Friday, April 25, 2008

Another week...another adventure...

Will post more when it isn't 4 in the morning.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Leiria Part 2

So I left off at Friday night, right?

Saturday - This day was soooo long...We started out by meeting at the monastery in Batalha. It's absolutely gorgeous. Giant gothic sanctuary in the form of a latin cross, huge stain glass windows, an arc, tombs of kings and queens, their figures holding hands in death, even a 13th century sculpture of an asian man! Then we walked out to this beautiful courtyard with the most incredible stone carvings you've ever seen. There was a type of "unknown soldier" tomb guarded by soldiers. When we went in this room, the guide told us it had been built by the Masons because they had left 4 carvings as clues at the corners of the room. One was blank, signifying "mystery", one was a man with leaves coming out of his mouth to signify "sharing knowledge", one was a master, signifying "being the master of your trade", and the last was two angels mounting fighting lions, which signified "nobility and brotherhood". Cool huh? After we walked through the coutyard a bit and saw this fountain with gargoyles. Then we all tried our hand at sculpting! Though we didn't really get very far...After we went to more tombs, this time outdoors (my family laughed when I was showing them pictures, because this is the only place Johannes and I actually posed for a picture. The tombs. "Why not a garden with flowers or something?" me: "ummmm it's more nordic?" But it was romantic how they were holding hands even in death...though maybe a bit morbid? whatever =P)

After the monastery we had a coffee in this square and the Thailand kids continued to teach us swear words in Thai! (yet meh! zut!). After the coffee we had lunch, logistical right? Melody - who's a vegetarian - had gotten in an argument earlier with our tour guide about eating meat, and then Johannes followed suit with his "if we didn't kills whales we never would have survived in Faroes". We talked for probably half an hour about one really one in the end. The both of them were giving arguments for naturality and survival.

Anywho after lunch we got on the bus for nazare and spent the afternoon on the chilly, rainy, but none the less gorgeous beach. We played football for a while then went to eat Caracois...aka snails. Check the photobucket for the wonderful pictures for the literal plate full of snails. We boarded the bus for home, I went back and took a shower, changed and got ready for the night out.

This night was legendary. We had an AFS dinner that "started" at at about 10 things got going. Only AFS Europe would serve beer at a proper function...=P. We had a "talent show" where everyone from the different countries sang something (and the girl from iceland and Jo's host brother did the moonwalk?) We then went to the town square where Henning, Jo, me, Ursula, Paraguay girl, and two Portuguese found a bar. We met back in the square at 1 and walked for 45 MINUTES to find this nightclub, all the while joking and generally having a good time. Henning and Jo together are RIDICULOUS. If germany and faroes ever formed an alliance it would be insane. People kept rearranging into fake couples to get in and then I had to go to the bathroom really running to the club. So Johannes and I get there and we get to the front of the line half because I had to use the bathroom and half because we're blonde foreigners. Then the nightclub was a nightclub...dancing...stuff...yeah. Good times. My host sister and I left like 3:30 (early by europe standards) and went home.

Sunday - Woke up fairly late. Chilled with the host family. Jo wanted to leave at 2:30 but wasn't ready, I wanted to leave at 4:30 but bought the 2:30 tickets anyways and explained this to him, then we changed, and then he STILL thought we were leaving at 2:30...frustrating to say the least...everything ended OK and we did eventually get back to Porto.

Today I had a field trip to this house from the Romantic era, was very beautiful, though I kind of zoned out a lot of the time...Nightwish this Friday, totally stoked!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Field Trip and Leiria!

Here's the first part of my trip to Leiria...enjoy

What a weekend…I still don’t think I’m fully recovered.

