mp3, the LP had long been dead and every other kid couldn’t really afford a sound system with a compact Linear vector graphics for T-shirts - Audio cassettes of music Heavy Metal Rock.disc player. Back then the thing was the audio tape! Every summer I would wait for Pedro to come on vacation to the Island for us to spend hours listening to some rock music. It was when I was 12 that my dad gave me a sound system with CD player. The first album I bought myself was Anarkophobia from Ratos de Porão. A few months later I got myself a walkman CD and my music albums list started growing. Still, I never gave up on my audio tapes. There was still a lot of underground stuff quite hard to get on CD. That all changed with ADSL internet. Software like Soulseek or mIRC made it very easy. Nowadays everybody plays music on Spotify and most of the younger people have no ideia what the heck am I even talking about. Nothing against Spotify, don’t get me wrong. I’m also a subscriber and I find it an excelent music streaming platform. But I must confess I don’t get excited to truly know a band anymore. It’s not like when I would buy the original album in CD or audio tape and I would listen to it over and over again, squeezing all it’s juice to the last drop. I really doubt someone is listening to whole albums on Spotify nowadays.

Wjen I joined high school I already had this thing for writing and I was even already adventuring myself in poetry and prose. But the truth is that I just joined Languages and Humanities to skip maths. All my childhood I dreamt about becoming a biologist. Or something related to animaltumblr_o6y24dbpuq1rk06ano1_1280s. I wanted to be the next David Attenborough. To be honest, I had no ideia what was he. For me he was a biologist. And he was doing a biologist job. Now I understand I could just have succeeded in Science and Nature if I just wanted to. And I also undersand that David Attenborough was never a biologist. And, in fact, I didn’t even finished Languages and Humanities. You see, it is quite stupid that you have to take decisions that will affect every single aspect of your future carreer when you’re 14. Even more considering that during the following years you will probably have your first sexual experiences, you will meet alcohol and other ilegal substances and you will probably have your heart broken by someone. And probably dued to all of that I ended up joining the Escola de Hotelaria e Turismo do Algarve (Hostelry and Tourism School of the Algarve), where I studied cooking and hostelry management. I finished both courses with pretty decent grades and very little effort. I any at all.

By this time, me and my friend went on a road trip through Portugal coastline. In the end of the trip I looked at a group photo. I looked at Daniel’s abs. Then I looked at my belly. I’m forever grateful to that photo. It made start training and my addiction for sports never stopped ’til this momment.

Some years later, already working as a chef for a while, my literature ghost started haunting me again. Regret. Regret from what I should have done. A feeling that has been very present my whole life. I’ve always been a very melancholic and subjective dude. Maybe it was wise to skip maths after all. For a whole year I prepared to take the national exam in portuguese language and literature. My goal was quite ambitious and nearly unrealistic. According to my maths, I needed to take a 19 (out of 20) to raise my grades high enough to get in the Science and Communication bachelor in Nova University. I ended up taking a 16,9 that made me get in the same bachelor in ISCSP in Lisbon and, apparently, it was the best grade of the Algarve in that year’s exam. Not bad for a former student I would say. A big thank you to my cousin Cátia who made that possible.

Well, well. I really got in college. A short adventure unfortunately. Things didn’t go as expected, specially on a financial level. I gave up when I realized I was never getting a scholarship. It would be fair to put that burden on my parents.52c0333fb54c70507592debd8ff090bb

That was the year I “met” Joana. It is stupid to say we met, considering that we were pretty much raised in the same place and it is not possible not knowing someone in Culatra Island. But the truth is that we were never good friends. Honestly speaking, she never liked me that much. In fact, she hated me. But, though I’m a perfectionist and a tactitian who hate the unexpected, the unexpected sometimes can be the best life has to offer.

Me and Joana have pretty much lived together ever since. Enjoying the joys and sorrows of life, as it is. For better or for worse, we ended up in Norway, where we live now. She works as an orthotist, I work as a chef, as I always did. I also finished a personal training education here and I would like to work on that, but it didn’t happen so far.

This post is not about food. This post is not about nutrition. This post is not about veganism. This post is about choices. I was not raised eating lettuce. I was raised eating fish and shellfish. I was raised eating portuguese meat stew and grilled sardines. Spreading butter on the bread. Eating bifanas (portuguese pork sandwich) to cure the hangover. Eating beef chop suey at the chinese restaurant. Eating barbecued chicken and pork belly at Rafael’s. Eating god knows what at Mata-mulas (it means the Mules-killer in portuguese) because it was cheap.

You have no reasons. You have excuses.

Next time you tell me you like meat too much to let it go, just think that you may sound like an idiot. Next time you come to me with a sensational argument defending why you should eat meat, just think that I have probably heard it 15 times before. And also, that you may sound like an idiot. Next time you ask me – “What about chocolate? Can you eat it?”. Remember that my answer may be – “No, I’m allergic to everything but lettuce”. And, also, that you may sound like an idiot.

 

Important Announcement

Yeah yeah, I know, I haven’t been blogging shit for ages now. But the simple true is: I don’t have as much time as I thought. I’ve been investing most of my time in my studies and improving my fitness, because as some of you people know, I’m studying to become a personal trainer and hopefuly get a job that I like. Unfortunately we all need money to live, so we have to prioritize. Although, I could say that I would study what I’m studying right now and train people for free, if I wouldn’t need money to live. I wouldn’t mind a single bit to spend most of my free time helping people to become healthier and feeling better about themselves. That said, let’s move on.

