Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Post Updated

Just wanted to let you know that I added some pictures to this post.

Double What?

When I was in Dronten and went to a street shop I saw this brassier. I was speechless and then I took a picture for future memory.

I understand that there are people that might need a brassier like this, but I think I never saw one this big in a shop...

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

One Done, Four to Go

Last Monday I celebrated one month since my departure from Portugal.

Since I've been in the Netherlands I've visited a few cities. I wanted to make a post for each one but I haven't found the time to do it. So I thought I should just make one post and write a bit about each of the places that I visited. I won't add pictures now because I don't have them with me now. Maybe I'll do that later. I won't promise, because it might slip my mind.

This was probably the city that I liked the least. Maybe because there weren't many people in the street and we didn't have that much to see. I think Rotterdam is known for it's modern architecture, built after the city had been destroyed in the Second World War. So most of the points of interest are buildings or constructions (or survivors, like the only building that survived the Second World War). Sadly some of those are not that interesting, at least not for me.
Some cubic buildings

This building is called "The Pencil"... because it looks like a pencil... amazing, no? =p

But maybe it's because I don't know anything about architecture. Personally I rather look at monuments, sculptures or paintings, than buildings. At least to those buildings.

This hippo was part of a strange sculpture, that was close to the train station

Together with this rhino they were some of the funniest things I saw there

Anyway besides looking around we also walked a bit (a common thing here in The Netherlands) and we went to the Erasmus Bridge, which is not that amazing, but it's Erasmus Bridge, and I'm in Erasmus so... you can see the "importance" of it.
The Erasmus bridge!

It's funny because I always heard that Erasmus is a Bridge to Europe... never understood that they really meant that. ;) In Rotterdam there's also a Zoo, but I didn't have the chance to go there yet, maybe another time. And if I go to to Zoo I'll also try to climb to the Euromast which is a building that it's famous because it's really high, so maybe it's nice... maybe.

This was not the first time that I visited Amsterdam, and I know that it wasn't the last (I hope). At least there are still a lot of museums to visit. This time I went to visit the House of Rembrandt and the Jews History Museum. I found the first really amazing, taking us back 400 hundred years and showing some of the habits and objects of the 17th century. There was even an actor showing how did Rembrandt's pupils prepare their paint. It's a must visit! The Jews History Museum is divided in two parts. The first is an introduction to the Judaism and to the habits of the Jews. It has lots of information, maybe too much for someone like me who doesn't know that much about the subject. But I think I learnt a bit. The second part is the most interesting, and shows the history of the Jews in The Netherlands. Portugal's name pops a lot in this part of the museum, mostly because a great number of Jews came to The Netherlands from Portugal and Spain after the Portuguese and Spanish inquisition... Not the best moment for Portugal... Anyway the museum is really well organised and with lots of information, from the time of the Inquisition until the present day, focusing in also the impact of the Second World War in the Dutch Jews. Besides the museums we also visited the Red Light District, which wasn't as shocking as some people have told me. The city is not that big but it's big enough for long walks and during one of the walks we found a Portuguese delicatessen shop, where I bought a bottle of Monte Velho... Portuguese wine for the win!=)

In my second weekend here I went to Utrecht. It was a Saturday afternoon and it was raining, but the city was filled with people wandering around the center. If it was in Portugal probably the streets would be empty, but not here, and yes they also have Shopping Centers. I didn't visit much, just wandered around watching the movement and the city.
A random Sun Clock

A nicely parked bycicle

The only thing I visited was the Cathedral which was partially destroyed due to a hurricane, leaving the main part of it separated from the bell tower.
The Cathedral

This time I didn't climb to the bell tower, because when I arrived there wasn't any suitable time to do it. One of the things I enjoyed seeing in Utrecht was a bunch of teenagers dressed like Manga/Anime characters, I recognized some of Naruto's characters.
The masked teenagers by the game store

Maybe they were there for some gathering. I also saw a nice gaming shop with many board games, nice medieval costumes and "Warhammer style" figures. It made me think that if I had more money I'd be a lot more geek/nerd... scary thought, uh?

This was the last place I visited and it is the smallest. I don't even think it's classified as a city, but I'm too lazy to check it. It's located in Flevoland the youngest province of The Netherlands, that has been "stolen" from the sea. Dronten is really small and it has nothing to visit.
A nice firetruck

And a (really) big bunny in a pet shop
Notice the roofs... I guess it must snow a lot in Dronten

The sun there is not warm, nevertheless it's the sun, so when it shines one must enjoy it

What I guess it's normal since it is 50 years old or something like that. There I only saw shops, supermarkets, some small restaurants and lots of sport centers. Anyway I wasn't there to visit the city but to visit Gustavo, a friend of mine who is there in Erasmus.
This is Gustavo, the host, in the place where, as he says, risked to eat dutch food =p

Buying food!
So it was worth it. It was really nice to see him and to take a look at another type of Erasmus, completely different of the one that I'm having. The Erasmus there live all in the same neighbourhood, so they all know each other. Also the fact that they are not doing an internship or a thesis allows them to party a bit, should I say a lot, more than me. But I'm OK with it!;) Really, I am.. PLEASE STOP REMINDING ME ABOUT THAT! .. OK, never mind this last part. =P
And that's it! =)

Next destination: Unknown.

