Decent day… got woken up by that @#$%^&* sun again (I should really remember to close my blinds), discovered that my Net was still working (yay!), went to Edah, got food, came back, ate, got online again and then L came on and said she was (finally!) back in Bilthoven – YAY!!! So we met at the station around 15.30 - soooo good to see her again, I had missed her! – and went for a cappuccino, spilled our guts about what we’d been doing the past few months ;) then came back here to Park R so she could see it, and then I went to their house for dinner. So it’s been a nice afternoon/evening.
Orientation starts Monday and I have no earthly idea where I’m supposed to go or what I’m supposed to do. S might know, but he’s still stuck in Belgium. The closest I have to a clue is this, from the UU website: “Op maandag 1 september 2003 wordt het academisch jaar 2003 - 2004 van de Universiteit Utrecht geopend om 16.00 uur (precies) in de Domkerk te Utrecht. Na een welkomstwoord door de rector magnificus, prof. dr. Willem Hendrik Gispen, houdt de voorzitter van het college van bestuur van de Universiteit Utrecht, drs. Jan G.F. Veldhuis, de rede “Seid einig, einig, einig”. Eenheid in betrekkelijke verscheidenheid.” (D’s reaction via MSN: “jesus... i don’t even know what that means”. Yeah. That makes two of us.)
Guess I’ll call P tomorrow if I can’t figure it out. Anyway, not too much other news. Stepped in dog @#$% in my new shoes. :( And no GTST tonight. Or tomorrow. Maar maandag begint het nieuwe seizoen – woohoo!
Goodnight… and hey… write to me, people! The guestbook is all well and good, but the only mails I’m getting lately are those stupid virus ones in my alternate account and that’s no fun. So write, and brighten my day! (And I mean this to anyone, but DH (actually the whole H family, haha), MM, and LW, I’m specifically talking to you! And LW – yes, that’s you, ‘twin’ – I mean it! LOL!)
Well, S didn’t ever make it here (or call) so I’m assuming he and H are stuck in Belgium… fun stuff. And so I decided not to go to M’s party after all, because (a) I didn’t get her e-mail with the time/address until the Net came back at like 20.45 tonight, and (b) I didn’t think it was a good idea for me to be wandering around a strange city by myself in the dark not knowing exactly where I’m going – or, worse, looking at a map: what better to make me a target? Anyway, I wanted to go, but it didn’t feel like a safe thing to do, so… yeah. (M, als je deze pagina ziet: fijne verjaardag enne… zie je snel, hopelijk!)
GTST was good tonight – the ‘cliff-hanger’ last episode from last season. New season starts Monday, yay! (So OK, yeah P, you’ve managed to ‘hook’ me on it… LOL!) But I have one thing to say: that bike accident of Charlie’s… that is completely unrealistic. She’s practically dead on the ground, eyes rolling back in her head and all, but all that happened was the car brushed her – just brushed her, mind you, didn’t even knock her over – and all she did was roll down a hill and hit a concrete thing. That wouldn’t kill you. Knock the breath out of you, maybe, but that’s it. Sorry if I’m being nit-picky, but I like things to be realistic. I think my favorite plotline is the one with Laura and the baby and the guy whose name I can’t remember… that seems like something that could actually happen, in contrast with the rest of it… treasure hunts all over Egypt enzo, bedoel ik… LOL! ;)
Anyway, my Net, as you can see, is back… better post this before it goes out again.
Current Music: Marco Borsato - "Iemand zoals jij” (yeah, again...)
S just called to say that he and H are stuck in Belgium with car trouble and that, because it’s Friday, they may be stuck there for the weekend. The direct quote was: “We’re at a gas station… and there’s this rooster running around and crowing all over the place.” LMAO! I hope they make it here, though – he needs to go to the bank, we were planning to get cell phones, M’s party is tonight… plus I’m just sick of being alone.
