On September 15th there was this huge “Vogue Fashion Night Out” event on the shopping-streets of Lisbon. Yes, I know.. I am sorry for my friends on Snapchat who were constantly being spammed with all kinds of pictures by my over-excited self. I think my Snapchat story has never been more alive. But I was so excited about everything!!!
But before I try to make you all jealous about how cool this was, I would like you to meet the amazing Yosi! (I swear, that’s how it’s written in her passport.) She has been a great companion since my Lisbon adventure has started. (Hi, Yosi! :D)
We got free tattoos. (Of course, they were real.)
We got free drinks.
We got discounts in all the participating shops.
We had all kinds of different opportunities to make funny photos. We even got some of them printed out!! 😀 😀
We had these cool orange fans given to us. (Look at them legs – photo)
And: For the first time, we discovered how insanely huge the Bairro Alto is. (For the non-Lisbon friends: It’s the nightlife area with looooots of bars, restaurants, etc.) I haven’t seen anything like this before.
In order to make it easier for you to imagine the fun, I present to you my gallery below. (Don’t hesitate clicking on the pictures.)
Wednesday was an interesting day, because for the first time I had the pleasure having someone explaining to me what has been the most confusing thing so far: the Portuguese language. And I can tell you, it was amazing and scary at the same time.
So far, I have learned speaking English and also un poco de Español in school, but now I am sure Portuguese will be the biggest challenge. Of course, studying English as a 10 year old seemed like a piece of cake, especially since I have always been very curious and interested in languages generally. Compared to that, Spanish was a bit more difficult. But when I was attending that Portuguese class for the first time, I thought: “How am I ever going to learn to speak properly? The pronunciation is insane!” In one of my first Spanish lesson back in school, the teacher quickly explained to us how to say a few words. – and I am not joking – After that, I was able to read anything in Spanish, even though I couldn’t understand it. In Portuguese I don’t know if I will ever be able to properly say a reasonably amount of words or understand them. My mouth is not able to produce many of the sounds the teacher makes.
Imagine this: The teacher showing you a table depicting all the vowels and different ways how to say them. Believe me, this was one of the most confusing things ever. There are 4 or 5 different ways how to pronounce “a”. wtf? Same with all the other vowels.
I mean, I am totally aware of the fact that there are many other languages, which might be even more difficult to learn or to pronounce, but here I am faced with the fact that I have to study it in order to communicate with most of the people here. Yeah sure, almost everyone here speaks English perfectly well, but let me remind you of that Portuguese-speaking taxi driver who was not able to understand the easiest words as “house”, “left” or “right”. Who knows where he would have taken me if I didn’t know how to correctly pronounce the metro station near my address. haha 😀
Those of you, who have read my two-piece text about me dealing with the Portuguese culture (Thanks, I appreciate that.), might have already figured out that I am pretty confused by a few things. But I can tell you, there are plenty of other facts that make me freak out on a daily basis. Here is a list of weird things in Lisbon compared to my home country Austria:
weird/cool things in supermarkets
The price for colored noodles is the same as not-colored noodles. (yay)
I don’t know how to pronounce that brand, but I love pingo doce. (for my Austrian readers: equivalent to Clever and sBudget, but still cheaper than these)
Many product labels are in German.
Much more product labels are in Portuguese. (thank you, internet-god for online dictionaries)
Every time at the cashier: “amewoiweneoadjads = Do you need an extra bag?” (At least I think that’s what it means.) Me: no. (Hoping that the Spanish word “no” is also “no” in Portuguese.)
And my favorite: They sell colorful toilet paper!
closed metro stations
Now this makes me appreciate the naively trustful underground system in Vienna, where you don’t need to scan your ticket every f* time you enter the metro station. Thanks, Wiener Linien. (Austrian metro operator)
Oh.. and by the way: Great thanks to the Wiener Linien for operating the trains through the whole night during the weekend. 😀 –> Which brings me to the next point, since I have to take a taxi when staying out later than 1am:
A few days ago when I took a taxi home, the driver kept talking to me in Portuguese and after telling him twice that I don’t understand anything he is saying, I just went on replying to him “mmh :)”. I tipped him quite generously, because I guess he was saying nice things. 😀
“first name, last name” instead of “last name, first name”
Imagine someone asking you for your name, because they want to tick it off a list. What would you tell them first? Well, since on the list the last names are in an alphabetical order, I would say my last name first. WRONG! Believe me, this has already happened to me a couple times, when someone was NOT able to find me on a list because the people were listed with their first names first. WHAT? I mean, now that I think about it, it’s not that weird after all, since some people might have much more confusing last names than first names, but it’s just not how it is done in Austria.
This happened to me when I picked up my monthly ticket for the metro. On the form, that I filled out it said: “How do you want your name to be written on the card?” Of course, I write: “last name, first name”. It took the man at the office about 5 minutes (usually it’s done in 15 seconds) to find my ticket. During that time he also made 2 calls to whoever might have it. Same situation when receiving my student ID card, applying for the language course and at the student union’s welcome dinner.
slippery floors – EVERYWHERE
In many parts of Lisbon (at least in the areas where I have been so far.) tiles were being used to build the sidewalks. When you think about it, they put a lot of effort in it to make it look really cute, which is nice. BUT one thing no one thought about back then is that it is going to be a tiny, little problem when you 1) either walk fast/run or 2) you walk down or up the hills (of which Lisbon definitely has more than you can imagine) with shoes that have no grip . By now, I have managed not to fall, but since I know myself very well, falling down in the tough streets of Lisbon will surely happen during my exchange semester. When you plan a trip to Lisbon anytime soon, make sure you bring your hiking boots. 😀
Try buying a monthly ticket for the public transport (no student discount, just a normal one): GO!
