Can you see that happy smile/nervous on my face? Everything was new to me. It was the first time I was living abroad, and I was seriously scared. And…believe it or not, my main concern was the language. I kept thinking ´is my english good enough?´, ´what if I don't understand what they say?` I´ve studied English in Portugal since I was on the 4 grade –American English. At the university I chose to study ´social media and communications´, so more English to study. And then, of course, there was all the TV series, movies and music you just could not run away from. And that's how I got an 99% American accent (the 1% is because I´ve been in the UK for 3and a half years now, so I picked up one or two words or expressions that make my accent sound stupid). But seriously, if I had a dollar or pound for every time someone has asked me ´are you american` I'd be a billionaire by now. Sometimes people hear me talk and ask me if i´m American, but then as I talk they hear certain words or expressions that make them question everything. Haha!
But let's get back to that picture. There are a few things I'd like to mention: first, I was seriously shocked about the weather. I moved to London in March 2013, and in Portugal we were having about 20 degrees celcius on a daily basis. On this day I think it was about 8 or 9 degrees. So you can tell the difference. I was freezing. My hands were cold, my nose was cold, every single bone in my body was screaming in pain. Secondly, can you see that nervous/happy smile on my face? I was so excited and wanted to take everything in as much as possible. After a couple of months I was properly settled. I had my tiny box-room in Bermondsey at a shared flat, and the music course was making me so happy. I had gigs every week, was invited to sing at a venue in Battersea Park, met great people, had a lot of friends. Everything was great except for my health. I saw myself gaining so much weight from all the KFC, Mcdonalds,full-of-fat curries and so on. I never really cooked much. It was easier to just eat out every time because fast-food was so cheap. The first time I went back home to Portugal in the summer break, my family was shocked with how much weight I had put on. I felt miserable. I had to change this and start cooking. And that´s what I did. I signed up with pure gym and bought myself a watch to monitor calories and count steps and established a goal of at least 20000 steps each day, and 1000 calories burned. It took me about 6 months to drop all the weight but I was really focused on bringing back my old self. Some days I used to go to the gym and finish the day with 30000 steps and 1500 calories burned. I also got a part time job to help pay my rent while I was studying. That job became full time after I graduated, and one year later I moved to a bigger house in zone 4, sharing it with my boyfriend.
The first two years in London were great! I was in love with the people once I got the hang of the dark british humour (up until then I considered english people to be as cold as ice). I loved how the platforms got crowded with people waiting for their trains, and even though it was normal for everyone around me, I couldn't help but feel excited every time I heard that "mind the gap between the train and the platform", or"this train is ready to depart". I couldn´t help feeling so small every time I looked at big ben. I was in love with everything! The London eye, the river, the tower bridge, piccadilly...you name it! I thought everything was super crazy expensive, but didn´t bother much about it.´It is the price one has to pay to live in a beautiful city like London´, I kept telling myself. I tried to use my free time as much as possible and do as many things as I could, and I've discovered a great passion for photography. At first, I used to grab my little canon and go to green park, st james park, picadilly, leicester square, and everywhere and just start taking pictures of things. And I fell in love with photography. I always liked photography, but I guess Portugal is such a small country…eventually you will already have pictures of every single monument, building, garden, corner, etc. But London was a whole new world to discover!
And so I started cooking, and enjoying to cook! Even if at first it was simply because of the thought of all the pictures of the food I would be able to take with my camera. But after a while I actually found out I loved cooking, and the passion for photography grew more and more. Here are a few pictures I took, of a few recipes I made: