After never being able to complete an entire 30-days challenge before… I decided to take on 12 30-days challenges in a row! Crazy? Yeah, probably.
See you next year!
Going through my notes on my notebook, I found this entry from one of the times I was in London.
It’s interesting how we repeat ourselves. We live our lives in cycles. We forget what we were thinking, what we were filling, what mattered to us only a few months ago. And then, when we go through the same thing again, it feels like it’s the first time. Like life has never been this hard or the difficulties we’re facing are new.
That’s why writing and revisiting what we wrote is such a cool, eye-opening exercise. I don’t know about you, but I love reading what I wrote before. It’s like reading a letter from a dear, old friend.
And I keep wishing I could tell myself that everything would be alright. Things always do. Even if I’m still facing a thousand and one issues, the things that used to worry me so much back then seem like such a tiny problem. That makes you realize that the monster you’re facing now, that seem so huge and diabolic and unbeatable… in a matter of a few years or even months will be only a fraction of a memory.
The main reason I write is to take things out of my head and onto a canvas where I can make more sense of all the feelings and thoughts. My words are the things that make me who I am. They are the thoughts that push me forward and that hold me back. They are the closest thing to a snapshot of what makes me, me. Going back and revisiting my words from the past are such an amazing way of seeing how I changed, evolved, grew. It would be a pity to have all of this information stored but never examined. That’s basically what I’ve been doing so far.
Now, I decided I’ll start revisiting these old notes and making a summary of them. I don’t want to keep pile stocking all my old notebooks, but I also don’t want to lose those insights. So a summary seems like a handy way to deal with it.
My goal is to go through my notebook and lost notes on my phone twice a year. This way I can remember things I planned, evaluate if my priorities changed, double-down on things that matter the most and get that refreshing dose of “Wow, that problem wasn’t really much of a problem, looking back”.
Do you like journaling or just putting your thoughts into words somehow? If so, what do you do with what you write?
Do you know the Erasmus+ program for European mobility? It is an incredible opportunity for any student enrolled at a higher education institution in Europe, regardless of nationality.
As a Brazilian student in Portugal, as soon as I arrived I had this question in mind: could I participate in the program? The exchange possibility interested me from the beginning, even more so if we take into account that it offers a financial aid which makes all the difference.
And the answer is yes! It is possible to participate in Erasmus simply by being enrolled in a European higher education institution. Whether you are Brazilian or of any other non-European nationality, being enrolled in a European university is all you need to be eligible for this opportunity!
I had the amazing experience of going in an Erasmus exchange in 2018/2019, when I studied at Universidad Complutense de Madrid for one semester. I will tell you a bit more about my personal experience in another post. For now, I’ll focus on the more general information that may interest you. Let’s find out a little more!
The Erasmus+ program is a mobility program funded by the European Union, established in 1987 and offering the opportunity for academic and internship exchanges. In all, it is possible to have 12 months of mobility for each cycle of studies. That is, in your bachelor’s degree, you can carry out 12 months of exchange, which can be only academic, only for an internship or a mix of both.
Keep in mind that there is also a minimum period for academic mobility: 3 months, or 1 academic term.
After completing your first year of study, you can apply for the Erasmus + programs, without limitation of nationality or age.
Where can I go to?
There are 33 countries participating in the program: the United Kingdom (for now), 27 countries in the European Union and 5 European countries outside the European Union. In addition to these, there are “partner countries” all over the world, depending on your area of study.
Attention: In this post, I will only talk about mobility for studies. The rules for the other possibilities of exchange are different, and in the future I will talk about these other options.
In any case, it is necessary to check with your educational institution which are their partner countries and universities. My university has an agreement with many countries, but for my particular course, the options were more limited. I was able to choose universities in five different countries.
In addition to that, it is important to check what are the requirements of each university, especially with regards to language. For me, for example, there was the possibility of going to Germany or Italy, but in both cases, I needed a minimum level of B1 in their respective languages. It complicated everything because I did not have time to learn a language from scratch. If you know that you are interested in going to a specific country, my suggestion is that you already enroll in a course or use Duolingo daily. Just by not having to start from scratch, you’re in a better position!
There is the possibility of receiving financial aid for your Erasmus+ mobility. Interesting, right? The amount depends on the difference between the cost of living in the country where you study and the country you are going to.
