Well hello! I have not written one of these in an unacceptable amount of time. Since my last blog (mid-January) so much has happened… In summary, I left Spain, visited home and Nottingham and started the final phase of my year abroad in Portugal!
So I finished my placement in Spain on Friday 29th January which was basically a day of food and tears – I may have complained about work a lot but I couldn’t have wished to work with better people and after hearing about similar work placements, mine was definitely one of the best for improving my language skills. One of the traditions in the office is having an ‘almuerzo’ (late morning snack) on birthdays, last days etc., so Susannah and I decided to make ours like a traditional English afternoon tea. We had scones with jam and cream, shortbread biscuits and a variety of sandwiches. I wanted us to have tea, but seen as I was the only one who would have drunk it, we left that out! Surprisingly it was a huge success – they always used to mock our food but they actually enjoyed all of it!
In the evening we had our final company meal which was lovely and very Spanish with some proper tapas to finish off my time there appropriately!
I said all my goodbyes that evening as I had to get up early for my flight on the Saturday so the meal ended with a lot of tears! Saying goodbye never gets any easier, but it had to be done!
Being home was lovely because the last time at home was a flying visit over 5 days for Christmas but this time I had a full 2 weeks to see people and relax! I had a fabulous evening seeing my best friend, eating tapas (you can take the girl out of Spain…) and catching up!
My second week in England was spent in Nottingham! I had been looking forward to this for so many months as I was going to see the yearly musical, Anything Goes (which was wonderful!) and to catch up with all my friends there! Seeing everyone was amazing, but it made me realise how much I missed Nottingham – I can’t wait to go back for final year and get involved with lots of musical theatre again!
Speaking of… while I was in Nottingham, an exciting opportunity cropped up for this summer and seen as I hadn’t made any concrete plans yet I decided to go for it! So this summer I will be going up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Musicality as every year they take a musical up to the Fringe. This year’s is called ‘Like Clockwork’ and I am on the production team as the Publicity Officer so be prepared to have your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram spammed with lots of posts about it! (I’m not sorry – you should all come and see it!)
I am now in the gorgeous city of Porto in Northern Portugal! Coming out here I should have probably been scared as I didn’t know anyone here but actually, after doing the same thing last July it was a lot easier (and I knew that there would be plenty of Erasmus students there). Luckily I didn’t have to find accommodation as my friend had just left Porto so I moved into her old flat which saved a lot of hassle! I spent the first few days wandering around, getting lost, and attempting to use some basic Portuguese phrases with bus drivers and shop assistants before university started. I’m quite lucky in that unlike most British Erasmus students here, there is no obligation to pass my courses so I’ve taken the interesting ones rather than ones that I know I will do well in – however, having 12 hours of history/culture lectures in solid Portuguese is turning out to be pretty tiring alongside the 8 hours of translation! But I’m sure it will get used to hearing the language.
I’ve already made some great friends out here from a variety of countries. The majority of my friends are from the UK but I also have friends from Spain, Brazil, and Germany to name just a few countries. All of us seem to be in the same position with our Portuguese after spending first semester in other countries. For me, the trickiest thing is the accent as I have only ever learnt Brazilian-Portuguese which is very different to European Portuguese. As my friend put it, “the accent here is literally like someone permanently has food in their mouth and is speaking” (thanks Susannah!) which is so accurate. Somebody asked me if I was Brazilian at a language tandem because that is the accent I have learnt! They also use different ways of addressing people which takes a while to get used to as I have always addressed people as ‘você’ which is used for everyone in Brazil, whereas in Portugal they consider this very formal, and only use it for strangers, or people in higher positions than them.
Anyway, I’ll leave you all with some pictures of this beautiful city, and I will try not to leave it so long next time!