Who knew a fire drill is a social event?

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November 15th 2006
Published: November 15th 2006
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So the past few days I've been a bit stressed over the draft of a paper that is due tomorrow. I'm working on it with a classmate, but for some reason I can't get motivated to start writing - maybe it's the month long break from classes? Perhaps. It's an interesting subject, so at least that's going for me. I'm also thinking a lot about my trip to Italy; I'm very excited and anxious.

So I couldn't write more than 2 paragraphs all day yesterday. I don't know what I did the rest of the day, I was sort of in a daze. This morning I woke up at 7:45am (the earliest I've had to wake up since I got here) and headed to the University on foot. That's right, I had to walk and take the bus to the university and leave my bike behind because on Monday as I was riding home from the university, I got a flat tire. It's my first flat tire ever and I don't know how to fix it, but luckily they teach kids here in grade school how to patch up a bike tire. Jasper (Janne's boyfriend) said he has a kit at home and will fix it for me. Score!

Of course, my bad luck with catching the bus followed me here. As I was walking to the bus stop, the bus I needed passed right by me. Fortunately I only had to wait 15 minutes and the bus dropped me right in front of the Cubicus building on campus.

The two computer lab rooms had classes, so I found a smaller computer room that was open. Heavy classical music blared from the computer an older man was using. This was no Swan Lake - it was like classical music they would play in the background of an hour long theatrical death scene or something. Intense. I turned on my computer and lo and behold, it's slower than my laptop! It took 20 minutes to start up. I'm starting to miss the super computers they have on campus at the UW....

I finally got all my documents opened and started searching for scholarly journal articles when a man came in and said to one of the men in the room "There is going to be a practice fire drill in a moment, so we will all have to leave the building". How inconvenient - I wouldn't get a chance to make some progress on my "paper" before I met with Andra at 11am.

A three-note chime sounded over the loud speaker and a friendly woman's voice spoke politely in Dutch, then in English: "Excuse me for the interruption. There will be a fire exercise commencing in a few seconds. Please exit the building, lock your doors, and head for the Vrijhof building. Thank you"

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! The fire bell made me jump, I logged off my computer, and followed the mass of people down the staircase and outside. I wondered why we had to go to the Vrijhof (other side of campus practically) because the fire drills I'm used to take 10 minutes and everyone just stands outside. I decided to follow the herd since it would take another 20 minutes to load the computer up again and by that time Andra would basically be there.

Inside the Vrijhof were tables adorned with red and white tablecloths and centerpieces. I looked around and people were standing in a cue waiting for what looked like to be free coffee! A smiley lady handed me warm coffee in a ceramic cup with a saucer and a tiny metal spoon. All around me, people were taking off their jackets, sitting down at the tables and stretching out their legs. Break time! Who knew a fire drill is a social event?? I found this really funny - what a great excuse to stop working, be clear away from the building you're supposed to be in and have a 20 minute chit-chat with your friends over a cup of free coffee?! This, I will definitely miss when I return home.

I better meet Andra at the other computer lab. I'm then off to the center to buy a few things for my trip and then I'll take the bus back to campus for my User support class 3:45-5:30. Tomorrow I catch the train at 9am and head onwards on an Italian adventure. I'll post from my hostel in Firenze - I'm sure I'll have a lot to tell. =)



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