:: eye of the storm ::

About Me

A 27-year-old PA student who wants to visit all seven continents, write a book, work at a pediatric clinic in Africa, and basically meet as many of the world's challenges as possible.

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current mood:
current mood

Life List

(already accomplished)

Become a PA

Visit all 7 continents

Take a SwimTrek trip

Bike through Western Europe

Raft the Grand Canyon

Improve my Spanish proficiency

Go on safari in Africa

Trace my roots at Ellis Island

Vacation in Hawaii

Work on a hospital ship in a Third World country

Celebrate New Year's in Times Square

Visit all 50 states (29 to go: AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, ND, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, WY)

See the ruins at Pompeii

Swim in Capri's Blue Grotto

Tour Mt. Vesuvius

Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain

Tour the Colosseum

Visit the D-Day beaches

See the Mona Lisa

Visit the palace at Versailles

See the Acropolis and Parthenon

See the Egyptian pyramids

Hike the Inca Trail

Walk El Camino Santiago

Take an Alaskan cruise

View the Taj Mahal at sunrise

Hike Table Mountain in South Africa

Climb through the Amazon canopy

Walk at least part of the Great Wall of China

Get laser hair removal

Learn to surf, ski, and snowboard

Learn to drive a stick-shift

Learn to play the piano

Go on a tropical cruise

Ride horseback on the beach

Ride in a hot air balloon

Get tickets to the Olympics

Go to adult Space Camp

Witness a shuttle launch from up close

Build a full-sized snowman

Sew a quilt out of my old race T-shirts

Update and continue my Life Scrapbook

Become the oldest person to ever do the River Run

Live to be a happy, healthy 100 years old - at least!

(unlikely dreams)

vrijdag 28 november 2003

Current Music: Elton John - "I'm Still Standing" (yes, again)

I'm having one of those 'life is going on without me' moments... I just chatted with Mom and there was a lot of 'cousin news' (yesterday was Thanksgiving so they all got together). I have a pretty big family - a total of 15 cousins if you include the non-biological ones - and one of them got married on 19 September. She's one of the cousins I see most often, only a year or two older than me, but I've been over here so I didn't get to go to the wedding or even meet the guy. And Mom just told me today that she's pregnant (my cousin, not Mom!) and due in June. I'll still be here, so I'll miss it. For those of you who don't know, I worked (volunteered) for 4 years in the newborn nursery of a hospital in Jacksonville, and S (my cousin) will probably have her baby at that same hospital so if I really felt like pulling strings, I probably could. But I'll still be here, so I'll miss all the excitement. I love babies... I hope it's a girl.

Further in the 'cousin news' - not so nice - one of my non-biological cousins (half-step-cousin) committed suicide. I haven't seen him in a long time because he moved out of state - I don't even remember him all that well, if I'm honest - but he was only 23 and was married with a 3-year-old daughter. Worked with computers and seemed to be happy. So what happened??? Anyway, I didn't know him well at all, and the funeral's going to be in Texas (where he lived)... but I still sort of feel like I should be home... you know?

Anyway, so that was the cousin news. Apparently Thanksgiving went well; it's never been one of my favorite holidays so I don't much care about missing it, but it was at my dad's oldest sister's house so there would have been mac and cheese. :) Actually, if I had been home, I probably would have ridden up to South Carolina with my grandparents and sister, to go see my aunt and uncle (Mom's side). I would have liked that too. But you know what? Thanksgiving last year was the first time I was ever in Holland. Wow. It's been a whole year. I've come a really long way since then...

And I can't believe I've been here 3 1/2 months. It doesn't really feel that long. I guess because a lot's been happening. Let's see, timeline...

