Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Netherlands Adventures Day 3,4 and 5

Somehow five days in Europe have passed! As expected I have already broken the mold of a typical American stereotype by being rather direct. I was told by our Dutch teacher, "For an American student you are very much direct and I do not think I am the first person to tell you that." It may be shocking to you, but no this is not the first time I have been called direct

I have gotten used to biking everywhere we go, although originally I was so so sore, I told my mom I felt like I had given birth. She assured me that I was most likely being dramatic and not experiencing pain comparable to child birth. I have successfully navigated myself home and back by myself on my bike. I have an atrocious sense of direction and have been known to have a fiery temper when lost. However, lucky for me, a bike does not have a windshield which could unintentionally bear the wrath of a malfunctioning GPS that was thrown in frustration (which is a hypothetical situation, of course. I have never actually accidentally shattered a windshield in displaced, "I am lost" anger) I even found my way in the pouring down rain, twice! And I do not do rain, water or anything that requires me to have to re-straighten my hair. Except for times I have to and this is one of those times. However, I do not really mind. Cycling back and forth to school is actually kind of relaxing and I get in exercise I would otherwise never (ever) do. Which is very convenient because I have eaten exactly 732 Dutch chocolate bars so far. I do not understand the calorie or nutrition information so I am assuming the food does not contain calories, so the biking is good.

The last few days I have been working through the challenges of working in group projects with multiple cultures. All in all it has been a pleasant experience and I have gained new friends. All of our papers must be written in English (even for the Dutch speaking students) so this is the first time I have been the expert on the English Language. It is particularly entertaining when no one can figure out how to translated particular words, so we turn to Google translate. 

Now that I feel comfortable on a bike and know my way around, I feel little culture difference and realize how similar we all are. My hosts and I watch Netflix, eat chocolate and sit around in the living room talking every night, literally no difference than life in my apartment at Messiah. One particularly upsetting cultural difference was the fact that my roommates had never had a butter finger candy bar. Luckily for them, I had a bag of mini butter fingers so we could take care of that situation immediately.

It has been fun to talk about the differences and assumptions about the other countries. I have concluded that most Dutch students assume that the United States is comprised of New York (meaning the city, completely disregard that it is an entire state), California and Disney World. Which is fair of them because I probably would have assumed that all of The Netherlands is Amsterdam. I also have been asked about 14 times whether I own a gun.

On Tuesday we went to a place called the Open Air museum, which was not what I expected. I can be quite dumb, so when I heard air and automatically assumed we were going to a museum about airplanes. I was pleasantly surprised to realized Open Air museum simply meant an outdoor museum, with no airplanes. I was probably alone in my original assumption but oh well.

We spent the day learning about Dutch culture by walking through houses set up to display typical Dutch houses through the times. However, we spent an unusual amount of time analyzing the behavior of the ducks. We had a lot of fun ice skating, going on rides and slides that would have certainly been much more regulated and quite possibly illegal in the US. We were basking in the extra freedom on the slide by breaking the record of inter tubes going down the slide at once. The record was 7, we had 8.

In evening I was absolutely exhausted from not sleeping the night before (my body has not adjusted to the time change) and a full day of activities. However, we biked to the cinema and watched a movie. It was a strange but funny movie. Afterwards we biked back in the rain. As I dried myself off I told my hosts that they would visit me in the states and we will drive EVERYWHERE. Once I was dry, we sang and had birthday cake for on of the girls in the house who was turning 18 on Tuesday.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day studying and sleeping as I was feeling under the weather and today has been the same. The first few days have been exciting and interesting. I love it here and cannot believe a week has almost come and gone! 

No comments:

Post a Comment