It’s hard to believe that in two months we will be departing to Iran, our new home for the next few years. The clock is ticking, there is so much to prepare before departure but what is harder are the goodbyes particularly when it comes to family.

It was time to fly to my country and once again experience a wealth of emotions. The happiness of seeing everybody once more, the family gatherings, the laughter but also the sadness and tears to have to bid farewell yet again.

But this time I wanted it to be even more special. As we get older and enter new decades, you realize you should enjoy as much as you can the company of the people you really love.

Knowing my birthday will be in Iran this year, I wanted to celebrate in my country before. Not my birthday in particular as they say it’s bad luck but a celebration of life, my life entering a new phase and that of my sisters who have been there for me in different ways.

We are six siblings, four of which are girls. Being the youngest made me witness the departure of all, one by one, moving on to their new lives until it was also my turn to leave. Every departure was a heartbreak, I missed them all, in particular the girls.

Portugal, our country, continues to be the base of our encounters although three of us girls live abroad. But we seldom find ourselves at the same time in the same place. We each lead different lives and vacation time seldom coincides.

So this time I wanted to make it work. I wanted to have a celebration where the four of us would spend a full day together without husbands or children. Unfortunately my sister who lives in Scotland could not make it this time. I was sad but she promised to be with us in thought. Luckily, my sister living in Africa could come. She is generously always ready to go anywhere when it matters the most and I’m very grateful for that. As I am of my sister who lives in Portugal, my mother’s rock who always welcomes us by opening her house and her heart when we visit.

We started the day at a beautiful spa in a town where my father had worked at the local Courthouse as a young man. Laughter started as soon as we arrived be it about what to wear to the jacuzzi or how to take the perfect picture so as not to look fat or wrinkled. We had a great time and talked about everything and about our family.

IMG_0373 (1) Celebrating Life

Each of us seemed to have different pieces of the family puzzle that when brought together made our history much clearer. It is amazing what you can find out when you join different memories. Memories are tricky and often you realize there is much more to a story.

Being together, relaxing and just talking made me think how much I missed these moments. You are usually so busy living your life that you forget how you shared so many moments of your life with your siblings. You laughed, learned, cried, played, ate, shared so much.

So getting that day with my sisters, sharing memories, nice food, lots and lots of laughter, was the best celebration I could have.

IMG_0360 Celebrating Life

After Jacuzzi, pedicures, shopping and getting lost several times, we finished the evening in the restaurant where my father, as his younger self enjoyed so many meals, probably having similar food and admiring the same views. We had chosen a different restaurant but somehow fate or him brought us back to this lovely square. We drank to his health and although he is no longer with us, we felt his presence and his spirit.

IMG_0379 Celebrating Life

I believe he would have approved of us rekindling our family ties and taking the time to spend this special day together in each other’s company.

IMG_0378 Celebrating Life

I will forever remember it. Thank you Gina and Luisa, I love you and hope we will have many more days when we can celebrate life together. To Mena, we hope you will join us next time.

You can’t live forever but you can take the time and spend it with the people you love.

Happy celebrations!



Welcome! Through my photography and my travels, you will discover the people I have encountered and the places that will stay with me forever. In this crazy new reality we seem to be living, it is even more important to be grateful for all the people who have crossed our path and touched us in same way. As for all the old and new stones, they can live in our imaginary for now, waiting, when the time is right again ...


  • Luisa Kellett-Sharp says:

    What a wonderful way to describe our celebration together! Lovely piece of writing. I will follow you to Iran naturally to see what you will be up to as I also expect you to visit me at the ranch in Kenya. Sweet travels and the very best of luck. Lots of love. Luisa

    • Maria says:

      Thank you Luisa! We had such a great time together! We are looking forward to your visit in Iran and we will for sure visit you in your lovely ranch in Kenya. We are both travelers, you and me. Lots of Love

  • Carmen Pacetti says:

    Maravilloso como siempre. Que bueno que pasaste esta celebración así de feliz, son esos momentos los que cuentan en la vida. Que bueno que se reunieron aunque falto una. Mil besos

    • Maria says:

      Thank you dear Carmen, I’m very grateful I got to celebrate it with my sisters. These are indeed the moments that count in your life and make you happy. Muchos besitos

  • Jim says:

    While I do not know you, I have enjoyed reading your blog in the last year. You write so well and your photos are lovely.

    I trust this next move will bring you and your family all you need ;and that given a new cuisine , that you will continue to write.

    I have always felt that sharing food across ethic lines can do more to promote harmony and peace than more conventional methods.

    All the best,


    • Maria says:

      Thank you Jim, I’m very grateful for your support and encouragement this last year. I agree with you, sharing food is a way of getting to know other cultures and getting closer to people. I am looking forward to discovering Iran’s cuisine and learning new flavors. I’m also looking forward to the markets and discovering new spices and products. I will continue to write for sure and I hope you can follow my journey. Best Regards

  • Iman says:

    Just read about your lovely girls’ day out! May you always reunite, reminise & celebrate with your sisters..
    Looking forward to read about your new life in Iran and the lovely Persian recipies that you will try..

    • Maria says:

      Thank you so much Iman, may we always have time to celebrate with our families. I hope to hear about your travels and cooking in Egypt as well. Love

  • Penelope says:

    I enjoyed reading about your prospective move to Iran. I’d love to hear how you find it as we are living in the Middle East presently, but considering a move there in the future. There are not many blogs about every day life in Teheran – but then there’s not many blogs about every day life where I live either! MIne is one of the few. Looking forward to reading more about your adventures.

    • Maria says:

      Thank you Penelope. I checked your blog and enjoyed reading about a place which was also my home for three year some years ago. I am definitely going to write about Teheran and our travels in Iran. I’m preparing something already. We just arrived a few days ago and right now I’m trying to get housing sorted out and waiting anxiously for my computer to arrive so I can work properly. I can tell you my first impressions are very positive. Soon I will be able to say more …

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