Ilustração: Lívia Varella (Instagram: @liviacvarella)

Eu era um bebê feíssimo. Cabelo ralo já com entradas à mostra, queixo duplo e bochechas gordas — a direita levemente mais caída do que a esquerda. Na foto em preto e branco, mamãe segurava-me por trás dos ombros acentuando ainda mais os meus braços roliços. Ela arrumara-se com vestido novo comprado para a ocasião, o cabelo preso em coque e com um leve topete, nenhum fio fora do lugar. Passara batom carmim e escolhera a pulseira de ouro que ganhara de papai no noivado. Tão bonita que parecia ser ela a participar do concurso.

Mas não, o centro das…

La Primavera, by Sandro Botticelli

Based on a real story that will happen very soon.

“With searing heat, crushing pressures, noxious gases and everything suffused in an eerie, reddish glow, Venus seems less the goddess of love than the incarnation of hell.” Cosmos, Carl Sagan

The first package came with the dandelion burst of early spring. On his way to the blue door, the delivery man stepped on the flowers that covered the green front lawn. He knocked twice, softly, as if he didn’t expect anyone to answer it, and left the heavy parcel on the new doormat. …

George Viccars, a primeira vítima da peste em Eyam, morreu nesta casa, que recebeu o nome de Chalé da Peste. Crédito: Marina Navarro Lins

Na noite do dia 23 de março, logo após o primeiro ministro Boris Johnson anunciar restrições para conter o então novíssimo coronavírus, o reverendo Mike Gilbert fechou as portas da Igreja de St. Lawrence, no vilarejo de Eyam, no norte da Inglaterra. É a primeira vez que as atividades da paróquia são interrompidas desde o século 17. A 55 quilômetros de Manchester, o “vilarejo da peste” enfrenta a pandemia com certo conhecimento de causa: em 1665 e 1666, dois surtos de peste bubônica fizeram com que os habitantes ficassem em quarentena por quase seis meses.

A história de Eyam está…

Mellor, United Kingdom (2020). Photo: Marina Navarro Lins

Last week, I sent an angry message to my 17 year-old sister. She wasn’t picking up the phone and we had an important mission: to test a new app that allows you to video chat and play games at the same time — a quarantine trend. She mocked me for being so “modern for my age” and we played a few rounds of Heads Up and Quick Draw. …

Blue houses in Chefchaouen, Morocco. Photo: Marina Navarro Lins

Chefchaouen, the charming ‘blue pearl’ in the Northwest of Morocco, is geographically perfect for isolation. Tucked away in the mountains, the 564 metre-high town, where little more than 42,000 people live, got its name because the hills surrounding it look like two goat’s horns. For locals, it is simply Chaouen. Even though tourists are increasingly roaming its narrow streets, instagramming as they go, the numbers are still far lower than in cities like Marrakech. In times of Covid-19, it seemed like the perfect location to end our Moroccan trip.

…Until we met an Irish backpacker in the Kasbah, the 15th…

Célia Xakriabá, Erisvan Guajajara and Ângela Kaxuyana at LSE - Photo taken by the LSESU Brazilian Society

The three-meter red sphere that hangs in the center of the New Academic Building, accompanied by a cluster of smaller steel spheres at its side, catches the eyes of passers-by on Kingsway. Inside the London School of Economics’ (not that) new construction, the large, high-ceiling, well-lit and quite empty lobby of the remodeled Edwardian building screams modernity, with its white walls and wooden parquet floor. The art work Elenchus/Aporia, by the Irish artist Joy Gerrard, is supposed to represent a dialogue between individuals — an inspiration for critical thinking.

On a Friday evening last November, the red sculpture — the…

Photo by Amador Loureiro on Unsplash

Imagine you are driving on a road abroad. Every now and then you are confronted by a complicated roundabout. Even though the car GPS gives you precise directions, ultimately it is up to you which exit you take. You can pick the one that will make the trip shorter or you can choose a more exciting one, adding a new spontaneous stop to the plan. …

Guanabara Bay, in Rio de Janeiro

“What was fatherland anyway?” Seventy years before the Irish scholar Benedict Anderson developed the concept of the nation as an imagined community, Major Policarpo Quaresma posed this question. Was the Brazil he imagined a fantasy created by his hyperbolic patriotism? Who was “imagining” the Brazil that actually existed? What was the role of borders in defining the fatherland? These melancholic reflections sound familiar, but they were published by Lima Barreto more than a century ago, in 1911. Still topical in many respects, the satirical “The Sad End of Policarpo Quaresma” tells the quixotic story of a man who loves his…

Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

From the car window, I pictured the little man climbing a tree. Dexterously, he went to the highest branch and then on to the top. When he stood at the peak of the tree with his body upright, it was time to start running. His tiny legs kept up with the car’s speed, even though his road wasn’t made of concrete but of branches, trunks and leaves. His path was the dark green contour of the forest that grew on the valley and hills next to the road where my family and I drove. Sometimes the little man had to…

The physicist Lise Meitner

Element 109 of the periodic table is a tricky one. Extremely radioactive and heavy, it doesn’t exist in nature and can only be synthesized inside laboratories — a glimpse of a few seconds before its decay. Elusive, it made it through the scientific-egotistic battles to baptize elements 102 to 108 and, without controversy, was officially named meitnerium in 1997. The physicist Lise Meitner remains until this day — when Mendeleev’s table completes 150 years — as the only woman to have been solely remembered among the 118 chemical elements, since Marie Curie shares the tribute with her husband. Like meitnerium

Marina Navarro Lins

Brazilian journalist and translator based in the UK

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