getting used to it all

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September 18th 2006
Published: September 18th 2006
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fun security gadget!fun security gadget!fun security gadget!

I hope it'll be easy to figure out.
So this is my third week of school, and I've been here now for 21 days. I'm starting to get used to a lot and also getting to know my housemates better. The conversations get longer and more in depth. Today Chiel, Arjan and I discussed driver's licenses. Man, we're so lucky in the states to get ours so early! Here in the Netherlands, you can't drive until your 18 and even so, most young people don't have their license (including my cousin Agatha) because it costs $2000.00 to go through driving school! There's so many strict rules and of course it is taught with a manual car. Here there are also different types of driver's licenses. You can't just drive any vehicle - you have to be certified for each kind: car with 8 or less people, moped, motorcycle, van, work truck, vehicle towing any sort of trailer, and a bus. Each type that I just listed is a different license and you have to pay more money and go through more training to be able to drive any vehicle you want.

Anyway, today I went with Chiel to Hema (fred meyer-esque) to get a binder and he needed some more school supplies. It took us a while to find it but along the way, I went to the post office and found a bunch of cool stores that maybe I'll check out tomorrow. After Hema, we went to one of the banks to see if I could set up an account without my student number. I don't think i've ever been treated so nicely by a bank in my life! A man wearing a collered shirt with turquoise and white pin stripes walked up to me and said "Goede blah blah blah."

"Uhh...Engels (The most useful word I know)? I'm an exchange student and I was wondering if I could set up an account with you"
"Of course you may, madame. Follow me, right this way" He led me to his crisp and clean office. Chiel came with me incase the guy's Engels wasn't too good, but it was perfect. I remember opening up a bank account with bank of america and it took 20 minutes of ME filling out all this paperwork and that it was quite a pain. Instead, this guy did all the work on the computer, photocopied my passport, asked me a few questions, and ta-da! I got this snazzy student account welcome package that included a weird calculator-looking device. The man explained it to me. Once I receive my card in the mail (takes about 4 days) I use the device to access my account online. It's a weird system where I have to slide my card into the top of the device, it reads my card chip, I type in my pin into the device and then it spits out a random number. I then use this random number to access my account. Each time the device will spit out a different number. Somehow this makes it amazingly secure. I doubt my explanations make it sound this way, but it is. trussssst me. =)

We didn't know what to cook for dinner, so we stood in the supermarket trying to think of something that wasn't pasta. Ah hah! Grilled cheese and tomato soup. So American, and the guys had never had it before. It's nothing I typically eat and was never raised on it, but every once in a while isn't harmful. So we bought cheese, tomato soup and some fresh tomatoes to slice and put in the sandwich (to make it a bit healthier). It was a good meal and hey, the guys said it was great! I think it's fun to introduce some foreign stuff to them too as they're curious and like to try new things as well. For dessert they gave me this really weird dark chocolate thing called a zoen - "zoon" - which means kiss. It's a chocolate dollop with what I concluded to be a marshmello by the description of Chiel. He said he never had a marshmello before, but after biting into it I don't know how to describe it other than...ew a dutch hostess product. It was sort of like a marshmello and sort of like some weird white foam that you could lick. Less chewy more gross. The best part is the name of the thing - it was originally named "n-gger kisses", in Dutch of course, but then it wasn't PC enough so now it's just kisses "zoenen."

I'd like to make it back to Amsterdam soon and visit some museums. Maybe in a couple of weeks. This week should be fun - tomorrow I'm meeting Nienke, the girl that studied a quarter at the UW with me. I haven't seen her since then and so we're meeting at "De Geus," a pub/cafe in the centrum.

This morning it rained and the sky today looked like a typical Seattle sky. Reminded me of home and I got a slight bit of homesickness and desire to hug everybody I know back home. Lastly, you always hear about the Netherlands and it's wooden clogs, but I had never seen anybody actually wearing them except for the souvenir merchants. Yesterday, I was riding home and middle-aged man walked out of his house in battered looking wooden clogs! A big grin spread across my face - the locals DO wear them here! =)




20th September 2006

Dear Myia I eat these sick "kisses" when I was a kid. Not my kind of good staff. Any time you need a big hug, I am giving it to you together with kisses(the original kind) love and Peace Fifi

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