Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My New Portuguese Lifestyle in Macau

Calsada streets around old Macau in my neighborhood.

       Well I have officially been adopted by my Portuguese roommate and I am living a European lifestyle here in Macau eating dinner at 9 and 10 at night and getting fresh vegetables from the markets only steps from my home. Walking around the old Portuguese cobble stone streets or as Ana my flat-mate would say “calcada” I have learned more about Macau’s old Portuguese history than many might learn in a lifetime in just 3 days in Macau. Ana is born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal and teaches Chinese to Portuguese translation at The University of Macau. Since she found out she is exactly twice my age, Ana has taken me under her wing and has shown me all the best places around our neighborhood. I was very sick with a terrible head cold when I first arrived and so my first two nights she cooked us a lovely dinner and we chatted all night long with Frank Sinatra and Beethoven playing in the background. The first dinner was a mix of broccoli and red vinegar as a side dish and green tea pasta with mussels, shallots, tomatoes, Chinese peppers,some other spicy Chinese oil, and other veggies that gave great flavor to the dish. We chatted about our families and our lives and I found out that she is the daughter of 2 university teachers and grew up learning English, French, and of course Portuguese and took on learning Chinese when she was 29. “Oh good! There is still hope for my Chinese!” I remarked to such a talented peer.
One of the churches I stumbled upon walking around my first day.
Ana calls herself a philosopher and I think she is just that. She has a Ph.D in East Asian Studies from Lisbon University in Portugal and loves chatting with me about the secret of life and the relationships between men and women. Though she has one daughter and granddaughter she is unmarried and explains that she leads a lonely life, but that it is one of joy and happiness with her research and family. She often brings up the topic of love, and says that she encourages me to get married and to make sure that if I date any men in Macau they must be tested first because people in Macau have too much money and they can’t be trusted as good men. Because people have so much money in Macau she believes that with money comes problems.
The dinner Ana cooked on my first night in Macau.
“Aaaaaah” I think to myself. “I have noticed a lot of BMW’s, Lamborghinis, and Maseratis, being driven around the town.” Actually, all I have seen is beautiful luxury cars all over this city! I think that Ana and I are going to get along very well. Who knows how long she will be living here with me since tenured University Faculty are very high on the list for housing at the new University Campus. She will be going on vacation for about a month in a few weeks and then I will have the apartment all to myself. We both admitted to each other that we prefer to live alone and have our own space. But, off-campus faculty housing from the University always has apartments with 2 rooms for the time being. If she moves out, I will have the place to myself unless another faculty member is hired from out of the country and chooses to live through the University housing system. I do have my fingers crossed though that I end up having a 2 bedroom apartment to myself! Mainly because this is great when friends come and visit from out of states and Hong Kong. But until then, I am really enjoying Ana’s company and friendly advice and attitude about life.
The street names in Portuguese and Chinese around the city.
Ana really reminds me of my old Canadian co-worker in Korea, Joan who was also twice my age, became a very good friend and mentor to me during my time there in 2010-2011. Joan and I were more alike as she was a shopper and an eater and of course much more of a people person than Ana seems to be. But, I can see what the life of a true researcher and professor is like that is so dedicated to contributing learning in this world.

                On the topic of teaching, I have my first meeting tomorrow for the summer session here and I’ll be writing more about the University and the city as my Wi-Fi capabilities allow. Next Wednesday I am getting Wi-Fi installed in my apartment and then I’ll be updating more regularly about life and work in Macau. 

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  Creative Commons License  Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

3 개의 댓글:

Hope said...

Hi Marie, My husband and I are moving to Macau this fall, from Oklahoma, to teach at School of the Nations. Your blog has answered some of our questions about life in Macau. So thanks! Looking forward to reading more.

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