So I guess I should start with Wednesday, since Tuesday was the last time I quasi-posted? Pronto…

Wednesday – Got up the same time I usually get up on Wednesday, but this time we had a field trip! So we met at the school like 8:30 (our history teacher was wearing jeans and a T-Shirt!! Weird!!). We got on the bus for the Aveiro area and I sat next to Maria Loureiro. She’s really nice, we had a long talk about differences in the US and Portugal, crashing cars, boyfriends…it was cool. The first thing we did getting off the bus was to go to this boat, and it actually made me a bit homesick because it reminded me of the Philly trip and going on boats…only there was no Jennifer and Tim and David to be ridiculous with. We “took a tour” of the boat and watched some awfully cheesy film. It was a boat used for catching bacalhau but I don’t remember the name. Afterwards we went to a maritime museum which was sort of the same thing. We had lunch in the cantina at the Vista Alegre and took a tour of the factory. It’s a ceramics factory and was actually really interesting. We were saying it’s like art class every day if you work there! My Portuguese teacher actually freaked out when there was a broken pot in the corner (it was a very beautiful pot) and they said it was “lixo” or “trash”. I thought she was going to have a heart attack! Around 5 we finally left for Porto. I got home the same time as usual but had to pack for the next day. Had some moments of panic when I couldn’t get a hold of Johannes to check times (WHO HAD OUR BUS TICKETS) but it worked out…

– Woke up, fairly early, but not really. Got my bags together, took a shower, and got on the metro! Johannes and I had planned to meet at 8:45 at the Bolhao metro station to walk to the Rodoviaria bus station to catch our bus that left at 9:30. So I got there at 8:45…and no Johannes. So then it was 8:50…then 8:55…then 9:00…and still no sign. Meanwhile I’m calling frantically, never mind I had gotten a message at 8:38 from him asking whether or not he should bring a bathing suit and towel! He finally calls me at 9 to say he has no change for a metro ticket and could I please come to Campo 24 Agosto to get one for him? You can say I was just a BIT frustrated…all the while he was saying “oh it’s fine, we’ll get there, don’t worry!”. I just told him I’d stop worrying once we were on the bus. So yes, he was right, we did get there in time, but it was a bit of a freak out when it was 9:10 and we were still on the metro.

We got on the bus and who should we meet but Melody! She was going to Leiria as well and happened to be taking the same bus, so we caught up over the bus ride. I hadn’t even seen her for at least 2 months then out of the blue there she is! It was cool though. We stopped in Coimbra but only had time to get a pastry (this is Portugal after all…). We arrived in Leiria and met our host siblings for the weekend there. We had lunch at the cantina at the school then went to the Castle in Leiria. Unfortunately it was raining and not wonderful weather, but it was still awesome. Then we played this “game” – Peddy Paper. It took me a while to figure out what exactly that meant, but then Melody and I figured out it meant a sort of scavenger hunt. So for the rest of the afternoon that we did that, then all met back up at the school. At night, I went with my host sister for the weekend home. We watched the stupid high school soap opera “Morangos com Acucar” and ate dinner. Their house was SO NICE! It was in Batalha and you could basically see the monastery from their porch! So I went to bed in the nice cozy bed and prepared myself for Friday…

Friday – We all met at the school to go to this museum about film. We got to try out a bunch of stuff, I felt like an elementary school kid again! After that we went to this art exposition with a bunch of cartoons. Wes would have loved this, I must say it was pretty cool. We had a café then ate lunch at McDonalds (walking everywhere…yuck!). After lunch we went to this park to play games, hang out, “rock climb” that was NOT rock climbing. Then we all piled in cars to go to LAZER QUEST!! We played Portuguese vs. AFSers…the Portuguese whooped our butts to say the least. Friday night I had dinner with the family again and then all the kids there went to the movies. The movie wasn’t that great but the company was good.
Well I’m really tired…I can’t finish this tonight. I’ll finish later!

Monday, April 7, 2008

I love me some Portugal =)

I found this list online…most of it is true. The ones bolded are things I’ve experienced first hand, my comments in parenthesis.

“You know you’re an exchange student when…”
before waiting to see if anyone understood what you meant, you start acting it out.

