Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Only 4 weeks?...

It shocks me to think I only have 4 weeks left here (plus or minus a few days). This past week was really really strange...but pretty awesome.

Monday and Tuesday were more or less normal, school and what not. Monday I woke up for school as usual (this is my early day). So I got up like 6:20 to get to school at 8:15, only to find out the workers were on strike and we had no classes. So here I am, an hour from home with nothing to do...thankfully Maud was there and said I could hang at her house for a little bit, so we went back and watched TV and got on the internet, and she let me leave my books and gym clothes there so I wouldn't have to drag them around the city. I met Johannes for lunch, which was cool because we got a lot more time than usual, so we just walked around, ate, went to a net cafe. I got home around 4 and Ines and I became catatonic in front of the television. WOO!

Thursday was a holiday, a catholic religious holiday actually - "Corpus Christi", so there was no school. Johannes and I met up at about 9:45 (and he was on time! gasp!) to take a train to Guimaraes, the "birthplace" of portugal. We wandered through the narrow (WET) cobblestoned streets, had lunch at a really nice restaurant - the beef was excellent, up to the palace where they had refurnished the rooms to make it how it would have been around the 16th or 17th century. He wanted to buy a sword but the giftshop didn't sell any, only plates =P. Then we went to the original castle, which was more of a fort/military stronghold, but this one dated from the 11th or 12th century. It was raining and really depressing, and we ended up going back to porto around 5ish, where right as we got off the train the Corpus Christi procession was going down the streets of Baixa. It was fascinating, everything was eerily silent except for the chanting of the priest and the singing of maybe 500 people following them, but I'm not good with numbers, it could have been a lot more. We had some icecream at McDonalds afterwards and walked down to the Ribeira, up the steps, around, across the bridge...just random.

Friday I had an appointment for my Visa, so I only went to my Philosophy class, then I had to hop on the bus/metro down to Estadio do Dragao. I waited for an hour and 45 minutes (even though I had an appointment!) to sit down for 5 minutes and have the lady tell me I didn't have all my papers, and could I please reschedule for the 11th of June? BAHUMBUG!!! Well...it was Johannes' birthday too, so we met at Dolce Vita for dinner at Burger King, where we just talked for like, 2 hours. Then we took the metro across the river to look at Porto at night. I had to go home, and ended up being late...stupid metro system.

Saturday was the start of the Geres trip! We were supposed to meet at 8:15 at Campanha and "please don't be late!". So I took the 7 o clock express metro and got to the area around 7:45, and Johannes was already ready! He was early! We both were! It was a miracle. All of the AFSers actually got there before Nuno and Renata. The train didn't even leave until 8:50, Renata said she was counting on all of us being late. We arrived in Braga and had to walk all the way to the bus station, with our bags, in the rain...comfortable, right? Well it wasn't too bad. We met an AFSer from China - Shipping - there. So now it was Me, Johannes (faroe islands), Elif (Turkey), Julia (USA), Maud (Canada - Quebec), Shipping (China), Renata and Nuno (Portugal). Quite a mix of cultures. We arrived at the Camp/Pousada place and put down our bags. We were able to get into the rooms and rested for a while and ate some lunch. After a bit we started out on a hike. This was probably around 2:30. We walked through the village, down a hill, then across the mountain with no path. There was a dam with a resevoir so we walked across the dam to the other side where there was a waterfall and the end of the path, then we went all the way back. We were completely wet and dirty and exhausted when we got back. I changed pants and shoes, and we hung out in the lounge and watched some TV. I fell asleep in a big chair practically on top of Johannes...my bad...but it was so warm and cozy! haha...in the meantime Renata, Nuno, and Shipping had gone to buy cake and snacks for Johannes' surprise birthday party.

We had a dinner of Bacalhau com Natas, soooo good. Maybe my favorite Portuguese food, consisting of Bacalhau (salted cod) in a cream sauce with potatoes and pasta. Yummy...After dinner we went back to the lounge to watch this sort of European American Idol thing with a different representative from each country. We went back to the Cabin, took showers (soooo nice after that hike), and convined in the girl's room. The guys were in their PJs, which consisted of tiny shorts...bahhahahahaha. Everyone was supposed to go out of the room one by one until it was only me and him and then I was supposed to ask "hey where'd everyone go?" and so we'd go in the other room. But Johannes kept talking and talking and talking...and i kept trying to ask but he was like "eh, I dunno, doesn't matter where they went, so anyway...". Finally I had to like drag him out of the room. He was really surprised though, and we have it all on video! wooo!!!

