Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I'm listening to Vinicius de Moraes, Maria Creuza and Toquinho playing 'Eu Sei Que Vou Te Amar'. In the repeat modus. "Eu sei que vou te amar. Por toda a minha vida eu vou te amar." In Portuguese it sounds simplesmente much more sweet than in English "I know I'll love you. All my life I'll love you." Isn't it lovely? "And for each absence I'll cry" :)

Since last week several sources of information are entangled in my head. Rio de Janeiro. Santiago de Chile. Sea. Beach. Big houses that no longer exist. Living in exile. Writing. Bossa Nova music. In this letter to you I'll try to untwine what came from which source.

Let me first show you Helô Pinheiro (1945). At the age of 17 she was the girl that inspired Vinicius de Moraes (1913-1980) to his song 'Girl of Ipanema' (1962). Look at that beautiful thing. Full of grace.
Last week I started to read Isabel Allende's book 'Mi País Inventado'. In a Dutch translation: 'Herinnering aan mijn Chili'. I only read the first half of this book when I received, via the postman, Chico Buarque de Holanda's book 'Leite Derramado'. I finished reading Chico's book - in a Dutch translation 'Herinneringen aan Rio' - in two evenings. After that, I read the second half of Isabel's book. 

In between I checked out wikipedia on Chico Buarque de Holande, Vinicius de Moraes and Augusto de Campos. Finding out that for Chico and Vinicius it was/ is a natural thing to write songs, make poems and write books. Such an unusual combination in my country. As if there is somewhere an unwritten rule that mixing of skills is not allowed. 

  • Isabel Allende (1945). Lived in Santiago de Chile. Her father and stepfather were diplomats. She lived a part of her life in a big house with her grandfather. A house that no longer exists. Her grandfather almost became 100 year old. She went in exile (Venezuela) in 1975. Her book is about the memories and saudade of Chile. The country she was forced to leave when Pinochet became dictator (1973-1990) of her country. 
  • Vinicius de Moraes.  Rio de Janeiro. Stayed at his grandfather's house when he attended primary school. Legal and Social Sciences. Poet. Film censor. Oxford University. Diplomat. One of the founders of Bossa Nova with album 'Cancão do Amor Demais' (1958). Writer of song 'Girl of Ipanema' (portuguese 'Garota de Ipanema'). In 1969, at the age of 55, he was forced to retire by the Brazilian Military Government (1964-1985). Vinicius wrote protest songs like 'A Tongo da Mironga do Kabuletê'. 
  • Chico Buarque de Holanda (1944). Rio de Janeiro. Privileged family background. Performed Bossa Nova in early 1960s as singer and songwriter. Poet. Writer of books. Wrote many protest songs. E.g.   'Apesar de Você'. Went in 1970 for 18 months in exile (Italy). Chico's book is about a 100 year old man looking back at his life. His wife that left him. His jealousy. His big house - in Rio - that had to be sold. A house that no longer exists. A slow decline of financial and physical assets. 
For me the entangled information is untwined. For the biggest part. Did it make any sense to you?

P.S. I'm wondering if being the girl from Ipanema was/ is for Helô Pinheiro hell, blessing or ...? It must have changed her life for sure. Won't it?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sun Will Always Shine On This List

I ran out of time. I'm working on a Twitter-list in which every country is represented by one twitterer. The sun will always shine on this list. Added 41 countries. 161 to go. (List of sovereign states.)  To be continued ...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In The Distance

... - THAT!

I wrote on my first two moments of enlightenment: Czestochowa (1984) and Aswan (1987). I never wrote about my third - and last one until today - in 1990. In a way I was not ready for it - not telling you.

Holiday in Portugal. N and I. Fly and Drive! We drove from Lisboa along the coast to Porto. Along the river Douro to Braganca. Along the Spanish border via Castelo Branco to Marvão.

I fell in love with this part of Portugal. Remote. Hot. Medieval. For days I was pregnant with 'that'. N wanted to read a book near the swimming-pool and didn't want to visit Marvão for a second time. I drove early in the morning all the way up to this big eagle's nest. I needed to see it for a second time. Strolled for a few hours along its walls. Making pictures and enjoying the views. Nothing happened. On my way back to the hotel in Castelo de Vide I saw a little chapel on the left. Wondering how the view would be of Marvão from the 'Capela de São Salvador do Mundo'. (I found out later it's name and history.) I changed my plans and drove to the Capela. Parked my car. Couple of old people were cleaning the remnants of some party.

Sitting alone. Capela on my back. In the distance Marvão. Enjoying the view. And there it was again: THAT!   

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

One Definition Fits None

And my definition? My personal opinion is that happiness depends on one's level of consciousness. In other words there's not one definition. One definition fits none. 

Look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs. On the 'Physiological' level Epicurus' definition is valid: "The cry of the flesh bids us escape from hunger, thirst, and cold; for he who is free of these and expects to remain so might vie in happiness even with Zeus." On the level of 'Safety' I'm happy when there's peace in my part of the world, my job pays well, my own house needs no maintenance and my kids are doing well. Kate Bush's definition "loving and being loved" fits to the level of 'Love/ belonging'. When I write another nice blog that's received well, I'm happy on the level of 'Esteem'. Level of 'Self-actualization' is looking at life and planet Earth like this and this.

What makes me most happy? É simples: ter você.

Beminnen en bemind worden

To be honest. I'm fascinated by the definition of happiness. There are so many definitions! I guess my first wonder was born when I was eight years old - or am I idealizing myself on this? Remember what I wrote before? "What a bore is life and how predictable: to be born, live and die." This is what I told my maternal grandma at the age of eight after reading next week's TV-guide completely. She looked at me with a little, mysterious smile and said "Yes, you are right". I was old at the age of eight. The strange thing is this feeling never really left me. In retrospect my opinion back then was only a part of homo sapiens' life truth. In life, it's not about milestones, it's about all the days in between."

Next to that, I keep on puzzling on what people Say and how they Act. Sometimes the gap is so big and obvious. Why are they fooling themselves? Do they really think that no-one observes the 'Say-Act-Gap'?

Last week in my newspaper there was an interview with Kate Bush. Kate shared her definition of 'perfect happiness': "(Giggling) The point of these questions come down to this  'Loving and being loved'. That's what all of us want."

I can't tell if there is a 'Say-Act-Gap' for Kate. She could have referred to the image in her song 'Symphony in Blue' that she is needed for the symphony. This is taking care for procreation. She did not. She could have talked about her moment of enlightenment she refers to in her song 'Somewhere in Between'. She did not.

It's down to earth for her. Kate loving and being loved. That's all. Husband? Secret lover(s)? God(s)? Her son? Parent(s)? Friend(s)? Or ...?

In Dutch it reads "Beminnen en bemind worden". Was she referring to 'loving and being loved'? Or 'making love'? She was giggling! Or referring to both? 

P.S. Source: NRC weekend, Maart 2012, page 66.