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A final [personal] reflection

I love to get stuck in projects – Fact!

Let’s have a look at my reoccurring five metrics I used to give a qualitative stat [satisfaction out of 5 grading] on how things were going. You can compare them also to my previous reflection 12 earlier in the project.

Be outside as much as possible [3/5] There was a direct correlation with cold weather and work, the more of the two, the less I did outside. Outside activities involved walking,  cycling, canoeing, surfing, dry stone wall building and who would have thought I’d enjoy Surfing and Mushrooms?!

Creating design outcomes [4/5] overall and by project:

  • [1/5] Branding for the Quinta was not taken to a final outcome. The owners kept changing their minds about what they wanted their guest house to be. We suggested appraoched, I collected benchmarking and competitor examples. Julia created a business plan. But basically because we were not really getting payed for the work we were doing, the work we did was seen as ‘useful’ but it wasn’t the right timing to get it actually used. Hence, our efforts were focused elsewhere apart from the occasional photo shoot of gems found in the Quinta and group workshops.
  • [1/5] Adventure park. I would have liked to help Lucio with detailing the experience of his park and the branding for Alternativtours and website, rather than making it all makeshift – but it somehow works! Unfortunately due to health reasons most work was placed on ice after one and a half months and the park project was suspended.
  • [0/5] Algarve 123 did not happen. Why? A small improvement was made in-house after our meeting with two of the directors – the cultural part of the newspaper got a tiny bit more significance on the title page. An example re-design as part of something like ‘Novas Direcoes’ or the ‘alternative tourism office’ idea – was suspended as we realised we were trying to do too many things at the same time. Very unfortunate, as it would have been fun to do!
  • [3/5] Own Projects. I came up with ideas like the Patterns of Monchique book and the second post but did not go further into detail, interviewing craftsmen and women, but researched into local crafts and souvenirs. I haven’t had much time to create outcomes from it, but a few: print pattern on fabric and some jewellery prototypes.
  • [5/5] Novas Direcoes – maps, content, exhibition curation and documentation. Great success. We had 60 visitors at the exhibition and 6 email requests for more information via the 2nd newspaper article which was published.
  • [4/5] Veredas de Monchique. I’m very happy with the maps but should have allowed more time to distribute and getting them used. Looking back at the Veredas process, I am also surprised at how long it took to derive at the final maps without the concept changing much. Of course I conducted several GPS traces and did research into existing walks, but already at the first meeting at the beginning of October, I had a fairly solid understanding of what I imagined the maps to be like. I was also not completely pleased with the workflow creating the Monchique town map, giving directions to our illustrator. We (Jules and I) were pulling in too many directions with a too lose brief which caused the style of the illustration to get lost, taking away the enjoyment and attention to detail, rather than having a beautifully crafted map. I also would have liked to continue the Veredas work, but don’t think I made the depth of necessary connections, to get paid work from it.
  • [3/5] Research into ‘How unique is Monchique?’  Blog posts: Salir / Alte Tourist officeHow unique is Monchique? Monchique’s untapped potential for tourism. 

Blogging [5/5] I set up 3 blogs. 130 posts in total. over 1000 visitors in 3 months and an average of 20 views a day. My particular favorites are: Photography competitionTiles contemporary tiles, building a dry stone wall, my Lisbon trip and the Sustainable design jam and the craft posts: Dust and wooden shavingsMonchique Artesanatos and Products of Monchique blog posts.

Follow passion and curiosity

Learn Portuguese [1/5] Due to the lack of immersion, I did not really pick up Portuguese. Living in a house with 12 Brits, 2 Germans and 1 English speaking Slovakian, did not help with learning a language! I should have foreseen this based on my experiences with previous languages and living abroad.

Customer Service Qualification [N/A]- Customer Service Qualification NVQ Level 3. I haven’t really made mention of this qualification I supposedly gained whilst in Portugal by reflecting on my customer service experiences. It sounded like an interesting thing to do, (useful to get to know the other side of designing for service), but it was more a hindrance than constructive, not helping reflection or capturing of impressions and skills. All I can say is that I hope that other individuals who do this qualification don’t get told: No one can fail!

Learn about Sustainable Tourism [1/5] – I’d been keen to learn about the principles of a permaculture garden or learning about how guest houses run and how they run sustainable, but I got the feeling ‘sustainability’ is either treated as a label or it’s ticked off by having a solar panel system. I missed the opportunity to attend the sustainable tourism conference or learn more about the commune Tamera north of Monchique.

Knowing your meat

Living at the Quinta we had two goats – Hatschi and Hatschine (right male, left female). Hatschi was very quite particular, he even made it into a poem written by Julia. He threatened, ran and played his ego for the ones who did not realise how easy it was to scare him off with a blight blue umbrella or grab him by his horns to just put out of your way when he became stroppy, standing up on his back legs. Their natural pen was taken down when the grounds were freed of weeds and they enjoyed big freedom to stroll around the house and enormous garden – not even an electric fence could keep him in check when it was decided that a pen would be best for all. We ate Hatschi on our last day at the Quinta, the Saturday night. He was killed and butchered in the garden on the Thursday afternoon before.

How is it eating an animal that was regarded as a pet? The owner of the house was set in two minds, but when a professional butcher was arranged to come by to take Hatschi down, there was no return…. It brought up a lot of discussion with the group who lived at the Quinta – most boys could not get over it – they were enjoying their bliss of ignorance and were happily eating crap meat bought from a big chain, weather ham or sausage for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It was kind of Frank to share this experience with us and it will certainly be rememberable. We had Hatchi in 2 different ways – to lessen the goats taste, considering he was 6 years old! – he was marinated in red wine, garlic and onion and in a non alcoholic version made of yogurt – see third pic below – for over 24 hours before being cooked. He was really quite yummy!