So my weekend was awesome. New place, new roommates, birthday party, and all that jazz.
Sunday Ro and I spontaneously decided to go to Jumbo (which is like a Walmart but better). I tried to convince her to go to the one near my place, but she suggested going to the one about 12 metro stops away from my place. It's a good thing that she did, as it turns out the one near my place is closed for construction until further notice.
So we did some grocery shopping and got a few random things at Jumbo. Namely, a white board for the new place and a little pencil case so I feel like a regular teacher at the school. It was attached to a huge shopping mall, so we did some more shopping and I got a new internet cable. We did a lot of talking about our experiences and realized we are both facing the same challenges at our schools with management of the students and how we would like to see things done differently, so it was good to bond over that.
We finished off a successful shopping trip with some Starbucks, and I realized this was my first time having it since I left home. Maybe it was just me, but the hot chocolate tasted better than back home in the States.
I've noticed a few cool cultural things here:
1. When you buy gifts at stores you can get them gift wrapped for free. The way they wrap things is really interesting. Rather than wrapping it like we would by putting the gift wrap around the item, they fold the paper over itself and then tape the bottom of it. They then fold over the top if it so that it is like a bag. They put the gift inside the wrapping paper and then tape the top of it. I wish I had my camera to show a picture of it, but I'll bring it next time.
2. Some grocery stores (like Jumbo and Lider) have escalators that are like rolling walkways to go from one floor to another. While this may not seem like a big deal, here is what is: If you need to take your shopping cart from one floor to another, you can. They have magnets in the wheels of the carts and in on the escalator floors so that there are no runaway carts to run over anyone. No matter how much stuff you have in your cart or how hard you try and push it, that cart isn't going anywhere until it is off the escalator. Pretty nifty in my opinion.
The walk to school was about 35 minutes, and it left me feeling energized. Between walking to and from school I feel like I have so much energy and am so glad that I found a practical way of getting exercise into my daily routine. Gyms here cost at least 30 bucks a month, and while they might be a good way to enjoy classes and make some friends I doubt I would actually follow through in the long run with going.
Oh yeah, and I have a mattress and a completely built bed frame. Now I just need to get some small decorations for the room and a new set of curtains, but that will come with time.