August: got here, moved in, got acclimated, broke up with D, bought a bike and the foldout couch and all the 'amenities' I have now...
September: started school at UU, started school at Boswell, started meeting people in the building and from class
October: had a routine, was settled in, went to Auschwitz, saw snow, met P
November: (now) started a new 'block' of classes
December: will be here on Monday... Boswell will end, Sinterklaas will happen :) I can pick up my residence permit, Mom and Dad and Catie will come... and a lot of my friends from this building will go home.

And there's still a long way to go. I'm not sorry - I'm actually starting to feel extremely at home here, maybe because I had to work to 'make a place' for myself here - but I'm missing out on a whole chunk of life at home. One cousin died. Another will be born. My sister will turn 17 and will finish her junior year of IB - the roughest year. My car will be a year older. All that on-campus construction at the Reitz is finished. My linguistics coordinator is retiring. The Coliseum is gone and the new Arena had its first concert - Elton John - last week. The Jaguars are playing a season of which I will miss every game. My room is being renovated. My aunt and uncle (and favorite little cousins, age 10 and 7) are finally moving back to Jacksonville now that their military service is up. I'm missing a lot of stuff.

But then I think... 99% of the population never gets the kind of experience that I'm having right now. I've seen and done things they don't even know exist. I speak a language that under 20 million people know. I've seen snow. I've been to Auschwitz. I've mastered the public transportation system. Sinterklaas is just around the corner. And I'll be here for New Year's, and Koninginnedag, and Linde, David, and Daan's birthdays. Alette will be home from Mexico in a week. I'm going to give English lessons - my first TESL experience. I'll (hopefully) see Marco Borsato live in June. I've got another seven months to see how things play out with P. And there are so many things I still want to do... visit France and Spain, drive a stick-shift, see snow (for the second time) and maybe go skiing...

I'm really lucky.

zondag 23 november 2003

Current Music: Elton John - "I'm Still Standing"

Will you kindly STOP that godforsaken banging?!?! Someone down the hall is hammering something and it keeps stopping, starting, stopping... If I can push tacks into this crappy wall with my bare hands - and I can - then there is NO reason for you do that, whoever you are!

Went to Lunetten - navigated the train, found the building, talked to the receptionist, went upstairs looking for I and then came back down and talked to the receptionist again, then found I, got the tickets, gave her my money, and came back to Utrecht - all without one single word of English! :) I mean, I guess I do that all the time, but I really noticed it this time because I had to go through a receptionist and all. And I understood every single word that was said. I'm really getting good at this. :) (And modest, too...)

Tomorrow: gotta go to my UU class and take a mini-test, then skip the second half and [STOP THAT BANGING!!!] jump on my bike and race over to Boswell and try to catch the test that I have over there. Sigh. Oh well, it's only tomorrow and then two more Mondays, and then it'll be fine... Boswell will be over and nothing will conflict anymore. Knock on wood. :)

So that's tomorrow... Tuesday I have Boswell and no UU, then I'm going to Vinkeveen again with poor overworked P who finally gets half a day off, then skipping Boswell Wednesday morning (om lekker uit te slapen in Vinkeveen) but then going to UU class at 13.00... and then the rest of the week, who knows? :)

S is still not back from Paris... doesn't he have class tomorrow? Maybe he decided to stay another night and come back early tomorrow. Or maybe he's skipping Monday. Who knows?

A e-mailed me again with W's e-mail address - that's the guy I'm going to tutor - so I mailed him this afternoon. In English. Hope he could understand it. But I did say (in Dutch) that if he didn't understand something, to say so... but I want him to correspond with me in English right from the start so I can really get an idea of what he can do.

Going to stick those tickets on eBay now. Ciao!

zaterdag 22 november 2003

Current Music: Marco Borsato - "Zomaar" (yes, still)

I just noticed that on the page of Auschwitz photos, I'd written "Nazi's", the Dutch way, instead of just Nazis with no apostrophe. (For those who don't know, when a Dutch word ends in any vowel other than E and is pluralized with an S, you also use an apostrophe.) Very strange. Anyway, I fixed it.