Anyway, so I’m just hanging out here, reading and listening to music and all. And there’s a virus in the internet – yay fun - so I don’t know when I’ll be able to post this. The office is already shut for the weekend so they won’t be able to tell me anything, but Dad says he thinks it’s just that the virus is hitting a lot of ISPs, and not that there’s anything wrong with my computer. So I just have to wait it out. The ISPs have to shut down for a couple of hours to get the virus out every single time it happens, and it keeps on recirculating, so then they get it again, and so that’s why my Net goes in and out every once in a while. I’ve also been getting MAILER-DAEMON stuff in one of my accounts – only one – saying that I’m sending messages that cannot be sent because the users don’t exist… and these messages that I’m apparently sending (not) all have attachments called ‘details’ or some variation on that. So apparently someone who has me in their address book has the virus on their computer and is (accidentally) sending it out to everyone. But this is the address I use for school and official stuff, not my personal address… so I hope UF doesn’t have it – that could be a disaster! Anyway, I ran my virus-scan and it said I’m ‘clean’, and I changed my Outlook settings so it won’t automatically open my mail in the preview pane… so I guess that’s all I can do for now. I should probably take myself off the complex’s network too, but I’m not willing to do that because I want to know as soon as the internet comes back…
Anyway, if you’re reading this, you’ll know everything’s OK again, at least temporarily. :)
I hope the cell phone places are open tomorrow. The prepaid phone of D’s parents that I’ve been using is almost out of ‘beltegoed’… I guess the best way to translate that is ‘minutes’, but that’s not exactly what I mean… whatever, anyway, I have like 3,74 left on there, but I don't want to buy another card and recharge it because I'll be getting my own phone by Monday. I didn’t think it mattered, because I thought I’d be getting one of my own this afternoon, but that isn’t the case anymore… oh well.
I feel really extravagant – I started out with 40 euros and now I’m down to less than 4. But I’ve barely used the phone at all! I’ve talked to P a few times, and D once or twice, and true, I’ve called America three or four times, but I never talked for longer than ten minutes because I know that’s expensive. I think the convo with Dad today was the longest, but that’s because I was trying to figure out what to do with the computer… oh well, ‘poep gebeurt’. I guess now I see why D ran up a 490-euro phone bill that time, calling me… LOL!
Anyway, I started a new story today. Every once in a while I get bitten by that ‘writing bug’. Hasn’t happened in a while, but there you are. I’m sure I’ll be one of those people who after retirement shacks up in some little cabin to write their memoirs or their ‘masterpiece’ or something… LOL! Except I never really show my writing to anybody, so maybe someone will find it after I’m dead. ;)
This song is sooo beautiful! I really am pretty much over the whole D thing, but it’s a great song anyway. I’m not translating it (sorry Americans… use Euroglot if you care that much) because it’s too pretty as is. Download it now, everyone: “Iemand zoals jij” by Marco Borsato.
Ik pak wat koffie en de ochtendkrant
Ik loop de trap op met jouw beker in mijn hand
Ik denk aan vroeger en ik voel de pijn
Waar zou je nu toch zijn?
En ik denk aan de momenten
Die ik met je heb gehad
Aan het leven dat we deelden
Toen je nog dicht bij me was
En ik vraag me af: Is er nog iemand zoals jij?
Die me de liefde geeft
Waar een mens voor leeft
Net zo iemand als jij
Iemand perfect voor mij
Iemand net zoals jij
Tussen papieren naast de prullenmand
Heb ik een foto van ons samen op het strand
Ik voel de zee zacht langs m'n voeten gaan
Het is net alsof we daar weer staan
En al is het lang geleden
Dat je hier nog naast me lag
Ik herleef al die momenten
Nog zo'n 1000 keer per dag
En ik vraag me af: Vind ik ooit iemand zoals jij?
Die me de liefde geeft
Waar een mens voor leeft
Net zo iemand zoals jij?
Iemand perfect voor mij
Iemand als jij
Elke dag zie ik je voor me
Wat ik doe, je bent erbij
En ik kan gewoon niet verder
Want je leeft nog
Je leeft nog steeds in mij
(Iemand zoals jij
Die me de liefde geeft
Waar een mens voor leeft)
Net zo iemand als jij
Iemand perfect voor mij
Iemand als jij
Mooi, mooi liedje… “Niemand” is good too.