In my course, all the students who applied for a semester of mobility received a scholarship. But beware: this scholarship is a cost aid, and does not cover, by any means, all expenses. From my experience, it was even slightly below the difference in living costs, but that depends a lot on the city where you are going – not just the country.
The scholarship was deposited in my account once all the documents had been signed, around two weeks after I arrived in Madrid.
There are several conditions that must be fulfilled for the scholarship to be deposited, and there are also conditions specific to each university. It is important to check this with your university’s mobility office.
The amount is deposited all at once, so it is up to the student to control their finances. One of the most effective ways to do this is to use an application to track your spending – and thus create a budget and know when to save. Now I use Bluecoins, an app free for Android (I’m not sponsored, unfortunately).
To be accepted into the program, you must define a study plan that can be validated with your current university. This is great, because it means you are not losing any graduation time when doing your exchange! That is, the semester (or two semesters) spent abroad count towards the conclusion of your course.
This process of creating a study plan and adjusting it is a bit troublesome. I was lucky because other people on my course had already done the mobility exchange in the same university, in the same academic term. So basically I copied their study plan, and it was quickly accepted by my university.
If you’re not so lucky, it’s a matter of talking back and forth to your mobility coordinator. Basically, it will be necessary to analyze the disciplines that you have to study at your home university and then finding similar the courses at your destination university, with similar content and number of credits.
The process does not end there. Most of the time, adjustments will have to be made once classes begin. Some professors do not accept mobility students, or sometimes two courses you want to attend take place at the same time. But with patience, everything will be just fine!
Is it necessary to request another visa?
Depending on the country you are going to, you may need to request a study visa. In my case, the information provided on the website of the Spanish Consulate in Brazil is that it is not necessary to apply for a visa in case of academic mobility. Still, it is necessary to undergo a small bureaucratic process. I will not detail this information here because it is very specific to Spain, but do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions.
Therefore, in my case, Spain did not require a visa to do the mobility, and my university of destination did not ask for any documents proving my legal status in the country. However, each country and each university have different procedures! I met a Brazilian student who did Erasmus in The Netherlands, and the university itself demanded and helped her to apply for the visa.
It is essential to get information both in your mobility office and with the University of destination, in addition to contacting the consulate of the destination country.
Neither the Erasmus+ program nor the universities provided me with accommodation. I do not know if this is the case for everyone who does the mobility, but I guess so. So I will share some ways you can find accommodation.
My destination university provided some links to accommodation services I could use. Some of them even offered discounts for Erasmus students. Some of these services are Spotahome and Uniplaces. I chose to rent a room with Uniplaces, because it made me feel safer. Since I reserved a place before arriving in the country, I felt it was the best way to do it. However, the rooms advertised in these places are, in general, more expensive. To top it off, these services still charge fees.
Another option would be to look for rooms on classified ads sites. You can find amazing accommodations like this! The only caveat is that it is important to visit the locations before making any payments, to make sure you will not fall victim to a fraud. Sometimes it’s worth it staying in a hostel for a few days and personally visiting the advertised rooms.
You can also opt for student housing. Usually, these places receive a large number of students per semester, have a website you can look for and have already been established for years. Again, it is important to visit, but it is a good option for those who like to live with several other students!
Is it worth it doing an Erasmus+ exchange?
Many Brazilians I met at the University of Porto told me they were not going to apply for the program. They saw the experience in Portugal as a kind of exchange in and of itself and saw no need for another change or mobility.
But, let me tell you … The experience of studying abroad and doing an exchange (in this case, Erasmus+) are COMPLETELY different!
I plan to do a post detailing this experience, from my arrival in Madrid to my classes and everything else. For now, it suffices to say that the intensity, the pace and the experiences one goes through when doing an exchange program is on a whole other level. We meet so many other people going through the same experience and the bonds are made in the blink of an eye. We experience the city more intensely. We travel more. So if anyone asks me, “is it worth it”? The answer is a thousand times yes!
Do you have a question about the Erasmus+ program for academic mobility? Leave it down in the comments or contact me through Instagram!
What do you do when you’re doubting your past decisions – the ones that affect your future ones?
Right now, I’m more than halfway through my undergrad degree. That means it’s time to make some important decisions. Will I pursue a master straight out of here? Should I abandon classic casino games and focus more on educational things? Or will I work before? If I go for a masters program, what should I do it in?
The thing is, the course I am doing right now… I’m not so sure it is the right thing for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the whole experience I’m having. After all, I left my country for this. But sometimes I keep going back to those thoughts, dangerous and deliciously seducing: the what-ifs thoughts.
Before leaving Brazil and coming to Portugal to study Communication, I was enrolled in an Engineering course. And I started getting demotivated after my first year there was done. I was demotivated by the course, by the research, by the people I was surrounded by and by the prospect of having an academic/research career.
I was quick to judge and decide, as I normally am. I decided the engineer’s life or the researcher’s life was not for me and bailed out.
Was it the right decision? It felt like it was at the time. It didn’t take long for me to start doubting it, but I was still happy with the new possibilities and fresh beginnings. So I just ignored the bugging question and went on with it.
Throughout the past year and a half, I’ve realized a couple of things. 1) I miss my numbers. I miss the logic and the quiet piece of working alone a bit. 2) I don’t like journalism. At all. 3) All of the other bazillions of possibilities are still a blur to me. Would I like Marketing? Management? Data analysis? AI? Becoming a Kardashian? Maybe this last one is the answer.
So that’s how we arrive at where I am now. Thinking about the future and the past. The decisions I made in all the best intentions, although in a blind hurry. The decisions I’ll soon have to make and not having a damned clue about it.
Maybe I should just choose one thing and stick to it. Not think too much about all of the other endless possibilities. But how to make sure that I’m not rushing into a decision and not going mad thinking and rethinking about it?
I don’t know.
Maybe trying to get some hands-on experience is the best way to go. Get an internship in my area of study, see if I like it in real-life or not. At the same time, go into a course or a class on data science. Talk to people that work in both fields. Find out what their daily work schedule is like. Think about it, write about it, talk about it… for a set amount of time. Say, 1 month actively searching and thinking?
And then, BOOM. Decision time. All or nothing time. Not really all or nothing, but an I’m-going-to-commit-to-what-I-decide-for-at-least-some-3-years all or nothing. Because if I don’t give myself a more or less set amount of time to commit to my decision, I’ll be constantly rethinking and doubting myself and I think there is a point to the paradox of choice making us kinda miserable.
I don’t know if this will work. Maybe I’ll change my mind again in a week. But it sounds like a sound plan, right?
Well, if you have any advice on how to face this pivotal moment, I’d love to hear!
For the first time in my life, I’m not letting the compounding little challenges of daily life make me quit.
It can be disheartening to see how real life turns out so differently from our plans.
It can also be motivating and serendipitous.
I guess it really depends on the kind of person you are, your mindset and the way you face life.
I’m trying to become more and more the type of person who welcomes adversity, all the challenges that life throws our way and all the unplanned stuff. It doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’m trying.
Classes have begun and when you put everything else in the mix, the days have been passing in a crazy, intense rhythm. Honestly, I thought I’d have a bit more time before things got this fast and demanding. I thought I would have time to get used to the new routine I designed, to the experiments I wanted to implement… And then, when I was already feeling comfortable and established, then things could speed up.
Well, things didn’t go that way.
And as a result, I’ve been feeling like I’m already falling behind. Falling behind on the habits I want to build. Falling behind on my sleep. And falling behind on achieving the goals I set.
So yeah… I am starting to feel a bit desperate.
But then, that’s when I remember that life doesn’t give a crap about my plans. My goals and beautifully organized schedule can serve as a guide, but they will never be perfectly replicated in real life. And that’s no reason to give up. In fact, it even brings a good thing with it: the permission to mess up.
The permission to fall behind is super important in the goal-setting process, at least as I see it now. I’ve fallen victim to the all-or-nothing mentality more times than I can even count. I know that it is not the way to go.
Having the freedom to acknowledge that things are not going exactly as planned, on the other hand… That can be helpful. Because it allows us to see, without judging and condemning ourselves, that there is room for improvement. At the same time, it gives us the space and time we need to know that results might not be as quick as we thought. Definitely not as quick as we wanted them to be. But if I keep at it, they will come.
Even if the results we want don’t come, something will arise. It might be only the learning experience. With a bit of luck and determination, it will be more than only experience, though.
Anyways, I do realize that, right now, I’m slipping a little. I’m not performing all of my tiny atomic habits every day. There are some of them that I’m completing on the clock, but I still have not been able to increase them, in volume or difficulty.
It makes me frustrated, no doubt about it. But that’s no reason to stop. No, in fact, that’s all the more reason to put some extra effort in it! Because by now, I had time to think more about them. Thinking why I want to create those habits, why they are important to me, if they are worth the trouble… And as time passes, I realize that they are.
Even if those habits only take 2, 5 or 15 minutes, they are also some of the best moments of my day. They let me confident, recharged and with this powerful sense of conquering the world. At least, the world within.
So if you are like me, and the unplanned mishaps really tend to put you down… don’t let them. Plan and add some space for when you fall behind. Remember the good you’ve achieved so far and visualize the amazingness that waits for you, if you only keep going.
I’m really curious to know how you deal when life gets in the way in your daily life. Let me know below 😊
Adopting veganism as a lifestyle might seem daunting. But here are 5 ways to make this journey go more smoothly.
In the countless Facebook groups, Instagram accounts and real-life conversations I’ve been in, relating to veganism, there is always someone interested in learning a bit more about it. And many of these people are genuinely curious about the reasons to become vegan. Sometimes, they already have read plenty of resources about it, but they are struggling with how to implement the changes in a sustainable way in their lives.
Just as there are people in every shape and form in the world, so are there vegans.
What I mean that people become vegan for many reasons, and each person who happens to be vegan has its own views on what is “right” or “wrong”. This is nothing unique about veganism. But it might be confusing and even frustrating trying to understand the conflicting messages you find online, when it comes to it.
I’ll try to add to the conversation. Hopefully, it will be in a non-confusing and straightforward way.
Luckily, there is no right way to transition into veganism. But there are ways to make it easier.
If you are interested in consuming less animal-based products and are a bit lost about where to start, I have some tips for you. Those are things that worked for me, tips that I share with my friends and relatives who show some interest in veganism.
1. Have a clear WHY
This is by far the most important thing! It might be very hard to transition into veganism if you don’t have a clear and strong reason to do it. The motivations can vary and they tend to pile up, as you read more about how animals are treated in the industry, the ethical implications, the impact their creation has on global warming, the resources consumed by livestock, the health benefits of going plant-based…
Accumulate a short list of the most important reasons for you and keep them in mind. You’ll need it at times, and it really does help.
This is a great compilation of resources by Wendy, from The Nomadic Vegan. It includes documentaries, podcasts and more, is worth a look!
2. Don’t eliminate, replace
A very, very common mistake when transitioning into veganism is simply eliminating products from your diet or from your wardrobe. But, especially when talking about food and nutrition, this can lead to bad results.
First of all, you’ll feel like you’re depriving yourself. You’ll look at all of those things you can’t eat anymore and this can make the whole process a 10000x harder.
Secondly, you’ll most likely be missing on a lot of micro and macronutrients. Let’s say your diet before was a lettuce and tomato salad, meat and potatoes. What happens if you cut out in the meat and put nothing there? Or if you replace your toast, bacon and eggs breakfast for only toast?
You have to replace the things you cut out somehow. It can be with nutritionally-dense veggies and other plant-based products. Or it can be with some of the hundreds of products available to mimic the taste and texture of animal-based products. It’s up to you!
This little pyramid is very helpful in giving you some ideas:
I promise you this part can be so much fun if you’re open to exploring new flavor! If you like cooking, there are so many different uses of ingredients, for example. We don’t often think about before transitioning to veganism, but the necessity really works wonders 😊
Take this delicioussss chickpea flour pancake by Deryn of Running on Real Food. I would never, ever have thought about trying an eggless pancake recipe if I wasn’t vegan.
3. Give yourself a deadline
This one is a bit more subjective. For some people, setting a deadline might be anxiety-inducing and really compromise the whole thing.
However, if you’re one of those people who, like me, keeps postponing scary things… then this is the way to go.
In my case, I didn’t transition into veganism immediately. I was a lacto-ovo-vegetarian for months. And I was always saying that “next month I will be vegan”, next month, next month. But then there would be a birthday party, or a holiday or something that would justify sticking to milk and eggs.