I've also been working on my UF schedule for the next two years, figuring out what I have to take, what I want to take, etc. I of course have certain linguistic requirements, but then I also want to take at least the beginning course of as many languages as possible, because right now I can - know what I mean? Right now I can study for free and learn these languages, at least to some degree, but once I get out of undergraduate work - even if I go further with school - I won't have that opportunity anymore. So I crammed in a bunch of languages too. And sports. Did you guys know I can take, for example, street hockey and get two credits? LOL! Wish I'd done Basketball 1 instead of 2, though - then I could do 2 next year. As it is, there's no going back...

Goodbye for real now.

Current Music: Marco Borsato - "Zomaar" (mooi!!!)

Guess what? I get to give English lessons! One-on-one with a school principal who wants to go to a conference in the US in a few months. It's not for sure yet, but A (P's mom's boyfriend) e-mailed me about it on Thursday night. He thought of me because I'm a native English speaker and P, a native Dutch speaker, has been giving Dutch lessons to a Spaniard for some time now... Anyway, I answered and now I'm waiting on his answer again. Exciting!!! First because I'm seriously running out of money, but also just because this is something I've always wanted to try. I'm going to pick up a TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) minor when I get back to UF, and this is a good start. I hope it actually works out - it sounds fun. And lucrative. :)

Poor P (the other one) is working yet again; all the employees are having to work overtime because they're so busy these days. And on top of that, he has to drive from Buitenpost (in Friesland) just to *get* to work (in de buurt van Almere of Amsterdam) every day. But I'll admit, he sees some interesting things. He calls almost every night and there's always something new - a pile of brand-new shoes sitting in the middle of nowhere, a guy peeing against a building, a sex-toys factory with the alarm going off (so naturally they had to inspect the whole building ;))... the list goes on. :)

I didn't do much today - rode my bike into town, loaded my Chipknip (easier way to pay for trains), put air in my bike tire, bought a few groceries (finally found a microwave pizza)... just normal stuff. Tomorrow I have to go to Lunetten to pick up my Elton John tickets from a woman at her job (at a dialysis center). Goodbye to another 120 euro... (P, ik zei toch al dat dit geen 'ik vind je lief' kado is... geef me mijn 135 euro! LOL!)

Speaking of tickets, if anyone wants a pair of first-ring Shania seats, e-mail me. If I don't get any responses within a few days I'll stick them on eBay.

One last thing, pretty much only applies to the Dutch people since it's about a commercial: heeft iemand die reclame met de Amerikaanse meisjes gezien? Ik weet eigenlijk niet waar het over gaat, maar die met 'Wij studeren Nederlands in Amsterdam... wij vonden jullie wel een beetje raar in het begin.' Ik kan absoluut niet tegen dat accent! Andere accenten heb ik geen probleem mee, maar het Amerikaanse accent vind ik zo lelijk in de Nederlandse taal. Vooral met: 'Jullie Nederlanders maken de beste toetjes ter wereld!' ...Doet dat accent geen pijn aan jullie oren??? Ugh! Ik vind het zo ontzettend vreselijk dat ik echt niet kan luisteren... zo praat ik niet, he???

Geen zin meer in schrijven...

donderdag 20 november 2003

Current Music: Lorna - "Papi Chulo"

Hellooooo! Sorry I haven’t written for a while – been busy. S is in Paris again so I have the e-mail hookup all weekend long :) yay!

Well, where do I start??? About those concert tickets, well, I've been finagling on the Net with the best of them and guess what I have now, at least tentatively? 21st-row Elton John tickets and FIFTH ROW Shania Twain tickets! Hooray for marktplaats.nl – I’m never using eBay again!

