Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spring in Holland

     I have been here for four month now and everything has become come really comfortable and I have built some really good relationships with people and have been having the time of my life!
At the windmill with Stephanie and Bea
    About two months ago, I went to visit the national park with Bea, Petra,and Stephanie, which was about a 30 minute train ride outside of Arnhem, then we took a bus and then we walked the rest of the way to the park.  The park was pretty big, and they had bike there that you could take for free to bike around the park.  We went and saw the small castle with a small lake which was really pretty as we had a very gorgeous day with lots of sun. Then we went to the small art museum there and walked around some more.  On the way back we stopped at the windmill that was just outside the train station.
Vitesse football game
    Soccer (football) here is really big, it is as big or bigger than American football.  In total, I have been to four games; one in Germany, one in Spain,and two in Arnhem.  The Arnhem stadium, the Gerlderdome, is just across the bridge from the city center and is about a 30 minute bike ride.  The first game I went to here, I went with Emily and Vitesse (the Arnhem team) won 2-1. The second game I went to was with a group of guys (I was the only girl), probably about 10-15 of us.  It was not to bad outside so I just had on a long sleeve shirt but in the stadium there was a really cold wind, which made the game a little less enjoyable being freezing cold. The team mascot is a falcon and it was cool that before the game started, there is a guy that goes onto the field and lets this live falcon fly around.  This game was not very good as Arnhem lost (4-1) to a team that was ranked lower than them.  Next weekend is the big championship game or something; it will be FC Barcelona vs. Manchester City. Today, there was a football tournament, set up by Shaka (Dutch). Sixtina (German) and I biked there and watched the guys play.  I still do not really know that much about soccer, like all the rules and how the division work but I still enjoy going to the games.
Lisa, Jon, me and Tom
      The Netherlands is not known for their food and I have not really tired that much Dutch food (mostly because I dont really know what is typical Dutch).  I have had stroopwaffels which I like very much and even had a Stroopwaffel McFlurry at McDonalds! One thing that they have a lot over here if french fries which they usually serve with ketchup and mustard (they do not have ranch in Europe!). Doner Kebab stores are very popular through out Europe ( I think it is Turkish).  A kebab is thinly sliced lamb meet with, either in a pita pocket or tortilla shell, with different toppings. Back in the States, pizza was always are late night food, but here is the kebab as places are usually open till around 4ish. ( They also have some other snack foods that I have not tried yet such as krokets and bitterbollen.  ( The McDonalds here even serves a McKroket which is only sold in Holland.  Emily and I have still not improved our cooking skills; we still mostly eat pasta, tacos, and cheesburgers.  I eat cereal for breakfast and then bring my own lunch to school-usually a ham sandwich, pretzels or chips, and fruit.  I sometimes eat with Mike, the Canadian who lives on my floor. He is a much more creative cook than me.  The best meal he makes is his super potatoes, though its pretty much a heart attack in a pan-potatoes, hamburger, bacon, onions, cheese, and sour cream, but it is really good!  Both sets of his grandparents are Dutch so he knows some Dutch food, and made me bourrenkool one time which is a really simple dish with potatoes, some kind of sausage, kale and applesauce.  The applesauce on it sounded weird but its pretty good.  We have a good deal, Mike cooks and I do the dishes and we split the cost of the meal.  He is really good at finding things for really cheap so usually it is about 2-4 euros each but that is for two meals, so pretty good. Tonight Lisa and Bettina (both Austrian) are coming over and we are doing a taco night with Mike, Stephanie and Emily.