This only changed when I decided to set a deadline, only a few days away. This was essential: it allowed me to prepare psychologically, grocery shop, get rid (by eating or giving to someone else) of everything animal-based I still had in the kitchen…
This way, I had no more excuses to give to myself when the day came.
4. Be prepared
Depending on where you live, this might not be such an important tip. If you live in cities such as London, NYC, Germany, São Paulo, Sydney, Tel Aviv… vegan-friendly cities with loads and loads of plant-based options everywhere, then you’re covered.
But if you live somewhere where it’s harder to find vegan options, then you need to be prepared. Chose some snacks that are practical and that you really like, and keep them in your bag and your pantry. There will be times when you’ll be out and it might seem like there is no vegan option anywhere. Although this is actually not true, as there is almost always a way to veganize menu items or to find accidentally vegan gems in the supermarket, it is hard in the beginning. So be prepared and don’t go hungry!
5. Find yourself a support net
This. Is. Crucial.
Things can go so much easier if you have people to help you by your side. It can be just one person who you can call when you need to stay on track or an online community that inspires you and motivates this journey.
There will be days where people’s comments really get to you, a day where you can’t find anything to eat, a moment of extreme temptation or those minutes of total despair-what-is-happening-to-the-world when you watch a heartbreaking video on animal cruelty. If you have someone to hold on to, even if it’s a social media account or your mom… It will help you to cope with the challenges.
There it goes, my top 5 tips to help and ease your transition into veganism. If I left anything important out, let me know. If you have any questions as well, talk to me in the comments section or through the contact form.
I’d also love to hear what are your top tips! What helped you the most when you were transitioning?
Inspiration and the “get things done” mood come and go. But not that little tiny 2-minutes promises we make to ourselves.
Today is one of those days I have no idea what to write about. I don’t feel creative enough to babble and reflect on some inspiring topic, reaching that state of flow when the words appear effortlessly in the screen. Unfortunately, I’m also not in a state of mental clarity and focus to write about some more matter-of-factly topics, listing good recommendations of places and apps or something like that.
But when you made a promise to yourself that, no matter what, you’re going to write every single day, well… there’s no way around it. And so, here I am, trying to kickstart things somehow. How is it going this far?
The good thing is that I love this idea of setting a challenge such as this: write every single day, it doesn’t matter about that, it doesn’t matter how you’re feeling, it doesn’t matter if you will publish it or not. Without setting this compromise, I’m sure I’d still be postponing this to-do list item indefinitely. Like I’ve been doing for years.
The idea came up after reading, or rather, listening, to yet another book on habits and goals. Although I’ve listened to countless podcasts episodes and watched many, many videos on the topic, I never actually acted on it. If you read this article I wrote about over planning, I’m sure you can see how I love procrastinating under the guise of “But this is research!”.
The book is Atomic Habits, by James Clear. The beauty of it is not so much the wealth of innovative information. As far as I can see, there’s no new research explored in the book, nor any kind of information that we, for the most part, didn’t know about. But the author really succeeds in creating a clear game-plan for establishing new habits. He combines different techniques and approaches in a step-by-step way. Perfect for those of us who can get a bit lost in the overwhelming amount of information out there.
And so far, it’s working!
With the permeating idea of setting small actions that will lead to the formation of a habit, I’ve been actually doing the things I want to. Writing every day, meditating, learning French… those are not things I keep putting up anymore. Yes, I’m only meditating for a minute a day, or practicing French for less than 10 minutes. But it feels surprisingly good to get those things done every day, and to see that I’m already improving, bit by bit. Even better, when I don’t do those things early in the day, I already get the sense that something was missing, and that’s a sign that this habit-forming thing is working.
It’s been fun too. Looking back at the Word doc where I have all my writing in, and seeing how it grows every day. Being able to get to a whole minute (or close to it, if I’m being honest) of meditation without quitting. Going farther in my mental conversations in French. Those are super tiny things, but it’s a progression. Every day I get to be a bit proud that I did it, that I’m working on becoming the person I want to be.
In fact, right now I’m pretty damn proud that I’m almost done with this piece right here. It wasn’t effortless, and it isn’t great. But it’s something that will lead to better articles and to a better me, I know it will.
