Hello everyone! More than one month (heck, closer to 2 months!) after the previous update, here I am again. Truth be told, very little of particular interest happened since then. University reports, projects and exams along with some great nights out with friends summarize these last weeks in a nutshell.
Also went to some classical music concerts at La Pedrera starring Luís Grané (great young pianist) along with some pretty awesome violin, cello and viola players. Ah and the cherry on top of the cake was my first bike accident in Barcelona. Was about to cross a sidewalk with the bicyle and a car arrived at the (red) semaphor and appeared not to slow down at all. Had to slam on the brakes but unfortunately the back one wasn't working. Now I could have used my feet but at the speed I was going I'd probably break something and in any case, I had only very little time to react. Result: use the front brakes and do (an almost complete) flip, landing in the road with the bike over me. Fortunately, I managed to land well and was up on the bike again in no time. Also, the car did indeed stop when it saw a guy flying with a bicycle overhead just in front of him.
First semester classes officially ended on Friday the 21st. Still have the exams in January along with a project which is dependent on a supercomputer in Barcelona which has been down for maintenance for the greatest part of December. Anyway, back in September, I booked a flight home for the 23rd (managed to get great pricing: 88€ two-way trip with TAP) to spend Christmas and New Year's Eve with family and friends I hadn't seen in person for more than 4 months. I arrived safely in Lisbon on Sunday 21:30, with a delay of just half an hour. The departure from Barcelona was actually quite fun because on the last 5 minutes before official boarding time, the guys managing the gateways at the aeroport decided to change the flight's gate 3 or 4 times until they settled on the initial one. Quite fun to see everyone running around like crazy and with the public announcement system announcing new gateways non-stop.
My mom picked me up at the airport and it was awesome to see her again. Granted Barcelona is a lot of fun and there's always Skype but it doesn't even compare to the real thing. The next day we went to my sister's house and had our Christmas dinner over there with my 2 sisters, my uncle-in-law, my nephews (all 4 of them!) and me and my mom. We had some nice codfish with potatoes and cabbage and finished with a wide array of christmasy desserts: king cake, apple pie, "dreams" and some others whose name I can't quite recall. My sugar level surely broke the healthy (or even just reosonable) limit but I don't really care since it was just that time (ah ah I wish! I'm a sucker for sweets).
I bet you're all eager to know what presents I got. Well, I got some clothes, money and an economic cookbook with some great cooking tips and recipes. Oh and I almost forgot: NEW LAPTOP! The old one was already getting quite dated (3 and a half years) and besides being heavy itself (close to 4Kg), the 120Wcharger didn't help either (I swear that thing must weight 1.5Kg on its own). When you have to bike/walk to university every day that's not the best kind of laptop to be carrying around. My new laptop is a 14" Samsung 700Z3C-S02PT and I love it! Some quirks with the dual boot installation but I'll see if I can come up with a post entirely dedicated to reviewing it! And with both the laptop and the charger weighting half of the ones I had before, it's a clear improvement on that front.
After Xmas, I've been taking the time to visit some of my friends here in Portugal, share stories and see what they have been up to. I've also been taking the time to configure the laptop, do some other chores such as choose a new electric+gas company, frame a painting my mom had lying down somewhere gathering dust and anything else that might need doing. Ah and petting my beautiful rabbit of course. She has grown quite large (cat-sized) and has a very bad temper but once she remembered who I was (I think that took the better part of the first day) she now lies down to receive caresses and gives me little kisses in the nose to show her thanks.
As for New Year's Eve, still unsure where we'll go. Got some invitations from some friends but I want to spend it with my mom since I won't be back at least until Easter. I do, however, want to see the fireworks in person so lets hope it doesn't rain!
Happy New Year for everyone!