PS: I still don't have pictures from Amsterdam with me... maybe I'll update this post with them in another day.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Sound Based Memories

It's really funny how powerful our brain is and how many types of memories can it store. I must say that mine is not the most organized brain and so I end up loosing a lot of memories every now and then, without knowing why. Maybe he is just lazy to remember some stuff. Who knows?

Anyway yesterday and today I started my working day listening to OffSpring's album "Ixnay in the Hombre" and it's really funny how this music takes me back to my ninth grade. And it's also nice how I jump inside of my head with this music. Amazing. I feel nostalgic, but I feel really good. Time moves forward, but fortunately memories are here to reminds who we were, where we were and what we did. It's really strange I always heard "enjoy this time, because is the best that you'll get". I don't know if those were the best times but they sure were the calmest and most relaxed days that I had. Just some classes during the day and then play football in the afternoon. I don't like to live stuck to the past but I like to travel back to it and remember. And then I miss some of the people that I knew and that I haven't seen in ages...

And when I'm walking down the memory lane I remember that I also miss my friends and family with whom I haven't been for almost a month now (well, some I haven't seen for ages). But that's the way it is. I knew that before I came to Delft, I don't regret I just miss you. =) Hope that some of you have the chance of coming to visit me, otherwise I hope to see you all in May.

But enough of being a crying baby.

The weekend is close. I just need to work seven more hours and I'll change to "do-nothing-productive" mode.

This time I'm going to Dronten, in the north, to visit a friend of mine that is there in Erasmus, Gustavo. I think it will be a nice trip even though the city is not even a city, I think it's a village, and there's not much to see. But it can't be always about monuments and museums!

Since I arrived to Delft I've already visited Roterdam, Amsterdam and Utrecht. I haven't write about any of those, but I think I will... maybe today in the train I write something and then just upload it!

Now it's time to work! And you too, lazy. Reading blogs in work time...

Thursday, 19 March 2009

A Day At Work and The Cinema

Since my project is about Content Management Systems, Cloud Computing and Cloud Service Providers among other things and various technologies I am also taking a deeper look at Blogger. And while doing this I found out that it is possible to post to my blog from my e-mail!

So this is just a test!

But since I'm already writing I might as well write a bit about my stay here.

Last Monday I went to the Cinema in Delft. The infrastructure is really nice and quite modern, not different from Portuguese cinemas. The only big difference is related with the price of the ticket. A student ticket costs 8.70€, quite a bit, when compared to Portugal. Anyway I thought I should try it out and so I did. I went to watch "Watchmen". I didn't know much about the film, but I liked it. I don't think that it is a master piece but it was worth it.

After going to the cinema I found out that there is something called a cinema card, for which one pays 18€ a month. This card allows you to go to the cinema as many times as you like per month. Meaning that if you go 4 times it's already worth. The bad news is that I've been told that you must buy the card for a whole year, and since I'm only staying for 5 months, it's no good for me... too bad. Anyway I'll have to ask there to make sure. It would be awesome!

And that's it for now! Back to work! ;)

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Portugal Paradise

Today when I went to Utrecht (more on that in another post one of these days :P) I saw this nice advertisement in a bus stop:

I'm not sure if that's the price for the two way trip, if it is I can say that it's quite cheap... but what startled me the most wasn't the price, was the picture behind it. I'm aware that I don't know every corner and beach of my country, but I can almost swear that there's no way that picture was taken in Portugal. And if it was I really must schedule some vacations there, because I have no money to go to the Caribbean islands, and that sure looks a lot like some postcards I've seen... (note the palm trees).

A Good Start

As you probably know, since (at least) in Portuguese television it's always news, last Friday was Friday 13th!

And this was one of the first things that I saw on that day, when leaving to work.

Fortunately I'm not a very superstitious person, otherwise I guess I would've stayed in bed for that day...

Thursday, 12 March 2009

It's all so quiet...

I know it is, but this time I'm not just walking by and study now and then, I'm actually working. Starting at 8.30h and finishing at 17.15h everyday, with some small variations.

