Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pillows, the Super Bowl and Amsterdam

     I was here for almost two weeks before I had a real pillow.  I had been using this inflatable pillow that was not comfortable at all and sometimes I even slept with out.  You would think that finding a common bed pillow would be easy...wrong!  Our dorm is about a 5 minute walk from a small shopping area with a few kind general stores.  Some of the other international students said that found pillows at one of these places, but apparently they all bought them so there was none when we went.  One day we went to the city center which has a lot more shopping.  We went into one small general store and found one pillow, and there was three of us that needed pillows.  They do not have a store here that is equivalent to Wal-Mart or Target.  Finally, on one Saturday Stephanie, Emily, Max and I decided to make a trip to Ikea that we heard was located on the outskirts of Arnhem.  We heard from someone that we need to get on the number 5 bus so we got on the bus and then at one of the stops Max asked the driver if the bus would take us to Ikea and the drive said no, that his route went no where near Ikea so we got off the bus just around the corner from where we got on.  We asked the bus driver of another bus if his bus would take us to Ikea, he said no but he would take us to the bus stop of the bus that would. So we got off at the correct bus stop, and looked at the schedule and saw that the bus left in about an hour. So we just walked around this mall area.  When we went back to the stop we looked at the schedule again and saw that the bus we need actually did not run on Saturdays!  There was a group of about 3 girls waiting at the stop and we asked them  if they knew how to get to Ikea.  They said that they were going their themselves and told us a different bus we could take.  But of course we had just missed it and it didn't come back again until about 40 minutes.  Finally we made it on the bus and made it to Ikea.  Ikea was a successful shopping trip as I got a pillow, clothes line, a candle, and a vase.  Once we got outside Ikea, we had no idea how to get back home because where we got off at didn't really seem like a stop.  We asked someone outside Ikea but I don't think they really understood what we were saying.  They pointed us in a direction and we went that way but we quickly found out that it was not correct.  After stopping to re-group at McDonald's we went back towards where we got off.  We ran across some people who had just got off the bus and asked them how to get back on the bus.  We had to go under this bridge and around the corner from  where we had gotten off.  We made it to the bus stop and then had to wait about 45 minutes till the bus came but we made it home! That day I really wished that I had a car!

     I was able to watch the Super Bowl!  My buddy, Christian, said that he was planning on watching the Super Bowl and that we (Steph, Emily and I) could come over to his apartment to watch it.  I think that there were a lot of guys that were jealous that we had a place to watch the game.  I had two guys asked where we were watching it.  The Super Bowl started at 12:30am.  Christian was able to find an Internet site that had live stream of the game in English and hooked up his computer to the TV.  Christian is German and said that he didn't follow American football much, but he did know the basics.  So during the game he would ask some questions and I'm not sure the three of us girls were the best people to be explaining to him about football.  But it was worth staying up till 4:30am to see the Packers win!!

  Last weekend I did my first travel! I went to Amsterdam with Stephanie and Emily.  When we left our dorm it was raining so we debated if we should even go, but decided to go anyways.  We had a direct train that left Arnhem at 8 and we arrived in Amsterdam a little after 9.  As soon as we arrived we went to the Anne Frank house.  We were able to get in right away.  The museum was really interesting to see.  I was surprised that none of the rooms had furniture in them at the request of Otto Frank.  The rooms had signs and pictures of the room to describe it.  In the parents room you were able to see the marks on the wall where they tracked the growth of the girls during the stay and in Anne's room was some of her pictures that she had glued to the wall. They also had Anne's original dairy on display along with some of the short stories that she wrote.  I had just read her diary before I left so it was fresh in my mind what all happened there.  When we were done it had stopped raining so we just explored the city and wondered around for an hour seeing many canals, bridges, bikes and shops.  Then we went and ate lunch at the Pancake Bakery.  They had many kinds of toppings you could put on your pancakes including fruit, meat, cheese and even ice cream! I had one with apple and grand marnier and it was pretty good.  Then in the afternoon we just walked around more and even stumbled upon the Red Light District.  I wish we would have done a guided tour because we had no idea what we were looking at and some of the buildings, when we thought they looked important we would take a picture of them.  Next time we go I think we will do a canal tour.  I bought my first souvenir, which was a small pair of ceramic clogs with windmills and flower painted with delft blue on them.  They are a cute little nick-nack. Amsterdam is a beautiful city with an old charm to it.  It is often call the Venice of the north because it has so many canals because a lot of the city is below sea level.  When the windmills where originally built they were used to pump out water.  It will be nice to go see Amsterdam again when the weather is nice.

To see more pictures of Amsterdam, check out: 
In front of one of many canals in Amsterdam.

Anne Frank Museum.

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