• 2021.07.15
  • Summer research project
The pandemic just keeps raging on here.
When will it all end?

The lockdowns in Portugal did their job, putting us on the covid green list and causing travelers from all over Europe to flood in—which may be the reason that covid cases are suddenly on the rise here again.

We’re not in lockdown or restricted from traveling outside city borders like we were before, but travel to and from Grande Lisboa (the Lisboa Region) was conditionally restricted during the weekend. People can’t pass through unless they have proof of a negative RT-PCR Test (or similar NAAT test) 72 hours prior, or a Rapid Antigen Test 48 hours prior to arrival—or an EU Digital COVID Certificate.

The EU Digital COVID Certificate provides proof that a person has received a negative test result, been vaccinated, or has recovered from COVID-19. The digital certificate can be managed via smartphone QR code, or issued in a paper format.

It’s a total pain. I’d rather have them just inject a chip in me with the vaccine! Of course, when you really think about that, it would be pretty terrifying. There’d be no end to how they’d start controlling people.

Meanwhile, the kids are getting closer and closer to summer break. This year it started at the beginning of July for the first time. They say it’s delayed because they’re trying to make up for the lost instruction time during the pandemic, but the kids already took all of their final exams on the regular schedule—so both the teachers and the students are already completely in summer vacation mode. My son’s playing hooky probably every other day now, which has us all anxious wondering if his school is going to think he’s come down with the virus.

As far as our plans this summer, the only thing we’ve really decided on is going on a small trip within the country with some friends. We’d love to camp like we usually do, but if they’re going to saddle us with all kinds of restrictions, it will suck all the magic out of being in the great outdoors.

Instead, I’ve been talking to my son about the idea of putting more effort into his summer research project. The theme is “science in your backyard,” and he’s supposed to use things around the house to study and record whatever he can observe in an area he can easily get to. Just a few kilometers down the coast is an area where the quality of the cliffs—in the sense of the color of the rocks, sand, and dirt—changes. A little further inland, he could see how the plant life is different than what you find along the shore, and he could compare the different insects in the two places as well. My son loves fossils, so if he finds one of those, he might be able to get a better idea of what the land was like long ago.
So even if we don’t head out to a museum in the city or make elaborate preparations, I think he’ll have plenty of things to study.

I’m the type of person who’s completely satisfied just to be able to fill my lungs with clean, beautiful air. Without a mask on, obviously…

A snake we found in the yard

And some frogs


  • Megumi Ota
  • JobConservator, interpreter, and coordinator / Insitu (restoration), Kaminari-sama / Novajika, and others

I’m a conservator and preservationist living in Portugal. I specialize primarily in paintings (murals) and gold leaf design, and am involved with UNESCO World Heritage structures as well as the interior of the Palace of Belém. I derive great satisfaction from having close ties to my community in the rural village near the Silver Coast where I live. My hobby is gardening.

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