So here I am in Porto. It´s like a dream. Porto is located on a river called the Rio Douro. The river is quite large like the Mississippi and leads to the ocean. In fact, parts of Porto are on the ocean. The other day, some friends and I went to the river. We sat at an outdoor cafe for a while. The weather is cool, but the sun is shining. It's like those first days of spring when you know it's cold out, but you refuse to believe it! I take the metro/subway train to school every day. It makes me feel like a city girl! Maybe the funniest thing is that my school is pink. It's as pink as pink can be. It's a Catholic university too, so there's a big pink cross on the roof!
I live in a very nice residence. It's basically a dorm. There are single and double rooms. The double rooms are nice...they have a separate kitchen, an oven, big refrigerator, and a couch. When you come up the stairs, my cell is the furthest away. It's like running a mini-marathon just to get there. Supposedly it's 15 meters square. I don't believe it for a minute though! Maybe the room is more like 12 meters square! My window overlooks the midddle of the building...there's a roof and some construction going on. I can see the metro train tracks too. Lovely view. If the sun is shining just right, I can see a reflection of the city in the windows across the way. I have a nice wardrobe with 6 clothes hangers and a little chest of drawers. My desk is quite large...no complaints there. Unfold the other closet doors and a mini kitchen is revealed. I have two stove top burners , a sink, microwave and a small dorm fridge. It's sufficient. Thankfully, I have my own bathroom too.
The food here is amazing. A lot of fruit in Europe is grown in Spain and Portugal. There's an overabundance of fruits and vegetables in the grocery store! Today I tried some sausage. Doubt that I'll be eating that again any time real soon. The flavor was nice, but the texture was funny because it had bread in it. There's a mall near school with a nice food court. The food I've had there is nice. Since Porto is a sea side town, the fish is wonderfully fresh! I hope to learn to cook more seafood dishes.
I'm really excited about the language here. Portuguese is much like Spanish, but words that look like Spanish words are usually pronounced a little different and words that sound like Spanish are usually spelled different. I've picked up enough Portuguese that I can order food in a cafe and ask for things in stores. Not too bad considering I've only been here 5 days.
Today has been full of culture shock, but not Portuguese culture...Hindu culture. Two of my classmates have rooms near mine. I joined them for lunch even though I had already eaten. They ate vegetable curry and rice with their hands. It was so hard not to look baffled. In a few minutes, I will take one of the Indian boys to the laundry room and show him how to use the washing machine. He used a washing machine for the first time in Dublin. He's never heard of a clothes drier though. I've never met anyone who hasn't heard of a tumble drier! I wonder if he has any laundry soap. I tell ya...some days are more than I bargained for!
I'll let you know what else is going on soon! Keep in touch!
Sunday, January 21, 2007
I know I have lots of catching up to do, but a few stories from my latest adventure must do for now. Ryan (my boyfriend) came back to Ireland with me and we had a blast! We spent the first bit of the trip in Ireland. Having him see where I live was really important to me. We spent a few days in Vienna, Austria too. Neither of speak any German, but we managed pretty well with our German phrase book. Thankfully most people spoke English! There were some funny things...like we didn't always get the food we were expecting. At a pizza place, we ordered pizza with pepperoni. Turns out pepperoni is a pepper, not a sausage! We visited a lot of churches. They are so beautiful. Very ornate. The funniest thing that happened was at Charleskirch. The church is under renovation, so they charge to get in. The cool thing is that you can take the elevator up to the scaffolding and the some stairs to the very tip-top of the dome in the church. I've never been so scared in my life! I thought I would fall to my death for sure! This is coming from the girl who jumps out of airplanes and climbs rocks! My legs were shaking so much that they started cramping up! One thing's for certain, I don't plan on working construction any time soon! Ryan wasn't any less scared than I was. We were pansies. I guess there's a lot to be said for solid ground.
I'll be without my computer after tomorrow. There's a loose connection in the power cord and it's causing sparks and melting plastic. I have to send it in tomorrow and won't get it back for 8 business days. So frustrating. Tomorrow I'll have to figure out how to get it shipped to my school in Portugal. Grrrr. In the mean time, I'll try to enjoy my technology free life. I leave for Porto, Portugal either Friday or Saturday. That's something I must figure out soon! One adventure to another!
That's all for now... Keep in touch.