She is so close

while keeping distance

She is so positive

While being scared

She inspires

When discovering her full self


Oh she

She doesn’t know

what she wants

at all times

Be aware

and protect yourself from her.

photo of person walking on deserted island

Photo by Tom Swinnen on


Tough Day!


Wow! What a tough day! Thanks to the blogger community I found the right answer to my long day! Getting up at six in the morning, finishing the last really lovely class just at 9.30 pm. Did some of the “wait for better times To Dos” in my breaks inbetween and have been confronted with a big ethical issue, too. But well! “Be inspired..!!” just posted these words and I found them great, so here’s the post and a link to the original blog.

“Change is painful, but inevitable. Sometimes you won’t understand what’s happening, you may think things are not meant to be. You may feel dejected, sad. But STOP!! Stop being miserable, stop giving up. Don’t back down. You are at the dawn of a new lesson in your life. Keep working, don’t stop. Scared of something? Face it with your head held high.”

And all of this reminds me of this great song of my early teenage years, thanks to my aunt Bianka!


Get rid of stuff!


I know, I have written about it before, but it is only in our breaks when we actually find the time to throw away all our once expensive collections. Like, nobody needs CDs anymore. Keep only those that are super rare and underground. Even those you can transform into MP3. The rest you can easily listen to on internet apps such as Spotify. The free access plays commercials from time to time, nothing you wouldn’t know from the simple use of a radio and the pay version is actually affordable. The money you pay on that or any similar app you won’t be spend on CDs or MP3 downloads.

DVDs are another thing. We only use a Netflix account at home. Even if it not always has the lates releases, their database is more than big enough for you to find a movie you are interested in.

Books are also something we just don’t use. Even I who work with translation, only have to take out a professional dictionary in very specific and rare moments. I am sure the dictionaries that occupy my shelves are available online for some money. Last month I threw away five dictionaries simply because I have no use for them. One dictionary I could give to a student. And all those novels you have already read? You don’t need a Kindle any more to be able to read digital books. The kindle app is already on almost every sold device. Plus: Read is read! You probably will never open those book again, especially when you live in a city, have a great career or kids around. (I consider all of these factors extremely stressful, now imagine how many millions have all three of them).

Plants? Are they alive or dead? Dead plants or almost dying if not decorative enough, should find a new home, which is either the garbage or a tiny spot in a park, that nobody cares about, where that little buddy can recover again. I had to look at two dead plants for about a month until I finally found the time these days to get rid of them. The soil I reused in our small garden. Hopefully the other plants are happy about it!

Hard-drives? Check the prices for online storage. A friend of mine is doing that and pretty happy with that. But yet again, you need to invest into a good internet connection to benefit from all that new stuff.

I’ll keep you updated!



There is no expiry date on ideas


I see more and more people willing to take risks in order to do something they believe is right. And this post here is to at least inspire those of you who were in doubt until now, whether they should or should not go to new horizons.

Example 1: Brazilian, Female, Mid-20ies, just moved to Croatia because of her sweetheart, who is Croatian

I am in touch with this young woman who gave up her job, sold her two storeyed house and moved to a country she had never visited before, just to give her relationship a good chance of future perspective. It has been a week since she arrived there and she is now willing to learn the language so she can find a job one day. Her boyfriend has already tried to live in Sao Paulo but found the city too dangerous. Since this gigantic place was not really an option for both to live together, she changed for clear blue water and town walls from the middle ages.

Example 2: Brazilian, Female, a bit over 60, planning to move to Spain, to the Costa Brava

My student is discovering a new herself these days and in order to become more this person, she is learning to go for her dreams. So, besides many other great activities, such as starting a blog named I will be Smiling, she now is planning to live in Spain for a year, where she is going to do a language course.  To be on the save side, she plans on living with a local family. And of course, you never know what happens within that time, so a year can turn into two years and two years into forever.