Not so fast! You need to fill out this form (which is only provided in Portuguese), bring a photo, your ID/passport and stand in line just like all the other exchange students who desperately need one as well. If you want your ticket to be printed out urgently (=the next day), you will need to pay a 12€ fee, otherwise you have to wait up to 15 days. Oh, and by the way: There is a daily limited number of tickets, so you better hurry up!
To be honest, I was very lucky, because I “accidently” got to the ticket office at 1:00pm, which is 45 minutes before it opens, so there were only about 15 people waiting in line. So when it finally opened, we waited another 30 minutes (because apparently that’s how long it takes for 15 people to hand over the paper and pay). Everything went well, at least for us, because the other 50 people behind us, who spent their whole afternoon there, were not so lucky. 😀
This could have been a disaster, but since I showed up early at the ticket office, it wasn’t too bad after all.
3. Finding food, shopping, etc…
Being patient is essential in order to survive here. NEVER schedule anything without a gap in between in order to compensate long waiting times. I have already learned this in my “intercultural competences” class back at my home university, but I never expected it to be like this. Don’t get me wrong, on the one hand it is annoying, because I am totally not used to this, but on the other hand it is quite “relaxing” to wait in line much longer than I do in my home country. This might sound a bit awkward to you, but just standing there and doing nothing gives you the opportunity to calm down for a moment and appreciate just being here. Of course, if you are in a hurry, because you are meeting someone or you have an important appointment, you might not find it relaxing at all, but all I can say here is: Silly you, that’s all your fault. Try to remember that next time. 😀 For those of you, who are wondering what might take so long: Honestly, I don’t know. It sometimes seems like the cashiers are not able to multitask. They either chat with the colleagues or they do their job and if they chat a lot (which they do), they don’t spend that much time doing their job. haha 😀
So, like I said in part 1 of this post, do not take everything too seriously. I don’t want to be mean or offend anyone. It is just so interesting and funny to observe these cultural differences, which is why I want to share it with my readers. Again, for now I fully enjoy waiting, due to that surprising calmness it brings along.
p.s. The picture shows the queue for the language course enrollment.
My exchange-adventure has started on the 6th of September when I arrived in Lisbon after a 3 hour flight across Europe. The first three to four days were very stressful for me, as I had to run errands, such as trying to finalize the course enrollment at the university, get a monthly ticket for the public transportation system, find shops where I can buy food and other things that I needed in order to survive for the first few days, and so on.
Well, when looking at the tasks mentioned above one might think, that this would not take too much time. Be warned, you might be totally wrong. Here are some examples of how difficult it can be to finally settle down in Lisbon: (This is how it really happened, but: Attenzione! The content below might violate someone personally, so make sure you speak sarcasm fluently. I love this country and the people here, so stay calm and just enjoy reading this.)
The course enrollment
As a person who comes from a very well organized culture and university, where „Atomuhranmeldung“ is a thing, I was at first very pleased by how the enrollments are done in Lisbon. (What is Atomuhranmeldung?: It means, staring at your computer for at least 15 minutes, starting at 1:45pm so still have a chance to log in with your account. Then trying not to miss the enrollment period, which begins at 2:00pm (sometimes at 1:59:59) and ends (not officially) at 2:00:10pm. = 2pm and 10 seconds.) During this 10 second time period, a rush of adrenalin might occur and, if you are lucky, you will end up being enrolled to e.g. 5 out of 7 classes for the whole semester.)
Back to the Portuguese enrollment: „Take your time“ gets a whole new meaning here, because I was able to enroll to and change my courses HOURS after the enrollment has started. This sounds really good, doesn’t it? At first yes, but when I entered the online platform I was only able to choose the name of the courses, but I did not know at what day of the week (or time) they take place. I just went on and thought, I will figure it out sooner or later. Then, I received an email saying, that some courses overlap and I got deregistered from half of the courses that I have selected. WHAT? (This also happened to many other people who I have talked to.) After that, I was finally able to look at the timetable and I had to enroll again. The first and most important question that comes to my mind is: Why can’t I just do that in the first attempt? By the way: Finding this timetable also took me some days, it is somewhere on the bottom of the moodle website.
Summing up, it took me much more time to enroll to the courses than I had expected and to be honest, my courses still overlap with each other so wish me luck tomorrow when the next enrollment period starts!
You are here to witness my very first blog post! Some of you (well,.. those of you who know me in person) might wonder where my promised vlogs are, but I have decided to kick off my “internet career” by writing blogs. (Still trying to figure out how to Internet properly.) I am now spending my exchange semester is Lisbon, Portugal until the beginning of the year 2017, so this will hopefully bring along some exciting stories that I want to share with my audience.
Firstly, all you need to know about me and my blogs is that I am an open-minded person who is welcoming everyone and everything with and optimistic attitude. So far, my plans for my posts are to give everyone (who is willing to) the opportunity to take part in my daily adventures, even so they sometimes might not seem like the most exciting life. (Sorry, I don’t own a private jet yet.) So, if even there is only a single person out there who is entertained by what I say (or write), I will gladly go on with what I am doing. (Right now, I have no idea what I am doing.)
Let’s remember this moment as something undefinable and be curious about how it will develop in the near future. (Again, I don’t know what this will turn out to be. 😄)
p.s. Yes, this is a picture of me in Lisbon. Sorry photography “experts”, I am still learning and I own my camera for about a month now.