So next time you’re in the same position I was in at the beginning of this article, remember that you made a promise to the most important person in the world. Go and do the 1 or 2-minutes thing you promised to do every day, and I guarantee you will feel gooood.
Do you have something you’re committed to doing every single day? I want to hear from you 😀
This is my preferred easy vegan meal prep method: quick, colorful, nutritious and delicious!
Even for those people out there who love cooking (high 5!), we all have those chaotic days when there’s absolutely no way we can spend 45-minutes or more in the kitchen.
Basically, we’re going to make some oven baked veggies and extra ingredients, making sure we hit proteins, carbs, and fats, leaving you satisfied and with plenty of time to study, work and take care of your stuff.
With the beginning of the academic semester, I know my long nights in the kitchen are going to disappear for a while, and I’ll be all for meal prepping and saving time.
But even if you don’t like meal prepping, the dinner idea I bring today is going to appeal to you. The best thing about this meal is that it’s a template, totally customizable!
For this, you’ll need 15 minutes, spices, olive oil (it’s optionable) and veggies. Lots of veggies.
One of the reasons I looove having this for dinner is that, since most of the ingredients are low in calories, I can eat a whole lot of yumminess. Some people don’t like being too full after a meal, but I love having smaller meals throughout the day and saving most of my intake for dinner.
If you’re not like me, you can always prepare a batch at night and eat it for dinner and next day’s lunch.
That’s also why I won’t put the quantities of each ingredient in this post. I use an app to track my meals, and I just calculate how much I will have for dinner from there. That means that, if you are not in the same situation, you’ll have to try and estimate how much of each veggie to put.
But worry not, if it ends up being to much, just save the leftovers to the next day and either bake them for 10 minutes or heat them up in a non-sticking pan.
Let’s get to it then!
I suggest you use some of the following veggies, in the proportion you like the best:
- Bell peppers
Ideally, make it as colorful as you can. Keep in mind that you can use frozen veggies, but you’ll have to leave them in the oven for longer, until the water evaparotes. The same goes if you use tomatoes or other veggies with lots of water.
Also add some kind of higher-calorie veggie, such as potatoes or sweet potato.
If you really want to save on time, I suggest using some kind of legume, as for example chickpeas, white beans, black-eyed peas… whatever tickles your fancy. This way you can put the cooked beans in the tray, along with the other ingredients.
Alternatively, you could also use some tofu, cut in pieces and seasoned. You can also just toss it in the tray with the veggies.
For fats, you can use olive oil, which will really enhance the flavor and texture of the baked veggies. If you are not a fan, you can also dice some avocados on top after you’re done baking everything.
This is the soul of this dish. You can go crazy here, mix as many spices as you want, or keep it simple and use the staples. My suggestion is a combination of all, or some, of the following:
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Smoked paprika
- Cinnamon (great with sweet potato)
- Curry powder
- Chilli powder
- Black pepper
- Herbes de Provence
Preheat the oven at 200 degrees.
Basically, all you will need to do is cut everything you’re using in squares. The smaller the pieces, the quicker they cook. Ideally, you should aim to have them in similar pieces, but I also like it when they are in different sizes and, hence, in different textures. If you use organic ingredients, you don’t even need to peel everything.
Next, place all the cut veggies and pre-cooked legumes (or tofu) in a baking tray. If using any oil, pour 1-2 tbs on top of the veggies. Season with the spices. Using your hands or a big spoon, mix and toss everything, until all the pieces are seasoned.
Place it in the oven for 20 minutes. Now, the total time they need to be in the oven depends on what veggies you’re using and the chunky pieces. But at the 20 minutes mark, you can also turn on the grill in your oven and this way you get some nice, crispy veggies. Totally up to you.
Leave it in the oven until it gets to your preferred crunchiness or softness point. I like to have a mix of textures, so normally at the 35-40 minutes mark, I take them out.
You can eat it with mixed greens or some avocado on top.
And that’s it! Although it takes a while in the oven, you really only spend 15 minutes cutting everything and mixing it up. You will probably get a cutting board, a knife and a spoon dirty, which are also super quick to wash and be done with.
Very easy, intuitive and absolutely delicious dinner for those busy, busy days. Hope you like it!
If you try this at home, let me know what you thought of it 😊