So what’s life like in Portugal?

A lot of partying? …Maybe.
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…A lot of eating? Just a little.
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..Time at the beach? On the occasion.
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…Weekend trips? Now and then, I guess.
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Porto: port wine cellar, Berlengas

But the daily grind? 

Well there’s uni to go to, studying to be done, shopping at the markets and taxiing to the bigger supermarkets, spending ages getting copies and scans of documents and worksheets from the copy room (apparently in Coimbra the libraries don’t offer an equivalent self-service and you have to get everything done by other people. It’s more a hassle than help.)

It’s taken about a month to get over the initial ‘holiday mode’. Too be honest, I’m not quite sure if I’ve truly gotten over it yet!

Can you blame me when it’s October and it’s still warm enough to wear shorts, vest tops and flip-flops?

I have tried to dress ‘portuguese’ , which involves wearing jeans and a t-shirt in 30 degree heat… Lit. couldn’t do it! I could have collapsed from the heat. It’s like portuguese people just don’t sweat. Or if they do, their sweat is invisible.

As in Germany, all the british found each other very quickly as if we had some 7th sense. We’ve developed into a lovely huge group of all nationalities, but the majority of us are either english, or more likely italian. I never knew portugal was so popular with italians!

I live with:
3 Italians,
1 welshman (student turned resident DJ / friend from uni – for those of you studying Spanish/ Portuguese at Leeds, it’s Adam),
1 French (Our house like to call her the Japanese tourist, because she loves taking photos),
1 Greek,
and 2 coloiros/ freshers (one girl and one guy).

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Caroline, Me, Andrea, Francesco, Adam, Konstantina

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Caroline, Me, Konstantina, Simona

We’re a lovely bunch. We often make dinner and eat with each other. The only downfall with this is that at any given time none of us will have the right amount of cutlery or crockery. For example, at the moment I only have 1 fork, the other 3 have gone awol and nobody seems to have any spare. #firstworldproblems

I recommend everyone to live with an Italian (or two) in their lifetime, because since living here in Coimbra, I’ve learnt a lot about cooking and how to appreciate ‘good’ and ‘proper’ food. All the Italians i’ve met seem to have this innate knowledge of how to make the best pasta, ragù (a.k.a. bolognese sauce, apparently only non-italians call it ‘bolognese sauce’) and coffee.
The stuff that only my mum and grandmas seem to know about.

969638_10201918786557131_1691692692_n“You’ll always find him in the kitchen at parties”

So, family back in England: Don’t worry about me! I’m eating fine! If anything, I’m probably going to roll back to England at this rate.

I’m not going to lie, this  year abroad is currently revolving heavily around food and drink, and i don’t just mean alcohol.

My timetable here is pretty easy. I have tuesdays off and most days I only start at 2pm. Not bad, hey?

But Monday’s, are a killer for 2 reasons:
1- Classes are 2 hours long.
I found it difficult enough in Germany to hold my concentration for 1hour and a half. 2 hours is close to impossible.

2- My last lesson is at 6pm-8pm.
The time where, in England, I’d usually be having dinner.

So, in my attempt to become more portuguese, I’ve followed in their footsteps to deal with these 1st world problems.

I drink lots & lots & lots of coffee.

I’m a fan of coffee, don’t get me wrong. Always have been, it’s in my blood. So I’m feeling pretty at home here. But seriously, in portugal, they drink this stuff like it’s water that’s running out quickly.

A coffee here a.k.a. um café or uma bica (you only hear this in the south. Many times the waiters have just stared at me blankly when i’ve asked for ‘uma bica’. Very annoying). It’s very much an expresso, but stronger. Some may beg to differ so I’ll say that perhaps a different type of coffee is used. Either way, in comparison to an expresso in England, the coffee here makes you feel like you’ve practically injected caffeine into your system.

No amount of coffee can help me understand what is being said 60% of the time in my lectures though. It’s been a rough month of not understanding a thing, misinterpreting people, getting used to the varying portuguese & brazilian accents and wishing that I paid more attention to the grammar classes back in Leeds.

With the encouragement and moral support of the people I’ve met here I’m slowly trying to immerse myself into the portuguese student culture, by joining the Orfeon* – a choir, which turned out to be way more than just your average choir, and Adventure Riders- the surf/ ski society here (Ok! ok! I haven’t actually gotten round to going surfing or kayaking yet, but I will do soon! Watch this space!)

* I’ll tell you more about this society another day. It’s pretty impressive.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, we do study and work sometimes too!
That’s all for now líndos!

If there’s anything you’d like me to write about specifically, write a comment!

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2 thoughts on “So what’s life like in Portugal?

  1. Thanks for all the news your Gran. My first blog I have even beaten Ian to this technology.
    Lots of love from the lady in the north.

  2. That must have taken quite some skill to get here before Ian! Love to everyone! I hope you get to come and visit Coimbra soon! xx

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