The thing is, I have a YouTube channel, as you SHOULD know. And I post videos at least twice a week. Filming and editing take some time. But the funny part is – it takes less time than writing in two languages. You see, writing both in portuguese and english can be really time consuming, specially if you want to mantain the same line of writing and try to be funny all the time. Sarcasm is something that you have to adapt to each language and different people. And the biggest problem is with nutrition posts. When I write about nutrition and other topics, I do a lot of research. I don’t take information out of my ass and vomit it on the blog. That’s not who I am and that’s the main purpose of my posts – teaching YOU to do some research. Do not believe any shit you see written on a blog without scientific data backup. And if it has backup, check it out. Don’t look at it and say “Oh, ok. There’s a link to pubmed so it should be true.” Be a bit more critic and take a look for yourself. And this is why it takes me so much time to write about nutrition.

So, why all this talking? To inform you that from now on, I’m changing this blog format. I will be posting weekly, directly from YouTube. I will post my YouTube videos here and I will write down the ingredient list and the preparation steps like before, but not so in detail, because you will have the video to help you. My vlog style videos will also be posted in here, if you’re interested in how an idiot like thinks.

And this is it.

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And keep it green. Keep it real!

Vegan – just for sissies

Veganism

Greetings earthlings!

Welcome to the first post of The Real Green Scene!

If you’re here by chance, congratulations! You’ve just discovered an unending source of knowledge! Or maybe not. Maybe you just arrived at a good tool to search information. Ok, maybe just reasonable. Well, at least it’s something.

It’s true that being vegan is very mainstream nowadays, at least on the social networks, but what is being a vegan? Isn’t that those people who only eat lettuce and are extremely thin? It was the inexistence of decent written information in the Portuguese Language that made this blog appear (well, not this one, but it’s portuguese version) from the depts of the green hell to torment your life!

If you don’t know anything about being vegan, but still you hate everyone that eats green stuff, you’re welcome;

If you’re a wise ass who knows everything about everything please stay, we need you here;

If you don’t give a shit to any moral or scientific explanation that can come out of this, well, I don’t know what to say. But I did like roast chicken a lot before too.

What is a vegan?

In short words, a vegan is a being of superior intelligence, who’s knowledge never should be questioned. The more  years dedicated to your diet, the bigger it is the power of the vegan, being that Superman himself who is fed by solar energy, and the Hulk, who does not even eat green but is green, the most powefull vegans known by mankind.  Yeah, sure Popeye eats lots of Spinach, but a pipe-smoker dude dressed as a sailor? Seriously?

First of all I’d like to express my non-comprehension to the term vegetarian. The word comes from the terms vegetable, but eggs and milk don’t grow up on trees right? One is the menstruation of a chicken and the other is a secrecion produced by the tits of a cow to feed the calf. None of them sound very vegetablish. The term vegetarian, even for an idiot like me is… idiotic.

A vegan avoids any product of animal origin, from food to cosmetics to clothes. This is a very simple and condensed explanation, now, this is like religion and politics, there’s gazilions of different branches of this “diet” egg-lacto-vegetarian, egg-vegetarian, fishterian, ostro-vegetarian, insect-vegetarian, vegetarian, vegan, raw vegan, frutarian, people that eat clay, droplings and other weird stuff and even those that come from Krypton.

On my modest opinion, any person interested in nutrition, passed through different diets and food experiments. This because the available information is too much and sometimes doesn’t make much sense, which makes it difficult for the regular person to find a good conclusion without doubting if he’ll die because h’es missing a nutrient he didn’t even know existed.

So what diet is right for you? Well, it should be one that would give you a 50€ everytime you take a bite right? 😉

Jokes a side, there’s only one reason to become vegan – morality

Even though I have my doubts of the beneffits of having or not animal products in a diet, I’m pretty sure those products are not obtained in a very nice way.

It is estimated that around 150 bilions of animals are killed annually, only in the food industry. The big winners in this race are the little fishies – around 90 billion, which might make you understand why sardines are taking so long to reach your table nowadays. The other 60 billion of dead animals are from the livestock industry – those that we eat. Yes, the steaks, legs, wings, thongs, livers, hearts and chorizo were not born that way – it is flesh, members, organs and animal blood. Over 3000 animals are killed each second to satisfy our personal needs. Or could we say pleasures?

Even though I can’t confirm these numbers, it’s easy to conclude that they shouldn’t be far from the truth. When was the last time you had a meal without an animal product? These numbers do not included all the cats ands dogs that we leave behind when we don´t want them anymore – we’re very good at this in Portugal actually -, all the animals encarcerated in gardens, zoos and aquariums without any kind of scientific research purpose, all the animals we torture and kill for simple entertainment – thinking about bullfighting, amongst others -, all the tortured animals for you to have that papaya cream that will leave your skin shiny or that wool sweat shirt or that fashion leather jacket.

It’s true that our existence implies the death of other living beings. It’s simply not avoidable. But that’s something that could easily be reduced.