My after vacation to-do list – August 16th to August 31st (Part I)

Hey there,

Happy Saturday everyone!!

I hope you’re having a fun weekend.

I’m very happy because I’ve been able to get Rui hooked up on Outlander and to watch the first episode of The Handmaids Tale. He is really hooked up on the show and has watched about 8 episodes without me, the bastard. Now he’s annoying because he remembers all the little details that I have forgotten because I’ve watched the first season in 2015 or something like that. The stupid thing is, I’ve been telling him he would love the show for years. So he’s been missing out.

The Mister is making dinner while I blog.

We’ll technically be on vacation until the 16th (I say technically because we’re not doing anything special. We want to go to the beach but the wind has been absolutely crazy. Only today we’ve had about four seasons in one day. It rained, there was a little cold a fog, and now it’s sunny but still so damn windy. I love where we live, but we have this sort of micro-climate, always different from the rest of the country and unexpected. I don’t really mind if it’s humid or raining or suddenly super hot, but the wind (the strong wind) really gets on my nerves. My poor plants have to shake it off all day long and they don’t even know Taylor Swift.

We have a few things to get done before our vacation is over. They’re mostly things that Rui can do and I probably can’t. Our outside (patio) walls need some work and a few coats of paint. Our fences need to be changed and our gate needs to be fixed. We’re also probably power washing the outside walls, windows and shutters with the pressure washer we have just bought. Some trees need trimming as well and I need to move some plants. We have washed our living room rug but the one we have in our bedroom (which is bigger and heavier) is yet to be cleaned. These are things we usually take care of together, every Summer.

After he goes back to work, I have my own big to-do list to tackle before my the school year begins at September 1st. Actually, school doesn’t officially start between the 8th and the 13th of September, but I go back to work on the 1st.

Yesterday, I’ve bought the books I’ll need for my 8th and 9th grade tutoring. I might occasionally need to deal with older students (10th-12th) but I’ve got tonnes of material for those grades, as I’ve worked with them more often.

I’ve got my work schedule, which is great because I like to be prepared in advance. My hours will be:

  • Monday, Thursday and Friday – 5 p.m to 7 p.m;
  • Tuesday – 5 p.m – 8 p.m;
  • Wednesday – 2.30 p.m – 7 p.m;
  • When the kids are on school break: Monday – Friday from  10 a.m to 1 p.m;

I’m really lucky because this schedule really works for me.

I also have two birthdays coming up. Two of my best friends have their birthdays in August. Alison on the 15th and Catarina on the 20th.

My to-do list –  From August 16th to August 31st:

School and work

  • Study for the 3 exams I need to take in September to finish my degree in Languages, Literature and Cultures with a Major in North American Studies and a Minor in English. Sadly, I’m not able to take the 4 exams I need to take my second minor in History. The exams will be between September 5th and 7th and they are: Business English (I can do this one with my eyes closed, two broken arms and in a coma), Italian A 2 (I might be able to do this one with just one good eye and two broken arms, while juggling glasses) and North American Cinema (for this one I need to study my ass of because I have about 200, 475, 973 pages to read). I need to remember the sign up date which is from August 28th to August 31st.
  • Do some revisions and prepare material for my 8th and 9th grade kids. I haven’t taught Portuguese grammar since last year and I always need some revision. Sadly (or proudly) I know every single English grammar rule by heart but I can’t say the same about my own language.
  • Get the works of fiction and poetry they kids will be studying (Hello, Camões) because I don’t have all of them. I may need to borrow some from my sister and find others online.
  • Make a list on all the books I have lent to old students and ask them to return them to me. There’s a bunch of people out there with my books.
  • Return all of the ficking books I have from about 4 ficking libraries. I’m late and the old librarians will kick my butt.
  • Buy a pencil-case!! (exciting)
  • Maybe wash my work bag? Maybe.
  • Get Rui to format my PC and then organize it.
  • Take care of some social security/tax documents.
  • I should probably get a school year planner instead of my yearly one.

So, this is part one. I might have forgotten something but I’ll remember it at some point.

What else is new?

  • I’m almost finished with Upstairs, Downstairs.
  • I stopped taking my birth control pill (not trying to get pregnant) because I realized it was responsible for some weight gain and liquid retention.
  • I’ve been doing some extra online work.
  • I’ve been working on our magazine “Bumblebee Magazine”.

That’s it for now, dearest friends.

We’ll talk tomorrow, pinky promise.

What do you really must get done before September?

Love, Chey.


Day by Day – Health Journey (27.07.17) I got the job!! + Vacation Plans

Hello my dear friends!!

I’m very happy and in a very good mood.

I was offered the job I really wanted and that I had recently interviewed for and I, of course, said yes. I’ll start on September 1st, which is perfect because our annual Summer vacation (time we can take together in the Summer, usually August) starts tomorrow, after Rui leaves work. We’ll be free (I mean, I’ve been for a while so he’ll be) from Monday, 31st of July (not counting this weekend because he’s free on weekends anyway) to Sunday, the 13th of August. Rui will probably go back to work on Monday, August 14th. We have no idea what we’re doing yet but we know we won’t be doing anything too crazy or spending too much money because I’m not working yet.

Tomorrow night we will go and spend the weekend at his parents house in Sertã, his hometown. It’s countryside, super hot and extremely beautiful. There are river beaches and the city pool is extremely cheap (you pay about 3€ per person for the whole day) and I just love the landscapes and high places and dense Eucalyptus and Pine tree forests.

There’s just a few issues we have no idea how to solve. Rosa, the vegetable garden and my garden and plants. We would like to stay longer than just the weekend but we have no one to watch Rosa, and to water everything. It’s very hot so things need to be watered and taken care of daily. We can obviously leave Rosa at the Pet hotel where she usually stays, but it’s kind of expensive. 15€ per day adds up quickly if she stays there for a few days. Also, I feel bad to leave her more than a couple of days because I’m afraid she will feel abandoned and get nervous or anxious or sad. It’s my baby girl, after all. If we take her, she will spend so much time inside the house because we cannot take her with us to the pool or beach. So, yeah, there are a few problems to solve before we go.

Now, more details about my job. I’m very, very excited because I’ll go back to tutoring, which is easier than full on teaching, and I’ll have 8th and 9th grade, instead of pre – college, teenage high schoolers or working adults. The fact that I’ll be working for someone else for a while instead of being responsible for a whole business is something that makes me feel calm and peaceful right now. The hours are so different and there’s only about 10% of the stress and responsibility I was dealing with before I came home. I have been known to work from 7.30 a.m to 11.30 p.m with no breaks, more than once, many times actually, and now I’ll only be dealing with 12.30 hours a week, earning a close to full-time salary. How lucky am I? God is being very good to me and I feel so blessed. This job is what I needed and prayed for and it’s the perfection way to slowly get back to work and still have tonnes of time to take care of myself and get better. Plus, I love the idea of being booked for the whole school year, because it provides stability. What else could I ask for? Oh, there’s one more thing. Most hours are in the late afternoon, which means Rui can go by when he’s coming from work and pick me up, which means less money spent on transportation. I’m over the moon.

I’m sorry I’m writing so much but I really wanted to update you on these very important things, our upcoming vacation and my new job. I’m looking forward to both. Its’s also great that I have about 15 days after our vacation for getting a few things done and organized before the school year starts.

I’m really happy, which hasn’t happen in a while.

I’m going to get off your back now. Sorry for such a long post (not that they’re usually small, but still) and I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that you’re happy and that things are going well for you right now.

I would love if you’d tell me what makes you feel blessed at the moment or, if you’re going to a tough period, what’s going on, so we can talk and pray together.

Love you guys so much.

Thank you for the constant support.


One Month Blogging Challenge – Day 19 (Why and How I started my business)

If you don’t know much about I was doing for work before I came home to take care of myself in order to treat my depression and anxiety, that’s perfectly okay. I plan on starting by telling you what kind of business I was running and how it worked.

I’ve been teaching English, Portuguese as a second language and preparing high school students for their final Portuguese, English and History exams since November 2012.

When/how did I start?

It all started because my sister mentioned that one of her classmates was having trouble with her English and failing the class. I offered to help and told my sister to tell her I was going to do it for a very low price. Since I have nothing to hide, I will tell about values and earning as well. I know some people think it’s not polite to talk about money but I have no issues with the topic at all. So I started by being this girl’s English tutor for 5€ per hour. A tutor normally charges over 10, sometimes 15€. So I was a low-cost tutor.

