Saturday, September 03, 2005

online encounter

I won't even talk about looking for apartments, thank you.
So my MSN said that Miguel signed in but when I chatted w/ him it turned out that Miguel had forgotten to sign out and it was someone else from his faculty (arquitecture) but we just chatted nevertheless. He's 20, from Braga, 3rd year arquitecture and has a T1 (i.e. 1 bed room, 1 living room, the number after the T is the number of bedrooms) at Praça da Galiza, pretty much the area where I want to live!! So I asked him whether he wouldn't rent a room to me.............. He said his parents pro'lly wouldn't let him. "Catholic?" I asked. Yep.
Duh.... If only.................
These Portuguese parents never want me, eh...

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Oporto Odyssee

[Click the bold green links!]
First there were bad news from Joana. Her parents don't let her give the room to someone who doesn't def'ly stay for one year (so she won't run the risk of not receiving money all year until her sister returns from Paris). Her voice really sounded remorseful, she seemed to regret it as much as I did, we really took to each other right away. She said he was really sorry but she couldn't change her parents' mind(s?) but she'd help me find another room in the area.
Hell, I was so so down. It's so cruel when you were so cheerful about something that then wouldn't be happening.
My dad drove me to the finance office and afterall it was damn easy to get a número de contribuinte (tax payer's account number/Steuernummer) which you need to have a Portuguese bank account (bloody Deutsche Bank didn't work out). Cheered me up a bit, one success.
Afterwards I had a feijoada (Brazilian national dish) in the shopping centre, there was still lots to do, at least I could need a good meal. Hmm the fruit cocktail was awesome (also had mint)!
I went to the rectorate again. Another porter, but the same story
"But you wanna study abroad, right?"
"No, I want to study here.Your co-worker made the same mistake. "
"Cos your Portuguese is so good."

Enrolement is only possible next week................
I wanted to take bus 56 to the airport to welcome Romy. When I waited in the shadow and was writing an SMS... the frikkin bus just passed by!! I decided to take another one (71). It went and went and went... to the harbour (Matosinhos)... to the other side of the harbour... Heck, I thought I might want to ask the bus driver whether this bus really goes to the airport - but I thought as long as I don't I can still hope........ It stopped in Leça. So now I should ask the bus driver...
"Errr.... how do I get to the airport?"
At least it was easy to get into the 56 from where the other bus stopped. Frikkin bus didn't show up. I was getting nervous. Romy had already arrived.
Some - in total - 2h later I finally met Romy (only knew her from Instant Messaging), but she's laid back and cheerful, and was happy I helped her. We had another Odyssee in Oporto, figuring out the way to the university in Coimbra. Eventually I brought her to São Bento railway station and then crossed the bridge from Oporto to Vila Nova de Gaia, at the other bank of River Douro. The Ribeira was so beautiful!
I was home even before dinner.

São Bento (click to see pic): from outside, from inside

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Here comes the sun

Today I went to the shopping centre (errr. that is one of them Gaia Shopping) w/ my sister... we never know the way. I didn't feel like buying anything (haha, what an unknown feeling). On the way back we took the bus. Hey, we're in Portugal: The bus comes or it doesn't - it was 15min late (the frequency was every 30 mins).
Later we went to the beach... walking again 40 mins. We spend some time at the beach but it was already 18:40 (6:40 pm), the water was nicely cool, not too cold. My sister actually swam a bit.
It's wonderful to be close to the sea. It's just a shame that soon it'll be autumn.

Tomorrow I will enrole (2:30pm), maybe Miguel comes w/ me. Afterwards go to the airport by bus, Romy will arrive (3:40pm)! She'll be ERASMUS exchange student at the U.Porto psychology faculty. We'll try to enrole Romy before 5pm... have a coffee and bring her to the train station so she can head on to Coimbra where her language course takes place (many fires in Coimbra area.......)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Rooms Rooms Rooms

So since last weekend I started to phone ppl who rent rooms which is really a tiring procedure. I was mainly looking in the Boavista area (pretty central) which is close to the faculties of arquitecture (so Miguel's help was good), humanities, psychology and sciences (doesn't include engineering). My own faculty, though, besides the economics & medicine faculties is at the Oporto outskirts though. There's this bus 39 http:// that crosses nearly all of the Boavista borough that goes to the faculty (one of the university's poles). Plus there's life in Boavista, you got a good connection both to Vila Nova de Gaia (the city at the other bank of the river Douro) where my family and friends live and the rest of Oporto, AND you got night busses there (don't take them for granted here...).

Some rooms were already rented, some where in the appartment of old ladies (one told me "no men in the house" - ah okay, FORGET IT, another one told me "If you want to use the kitchen, we don't want you!"), some told me they will get back to it at the end of the month. I had a look at a very beautiful appartment to share w/ an arquitecure student named Ines (she already graduated) in the very centre, she was nice, the appartment was awesome, had cable TV and soon internet but it was 250€ (a double bed room w/ little space due to the two beds) and she would only decide on 15th of September.
I had another look at two rooms in the house of a ~ 50 y/o lady, very close to the psychology faculty (the one Romy will attend), kinda like hotel rooms, 175€, TV in the living room, garden, the lady was proud to be like an older sister to the girls who rent her rooms (not my cup of tea..............). I didn't like the idea.
The next day I had a look at rooms near the Palácio de Cristal The Crystal Pallast. The appartment would only be rented to female students (no old ppl in the appartment....), the room was okay, the street was calm but central. But the price made me laugh (not out loud but inside). 200€ w/o electricity and water. WTF.

So today I had arranged to see a room in Rua de Nossa Senhora Da Fátima pretty close to the Rotunda da Boavista where you have lots of shops and busses (and a metro station). I had told the lady on the phone that I was half-German-half-Korean so she could recognize me meia-alemã-meia-coreana. Somehow, though, she understood da ucrânia = from Ucraine. She was a young girl, and I immediately took to her. Design student in the 2nd year (so she should be about 2 yrs younger than me, or maybe 3?). She said that on the phone she had taken me for Portuguese and was surprised when I said I was from Ucraine.
The appartment was awesome! Super beautiful, everything IKEA hahaha, the room (used to be the living room) was spacious and pretty. I sooooo wanted to stay there so I immediately told her I'd take the room (150€). She was also excited cos I was the first person she showed the room to and she said she'd have to say the Italians "no" now. My guts, my brain (the price, the comfort, the area)... everything said: TAKE THAT ROOM! I had seen the other rooms and knew that students sharing appartments was rare in Portugal (mostly it's old ladies renting a room... meh) and I liked the girl who was so curious about ERASMUS ppl, loves travelling etc.
So she said she buys wardrobe, I get the other furniture she showed me (w/ the sakura cherry tree design by IKEA that I always wanted........) and I can move in September 15th.
I'm so excited! I'll have a cool room and a new friend Joanna :).

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