Now that the second semester has begun around here, the corridors are full of noisy people and that actually makes it harder for me to pretend that I’m working.
I work in R&D and sometimes we here submit them papers. And sometimes those papers are accepted and published. And then someone has to go outside and properly present the work. While I had never been to a conference myself, my work got published and thus I had a change to learn how these things work.
That’s pretty much how I found myself travelling to Vienna with my work colleague, V.!
Now, I know I had travelled by plane once when I was very young, to Germany. However, precisely because I was so young, I hardly remeber a thing of said trip. Therefore, to me, it was like I was travelling by plane for the first time. And it was pretty cool!
Turns out, planes are just like giant buses with wings. And they fly. They are giant flying machines. Of course that’s the recipe for getting my love.
The trip was very long because we first had to fly from Porto to Frankfurt and then from there to Vienna. This took us most of the day. The Frankfurt airport, by the way, is pretty huge! Sometimes you have to take the bus to go from one side to another. I was pretty awed.
By the time we got to the hotel we were already pretty tired. We got to share a very small but cozy room. Next morning we’d have to wake up early to try and figure out the way to the conference, which was located at the Technikum. The Technikum is a very beautiful and brand new building which feels like what my college could have been if only it was also new and pretty.
On the first day V had to present her paper and I had to chair the same session she participated in. The task wasn’t that hard, as I only had to introduce the speakers, moderate the times and the questions and make some few questions of my own. It was very nice, actually. By the time that was done with, however, it was already nighttime. Turns out it gets dark pretty damn early in Vienna so you don’t have much daylight to use. Also the temperatures are a lot colder than what we’re used to, ranging from -3º to 3º. While having 3º is pretty regular at nighttime here in Portugal, during the day we can get some 11º or more on winter. So while this was a change, it wasn’t as drastic as we thought it would be, with the cold actually being pretty bearable. We had a cocktail dinner/party at the City Hall later that day, so we decided to try to find the way there.
We eventually found the way to the Rathaus (we kinda had to ask) and since it was still too early to attend the party we decided to hang out around the place for a while. There was a Christmas shop in the park with many tents with various products. The whole park was decorated accordingly and I was pretty keen with the decorations and bright lights.
We had been invited as guests to the Rathaus, which apparently means City Hall by the very Mayor of Vienna! We got into this very very VERY fancy room with live piano music and full of life-sized portaits of former Mayors. The Mayor gave a little speech and we authors had then some time to interact with each other while having a few drinks and snacks. All in all, fancy is the only word that comes to mind when I think of it.
Back then, my colleague and I were very intrigued by this former Mayor portrait of a man which looked a lot like Pinto da Costa. I decided to pose with him in the most professional and fancy way possible:
The next day I did my two presentations which went pretty smoothly. I was hoping for more questions or suggestions at the end, thought. But I think they went pretty well nonetheless. By the end of the day we’d have, once again, a special dinner. This time we went to the Conference’s Gala Dinner, which was another load of overfancy for us. There was live music this time was well, but this time, fancy violin!
The conference would end the next morning. So after the closing speeches and the best paper awards, V and I strolled around the city to act like some real tourists. We took photos of the very nearby Brigitte and then headed to the giant wheel!
It was very foggy though, so the pictures aren’t as good as they should be. Also, by the time we exited the giant wheel ride, it was almost nighttime again. Thinking of it, most of what I recall are night strolls. It was always very darks.
By the time we reached the Stephenplatz, it was already very into nighttime, so it was getting very hard to take good pictures. And although I very much tried to show you just how big this building was, it just doesn’t show enough in the photos:
After some strolling around the commercial area and visiting a few stores (they had pretty much the same products and prices as here in Portugal, what a disappoint), we decided it was about time we headed back to the hotel. After all, we would be leaving very very early the next morning, so we would most definetively need some rest.
We got the plane next morning at around 6:30, although the plane left somewhat later because of all the fog in Frankfurt. It gaves me some time to appreciate just how big these machines are and how everything looks like little toys by comparison:
Because it was so early I was very sleepy through most of the journey and barely noticed anything until we landed. However, I was somehow able to take a few pictures of the sun rise which was coming right after us. And suddenly we were at the Frankfurt Airport again. V and I got giant pretzels to eat before we got into the next flight. It was so foggy there you can actually see the planes fading in the distance in the pictures.
I slept through most of this trip too, so it wasn’t long for me until we landed in Portugal again, where temperatures were some 20º higher and it felt like summer. Then I proceeded to get into a bed and sleep through the rest of the day.
That’s it, that’s the show, I’m a master in computers now.
Today was a good day!! I’ve been on an adventure!
And by adventure I mean I have travelled by train to another part of the country. The destination: Braga.
My evil work colleague, who I’ll be addressing as VN here, has been having some contact difficulties concerning her Postgraduate registration and thus she kina had to travel there and talk to the people involved in person. This, of course, sounded like a good plan for me to tag along and get to know the place and the processes, since that knowledge is probably gonna come in handy.
I could say we got up extra soon but we didn’t. We got the train around 10:00 and the trip would last for around 1h15, which is actually not that much considering that I used to travel 1h00 everyday before I moved. But this time we’re travelling by train, so that changes everything.
VN got us a map of the campus so we wouldn’t get that lost when we got there.
