A warm welcome, eurostyle

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Europe » Netherlands
September 3rd 2006
Published: September 3rd 2006
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So after eating potatoes, corn and salad with Arjan, Janne and her two friends from Germany came back from a Mexican restaurant. We sat around and talked and then I was invited to go to one of their friend's birthday party at her house. I thought why not, it'll be a way to socialize and meet new people. Not all of us had bikes, so we decided to walk from our house to the centrum where her house is. This took about 30 minutes, but it didn't feel so bad like walking 30 minutes in Seattle with all the hills.

I walked into the house and said happy birthday to the girl who I didnt even know. We entered a small room that was dimly lit with a dark wooden table, two small loveseats, and a television that was playing some europop mp3s. The table was strewn with various bottles - everything from red and white wine, grolsch beer (the brewery is in Enschede, btw), german vodka, and absinthe. Cigarette boxes also littered the table, but I found out that the common thing (and probably cheaper) is to roll your own cigarettes. There were about 10 other people in the room including Nina and Jessi - the two girls that I had already met the night before. I chatted with Nina for a while and found out that she loves my favorite band DeathCab for Cutie.

Everyone was very nice and it was an extremely relaxed atmosphere unlike the American parties. I find that the parties back in Seattle are highstrung and people are always standing and moving around from person to person. The european style is the complete opposite: I sat talking with Jessi and another girl named Kristin for about half an hour. We just sipped beer and talked about American lifestyle since they both did exchanges to the US - Nashville, Tennessee and Lincoln, Nebraska. They were very welcoming and we exchanged emails. Jessi is going to be an au pair in Paris for a year starting at the end of September. She told me to find time and that I was always welcome to stay with her in Paris. People here are much more genuine - they won't offer you things unless they truly want to hang out with you. European parties are considered gatherings in the states. Nobody at the party got drunk because that's not the ultimate goal. Plus, the europeans party a LOT longer...so I found out. Into the night, I looked down at my watch and it was 2am. The birthday girl then stood up and started to speak in german - something about the "conga" - I could only guess something to do with dancing?

Jessi smiled at me and said, "we're going into the city now to dance. Are you coming?" I said of course - I really wanted to experience a typical saturday night here. The group that went dancing was about 10 people from all different countries: US, holland, germany, and turkey. There were people everywhere in the streets and as usual - tons of bikes. Some people in the group were hungry so we stood outside the most logical fast food place ever. I will try to take a picture of it sometime. There was a whole wall of little window doors about the size of a VHS cassette. Behind each door was a serving of food - It looked like meat but seriously was unrecognizeable. Whatever food you wanted, you went up to the little window and put in 1.6 euros or whatever, pressed the door's button and you could pick up your food. the shelf that holds the food is heated so that your burger is always warm. I didn't get anything, but the most common thing that I saw people eating came in this funnel wax paper. It looked like french vanilla icecream and rasberry sauce...but people were eating it with a fork. I then realized what it was - at the bottom of the funnel are french fries and then the top is covered with yellow mayo and ketchup. eww. talk about a heart attack. Kristin asked me if I was going to get something and I said they probably don't have anything vegetarian. Her eyes got big and she couldn't believe I was a vegetarian. Jessi heard and the two of them linked arms with me as we started to walk. "Oh Myia! I will make you the best meal you will ever taste," as Jessi started to get excited about feeding me meat.

We arrived at the club called The Congo, walked inside while passing a bouncer who didn't even look at us, paid a euro for a coat check and we were in. At first I just had to look around and smile. It was so european (obviously) but like stereotypical european that you would see in hollywood movies. Fast techno, colored laser lights, plumes of smoke, etc. It wasn't crammed full, which was actually a bit nice because lots of us girls had purses since we didn't expect to go dancing. The most refreshing thing I saw were the smiles on everyones faces and nobody was freak dancing. I find that dancing pretty gross, plus it's not as fun. Everybody was laughing and making up funny dance moves, and such. The music changed a bit and then they started playing weird 50's and 60's music. By that time it was late anyway, so we left for the trek home. By the time I crawled into bed it was 5am - early according to Janne. I'll have to get used to this but I don't think I'll have a hard time. Everybody was interested in who I was and immediately treated me like everybody else.

Fashion here is almost exactly like Seattle since most of Europe follow the London fads in fashion just like the states. One thing I haven't seen much of in Seattle yet (give it time I guess) is what I call a euromullet. I made this term up myself because it's not like a redneck mullet. Most of the guys in the club sported this euromullet - longer hair on the top and in the back and the hair on the sides of their heads was shorter than the rest of the head, but just enough to notice a difference between the lengths. Also a nice thing I noticed is that the guys dance together too. Not like hand in hand or anything, but they notice eachother and just have a good time. People are much less worried about looking "gay" which is what people in the states would find awkward and paranoid about.

Anyway, that's the night. This morning Eyal calls me on the cell phone at 9:00am and says "hi! are you ready for me?" I figure he's about 30 minutes away. I say "sure, when will you be here?" He says, "I'm outside your house." So now I have a bike which is awesome. He also put together the table and brought me a sac of pears from their garden. I rearranged my room but it's not worthy of a picture yet. Cheers to all and hope you have a good week coming up.



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