September 24, 2013, by Guest blog

Lisbon – focusing on what needs focusing on

Post written by Sidi El Alami

Hot, loud and vibrant. Arriving in the Bairro Alto district of Lisbon on Friday the 20th of September proved instantly a shock to the system. I had gone from the quiet, middle-class suburbia of the south-east of England to a Portuguese culture hotspot. Many tourists from around the world were relaying up and down the cobbled streets of the Bairro. However, as excited as I was on the experience that lay ahead for me- all I wanted to do at that point was get my suitcases up the most menacing set of stairs I have ever encountered, and get some rest.

Waking up in the morning, I was surprised to see the streets empty, quiet- a shadow of its self during the day, the Bairro has been a very pleasant place to live in. Families, smell of Portuguese food and laughter envelop the area throughout the day. This however will continously remind me of my family in England and Morocco, and the countless family gatherings, feasts and jokes over the years. I’m getting used to living on my own, which is definitely a positive as the first few days were quiet claustrophobic due to the fact that I had no one to speak to or chill out with. However I am certain this will push me to get out and about and meet new faces, personalities and cultures from the diverse world of Erasmus.

After the first day was spent furiously cleaning the house, and stocking up on food- I met up with my uni pal Joe and we had a few caipirhinas along with his acquaintance Phil. The feel is much different from that of 2009- back then it all felt a lot, being let loose in a European capital. Whereas now I’m less focused on the ‘partying’ and more focused on being focused on what needs to be focused on. I want to learn about the Portuguese people, culture, various nuance and idosyncracies every culture possesses. So far I feel I’ve already learnt a lot- the Portuguese are comfortable, fluid, confident people, but lack the fiery intensity of their Iberian neighbours, the Spanish.

I start work in the coming days and am very excited and very nervous about it all. Once my routine is developed I expect to fully make the most of this experience and develop my language, and cultural understanding of these great people.

Posted in First impressions