first day of class


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Europe » Netherlands
September 6th 2006
Published: September 6th 2006
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Today I had my User support class. It was really nice and small - 10 people and only 4 of them are Dutch natives. There is me, 3 germans, and 2 czechs. My professor is very nice and he was actually one that visited the University of washington in February. My class was at 3:45 so I was able to sleep in lots today (except of course waking up to the neighbor's dog barking at nothing again).

Not much happened today. I'm still getting used to unlocking my bike and relocking it so many times. I might have mentioned it before, but one lock is a chain one that locks the front wheel with the frame of the bike. Then there's this other lock that looks like one side of a pair of handcuffs. This locks the back wheel with the spokes so you can't really move the bike at all. Usually on campus there are many more bikes than there are bike racks, so the ones with kickstands (like mine) can just be propped up around the building. Before today, I always found a space on the rack, but I decided to do it like all the other students and just use the kickstand. I thought I was just awesome for locking both locks so smoothly and quickly (nobody knew I wasn't a native) and as I moved away from my bike, CRASH! It fell over away from me and into the bike standing next to mind. Well that one fell over and also another one. Of course this happened infront of the windows of the bar. I just laughed at myself (probably turned bright red as I always do), picked up my bike and the other two and ran into the building. I am not Dutch, okay? I accept this now. =)

I think I need to take a look at the gears on my bike. I can't shift it into 3rd gear, thus my legs move a mile a minute while all the other people speed by me. Now, i'm not sure if this is just because they are a meter taller than I am or if there really is a problem with my bike. I'm still getting over the size of people here. I shook hands with one of the Dutch people yesterday at the Vesting Bar and his entire hand took over mine and his fingers reached halfway up my forearm. If I looked straight ahead, his shoulders were not even in my peripheral vision (i'd say he was about 6'7" or more).

I don't have much food in the fridge, but I think I can hold off one more day before I go to amsterdam. This morning, i looked in the cupboard and found these weird curly chocolate flakes in a box. I think I remember reading somewhere that it is a common Dutch breakfast: chocolate flakes on bread.

Tomorrow I go to my second class that the professors will actually lecture in Dutch. I'll see what I can understand and luckily all the class materials are in English. The school is very flexible here and the professors are willing to meet with me whenever I want and teach me alongside the rest of the class. Talk about caring for their students, eh?

I'm compiling some pictures for a future blog - it's a secret for now. No pictures today, but i'll end this blog with another interesting fact: I was talking to Chiel this morning about Christmas. They actually celebrate something else called Sinterklaas (or santa claus) on December 5th and 6th. This is when they open presents and have their big celebration. On December 25th, they do have a nice dinner, but no presents. Sinterklaas doesn't have reindeer, but instead a white horse that he rides around on. Children leave their shoes near the fireplace or the heater and Sinterklaas leaves candy in them. Sinterklaas is supposedly from Spain. He has helpers, but they are not dwarfs. They are normal sized but they are black and look like clowns with big mouths. I asked Chiel what happens if children are bad and he says two things could happen: A, if the children are really really bad, Sinterklaas' helpers put the children in a bag and bring them back to spain. B, if the children are kind of bad, they get a rod in their shoe and then Sinterklaas' helpers come and spank the children with the rod. So a lesson for Dutch children: behave! But Chiel says everybody is good and the kids always get candy. =)

till next time, doei!

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6th September 2006

Tall people
Sounds like I would fit in just fine over there... I am 6'5". I just subscribed to your blogs and have enjoyed what you have written so far. Keep it up!
7th September 2006

Me above
Thats me above, I wasnt logged in. Sorry

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