Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Education

I never really dreamt of going into education, at least not from a managememt perspective. Granted I probably thought of being a teacher at some point in my childhood, but don't we all? (Maybe not). I have to admit dreams of changing the world through education, either business or non profit, would have made an awesome application essay for business school. But at the time I was all about Mozambique poverty - education was only one of the avenues. 
But this idea came to me today, perhaps as part of my bigger things debate. What if I would go into education? It is a given I have thought many times of setting up an English school in Lisbon, but that is just a selfish mean to an end and I always recognise I am certainly not the most skilled person for the matter per se, even if I am opinionated about it. And then the realization comes - what about society changing schools, like (in theory) charter schools did in the US, like the KIPP academy that I read about in business school (if I remember the name correctly), studying what works in the Nordic systems, make a real change in th public education system of the country that raised me to be where I am today. 
Ideas flow and at least I don't have a business plan. You don't devise a master plan to change a system like that. You need to learn and most of all you need to understand whether you will add value in a way that truly is unique. It's a new thing to address issues in this manner. It is not that I am passionate about education, or policy for that matter, it is only that I have a passion for affecting change where I out my hands in, and that change seems to be gaining a new character. 

Bigger things

It's the sentence that does not leave my mind. So I put it on paper so it perhaps goes away.nor quiets in my uneasy mind. It is the end of the holiday, a short one this time, and this year i am back to normal with the holidays bringing me to think ahead more than I can see. 
Years go by, now 12 away from home, 10 in London and banking. Is this it? When is this it? The job and career keep going strong. There is no reason to leave, we are all settled and growing. If it was not for that place in the sun, literally, could I stay put? Or perhaps the place in the sun is only the storefront and th excuse to help me get there? Or is it the obstacle? Am I even looking at anything else in London  ? Not really, the only real change I want starts with packing my bags towards the sun. But I know it is not real that it will bring the other things I aspire to. 
I feel my life is meant to be more than this. A year ago, I was on the opposite side of the spectrum. I wanted to hit the breaks, make it stop, be normal and feel happy. I have come a long way to learn what I value and what really should drive me. I feared working onmy values for a long time, as I did not want to see where that road would lead me. Slowly I start to be ready to see it though. And somewhere inside my Mind has startd thinking about it again. It is not about what next, but about what will the future hiold, how will I shape it. I know I need to thread carefully, my Mind sometimes plays tiricks and takes control. I want to be constuctive about it, not to get stuck in the anxiety of not knowing how to get there. 
First of all, i have to even find out what 'there' means. So I feel i am destined to bigger things and I could truly make a difference in them. I don't mean this in any arrogant way, though that may be hard to believe. I mean that amongst all that I was given - drive, ability to deliver, focus, education, professional experience, i somehow feel I could have a larger impact at a larger scale doing something else. It could be social, it could be a start up, it could be teaching or affecting policy. I actually don't hold the answer. But I know it is time to start finding it. 

Monday, 27 June 2016

How we got voted out

It has now been 3 days since the dawn hit us woth the Brexit vote. My mourning period should be over but I feel it is just starting. On Friday, we got voted out of the EU. Yes, we. At first, I thought I was being pessimistic and really this was not about EU workers, but really immigration and refugees. As reality hits, and despite the Mayor of London's message that we are welcome here, the UK has changed in the last 48 hours, and suddenly it became acceptable to insult foreigners in the street, to send them home, to tell them they are no longer welcome. This has been a really additional shocker to everything else that was already happening. 
On Friday, I was immersed in sadness. I could not believe the magnitude of the decision that just happened and the implicarions for the UK, for Europe, and the world. Few crisis are so directly self inflicted as this one. I was in the office at 3 am, ready to see history unravel but really hoping I did it. Until 3, there was space for hope, from there there was just disbelief around me. Certainly there were some leave voters there, but either they were to shocked at the outcome or just felt sorry to rub it in our faces straight away. There was some panic, but the overwhelmimg feeling of most people was sadness. Is this at us? Is this at the poor refugees whose country has been destroyed by war? Is this because of bankers dictating the rules of business? Is this because of pure power plays of power hungry politicians? What about the people? What will this mean? 
When I got home I tried to tell C I as sad because our country that we lived in said they did not want to be friends anymore. How can I explain to her the country she was born in does not want her there. In my bag I feel the safety of my newly printed citizenship documents and her passport application form. No, it is not like I want to be British right now. But I have to be pragmatic. She was born here and is starting her education here. I want to give her the optionality to live and work here in the future, if this is still a good place for that then. We have had the forms for a while, but the illusion this might never happen made us postpone it. No more. And what about us, what if we are out of jobs, go back to Portugal and things don't go as planned? Re-entering will be much harder. And we are entitled to passports anyway. I print the forms in the clear internal conflict, that right now, I do not want to be British. 
And then the weekend just makes everything worse. People regretting votes, Leave campaigners coming out to say some of the promises are not quite like that, Leave voters saying they only voted because they did not think they could win, Cornwall massive voting Leave and now saying they want to keep EU funds and will now do an impact assessment. Usually you do that before you choose. I can't help but feel revolted at the bad campaign of the last months. Rather than fighting each other, Remain campaigners were unable to engage at each constituency level and explain in plain, truthful and legal English in a way people would see this befor they vote. The level of discredit given to politicians is so high that people had trouble believing in anything that was said. How can people be surprised the NHS number is a fraud, how can people be surprised at David Cameron quitting and now being stuck with Boris, how can people be surprised that the EU did not come running after the UK with a sweet deal and rather said 'out is out please leave now'. 
And when you thought it could not get more damaging the social media starts telling me about all the incidents. A woman on the bus with a baby is told by an old lady to leave and go pack. A polish waiter in a restaurant asked by a British couple 'why are you laughing, you have to go back to your country now'. 3.1 MM people signing a petition for a second referendum, a general strike called for all EU workers, anti-brexit marches, the list goes on. 
What have you don UK? Will you be UK for long? Do 52% of people even know why they voted out?

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Should I stay or should I go

I was trying to have a relaxing journey home, but then I have this group talking about the referendum next to me. And this clearly non Brit girl is saying she thinks she will vote to Leave. She has no particular reason, and when her friends try and explain the impact on the real estate, pound and economy, the answer is 'well, that is none of my business'. She goes on to say she won't be here for that long so that won't matter anyway. I want to scream - then just don't cast a vote if you don't feel strongly and you won't even feel the impact and you don't even know what it means!'. After the first silence her colleagues continue to talk about impact on jobs - she does not care - look if you work in Paris you can't be fired. I grab my ipad, I know my mind won't let this one go. And she ends with 'look I don't know much about it, but I think philosophically I will vote Leave...'. It takes another station for her collagues to react. 'dude, just vote remain'. In the absence of any more possible justification they go on saying they hope the polls to Leave will make the remain people show up on the day to vote. I a, with them on that one. In fact, i think that everyone should show up, for either side, as long as they have a reason and are conscious of the impacts. Rather than voting Leave because it is cool and I won't be here to pay the price anyway so who cares!

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Mindfull-ness

I am on Day 4 in the Maldives. It is still morning time and I can feel myself getting restless. I feel like I slept, ate and was healthy for the first 3 days and those were important priorities. Me and B are spending time together and enjoying having the time and facing tough choices like going to the Beach or the Water Villa, joining a yoga class or going to the spa. 
I decided to finish my book today, The Happiness Trap. It may not be the book of my life (How google Works gets me way more excited, given I started it after this book and finished 2 weeks ago) but it is the book that helps me change my life. Unlike any other self help book it is not all about being positive embracing life, keeping happy. It is preciselly about how this chase of happiness leads you to a trap to then be dissatisfied whenever you are any less than perfectly happy. I had stopped the book as I could not get one of the tasks completed but now decided I had to reas through the end, as it was probably not reasonable to be recommending the book or even be writing about the book without actually ever finishing it. It happens to me with books that I found so helpful that I start taking notes, writing about it, going back and forward but then neer finish. The other ones I remember lile this is Zilch, which I loved every bit, started taking notes, implemented some actions, but never made it to the end. This was years ago, when I still bought paper books. I now put it back to my night table, to see if the pressure of seeing it evey night works. Clearly not so far, 
Anyway, I finished my book and I got restless. Restless because I feel like I followed instructions so well and on the last stretch, I have stopped putting on paper my values and goals. I feel like this would help me greatly and actually facilitate a meaningful life. But whilst sometimes I am certain I am following my values others I wonder that if I put these down on paper I may face the reality that I am not and then I need to do some change. That is why I also wanted to stay away from the Landmark Forum. But the more I am aware of what is making me restless the more I know I will do it. Once you train your observing mind to identify what thoughts bother you, then you wither diffuse them or take action. And I fear these may be worthy of action. 
My mind is always full, just not sure that is mindfullness. 

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Next Plane Out

This time we are flying Qatar. I admit they have the best safety video ever, all stars Barcelona players. But other than that, once you fly Emirates, your expectations are immediately ruined for the near future. It is like the honey moon in the Maldives. Once you go there then you spend every anniversary wondering when it is reasonable to come come back. You go to the Caribbean and you compare all the things you liked better in the Maldives. And no arrogance (as you are obviously not making it your regular holiday resort), just pure nostalgy of such impressive standards. 
So now we are in Qatar and I wish I was Emirates, even though I am sort of pleased to get some miles into my BA account. The series selection is poor, I don't recognisd any name on the list. I can't do movies as this is a 6 hours flight and I am too tired not to sleep. So I go for music. Nothing compares with the hits year by year that the Emirates offers. But then something calls my attention. Celine Dion, the colour of my love. It's a must. I am sure that I know all the songs by heart even if I have not heard them in over 10 years. I succumb to teenagehood and remember driving in my mum's as she would slow down and emphasise the curve on the road as we screamed out of the top of our lungs "no, no, no, no". For a while, me and Di had a t shirt which said NO! It was ironic, given at the time I was not such a no person, but it felt right! And if you don't know what I am talking about, your are probably born after the 80s. From the Power Of Love to being seriously Misled, you have to Think Twice if your pop culture is really complete if you have never heard Celine Dion. So when you get on the Next Plane Out, make sure you get some Real Emotion and blast the CD in full volume,. Track 3 will bring you an immense need to scram along and say "no no no no"! If it does not, blast it higher.
I am less restless now that I know They will bring me food. In the anxiety to go home and hug my baby ten times before taking off for a week, in an unheard act of defiance of my guilty mother feeling, I realize I have not eaten in 10 hours and my stomach tells me I am not allowed to sleep like this. I blog instead.  Night nigt

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Wonderful day

What a wonderful day. I am grateful for this newly found ability to enjoy my surroundings. As this was the second weekend in a roll that we were in Lisbon, the should word was quieter than usual and B triggered the crazy thought. Let's just stay home and do nothing! Wow - can we do that, are we allowed? More than allowed, we do that in London all the time and it is possibly one of my few fears if I ever move here - the inability to do what we want over what others want. 
We gave it a go and i indulged into cooking us a proper lunch. As we sat  to do nothing after lunch I commented 'what a luxury'. I truly was not familiar with the concept. And even better family came to visit so we had the combination of both worlds. I ended a day with a friend over for dinner over a bottle of wine. I am grateful for all the little moments that filled my day. I am grateful I did so many things I love in a single day, without even expecting. Thank you.