you think 100 pounds to pack up your entire life is plenty of space.(100 pounds!?!?!?! That’s twice the amount I got…)
you don’t have preferences anymore, especially when it comes to food. Nothing tastes familiar, thats for sure.(though I never really had preferences…)
you spend a lot of time smiling, nodding, and pretending you understand what’s going on. (basically the definition of foreign exchange…about 95% of my time)
you classify “doing your homework” as translating half of it. And that alone took three hours.
when your grandma asks you what you’ve been learning, you tell her something general, instead of “how to open beer bottles with a 50 cent coin.”
you sometimes use the excuse “Sorry, I don’t understand” to avoid answering a question….even if you do. (and beggars…just say “no speakie portuguese”)
they offer cocktails at the back-to-school party.
you want to hug the people who attempt to speak your native language to you.
you’ve called every person who says “hi” to you your friend… because you don’t really have any yet. (so true)
you’ll read anything in your native language just to have something to read…even packaging labels. (hahaha!!! I thought I was the only one who did this!!!)
you’ve got on the bus and had the driver say “you don’t want to be on this bus” because you got on the same bus the night before and it was wrong then, too.
you sometimes walk around the school during breaks to act like you’re doing something, because you don’t see anyone you recognize and don’t want to stand there awkwardly. (did this TONS in the beginning but not as much anymore…though I did today until I found Pia and Ana Lucia inside. I was just messed up because it was raining and we weren’t sitting outside on the steps)
you know the answer to a question in a class but don’t raise your hand because you don’t want people to expect to much from you.
you’re better than your teacher in your foreign language class. (kind of a given…)
you are a master of pantomime and circumlocution and still can’t have a conversation.
you actually think the language barrier is a good thing when it comes to things like lying to your host parents. (I mean…of course not…)
you’ve ever mispronounced something in your native language (for example, names of products, TV shows, companies) because you know the others will understand it better if you say it with an accent. (all the time)
you’ve tried so many different foods due entirely to the fact that you cannot understand the person asking you what you want so you just nod your head, say “yes”, and hope to god it tastes half-decent.
you’ve tried to order something in your host country’s language only to be answered in english because you did it so badly. (this happens like at least 2 times a day)
you’ve gotten annoyed with said people that automatically answer you in English when you try to speak to them in their language. (AHHH I’M HERE TO LEARN DON’T TALK TO ME IN ENGLISH!!!)
after you come back everybody tells you that you have a weird accent.
your dreams are bilingual. (so weird…)
sometimes it takes you about 5 minutes to remember a word in your native language that you were going to use. (I could not for the life of me remember the word ferris wheel today…I kept wanting to say carousel)
you automatically use words in a foreign language that you cant even translate but they just seem to fit the context.
you watch television shows and movies that you know in your native language, just to understand it for once. (well everything’s still in english so television is easy)

you begin to enjoy foods that you had previously despised at home.
you’ve gotten out of a punishment or being yelled at because you didn’t understand the language, or at least pretended you didn’t.
it becomes a habit to introduce yourself by saying: “I am from (country) and my name is (name).” (Eu chamo-me Caroline e sou dos Estados Unidos…as easy as pie by now…)
you’ve gotten upset because someone assumed you wanted to do something…and then were told you were asked if you wanted too, and you said yes!
you’ve said something like ‘oh yes’ or ‘no thanks’ only to have everyone laugh because your answer made no sense compared to the question.
you actually got a high five when you understood what someone said to you.
you’re never sure if someone’s being your friend, flirting, seducing you, or sexually harassing you. (AHHHH THIS IS SO TRUE!!! ALL THE TIME!!!! Though the other week a guy followed my down the street asking me my name and actually got in my face about it. He’d been asking me for a month but I just always ignored him. This time I was ready though so when he followed me I turned and said “Eu chamo-me Caroline e tenho um namorado que sabe karate!!” or, roughly “My name’s Caroline and I have a boyfriend that knows karate” He backed off then…)
while you’re having a nice conversation with your Gastopa and Oma, your host sister is making out on the same couch. Then her and her boyfriend are always sure to announce when they are going to take a bath together.
you’re not sure whether it’s a children’s book or porn.
you get a little scared before starting a sentence with big words in it in another language. (I used to be scared to start asking someone to pass the water)
you have been put in a one or more classes with the fifth graders, because you’re supposed to understand more there.
you are always counting the time difference between where you are and home.
you always forget the time difference when you call a friend or family member back home…..sorry for waking you up at 4 AM mom.
you do something wrong and people look at you weird, your excuse is “That’s how we do it in my country” even if it isn’t.
you have gone in to greet someone with a shake of hands and find yourself being pulled into an awkward hug/double kiss on the cheek or the other way around. (beijinhos…accidentally kissing old men…blegh!)
you carry a dictionary and a camera in your bag.
you get so used to broken English you finish people’s sentences even though no one else can understand them.
you get into arguments with the foreign language teacher (English) over how to pronounce something. (I’m sorry but the word “chores” is not pronounced like a K!)
you try to speak in the native language and everyone immediately knows “You’re not from around here”.
you can get into the strictest clubs with your ID from you host country, because most people get confused and just let you get in.
you know every cuss word in your host language, but still cant conjugate into past or future tense.
peoples stares don’t bother you anymore.
you’re ready to drink anytime of the day. (but only wine)
you have mastered the arts of deception and sneakery.
you’ve spent more than one night getting drunk with your host parents.
everyone thinks your playing the tough guy when you say you haven’t called your mom yet and don’t miss her too much.

