Monday, 5 October 2015

The Dutch are not likely to forget your birthday

Captain's blog. It's been  159 days since I have arrived to this strange land.
    I can't drive. I don't have a driver's license and as long as I'm living in Holland I suspect I won't be needing one in the near future. Either way I have never really grasped  the concept of 'not finding a parking place' , it was never among of my daily problems. Until now. Of course it is a very present and current issue ever since I'm here. As far as I am concerned there are only two kinds of people in this world. The PRP (Proper Responsible Parkers) and the non-pancake related- IHOPP (I Have Other Priorities Parkers). The latter are far too easily recognized due to their typical behaviour of leaving bikes in the middle of the street, sideways,barely hanging by a lock,or on top of another bike. Even when I'm running late I take 3 seconds to contemplate their modern art-like parked just have to love them.
      On a more academic note , lately, I have tried to divide myself into different characters. As Napoleon said Divide and conquer. I decided I will do the same with university. I am currently enrolled in two subjects of the Master Programme and since I have quite some reading to do, organizing time is vital. One of my first steps in organizing academic times is getting an agenda. There are some important dates you would not want to miss: special lectures, guest speakers, deadlines, thesis workshops, open karaoke nights, etc. Another piece of advice I can give you is: carefully write down WHERE you have the lectures... you wouldn't want to end up second guessing if you are at the correct place at the correct time. Why would I bring this up? Well, because as we are imperfect humans beings, we are subjects of doubt and mistakes. In other words, I was once at the correct building but one hour early.
Another particularly interesting device is the calendar. An actual physical paper calendar. I do not have the habit of looking into the cellphone planner, because everytime  I want to look at it something diverts my attention and Isomehow end up in a social network. How odd is that?
          Speaking of calendars. have you had the pleasure of visiting an actual dutch house. If the answer is yes, have you stayed long enough to go to the bathroom of such houses? Chances are, if you visited a young dutch, the probability of seeing what I'm about to tell you are scarce. One of the most striking cultural aspects of the dutch is the 'verjaardagskalender'. Yes, it Is only one word and it means “birthday calendar”. Many houses in the Netherlands hang in such calendars in the bathroom to remember the birthdays of loved ones. When I first learned this, there a lot of questions emerged in my mind. Why the bathroom? What is the protocol to write on it? How much do I have to know the owner of the house in order to write down my name on it? and of course, why the bathroom? This and many other questions have crossed my mind but, cultural differences are not meant to be questioned. Just embrace it. Live it. Hang a calendar in the bathroom. Be happy.

          Are you all aware that it has  already been a month since we became Utrecht students? I don't really know if I feel different, but surely I have a lot more things in my mind. Learning new things is always a tricky and hard subject. Just like going to the gym after years, exercising yourself into university requires time and commitment. I don't know if there is a formula to it, and I know sometimes you are bound to feel frustrated and stressed, but we all are.Just bear in mind this is something that will inexorably add something to your life. I'm pretty sure by now you have made acquaintances with your classmates (and even if you are the shy type, you probably know who you will hang out with later on), and don't feel as lost as you once were. Talking out insecurities and owing to your mistakes is what I recommend. Just think if you weren't capable of this, you' d probably be doing something else.
         Until next time, this blogger needs to do some reading.


  1. Oe. Please note that you should never, ever, write your name on the birthday calendar. This is done by the lady of the house so all handwriting is neat and the same! You can sneak peak whether you are already on it or start a casual conversation about birthdays in which you mention when yours is... But never, ever write on it yourself.

    1. ok duly noted. thank you very much for the tip ;)