Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Boa Tarde

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 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!

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