a conversation is going fine, before it suddenly get stuck on some word or phrase which makes you completely forget what you were talking about.
you buy clothes in your country so you don’t look so much like a foreigner.
*From the Facebook group “You know you’ve been an exchange student if”

annnnd cut!

This weekend was pretty awesome, I must say. I last posted Thursday…so here we go!

Friday I woke up, and went to have lunch at Julia’s house and hang out and such. We hung out in her yard/garden to bask in the sun, which we could not think of how to say. There’s “apanhar o sol” but that’s like sun bathing. We ate lunch with her host sister and host mom and talked about Harry Potter and such. Anywho, my Philosophy teacher was missing so the girls in my class and I tanned behind the gym. In Portuguese (which turned out to be my only class that day) they talked about their tests and I played Sudoko…We didn’t have math either because the teacher was missing, just thank goodness the weather was nice!!! Manana let me put my books in her locker for the weekend and we hung out for a bit.

Since I got out a bit early, Johannes and I met at the Campo 24 de Agosto metro station at 6:30. From there we went to Norteshopping for a dinner of KFC and to see the movie “The Bucket List”. So Portuguese right? =P He was so sweet…he even got me earrings! Apparently my mom thought my account of how he did it was funny so I guess I’ll put it here too…this is how the conversation went.

Johannes: So I have something for you…I guess it’s kind of romantic or whatever…
Me: Mmhhmmm?
Johannes: Uhh…yeah…*digs in pocket* *pulls out empty plastic Kleenex wrapper* *awkward Johannes laugh* yeah! No wait. *produces small plastic bag with earrings*

Saturday I slept pretty late in the day and my host parents were a bit worried because I always wake up quasi-early, or at least earlier than Ines. I didn’t really do much at all…we had salmon for lunch (so good…grilled fresh!) then went to a café. Ines was at the hairstylist so then we went to pick her up…I talked with Johannes on the phone. My parents invited him to Sunday lunch so I had to call him and remind him about 50 times what time he should get here. Ines and I went to the beach a bit later and met with some friends at Bea’s Café, and chilled at home the rest of the night.

Sunday I met Johannes at the metro station at 10:30 (only 30 minutes late, a new record!) and we walked to my house…though no one was home, so we walked along the beach a bit and to Bea’s for chocolate and ice cream. Then we came back and finally everyone was home! I introduced them all to Johannes and vice versa, then this other family came and we had this huge lunch. And Jo just had to bring up “matar baleias” or killing whales…which they do in Faroes…my family was a bit taken back but overall they liked him, thought he was very nice. After lunch the two of us went for a walk along the ocean and the river and he got some more ice cream, though I had to decline. We walked back to my house and he talked with Ines and my host dad a bit just about stuff (I was upstairs looking for a CD) and then we got on my computer for a little while. Around 6 he had to go, which is always sad…we don’t have a lot of time together as it is, but this weekend is Leiria, so we get 4 days together! =)

Today…rain. And lots of it. I hung in the library by the heater a lot of the time. It was also my host dad’s birthday so we had a little festa for him with the family at home. It was a lot of fun with really yummy food and a huge cake. Pictures (and a video of our multilingual birthday song!) should be up soon.

I’m really looking forward to Wednesday-Sunday. Wednesday is a fieldtrip with my class in school, then Thursday through Sunday is the “4 dias em Leiria” for AFS. I will take lots of pictures and videos and try and document it as best as I can!Ate ja!