So if you know me you can imagine how sleepy I must be... And I usually go to sleep around mid-night or one in the morning. But I hope I will get used to it. After all I'm going to do this for around 35/40 years... so sooner or later I'll get used to it. =)

But the main reason why I don't write often is because after work I don't come home to sit in front of my laptop. I usually only look at it later at night, when I get home. And by then I rather watch some episode of something or talk to someone, than sit here writing. Sorry! :P

I'll try to use the weekends to update the blog. We'll see how it goes.

Anyway I just wanted to say that I'm OK and I'm enjoying my stay here at Delft.

And the company is awesome! Yesterday they invited the employees that were not in vacations to go play bowling. It was like a "Team Building" initiative. It was really nice. I was the only Portuguese to go (there are 5 more at Tam Tam), because Porto's match for the Champions League was yesterday.

Anyway it was a nice evening, we occupied three lanes from the bowling place and I tied in the second place with a dutch guy 2 points behind the winner. I think I did really well, because it was really hard to find a ball that suited me. There was not a balanced ball. The light balls had really tight holes, so I couldn't hold them that well, and the ones with larger holes were really heavy... So I just used the light girly balls. But even though I was in risk of breaking a finger I still managed to make some strikes. After the game ended we started another one but the time ended before we finished... but I wasn't close to the leader. But since it was interrupted I didn't lose! ;)

After playing bowling we had dinner in a restaurant in the same building. The dinner was table grill. You grab the meat and then you have some grills on the table and you cook your own food. It was quite good.

That's what I call a company! I don't think any of my college friends will have an evening like this sponsored by their companies!

Well, but now it's getting late and I still want to watch an episode of something!:)

Before I finish this post I'll leave you with some pictures of the wild life in Delft, which I find really amazing.

Ducks, ducks and more ducks it looks like I am in Duckburg (Patópolis)

I don't know what bird is this, but I find it very good looking...:P

And this is it... :)

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Let your heart beat freely

I arrived to The Netherlands on the 23rd of February. The trip was smooth and I slept most of it through. After landing in Amsterdam and grabbing my luggage from the luggage belt I went to take a train to Delft.

Thanks to a nice lady I was able to board the right train and to switch trains at the right place. That place was, and is, called Leiden.

And it was in Leiden, in one of its train stations to be more specific, that I saw an object that I'm not used to see in a train station.

A defibrillator. Well, I might be wrong, but I don't think I can find one of these in Portuguese train stations. And maybe most people don't think that would even be an important object to figure among vending machines and benches. But, after a radio show that I once heard I really think this is a must-have in public places like a train station. Maybe I'm just a bit too hypochondriac...

Anyway, with stations equipped with these things I guess dutch people can eat fast food without worrying so much! ;)

Friday, 6 March 2009

Half (A)way from nowhere

Here I am again, writing about an Erasmus experience.

As some of you might know last year I spent 5 months in Horsens, Denmark, through the Erasmus Programme. Now, seven months after my return to Porto, Portugal, I left again. Last year I went to VIA University College to study. This time I came to Delft, in The Netherlands, to do my final course internship. I started in the 2nd of March at Tam Tam B.V. and I'll finish it in the end of July.

Even though I'm doing an internship I'm still and Erasmus student, so I'll try to have some fun and to travel a bit. I hope I find some time to do it. For that to happen I should start by sleeping at least 7 hours a day. So now I'm going to sleep, because tomorrow I start my work at 8.30h, and "only" finish at 17h/17.15h. =)

Anyway I couldn't go one more day without creating this blog. I haven't done it before because I was having some trouble choosing a name for it.... but as you can see I stopped thinking too much and just chose this one. Since I'll have to write my internship report/thesis in english I thought I should start practicing it, by writing my blog in english. Also this way the friends that I made in Erasmus that want to know what I'm doing can also read it. Withought having to use Google Translator, or some other translator. As I told you this is for practicing, so whenver you find any mistake, even if it's only a small one, please let me know!

But as I was saying, the name for the blog... Since I'm writing in english and there are a LOT more english writing users than portuguese writing users in the Internet, this quest was even harder than usual. Finding an available name that made any sense to me was a challenge, speacially because I wanted it to be somewhat related to my other blogs (O Meio, Meio Fora), and words like center and half are quite common in english. So I came up with this "Half (A)way", which in my head represents a translation of "Meio Fora" (using Away in the sense of "I'm away" =P) and also playing a bit with "Half way" to someplace or from someplace. And then I thought, maybe because is getting late and I have to sleep, that I the address should be "Half Away from nowhere" ( was already taken =P). Because I'm not half, nor fully, away from nowhere an noone that I care about. Even though distance exists I feel that I'm allways with the ones I love and I carry the places I love in my heart. And I also know that I'll be back and be with you all. =)

But enough of this. I really must sleep.

Hope you'll stop by or add this blog to your feeds, and that you enjoy the things I have to share.

I already have some posts on my mind that I will try to write some time soon.

Thank you for reading. (Don't forget to correct my english!)