Alex JF

Finally a little more room to breathe

  • Category: Personal

Turns out I underestimated the amount of work I was going to have these last few weeks and just now managed to devote some time to my blog once again. I apologize to my great legion of followers for the delay (ah ah who am I kidding?).

Okay so last time you heard from me, I was going to visit my friend at Sitges. I'm happy to say that weekend was rather awesome including a birthday party, more foosball tournaments, home-made red fruit sangria, some pool and a night out. What I thought would be a Saturday relaxation and party day extended into a relaxation and party weekend, with me coming back home late Sunday. This, however, meant I missed another birthday party of a friend of mine but I eventually made it up to her by coming over to dinner next Thursday.

The week after the Sitges' stay, I also started my free (EMDC perks rule!) Spanish classes: from 10:00 to 12:00 every Monday and Wednesday. They are A1-level, the same level I obtained in the classes I took in Portugal, but I figure a little refreshment never hurt anyone, even more so when it's free. Anyway, they'll last until 19th of December and up until now have been rather entertaining and useful. Due to their scheduling, I've also started to have lunch at school a lot more often (well, every Monday and Wednesday). It is rather expensive (6.35€) when compared to the 2.40€ I payed at IST for lunch but, on the other hand, you can have first plate, second plate, drink (soda, water, tea, ...), dessert and bread and there's a lot to choose from: Mediterranean cuisine, Italian cuisine, International fusion (usually has vietnamese rolls, hotdogs, etc...) and Grill. Since I don't like to cook fish at home, I take advantage of the awesome grilled fish they serve there to complement my diet. For the first plate I usually have pasta with one of the 2 different sauces they offer everyday (that is, unless there's something really tasty on the mediterranean spot). Oh and after 10 meals they offer you one entirely for free so there's that at well.

If I'm not mistaken it was also during this week that we EMDC guys got access to a study room of our own (or mostly of our own). Really cool place to do some work on the dead times between lunch, spanish classes and normal classes. Specially useful to write reports in dual screen with one of the multiple monitors available. Also around this week we started to get some midterm exams. These are quite different from IST's midterms though. In IST, if you did a midterm you had one of two options: do half of the final exam and average out the grade with the midterm or do the whole final exam and ignore the grade you got on the midterm. Therefore, if the midterm exam went well, you wouldn't have to worry if that part of the lectures any more. In UPC, one always has to do the final exam and the midterms can only help a little bit (between 20-30% normally).

My 'Carne de Porco à Portuguesa'

On the 27th of October we also had our very first EMDC International Dinner (missing 3 of this year members but counting with an EMDC veteran ;P). I was in charge of making one of the main courses: 'Carne de Porco à Portuguesa'. Turns out induction stoves take a lot of time to get hot but when they do they really do get hot! This resulted in my first two plates being slightly burnt (ah ah). However, the other 3 (or was it 4?) turned out alright in my opinion :D. We also had vietnamese rolls, an indian dish made with lamb and rice whose name I can't recall and some pseudo-brigadeiros for dessert.

Next monday night I went to another birthday party of one of my portuguese friends here in Barcelona where me and the other 3 guys helped prepare the drinks. Once we finished there were 72 glasses of Caipiroska, filling 2 and a half drawers of the fridge! I drank very little since I had classes the next day (on the afternoon) and still had to ride the bike home but from what I drank I can say they were really good! Food was some seafood rice (really good so kudos to the birthday girl ;P) and some condensed milk dessert (how I love that high-calorie sweetness).

72 Caipiroskas

Friday, the 2nd of November, our EMDC group also went to the Yelmo cinema to see Skyfall (original version, not any of that dubbed nonsense). Not one of my favourite bond movies (that is still Casino Royale to me) but good nevertheless. Apparently, Yelmo cinemas have a free card that gives you a 2€ discount so I asked for one right away. Turns out you need the NIE to withdraw it and I didn't have it at that time so I'll have to go back there one of these days.

And that brings us to this last week. Another midterm exam and some more reports but nothing too special. Oh yeah I almost forgot, we also got our UPC student card somewhere during this time (I really have to start noting these things down otherwise these posts will be terribly inaccurate) so we can finally use the printers and the library!

It seems I'm also getting quite adept of the Bicing service: 31 uses for a total of 6 hours and 41 minutes of biking. Turns out there's a station at the middle of the ascent to the University so it doesn't really cost that much to go there and there are usually some bikes around my place so I've been biking there a lot recently. On the way back, though, it's a hell of a lot harder to find any bikes as after 18:00, every single station in a 2km radius seems to be empty. So I normally just take the tram and try to find some bikes a little closer to home.

I probably forgot some other interesting stuff but let me just add that DIA (a local supermarket chain) is all kinds of awesome. I recently got 20 or so discount coupons (50% on water, 20% on sodas, 20% on pastry and bread, 40% on some select pizzas and tomatoes, etc...). And the best thing is, you can reuse the coupons for the entire validity period!! That means super discounts during the whole month of November!

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