Anyway, I’m going to go read some more of The Clan of the Cave Bear (I’ve got parts of that book memorized, I’ve read it so many times) and wait for the phone to ring with the verdict… stuck until Monday or not? :)
Anyway, today was a good day. I went to Edah, ABN-AMRO, and HEMA (Americans: Publix, the bank, and Target… LOL!). I activated my bank cards, discovered that Mom’s transfer did indeed go through (yay!), and went on the promised shopping spree… only to discover that my Visa won’t work in HEMA, so it was doubly good that the wire transfer worked. And I had a broodje Mario for lunch – YUM!!! Hadn’t had one of those since I was in the city with Linde that time… was that Thanksgiving or spring break? I think it must have been Thanksgiving… anyway, yumyumyum.
Haven’t done anything particularly stupid yet today (knock on wood)… unless you count the Visa incident in HEMA… oh yeah, and buying blank paper instead of lined paper, but hey, that could happen to anyone, right? (Right???) Haha… Oh yeah, and accidentally kicking and breaking that glass on the Neude, right outside the bank, but that wasn’t my fault… don’t leave glasses on the ground if you don’t want them broken.
I really like this public transportation they have here. They are FAR superior to America in that. I love the buses and trains – it makes you feel independent to be able to just read a schedule and then get on the right vehicle and go wherever you want to. Pretending the whole time that this is completely normal for you, of course. :-)
By the way, D and D, you were in my dream last night because I was in a bad train wreck just outside Zwolle on the way to see you two… make what you will of that, LOL! Hope it’s not one of those prophetical dreams like I kept having at camp… last year I dreamed that everyone at camp was at a funeral, and then I woke up and a horse had died. Then this year I dreamed my left wrist was going to get hurt, and then my smallest camper hurt her left ankle (which is the size of my wrist) and I had to take her to the hospital… and there was one other ‘oh, creepy!’ example, but I can’t remember what it was now. (My campers would wake me up every morning with “What did you dream about, Jess?!” LOL!) Anyway, hope this isn’t one of those! :S
Scott will be back tomorrow afternoon, so I might get my phone and/or bike then…
GTST tonight, everybody! :-) (Annoying that it’s only 30 minutes, though… why not an hour?)
Me again... I've been listening to that CD and I now have 3 new favorite songs of the moment. Any Marco fans (and Catie, you too... this is an order, LOL) who haven't heard "Iemand zoals jij", "Stapel op jou", and especially "Niemand"... get to Kazaa now! :-) (Non-Dutch speakers: here is the Bible for you, LOL...)
Hey, A + A… een keer raden waar ik vandaag geweest ben… Den Bosch, haha!! Zoals ik gisteren zei, zijn P en A en ik niet naar de Efteling gegaan… en A had zin in winkelen dus we zijn naar… wacht ff… I mean wait a minute… I can’t write on Dutch on this site, LOL! Sorry – I’ve just been surrounded by it all day, and I’m watching GTST now, so… yeah. And it’s a lot easier to write it than speak it.
Anyways… yeah… so P and A and I went to Den Bosch and went shopping. We all bought new shoes (yeah, we’re girls, LOL!) and then A needed some stuff for work so we went to a bunch of stores until we hit the jackpot in one – forgot the name – and she bought three different colored sweaters… but not until she had tried them all on six times… LOL! (She tried to convince me that a bright pink one was ‘my color’… and some purple shoes, too… LOL!) And we had Bossche bollen too – soooo lekker!!! For the Americans: they’re like pastries, cream-filled with chocolate on the outside, but it isn’t that nasty cold thick heavy cream like we have – it’s light and fluffy cream, almost like whipped cream – really really good! And we also went to McDonalds (yeah, yeah, I know, how American can I get?), which was really funny. First of all, the place was *enormous* - two stories and tons of tables. And the food was way smaller – a McFlurry was half the size of what we get in the USA, no joke! Even the fish filet was smaller. But the fries were the same, and the sauce for them was *awesome*! No clue what it’s called – they call it ‘McDonald’s mayonnaise’, but it isn’t mayonnaise… hard to explain, but good! Anyway, so I sort of had the sensation of being ‘caught between two worlds’ while eating there.
My new ‘beef’ – paying for the bathroom. How did that ever get started in the first place? If they tried that in America, there’d be a riot. It’s not like we can help having to pee – why should we have to pay for it? Sigh.
