so I finally do have a blog, sort of... I have been toying with that idea for quite a while now but never got around it. I guess it needed James to get here and the idea of not being responsible to write things (regularly?!) all on my own ;)
I certainly do like the idea of being able to let you all know what is happening in my/our life and also to be able to relive it while writing and rereading it (maybe years later?!). I hope that it's going to be at least a little entertaining!
Starting from the beginning: I got here on the 5th of September and am loving it :) Macao is a strange place but wonderful. It is mostly not exactly a pretty city, but the crazy casinos, the portuguese influence, the fact that we actually are on an island/peninsuala and have the sea close-by make it a great place! I have - again - been extremly lucky to meet great people and somehow everything has fallen in place!
I first lived in the student hostel, sharing a room with Jacquie - probably the most funny and lovely Dutch girl I have ever met!! - who is also from my uni and going to be here for a year as well, but had to find a place privately as James was arriving in early october. After a crazy househunt Linda (a swedish exchange student, whose boyfriend is visiting her for five weeks, which is why she also had to move out of the hostel) and me found a nice place - funnily the very first place the property agent had shown us. So that is accommodation sorted!!
Uni is fine as well. The building itself is awesome; located on the slope of a hill (which is not always so awesome as walking up can be quite exhausting at 30 degrees and 60 - 80% humidity). The building we have our classes in - the inspiration building - has an open inner court with three-story high palm trees and a small fountain, from it's top floor a "sky-walk" leads up to another cluster of buildings (student kitchen, windows cafeteria, library, educational restaurant...) and you literally walk through greenery! In between those building is the educational hotel (actually listed in the lonely planet as their pick of a mid-range hotel!). If you go further up the hill you get to an old fort (well the ruins really) from which you have a great view over Macao Peninsula and you can also see China - for which we cannot get multiple entry visas at the moment :( - so close and yet so far!
Our classes are quite alright, but if often reminds me a little of school as we always sit in the same classroom and have to do a lot of small projects and group work. The oral english level of our fellow-students is surprising low (taking into condersation that they have been studying in English for three years already) but we all manage! For me it is an interesting (yet sometimes challenging/confusing) change to follow Tourism courses, but in the next semester I'll be following two in Event Management!
Sometimes I am not quite sure how culturally different this place really is from our culture as I felt right away quite comfortable, but then having spent quite some time in India and having been to China once before might make it easier? Or maybe it will just kick in later ;) I'll let you know. I can say for sure though the Macanese people are behaving differently (surprise, surprise)... the other day I went to the pharmacy and the cashier was busy "working" on his pimples... he quickly served me and before I could even put the change in my purse he went back to his charming activity...This isn't supposed to sound negative, it just really surprised (and amused) me! In general I can say so far that people who are directly in contact with you are very nice and friendly, however out on the street they do not make attempts at moving out of anybody's way (except vehicles bigger than them ;) ) and waiters/waitresses do not always seem to be too eager and pleased to serve you...but maybe it's just us... and it usually does not really affect me.
What does affect me is that James has finally arrived! I have not really had much time for him (alone) yet as uni has kept me very busy this week, but it is great to have him here and around! It makes me feel complete again :)
As we're having our housewarming and meet James-Party tonight I gotta go and get some stuff done but I'll try to be back and tell you what's happening here!
I hope all is well with you out there! Come and visit us :)
Last but not least; links to my first pictures on facebook: