Saturday, 15 November 2014

Baby, it's cold inside.

Let's say you're an erasmus who moved to Porto this semester. Or you're just living on your own for the first time and never experienced the reality of student apartments. Welcome. I made this guide for you, and it's a collection of all the knowledge that kept me warm kept me from freezing this last 6 years.


Fix your room.

Porto's housing prices are pretty low compared to other cities in Europe. You probably got excited about renting a huge room for only 200 euros per month, right? 

You were very happy about having large wide windows, and so much space you could fit a whole mariachi band in there.
But now winter started and you discovered bigger rooms are colder rooms.
Don't worry, there are still a few things you can do to make both your room and your house better:

    - Buy rugs. They are magical.

    - Check if wind is entering through the windows and doors. It probably is, in that case buy some of those sand-snake thingies (I don't know the name, they look like this.). There was a time I just rolled some teatowels and put them along my window frame and it worked too.

    - Close the blinds at night.
    If you are foreign there's a big chance you never used those ugly blinds almost every house in Portugal has:

They are there for a reason. Usually windows are not very thick and they don't close so well. The blinds will protect you from the sun and heat in the summer and the cold in the winter.

Get a heater. 
Here are the choices:
Oil heater: it heats up slower but it's less energy consuming.

Space heaters:

They warm up a room much faster, but consume much more energy. Unlike oil heaters, this ones consume the oxygen in the room. So there's a risk of monoxide poisoning if you're not careful.

If you can't afford a heater, let this english sailorman teach you how to build your own with nothing but a bread tin, ceramic flower pots and Ikea candles:

Alternative/complementary heating devices:
Electric bed cover
- They stopped selling this in a lot of countires, but not in Portugal! Just remember to turn it off before going to sleep, because they may lead to some fire hazards.

If you don't trust yourself with a bed cover maybe just stick to a hot water bottle.

a classic
and, if you are a super clumsy human being and always end up spilling boiling water when trying to refill them, there are microwaveable heating bags made of lavander and seeds that are safer and smell good. If you're crafty, you can make one yourself: Fillings can include rice, wheat, millet seeds, flax seeds, beans...

Let me introduce you to polar fleece 
Maybe you never had winter pyjamas. Maybe you never even bought pyjamas, at all. 
Well, in Porto you'll need them.
"What do you mean You sleep in your underwear?"
Nowadays you can buy bed sheets AND pyjamas made of polar fleece. That's the warmest combination invented my man. Also, polar fleece maintains the heat, so if you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night you'll come back to a really warm bed!
There's only one downside to it: it's too effective. 

When I first bought polar fleece sheets my bed was so warm and confortable it got much harder to get out of bed in the morning, and I missed classes more often.


I never really did this. 

But I lived with a girl who would go to her room and exercise with a pilates ball when she was cold. And it worked. 
I'm more in the lazy side of the spectrum and rather just wear more clothes and eat hot stuff, but her technique is probably the healthiest and you may want to consider it.

United we'll make it
Call your friends. Get together in one room (preferably the kitchen) cook something in the oven. Celebrate the winter, hug and be hugged because this is the best weather for that!

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