Time passed and I decided I could turn it into a part-time job, while I was in college. I put an ad in a Portuguese add website and some people came asking for classes. Not tutoring (which is help with school) but actual private lessons, where I would teach them English. Most of them were new to the language or knew very little. I kept the same price, even though the work changed. I was no longer tutoring, I was actually teaching. People started coming and I was having more and more work. I never refused any students, so I had a big group (each of them taking private classes) of people in all kinds of situations, ages (mostly adults) and backgrounds. I was becoming better at it with each lesson and more people kept coming. I

would go to people’s homes or offices and I would go around the city all day, moving from one student to the other, with just enough time to take public transportation. I would sometimes go to places that were over an hour away, always by bus or metro, carrying a bunch of books, dictionaries, grammars, and all the materials you can think of. Students would come and go, some would stay for months, other’s for years.

I started to get people who were coming because their friends had recommended me. I got to a point where about 50% of my students were coming from recommendations. My students would say I was the best and that they had never had such a good teacher and learned English so easily before. More people would come, both through my add and from recommendations. I had my hands full. I decided to increase the price to 7,50€ per hour and I still had a large group of students. Before I came home, I was already charging 8,50€ an hour, still low-cost.

How did Portuguese exam preparation come into the picture?

Portuguese was one of my favorite subjects in school. I had read all of the mandatory books and I was good at interpreting them, I could write without spelling mistakes and with impeccable grammar. Exam season was coming and I though I might try to get some students to prepare. I placed and add and found many people who needed help. I would revise all of the materials with them, assign homework, teach them how to write better, how to express themselves in a better way and how they should answer exam questions. The best feeling ever is when you help a student and they pass the exam and get into college. This was in 2013 and I’ve been doing it ever since, getting exam preparation students between March and July, usually. It’s an extremely busy season for me, because I get extra students, along with my usual English crowd. I’m actually kind of sad I’m not doing exam prep this year. I really miss it. Same thing happened with History. I was really good in History and students would come asking for help with History exams and I wouldn’t say no, so it became one of the subjects I work with.

What about Portuguese as a second language?

One day, a few years ago, an English man asked me if I taught Portuguese as well. I said I had never done it but we could certainly try. I bought the materials and taught him for a few months. I discovered it was really easy, being my native language, and students being in a very low-level. I decided to place an ad and, once again, I got some students for Portuguese. It’s amazing because I have worked with people from Chile, England, Italy, France, Japan, Germany. Just like that, I became a Portuguese teacher as well.

When/why did I get an office?

I was getting tired of all the moving around, carrying a lot of weight, in the heat, in the sun, in the rain, in the cold, waiting endless hours for transport and having to care my lunch, an umbrella, a coat, my bag, my work bag, book bags and whatever I needed for the day. I decided to look for an office and talked to a lady I had worked for (she had a tutoring center) and ask her if she had any rooms available to rent. She said she had one and I went to see it. I was a little unsure if I wanted to start paying rent. My business would, from that point on, cost me 200€ a month. That was a lot of money. But I would get my own room, where I could keep my things, where students would meet me and where I could have a coffee machine and a microwave. The room was tiny and the window did not open, but I had air conditioning. I decided to take it and that’s how, in February, 2015, I got my first office. I was there for a few months and, for several reasons, including the fact that I needed more space, I decided to move to a bigger space. It cost more, but it was big and beautiful. I was going to pay a big rent, about 320€ per month, but it was worth it. I got the room and was there until last March, when I decided I was going to put my business on hold, because I was home. Paying rent didn’t make sense if I was not using the room and so I packed and closed everything. I’m currently not working and I have no office.

What kind of teacher am I?

Students usually like me and have very nice things to say about me, which makes me happy and proud. I’m extremely patient and I have no problem in explaining you the same thing 50 times, until you finally get it. I’m always kind and do my best to motivate students, never saying anything negative and giving honest feedback but always focusing on being kind and respectful. I do my best to make them see that they can do it, that they are able to learn. I’m usually successful. Overall, I know I’m a very good teacher. I have been told so and I have had many teacher in my life to compare myself to. I never say I’m very good at something unless I’m sure of it. This is the case. It’s one of the few things I know I do very well.

Where is my business going?

I’m not sure I want to go back to it. For several reasons. The hours are super long and there’s always something to do. Along with lessons, you always need to prepare materials, organize schedules, take care of payments and receipts, things I was doing all by myself. The responsibility was 100% mine and that can be extremely tiring and stressful. I don’t know if I can’t take it at this point of my life. I have some students interested in doing online classes. I might do it as I wouldn’t need to leave home or pay for an office. I’m thinking about starting these classes in June. I have enough people interested to get a decent salary without working full-time. This is my plan for now.


Thank you so much for reading!