I found a place to live! And I did it on my second day in Lisbon, too. I live with three students: two from Portugal and one from Cameroon. We each have our own rooms and I haven’t seen much of my roommates because they mostly just hang out in their rooms. Hopefully we’ll become friends soon because I don’t want to spend my summer alone. The apartment is obviously very old, but I like the character it has. My landlady was super-worried that I’d be too long for my bed. I fit okay.
Margarida, my landlady, is so nice and I can understand her pretty well which is great because Portuguese is much harder than I had anticipated. Unfortunately, I’m still a little slow and don’t always get her jokes. She was showing me how to lock my bedroom door and apologized profusely because to lock it, you have to pull the door pretty hard. As she was showing me how to lock it she said, “This happens to new doors.” I just responded with an “uh huh,” but then realized that she had made a joke and pretty funny one at that considering the fact that my door is probably older than Mao Zedong. The two big keys are to my bedroom door and the front door. I didn’t know that such big keys still existed in places outside of Narnia.
My house has some other quirks. For example, I used the toilet for the first time last night and was going to flush, of course, but I couldn’t find the handle. It was nowhere to be found. I examined the entire area around the toilet, but still, no handle. I was about to timidly ask one of my roommates for help when I realized that about four feet from the toilet there was a water tank over the bathroom mirror. There was a chain dangling from the tank and when I pulled it – whoosh! For the first time the sound of toilet flushing signaled my success.
Overall, I love my apartment. I have a hamper that looks like a penguin, a chair in my room that promotes good posture instead of being comfortable, and a mirror that’s high enough on the wall for me to see my face. I think the placement of the mirror in my room is the weirdest thing since the Portuguese are typically small and there’s no way they’d be able to see themselves in that mirror. I’m enjoying being here and the “what the heck have I done?” and the “why did I think going to Europe alone would be fun?” feelings have gone and I’m pumped to settle in and feel more at home here.
P.S. I was going to upload more pictures, but the internet is my house is so slow (like, dial-up slow).