But, something cool – know what some cars do if there’s a traffic jam? Well, know how we have those signs that say ‘turn to such-and-such radio station for traffic updates’? Well, if you drive past one of those signs and there’s a traffic jam – a file - where you’re going, the CD or radio station that’s playing automatically switches to the traffic report, to tell you what’s going on so you can avoid it. Cool, hey? And they have all kinds of electronic signs and stuff above the road which are always on - lowering the speed limit if there's a traffic jam, saying filevrij (traffic jam-free) if there isn't, displaying Xs for closed lanes and green arrows for open ones, etc. Really cool system! And if you're approaching a traffic jam, the people in front of you will briefly turn on their flashers, to warn you, which I think is nice.
Oh - and I got a lot of stuff from P today - mostly books, like one with Dutch expressions and a couple of booklets that they use in the university summer courses. And also... a copy of the book I'll be using in my Boswell class! That was exciting. It's the 3rd one in the Help! series, Zal ik u even helpen?, but it's different from the other two in that I actually have to pay attention to this one, LOL! But that's good for me - I'd rather be in the C-class and be challenged than be in the B-class and keep sliding along. Oh, and even though she's not my teacher anymore, she's still giving me assignments (LOL! Kidding...) - she lent me a book by Renate Dorrestein which I'm supposed to read - Het hemelse gerecht. I really liked A Heart of Stone, by the same author, so I'll probably like this one too. I've only read a few pages so far. It's difficult, but if I concentrate, I can do it. The dialogue is fairly easy to follow; it's the big paragraphs of 'setting', etc. that can get difficult. But you know me - I like a challenge. ;) Oh oh oh - and the coolest thing - she also gave me a Marco Borsato CD! I've never even heard about half of the tracks on it. It's burned, but I think it's Zonder Jou, which I don't have. So... COOL! :-)
Anyway, I’m planning to go to bed fairly early tonight because I have a lot to do tomorrow – have to go to Edah again (seems like I have to go there every two or three days – I keep running out of things like milk and orange juice), have to go to the bank and activate my cards, and I’m also planning to go to HEMA and go on a shopping spree! School stuff, agenda, wallet, hairbrush (mine is almost dead), low socks to wear with my new shoes… the list goes on. So you know where to find me tomorrow. :-)
Anyway… even though all you Americans are still at school and work… goodnight! :-)
Current Music: Vanessa Williams - "Save The Best For Last"
Geez, I've posted a lot today...
Okay, well, just kidding - we're not going to the Efteling after all. Turns out it's an extremely busy park day, and everyone knows that's no fun. So we'll do that another time. The three of us are still doing something tomorrow, but no clue what yet - all I know is I'm going to navigate the Utrecht buses yet again, further than I usually do (to Wittevrouwen, the stop by P's house), and we'll decide from there once we're all together.
I'll keep you guys 'posted'... haha! I crack me up... ;) (In Dutch - ik zal jullie op de hoogte houden... or, D's version: ik zal jullie gepost houden! HAHA!!!)
Current Music: Marco Borsato - "Vogelvrij" (yeah, again)
Guess where I'm going tomorrow? To the Efteling!!! With P and maybe A, but A doesn't like roller coasters (how is that possible?!) so we'll see. And hey, Florida crowd, guess what: they have a ride that's like the MK's It's A Small World! Can't wait to see how that compares... but if I get stuck in there the way I did that time in the MK, then I'll know I'm cursed! LOL!
Didn't do all that much today... lunch with P (some *really* good bagel thing with feta cheese and tomato, YUM!), and a little shopping. Utrecht is full of guys running around in pink and orange shirts... you'll go blind if you don't look out. ;) I guess it's for rush or something. Anyway, I bought a map of Utrecht (can finally return that one I borrowed from Yvon) and also discovered HEMA!!! *pause for heavenly music* Americans, to fill you in: it's the Target of this country. :) I'm going to go back there this week and spend a looong time looking around... they have cool stuff and nice clothes, just like Target, and I really do need school things... but the PAPER is so funny! Instead of your 'traditional' 3-holed notebook paper, this stuff has like ten million holes down the side! I do like the size, though... more 'petite', zeg maar.
My bank cards came today too ... ABN-AMRO ... a lot prettier than my American ones :) but they're not active yet so I have to go do that at some point. Mom transferred all my money over here for me (at least I *hope* it worked, I can't check that yet) so I now have the capability to go on a shopping spree once they *are* active... ooohh, dangerous... Jess in Europe with money she can't see... ;)
*degenerates into useless singing* "Ik wil gewoon mezelf ziiiiiijjjnn...."