I always enjoy the view when the train leaves the city. Gotta love all the bridges, they make up for wonderful scenery.
Portugal is a lovely place and its villages have the weirdest of names.
By the time we reached Braga, there was an Alpha train in the station! I really love these trains so I couldn’t resist to take a picture. It’s very blurry because we were kinda in a rush to catch the bus.
VN had prepared the trip’s course beforehand, so we knew which bus we had to catch. It came over shortly after we arrived, which was awesome!
Despite being already noon and our stomachs claiming for food stuffs, we wanted to get a view of the Minho University pole first, so we went for a quick lookaround. We had brought VN’s little map, but there was a much larger one by the campus’ entrance:
We obviously headed to the Computer Science department very fast. Its magnetic powers were draining us, it’s not like we ever stood a chance.
I managed to make it look good on a photo, heh.
We had to get our stomachs filled with food stuffs, so we went to the one place which we know that delivers:
I’m not even sorry.
Afterwards and because we still had some time in our hands before the Academic Services started serving, we decided to look around for deserts and found this very cute place named “Maria Bolacha”, which kinda translates to “Marie Cookie” or “Cookie Marie”.
And we had cookie cake! Of course.
Shortly after, the Academic Services were open, but they couldn’t quite do what VN had come all the way up to Braga to do and forwarded us back to the Computer Science department. So we got to explore it a little further.
After being forward again to direct contact with a professor and VN getting the info she wanted, we started heading back. So time to say goodbye to the campus and go home.
Back into the train!
About one hour later, we were in S.Bento again. Aaah, the smoky, polluted air of Porto. Adorable.
Shortly after leaving the city so each of us could go to their respective villages, we had more sweets! Because sweets are awesome. Hmmm crepe!
It is very odd to wake up considerably late and still get to work early. Wow the wonders of living in the city.
Not going to say I’m loving my new place, but it is very comfortable and it sure feels nice enough. It is cozy.
Today was thunderstormy. I have a lot of work for my thesis to do right now and it’s making me tired but at least it’s getting closer and closer to the end, uff!
Today is one of thos days where I don’t feel like doing anything, I just want to snug into my bedsheets and stay there, but I kinda need to look at some test results and figure something out of them and I guess I also need to go out later on and oooh.
I also heard I need to write a paper and get a thesis done and I’m like oh damn, maybe I shouldn’t have postponed everything so much.
Last night was movie night, with all the excitement of watching the various short-films the students made. I even got to watch the one made by my friends, in which I starred wonderfully! :D About twenty short-films were shown, but since we arrived a little late, we didn’t get to see them all. But it was still fun! Some of the movies were very professional while others were so low-budget they didn’t even bother to try and hide – why use money when we can use Monopoly money, right?
I’m sorry, but it’s Portuguese only because well… We’re Portuguese.
Moving on! Movie night took really long, meaning I only left college pretty close to midnight and thus got home pretty late. This morning, as I was going to wake up at the usual time, I felt so heavy I thought “fuck the ride, I’m going to sleep for ten more days, thanks”. But then I barely slept for another hour, meaning I missed my ride and barely got to sleep what I needed. Heh.
So I decided to just spend the morning at home, and that kind of implies cooking. Since only my sister and I were at home, I baked us a quiche! I had made quiches before, but I still have tons of room for improvement and this time I decided to try some different things here and there. The result was delicious! I think I’m getting closer to the perfect quiche.
This time, I mixed some yogurt with the eggs, something I had never tried before, but I was really curious about. I really liked the result, but it got me thinking that maybe more yogurt next time wouldn’t be all that bad. Also, quiches are fun for me to use all the remains of other stuffs I might have around the kitchen and just cook them all together. Yumm!
I haven’t written anything of importance here lately, but fear not, it’s not like I stopped having special snowflake thoughts or anything of the likes. It’s not like I’m even busy, I just forget to write about the current stuffs.
There are some things happening though, or have happened recently:
- I went to a lame-o animu meet and, although I was surrounded by cool peeps, it was pretty crappy. I’m hating anime meets more and more because people always have such peculiar, terrible behaviours that make me cringe. I could write an essay on that, and maybe one day I will. I should show you, though, the pics I drew while with my drawing buddies (I have drawing buddies around now, it’s really cool!)
- I have been reading the Foundations series for a while now and it keeps on giving me the feels. Really, it’s such an awesome story, all I can dream about are spaceships and mentalics. Also, robots!
- I participated briefly in a short-film my friends have been working on. My part is really small and all I had to do was stroke my hair a bit, but it was really cool and made me think that we do have the capacity to make cool things – why aren’t we doing them then? I dunnos, tho, if the short film will ever be made public :(
- I discovered a sewing machine at my place and after some terrible attempts at making it work, I finally learned how that’s done and managed to successfully craft a hat! It’s terrible, but it was my first hat ever and if you keep that in mind, it’s… actually pretty good? I liked the sewing thing so much I wanna do it again and again until back pain makes me stop (or I run out of materials, ofc).
- Finally, I’ve had my last presentation and thus I’m only one exam away of being done with classes! Then I’ll only have the thesis to do, which, if you think about it, it’s actually a lot of stuff to do. And if you’re of the procrastinating kind like I am, you’ll understand why I am taking long.