Sunday we got to sleep in, had breakfast, and started making a movie. "Scenes from an AFS weekend" or something like that. It was pretty funny I guess...we had lunch, and afterwards walked back through the village filming our movie. We met some Americans from Texas (just south of Austin!) who were hiking through the mountains. We finished the movie then hiked all the way to the top of Geres in about 30 minutes. Go us...then we had to practically run back down to catch the bus and get our things. Everyone fell asleep on the bus and the train ride back was really fun. Getting out in porto was a bit depressing since everything was over...and there is nothing else really big planned besides the end camp until the end of the year. Elif Johannes and I had dinner at McDonalds, then I caught the metro back and talked to my parents on the phone. My host mom had already fallen asleep and my host dad was out, so I had to walk all the way home with my bags. Which sucked...

So that was my super crazy week. Nuno is coming to dinner Thursday, but other than that I have nothing planned really. We'll see where things go...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The week in review. And the start of a FREAKING AWESOME weekend!

Let's see, since Lisboa...

Last Wednesday Nuno, Johannes, and I met to talk after school. Nuno told us some pretty amazing stories, complete with diagrams of how everyone was standing when things happened (during AFS orientation camps). Some were jaw-dropping to say the least, but probably aren't suitable for public consumption on blogger...I will share when I return if you'd like to know ;)

Last Friday I spent at home. Was a bit sick and as my host mom said "BEBE LEITE! QUENTINHA QUETINHA QUETINHA! MAIS MEL! E MUITO BOM PELA GARGANTA!". Ines and I "ummm. I'm a foreigner. Not deaf." This inspired many a humorous comment and representation by Ines, Fernando, and I, practically playing charades for milk, honey, hot, throat.

Saturday I went to Santa Maria de Feiras in the afternoon with Maud, Julia, Johannes, Renanta (AFS volunteer/counselor), and Renata's boyfriend. We climbed to the castle, which was closed, traipsed a bit through the woods (me in my VERY well thought out summer dress...cough). Observed some men playing a game that is basically a mix between horse shoes and bochie ball. These men have to be insane because the metal objects were basically flying RIGHT past their heads. We walked around the town before everything started and there, on the stage warming up, was a french horn player. I dragged the others to the stage jumping up and down yelling in their ears "I PLAY THAT". I suppose I was a bit hysterical after not playing for almost 5 months...

We decided to go get a coffee, which turned into a 2 hour dinner until 9:45 at night. For the first time in my life I tried chicken stomach...which was not half bad I have to say! Reminded me a bit of mushrooms. We had Arroz de Pato (Rice of Duck) for dinner, and after walked through the different expositions (there is a better word for this I cannot remember for the life of me). The main ones were of these people who were painted white with a plasticky substance that grew. There were also concerts, weird, dark shows, people running through the streets with "free hugs" or "abracos gratiz" signs. We waited in a field with a giant light, a bit "strange encounters of the 3rd kind" - esque. As we were leaving (I actually got to stay out late because Renata had a car and could drive me home!) there was a mini parade in the street with a man dressed as a fly doing backflips, people on springy stilts, a giant praying mantus, and a band. Finally got home around 1 a.m. after a VERY long car ride that shouldn't have been long.

Sunday my host cousin Filipe turned 16 and we went to my Tia Rosa's house to celebrate (their house is HUGE). We watched Titanic...but yeah, lots of football watching, eating of francesinhas, drinking of champagne, eating cakes, singing off-key, and loud portuguese familiness. I have so many videos of this day...

Monday and Tuesday I had Portuguese lessons, nothing really special. Today I arrived at school at 8 in the morning after waking up at 6:30, only to find out that the workers are on strike and we have no classes. Thanks for the info...so I talked with some random girls then went with Maud to her house to watch some TV, get on the internet, hang out. She let me leave my things with her and then I met with Johannes for lunch.

Tomorrow Jo and I are going to Guimaraes for the day, then Friday I have to renew my visa and it's his birthday. Saturday and Sunday I'm going camping with Maud, Julia, Johannes, Shipping, Nuno, and Renata in Geres, which I'm really looking forward to. Only 2 more weeks of school!!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Last weekend...this one coming in a bit...

Last weekend was pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.Friday night was Queima - basically the biggest college party of the year. There was a huge thing about Johannes eating with us with my host sister...which wasn't fair if you ask me but WHATEVER. Since when have their been rules about dinner with friends...hmph. So anyway we got there at like 11:30 at night (before we saw this really awesome brazilian dance/fight club, it's sort of hard to describe). When we got there me, ines, and her 2 friends met with Elif and Johannes. Trekking through the festival to the concert was like going through a marsh with the stickiness from spilled beer. GROSS. But yea, the concert with the xutes e pontapes started (they're sort of like a Portuguese U2 type band...older guys playing rock). Jo had to leave around 1...10 minutes after the concert started. Stupid...but I say nothing. Queima was intense. SO MANY PEOPLE. They had booths from all the different colleges, food, games, a tent with a nightclub type thing. I had to pull some James Bond moves to lunge a few times from drunken men trying to grab at me. One of them actually almost got me once because I hadn't seen him but I got out pretty quickly...Elif, Ines, Pipa and I sat down in a little circle and different people would come and join us to talk for a while, it was fun. We stayed until 6 in the morning then got in the car to Lisboa.

We got to lisboa around 9:45 in the morning. I took a shower and went to Colombo to meet Alyssa, Ally, and Jeff. Alex and Dodo, 2 german girls, joined us a bit later. We had some coffee at Cafe Roma (I needed it after only 2 hours of sleep) and went to Oeiras for lunch at Jeff's dad's pizzeria. Much hilarity ensued..."is it raining"...not sure. Have a lot on video. We then walked through this park and saw stumpy the pigeon!! I had a coffee (which actually made me really sick later). We took the train back (really cool ride along the ocean) and Ally had to leave. Alyssa and Jeff and I went to another Cafe Roma and they had some iced tea that I'm fairly sure was drugged. Alyssa walked with us almost to the castle then had to go home. Jeff and I got to the castle and there was some sort of market/festival thing going on. We only had about 15-20 minutes there unfortunately, I would have really liked to stay longer. It's a really awesome castle. Originally inhabited by the Arabs in the...12th century? Correct me here Jeff not completely sure...

I rushed home and we went to dinner at my host aunt's house...the chicken was a bit disturbing to eat. Let's just say mine looked remarkable like a part of the male anatomy...but yea. I was crashing completely at this point. That night I slept 11 and a half hours.

Sunday I got up, showered, had lunch. We drove back to porto and had afternoon tea at my other host grandma's house. I talked with home that night. I have been having a lot of problems with getting the metro lately. I've missed class unintentionally a lot lately. Stupid public transportation.

So I guess now we have the opener written, which is exciting. I have my tickets to Faroes...my summer is so booked, but it's exciting! Only 3 ish weeks of school left. And after like 2 we won't even do anything. wo0t!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Sorry it's a bit vague but I'm having a bit of trouble remembering what happened in general...the days are running into each other...

So, I don't know if any of you even read my blog any more...or if you ever did, but I'm trying to keep it up even if it's just for me! =PIt's been a really long time since I wrote in it...so here we go.

Nightwish was fairly legendary. Though looking back it could have been a lot more legendary. I met up with Raven and Johannes after school. We hung out in the metro station and I laughed until I thought I was going to wet my pants (i didn't though, mind you!). We had dinner at the McDonalds in Aliados "Imperial McDonalds" and talked about guys kissing guys, namely if Conan and Rambo would be sexy kissing...I concluded no. We went to a Pingo Doce and were pretty sketchy. Then the concert! Pretty awesome, though noone really got into it until the end. The end was fairly epic though. After the concert we met with Elif and Raven and I went back to her house to spend the night. The next morning we woke up to breakfast, TV, and Turkish Coffee. Elif even read my Tarot in the coffee which was awesome.

That Sunday...what happened?!?! I don't even remember...I think Johannes came to Vila do Conde...we walked around and went to a net Cafe. Yea! That's what happened.

ummm...week...school...not much. We had a holiday that friday the 25th. I went to Serralves and the Park with Johannes, and we ate dinner at an Italian restaurante. Was supposed to meet with my host parents for a movie but that fell through, so I was a bit late. Oops...Saturday I had a mochachoc in the afternoon and dinner with Johannes and Nuno, which was really fun, though I could have stayed longer. Sunday Nuno met with my family and I...which was interesting.We had a holiday Thursday so Johannes and I went to a cafe by the Ribeira, took the old electric line up the hill, then walked along the Rio Douro. Friday I hung at home with Ines and Pipa... Saturday I had lunch in Porto with Johannes. I called Nuno...ate dinner at home. Sunday I surfed!!! It was freaking awesome...We had lunch in Porto because it was mother's day, then Johannes and I had dinner out in Vila do Conde and walked along the river.

I've been having a lot of problems connecting with the girls in my class...they've been ignoring me, cutting me off when I talk, walking away in the middle of my sentences. One of the girls from my class was working at the restaurante we ate at the other day, and acted all nicey nice in front of my family, but completely ignores me in school. Maybe I was shy in the beginning but I was never MEAN to them. Not even close! And it's not that I'm not trying, they just aren't responding AT ALL. I only have 6 weeks left anyways and I just don't even know if it's worth the effort at this point. They invited me to a dinner they were having AFTER it started, knowing that I live to far to stay out late in porto, and they all laughed when I wasn't understanding where she was saying the dinner was. Then they were like pinning it on me that I didn't come. I try and start conversations and stuff but it's no use...I'm going to be out of town the next few weekends so I can't do anything with them, but again it isn't that I don't want to, I just can't. Then school will be over...then what? I feel like I've failed with friends.