Example 3: Brazilian, Male, 35, moved to Canada to study

A friend of my husband has quit his job this year in order to study at the marvellous Le Cordon Bleu and he is pretty open about what to become in the future. Right from the start he documented his experiences and changes. Have a look at these links:


Example 4: Croatian, Female, 53, my mum

My mum has moved back to Croatia two years ago, after living thirty in Germany. Her main objective was to take care of her own mum who has simply grown old. The change was nothing but easy, but she strongly believes that this is the right thing to do and thus she also passes good values to me and my cousins. After thirty years you are not familiar anymore with the culture, with language reforms and with the simple who is who in society. And moving from functioning Germany to the Croatian countryside is a real big challenge. Everything has changed but yet, after having mastered her first year, things started going a bit smoother.


Example 5: Female, 35, me

It has been five years that I live in Sao Paulo. I came to be with my sweetheart. In December 2010 I passed my last exam and moved here three months later because I really wanted us to have a life together after living for three years on different continents. I already spoke some basic Portuguese and quickly picked up new expressions and grammar from colleagues, students, family members, shop keepers and so on. I am happy with my choice, but it took me some time to learn. When I tell my story, I always divide the process in half-years. The first half year I suffered a huge  cultural shock, the second I already understood the society I was living in better. The third I started to develop own ideas and strengthened the bond between me and my newly found friends. Now, this year, I started feeling Brazilian, but of course, I still speak wrongly sometimes and that actually annoys me a lot. But anyway.

The message of it all? No matter where you are in life, if settled or not, if 20 or 60, there is no expiry date on your ideas. You can still try!

Wow, now I am thinking of trying to learn some Gong Fu, because I used to say that I am too old for this for the last 25 years. I guess I am not!

Have a nice day,



PS. If you try to fulfill your big idea and you figure out that it is not what you actually wanted, just keep on changing.

The Second Mother – Just like any other day in São Paulo


Last Sunday we watched the movie “The Second Mother” (original title “Que horas ela volta?”, directed by Anna Muylaert) and we were surprised by the attention the movie got outside of Brazil. I live here for more than four years now, and I guess, I must have gotten used to this kind of reality.

There really is not much that shocks me now when talking about the extreme differences we face every day in Brazilian society. But, when I was new in town, I wondered about these points:

  • Everybody seemed to have a cleaner at home for at least once a week. When I started living in São Paulo, cleaners only charged R$ 70 per day. By then, that was about 30 Euro per day. (The Brazilian Real R$ was in a much better position than today). That has changed over the years. Less people have a cleaner now. There are basically two reasons: 1. services got more expensive (our cleaner charges R$ 150 a day) and 2. people have less job security. Some have even lost their jobs and live from their savings. It is also very common for the middle middle, upper middle class (people with education and relatively well-paid jobs), to have bought their own apartment and owe one car per adult. That looks good at first but these things are usually paid over years and cause many people to stay inflexible, when it comes to career decisions.
  • I also saw that in some wealthier places, people have three or more people contracted in their houses and apartments. One would be a cleaner, another the cook, another maybe the nanny or a housekeeper, some others might even have a driver, a woman that only irons clothes and so on. When I observed these things in the local society, they really looked very archaic to me, because there was actually not that much need for all those employees. As Europeans being born in the second half of the last century, we have learned to do things by ourselves, be it cleaning, washing, raising kids, painting walls or any other tasks. Services in Europe got expensive, so only the elderly, companies and people who make good money, can keep staff in the house. The Brazilian families contracting all the staff were often of the same size or even smaller (mommy, daddy, one or two kids). But what I actually wanted to mention is, that sometimes there were so many people working in the household, that the owner’s kids wouldn’t even know all their names. And the worst in my eyes, it didn’t even bother them not knowing the names of the staff.
  • Another thing I was wondering about, is the extreme obedience of the staff. I think that is something the movie shows pretty well. People who have worked in other’s houses ever since they were young, have learned some strange rules, like when they say in the movie: “This is our ice-cream and that one is theirs”.  In the movie one or two women live permanently with their employers. They have places where they are allowed to sit down and where they shouldn’t even try. Of course, having someone working at your place is a difficult thing for the employer, too. You need to choose well and learn to trust that person. But there are just some absurd rules. Our second last cleaner did not want to eat at my table. I told her over and over again: “Please, sit down in the living room while you eat. It really doesn’t bother me.”  But you can’t correct something like that easily.
  • Living at your employer’s house is another topic. It is far less common nowadays because of the economic situation. But it still happens and many houses or apartments in Sao Paulo have a smaller room, called ” quarto da empregada”  (the employee’s room). When services in Sao Paulo got too expensive, some families “imported”  their nanny (usually it is the nanny) from the north-east, a much poorer region of the country, and they pay her less than average and don’t really care much about her free time or future education. After all, they still believe that they are doing a good thing, because that 16-year- old wouldn’t have earned that much, if she had stayed, where she was.
  • Over controlling people, who are working for you, is another issue. There are all those “bad nanny” videos in the news, where the nanny (which is actually not a nanny but carries the title of “babá”, a name that dates back to times of slavery) hits the child. But do people ask themselves, why this is happening? How did that nanny grow up? Where did she acquire her didactic skills? Are we maybe paying too few? Does she have enough time for herself and her own life? Does she see her own family and friends on a regular basis? Does she have any objectives, maybe evening school, in order to do something else later on? The employing family panics and puts those cameras everywhere. Our cleaner told me that in a very well known local family, they even had installed cameras in the employees’ toilets and the women working there only had found out about that occasionally. That is sick! I have no other words for now.