Current Music: Alan Jackson - "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)"
D's decided he wants to 'take a step back' (his words). We're going to stay close, of course - we always have been and always will be soul mates - but it hurts anyway, like a piece of me is gone. He's been the most important thing in my life for 7 months and it's hard to adjust...
Forgot to mention something - rather stupid, but I found it funny. S and I were out with A and some other people on Monday night, and we were out so late that the buses stopped running. So we went to Utrecht Centraal Station (CS) to get a taxi, and we saw two, pulled up next to each other, the drivers talking. Now, we knew they were taxis because of the phone number on top, but S (who had had about 5 beers at this point) walked up and stuck his head in the window and asked, "Ben je een taxi?" (literally: "Are you a taxi?") The man grinned and started teasing him, "Of ik zelf een taxi ben? Nee, maar..." ("Am I myself a taxi? No, but...") and on and on. I was dying laughing but for S the Dutch was totally 'boven z'n pet' (just learned that expression... translates as 'over his head'), so we just got in the taxi and went home, but I thought it was funny.
Zo! Hier ben ik weer. I’ve been in Holland for one full week now, and on the whole it’s great. This will be a fairly long entry so I can catch you guys up. I’ve also decided that I’m only going to refer to other people on here by their first initials… privacy and all. :-)
Anyway, so D picked me up on Thursday and I stayed with him for the first 4 days. It was so good to see him again! He had just worked a night shift of work and I had just flown all night, so we both crashed around 17.00 that day, but after that I had no more problems with jet lag. We just did normal stuff, like going to the movies, eating out, swimming, etc… oh, and I went to football practice with him on Sunday and somehow got recruited to be a box coach… ??? Oh well, we’ll see if I actually end up doing that. Long commute every weekend…
Anyway, then on Monday we drove to Utrecht (and got horribly, horribly lost trying to find Rheyngaerde… I think we circled Utrecht about 4 times, LOL!) and I finally got moved into this apartment I’d heard so much about… and, surprisingly, it was great. Big windows, bigger rooms than I’d expected… really cool! My housemate, S (friend from UF) was in France with his girlfriend, or so I was told, so the place was empty. But because it had taken us so long to find it, D had to leave right away for work and I had a bit of a bad moment… the toilet was stopped up (thank you S, for leaving me such a nice present), I had no food and no Euros, I didn’t know where anything was, or even really where I was… and then to top it all off, I tried to turn on my computer and reconnect with the outside world… and discovered that my American-bought converter wasn’t working. Prima, nog een probleem! Finally I just decided that I’d been enough of a baby about things already and that nothing was going to get done unless I did it, so I went to the office of this apartment building, got someone to unclog the toilet, borrowed a map of Utrecht, asked a bunch of questions about where things were, and then went outside, got onto the first bus that came along, and went to the city. I bought a new computer converter, changed my travelers’ checks, and just generally ‘got my bearings’ a little bit. Then it turned out that S wasn’t going to France until the next day, so I had some company after all, for one night at least. The rest of this week has been fine – I’ve been here alone, which I don’t like, but I’ve gotten a lot done – found the supermarket, opened a bank account, gotten my stuff put away, etc. And yesterday I went to Aalten with P and we had dinner at her mom’s house, which was gezellig (closest possible translation: cozy).
So I’m settling in, and getting more comfortable speaking the language. But I’m still having a few problems with loneliness and feeling isolated. I’ve been to this country before – twice – but I’ve never, ever been alone here. L or P or D or someone, some native, was always with me to take the lead. I can speak the language enough to get by – enough to buy food, strippenkaarten and train tickets, enough to get onto the right bus and tell the driver where I want to go, etc… but I’m not comfortable with it yet, and depending on people’s accents, I often don’t understand everything said. Therefore I don’t really carry on any everyday conversations with people yet, and I miss that. In America I talk to everyone - cashiers, librarians, anyone and everyone. But here I don’t feel comfortable doing that because I don’t always understand people and I don’t want to get into something I can’t finish, so I’m missing a big ‘chunk’ of my normal social behavior and that makes me feel really isolated. (P says she thinks that’ll change in a month or so, and I agree, but that doesn’t make it any easier right now.)