      With all the eating, I have tried to work out some.  It helps that we bike some, but it isn't enough. I usually do not bike to school, I still prefer to walk.  I would be more up for biking if we had an easier route to go.  When we walk to school, we go through this shopping area so sometimes that is hard to ride your bike though and then there is a really big bridge so I couldn't bike up that either. So by the time I unlock my bike, and push it through the shopping center and over the bridge, and then lock it up, it sometimes just doesn't seem worth the little time that is saves.  The bike is nice to have though when going to the city center, because other wise I would have to take a bus or a taxi back a night which cost money.  My pedal on my bike broke once, but Shaka fixed in and now I have a flat tire so I have to try and get that fixed soon because its really annoying not having a bike so luckily I have been able to borrow Stephanie's or Emily's when I have needed it.  In March, I was really good at going running about every other day, just a mile, but then in April I got really lazy and now I have started again a little, not as often.  I some times play basketball on Monday nights with a bunch of people, mostly guys, there is one other girl that always comes and Clara sometimes comes.  Its a fun way to meet new people and exercise.
Rafa's Cook Out
Lidia's Birthday (Martin, Lidia, Raquel, Lucia, Sixtina, Hanna)
     April was a month full of birthdays, because that's just the best month ever!  Rafa's (Brazil) birthday was really fun and we had a big party. Some of the guys went to Ikea and bought a grill and then got a bunch of meat and we had a big cookout.  It was a lot of fun and I think it was actually a turning point for me socially.  I think up until then, I mostly hung out with Emily and Stephanie and few others. I was really excited for this cook out but Emily, Stephanie and Bea were going to go to Utrecht so I had to decide what I wanted to do.  I decided to not go to Utrecht because I kind of needed a break to get away from Emily and Stephanie since we did so much together and I came here to meet other people and I am really glad that I stayed.  There is a nice lawn area on the side of Honigkamp so of course there was a soccer ball out, which I did attempt to kick around for a little while. The guys were really good cook and the meat was all really good, except I tried the chicken heart and spit it out, I did not like the texture of it; it was really weird! Later that night a bunch of guys chipped in and got Rafa a present that he enjoyed very much and was entertaining for everyone else to watch! Later that night we all went out to the city center.  Most of the birthdays were not as big a Rafa's; for Lidia' (Spanish) we had a small get together on the 5th floor with pizza and cake and some decorations. 
Bettina, Amanda, Emily, Lisa and I at ladies night
       One of the local movie theaters here, the Rembrandt Theater, has a ladies night about once a month.  I group of us girls went to the last ladies night and we saw Something borrowed which was pretty cute.  It was me, Emily, Lisa, Bettina, Jodee (Stout), Madison (Canada), Amanda (China), and then Sixtina, Caro, Hanna, Clara, Cecilia (all German),and Tanya.  It was 12 euros and you got unlimited champagne before the movie, a bag of popcorn, and a good bag which had Nivea body wash, magazines (in Dutch), a box of granola bars, chips, gum, and a few other small things. It was a fun night with the girls.
Tad, me, Emily and Didac at the salsa event
Sean, Mikel, Tad, Tom, Pablo and Hailey
     The rest of the event management parties have all gone.  There was a stereotype ball, X-change cafe, Salsa night and the farewell party.  I made it to all of them except the farewell party, I just just to tired that night. The stereotype ball was basically just another party but you were suppose to dress up as a stereotype from your country. Most people didn't really dress up; a few people people wore flags as capes.  I just wore jeans, Nike tennis shoes, and my red Wisconsin t-shirt.  The X-change cafe was kind of a cool idea, as it was different than all the rest.  It was held at the school; they had different tables set up representing different countries and at the table they had a quiz about the country which you could fill out for a free drink and they also had a food typical of that country.  Also, when you came in the door, you were suppose to put on a bracelet representing what languages you speak and what you want to learn.  The salsa party was a Wednesday which was weird, so I didn't stay long because I had a lot of work to do.  They had a salsa instructor come in to teach us how to salsa; it was fun to watch everyone.  The last party was the farewell party, I had bought a ticket for it but decided not to go because I was really tired (parties here don't start until around midnight) and we were leaving for Amsterdam early the next morning. Through out the semester there have been a few other theme parties; ISA (International Student Association) did a CEO and corporate ladies party and Martijn (Dutch guy) had a Hawain mixer at his place.

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