Posted on Monday, 11 September 2006 at 16:53.

This morning I woke up at around 7. After reading for about half an hour, I refreshed and got dressed. When I got out of my room, a girl left her room opposite mine and we walked downstairs together. I don’t remember how it happened exactly, but we started talking and it turned out she was an Erasmus student too, from Germany, called Elena. She was going to the university too, so at around 8 we started walking there together.

I think we arrived somewhere between 8:30 and 9:00. The International Relations Office (GRI), where I figured I had to go to tell them I had arrived and to get some information, opened at 9, but then they told us to come back at 14h because they didn’t open to the public until then. Hrm.

So we sat down at a table in the bar and started talking a bit. After a while we decided to go explore, and we happened to walk straight to the computer science building. We went inside and asked for João Saraiva, whom I had exchanged a few emails with before I came here, and found him in his office talking to another Erasmus student from Hungary. Apparently he’s the person to take care of all the students from abroad, for computer science anyways. He was very friendly and explained a few things, mentioning Doaitse Swierstra (a professor from Utrecht, his supervisor when João studied in Utrecht), and how Doaitse was envious of their coffee room, which João eagerly showed me. We agreed to meet again in his office this Thursday at 9:30; the courses would be fixed by then and it would be easier to find a schedule for me.

By then it was around noon and we went to a cafe just outside the universidade where I had a really nice cheese roll and a 33 cl cola, which together cost EUR 1.80 (“seize euros?!”). We just sat and talked and watched people until it was 14h; then we went back to the GRI where we waited some more; we weren’t the only Erasmus students. After about half an hour Suzanna, the GRI’s secretary, told us she couldn’t help us become an official student because things weren’t ready yet. We had to come back on Thursday; things would be ready then. Hrm.

We decided to go back to our dorms, by bus, but we couldn’t find the right bus so we walked, passing by the supermarket where I got some toilet paper, tea, a teapot, two apples, two 2L bottles of lemonade, some bread and slices of Edam cheese. They also had Gouda cheese. Muhaha.

At home I took a shower then read some, until Elena knocked on my door and suggested we make dinner. We fried some onions, added fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce and hot spices and poured it over some pasta. Yummy.

Later that night I talked to a guy at the guard house for about an hour, I think. He’s from Mozambique and studies at UM, but works night shifts as a guard as a Summer job. He told me about how they speak Rongo (among other languages) in Mozambique, and how beautiful the beaches were, and where to find the good restaurants in Braga, and how to get bus tickets.

Before I went to bed I wanted to remove my contacts, but I dropped the… ehm… ‘zuignap’ (which I use to remove them) in the sink and to my horror it dropped in one of the small holes and faded from view. Panic! Yet a few minutes later I found out how to remove them without the zuignap, so all was well.

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