The other thing I just thought of is, though I’ve been away from home a lot, I can’t remember the last time I’ve been alone. Growing up in Jacksonville, my parents and sister were always just a shout away. I’ve been at different summer camps ever since I was seven, but of course we share sleeping spaces there too. Then at UF, I had a roommate, K. Then there was camp again this summer, and I shared a cabin with 14 campers. Then home again, with my parents and sister once again close by. Then here in Nederland, at D’s house, with the two of us always together. But now I’m here and I am really, truly alone. Sure, there are people I can call on if I need help, but I mean… I’m in an apartment alone, I do my shopping and daily activities alone… and I don’t think I like it. I mean, I can do it, but I wouldn’t choose this for myself. I’m glad S will be back in a week or so. I’m a people person, I know, but I’m starting to see that more clearly than I ever did before. I need human contact, simple as that. I better start working doubly hard at this language.
Speaking of which, I can’t wait for my Boswell classes to start. I really need that practice. I wonder how I’ll be in relation to the rest of the class? In A-level I was one of the best, and S tested into B-level and I’m better than him too. But I don’t know anyone in C-level. Wonder how I’ll ‘measure up’? But I’m not really nervous about that… I just can’t wait for it to start, so I can finally get into a ‘routine’. As much as I love change and new things, I do like to have a daily routine.
P said something else interesting yesterday on the way to Aalten. She said she thought I would adjust really fast to being here because, among other things, “You’re used to adjusting. You go to camp… you adapt. You see something that needs to be done and you just do it, you face it.” And that’s funny because Mom says that about me all the time too. Anyway, that did make me feel better. I hope she’s right.
Random thought: how do you get rid of bums in the bus station? A woman asked me for a Euro yesterday “so I can sleep inside tonight” and I didn’t understand her Dutch, so she said it in English and I actually gave it to her. I probably shouldn’t have, but she was very polite (“May I ask you something?” “Sure.” “Thank you.”) and her English was surprisingly good – better than most of what I hear these days, with no hesitation. I was impressed by her. I know nobody has to be homeless in Holland and that I shouldn’t be giving away handouts, but she seemed different than your usual street bum. Oh well. Just thought I’d mention that.
Anyway, I better go down and pick up my laundry. I fought with those machines for 15 minutes earlier before I got them to work (silly Dutch machines… who knew that dE means ‘door open’?? Must be from ‘deur’…), and I still don’t know if I put the soap in the right place… guess I’ll find out in a minute. ;)
Stay tuned: next time I’ll move on to comparisons! Everything from public transportation (awesome) to my cheapo bed (sigh…). Tot later, allemaal!
Hello again. I just wrote to someone who has one of the funniest sites I’ve ever read (it’s here if you want to see it) and that reminded me that, oh, yes, I have a site of my own, don’t I?... The ten weeks of screaming children, camp food, and cold showers are over, and here I am back in Florida… for eight entire days, YAY. And five of those days are over now. It’s 0.39 on Sunday and therefore officially three days until I get on a plane and my entire life changes forever. Yet I can’t wait. I have:
+ one enormous blue (weight-limit-exceeding, I feel certain) suitcase
+ one khaki L.L.Bean backpack with most of my life inside it (read: my CDs and my new laptop)
+ one Target purse with all of my “proof of existence”, zeg maar
+ one brand-spanking-new money belt (containing tickets, passport, and a few Euros)
+ mediocre Dutch skills (which will hopefully metamorphose beyond all recognition by July)
+ an insane amount of enthusiasm!
And so, ladies and gentlemen… so armed, I shall make my way across the Atlantic to begin a new adventure. Those of you who know me know that there’s nothing I like better than change and challenges. Sure, there are those moments when I think “What happens when I just need Starbucks?” or “How will I survive without all my books?” And even, occasionally, “How much will I miss my family?” ;) (Hi Mom…)
But these doubts are few and far between. I’ve been planning this for nearly a year, and now it’s finally almost here. In four days (yes, for those of you who are a little slow, I will leave on the 13th and arrive the 14th), I will get off that plane, gather the few belongings I have to sustain me for one entire year, hug the guy I love until he can’t breathe… and begin an entirely new phase of my life.