As I said, while time passes, it is less common for Brazilians to have people working at their homes, but those who still have someone at their home, often have “displaced” ideas about the whole thing. Just like in the movie, the money the house staff makes, helps their next generation to have more chances and choices in life, but still, changes in this society don’t happen that fast, since early pregnancies are still widely spread among the poorer people. All that can be traced back to Brazil’s complicated colonization history and it will take some generations to get the “ideas of differences among them” out of their heads.


balde rosa

Deleting myself from the web – Xing


Xing is a professional network mainly used by Germans (more than half of its 9 m users). Xing means many thing in Chinese depending on character and pronunciation. The platform chose 行 to bei their idea and it means “it’s ok” or “walking” in its original meaning.

Now I live in Brazil and my relationship with Germany is reduced to a couple of friends and family members. My Xing profile actually has never brought me anything good. Some old fellows connected with me but also many people I don’t know added me and were trying to sell me their stuff or had simply nothing better to do. It was a waste of time! And what I learn these days is to use my time wiser. That is why I try to avoid unnecessary clicks.

Everyday I think about my mum. I think, even though she faces a lot of bureaucratic trouble and has to take care of my grandma all day, she has gained something when moving back to Croatia’s countryside. She is part of a real network where people talk to each other and visit each other on weekends. It is still a bit like it was a long time ago all over the world. How often do I see my friends? I maybe meet one friend once a month. Not much more, really. The problem is not only me working too much but the whole city is working too much and people are simply tired when they get home. The second problem surely is the size of the city. Plus you have all the traffic problems.Yesterday a student of mine told me that she gets up at five in the morning to be at work around 7:30 or 8 o’clock. Even without traffic jams you will have an average distance of 8 km per friend. Alright, I have two friends living within 20 min walking distance. I am very lucky and I should see them more often. I should set up a meeting right now. And I will ^~^!

Maybe that is what I would like you to do as well today. How about contacting a friend? If you think that telephoning is outdated, send a message on What’s App or on Facebook. Almost everybody uses those apps and answers fast. Think of something you and your friend would like to do together. Me and my friend Renata love eating croissants and drinking tea. So we meet in Vila Madalena’s most charming places such as Julice Boulangère and O Chá. When we want ice cream we usually go to Baccio de Latte.

Have a great day tomorrow!


PHOTO of the day

tea pot / Pão de Açucar

I bought this tea pot last weekend. My old one from Cunha broke two months ago and superglue did not help this time. These days it is pretty cold for us Paulistanos (about 14 degrees yesterday night) and I am drinking two pots of Chinese green tea every day.