Last week I was heading to the Library (Drift), thinking I had to get my paper done, so I might as well grab a computer and start writing. After walking up and down and then turn to the sides and back again I realised there weren't any free computers at sight. But I knew better. The library site said there was free space available, and I was determined to find it. After asking for directions, I discovered (?) a whole new wing of the library and I was in awe. So much, in fact, that I could not believe my eyes when I saw a free spot. My eyes were set on the empty chair. As I opened the glass door that separates the sectors, something held me back. My finger was still set on the door, that closed silently on it. Even though I knew the possibilities of someone understanding what I wanted to say in my native language were indeed scarce, I kept my cool. No one seemed to notice me. I just love the effect that library has on students.
I believe I haven't mentioned this before, but I work in Amsterdam on the weekends. That is why the capital city has been my very first impression of Netherlands. I took a train from Haarlem, and a friend of mine told me: ‘ Get off in Amsterdam’. And so I did. Of course it was Amsterdam Sloterdijk. No one told me there are a lot of Amsterdams. After 10 minutes, I corrected my path and I finally got to Centraal. I thought that I had already mastered the technique of knowing my right hand from the left, until I tried to cross a street in this city. The bicycles didn't strike me as calm and peaceful, I was scared. They come out of nowhere, and when you think you dodged them all...you hear this strange bell… you should probably move because there is a tram coming.
I know a lot of people is going to resent what I'm about to say, but I think Amsterdam has nothing on Utrectht. There is something magical about this streets, maybe its student stress building up in the air, or the lack of non-particularly hurried tourists, but it does give you some peace of mind. I'm not implying you can't achieve inner peace in Amsterdam, but, let's just say it might take a bit longer.
There was one object that drew my attention when I had my first breakfast in this country...It's not like I have never had cheese before, but I never really had a cheese cutter. I was so used to the image of badly cut, (ugly-shaped cheese) that when I came to Netherlands and saw this device my jaw dropped a few centimeters. It might seem to be easy to use, since even my 3 year old nephew uses it, but it does take some skill. Our life changed so much after this that the first request from my family was to send a cheese cutter to Argentina. It sounds strange I know, but this is what it is all about. Trying new things, and slowly taking in this culture. I'm not saying we will become dutch, (although I wouldn't mind growing up a few centimeters), but it is important to find your way in this country, stop being a foreigner and be part of it. Luckily, that is something our University helps us with: Schedules, teachers, and classmates...they are all part of our days, and slowly shape and fit into your life.
Time for my tip of the week: Always carry a bag (tasje) with you. Not only because you never know when you will go to the supermarket, but also you never really know (Apps are not THAT smart) when lovely rain can strike. Since we are students, you always have important papers,the computer, etc. So cover your bag with a bag, and continue your journey.
An interesting thing about moving away is learning things about yourself, like ‘ I didn't know I could cook more than a fried egg’, or ‘ I can fry an egg’. There is also the realisation that you are stronger than you thought,and that finals are almost here. Finals are almost here? I should really go, tot laters uu and non uu students .