Got a haircut, got the La Mancha application printed, got over that @#$%^& itchy rash (well, almost), got my books for my new Second Language Acquisition class… I’m on a roll. Got a letter from Aunt P too – thanks! :) I need to get some envelopes and stamps so I can write you back… and send that La Mancha application… and send my current Shania tickets to whoever bids on them…

Amusing moment of class today: Saskia asked us what a ‘klap’ was and my first reaction was to pretend to hit the girl next to me over the head. Everyone laughed. :)

I hope Mom’s package comes tomorrow – L L Bean lined jeans, my favorite black sport pants from back home, a FL-Ga shirt that someone abandoned on Mom’s row (still in the packaging), some chocolate, Christmas music, computer stuff… She didn’t insure it so I hope it isn’t lost.

I guess I don’t have as much to say as I thought I did… bye for now.

zaterdag 15 november 2003

Current Music: Kenny Loggins - "Danny's Song"

This is the longest weekend in the world...

You may notice that the pictures are all gone from this page. Well, there's a reason for that... they've moved! Now that I can access my digital camera photos again, I've expanded the photo page to include the US, the Netherlands, and Auschwitz. More to come. So go to the photo page and check it out... none of the pix are compressed because I don't have my program for that back on the puter yet, so they may take a little while to load, but be patient. :)

Hope y'all like them.

vrijdag 14 november 2003

Current Music: Ricky Martin - "Livin' La Vida Loca"

Boring day... nothing to tell...

+ made my usual swings between feeling good and feeling tired/headachy/backachy/nauseous, take your pick.
+ resolved our Internet issue, sort of... we're getting there, anyway.
+ Sjors FINALLY hooked up with Morris (on GTST dus...)
+ I won the Elton tickets, yes!!!
+ They must be trying to kill P... work from 22.00 till 8.00, go to dog training till 13.00, get someplace you can sleep at 15.00, up again at 17.00 and back to work, working in Almere till 4.00 this morning. And, something I didn't know, apparently he's not allowed to go to the bathroom during a shift because he can't get out of the car... and shifts are sometimes as long as 12 hours! Jess of the Mother-Inherited Tiny Bladder could never do that...
+ I'm tired and my back hurts. Goodnight.

donderdag 13 november 2003

Thought of a solution to my money issues - pay my rent through credit card!

Being sick sucks! Right now, for example, I feel perfectly fine, if a bit sweaty. But earlier I was freezing and I was shaking harder than I ever have in my life - my teeth were chattering, my back hurt because the muscles were clenching so tightly... even a hot shower didn't help. So I went to bed, put on some soft music, laid there for almost two hours... and couldn't sleep. Then I got really hot, got up to exchange my sweatshirt for a T-shirt, en werd weer helemaal wakker... so now I'm up again. Sigh. Oh well, at least I don't have anything tomorrow... and I do believe the worst is over... knock on wood. :)

Side note: the time zones in my cell phone were all screwed up! It had Nederland right, at 23.00-whatever it was when I looked, but then it said Florida was 18.00-something at that time and that's of course one hour too late. So I went through and changed them - I know I have the American ones right but how am I supposed to know the time zone for the Midway and Marshall Islands off the top of my head??? Oh well, it's not that important.

This editing window is being screwy so I'll close now.

It can't be the flu - you don't get over that this fast, do you? I made it to school (where I still am) - on my bike, no less - and although I don't feel 100% by any means, I'm nowhere near like I was last night or this morning...

I just sent back my course registration form for the 3rd and 4th blocks, and I'm really happy with what I've got (or hope I've got). Third block is Dutch Present-Day Society, with Emmeline, whom everyone keeps telling me is really good (I tried to get that class first block, but there was a conflict.) Then I also have a class taught in Dutch (gulp) - and guess what it is? Translating from Dutch to English and back again. If I do go on to do something with interpreting, this is a good start. So that block is just awesome and I can't wait. The fourth block is a little less nice but still good - Utrecht In The Middle Ages and then another class taught in Dutch - Children's Literature. Since Boswell will be over, I have to take more university courses than I have been in order to ensure I get enough UF credit, so that's why I get all these cool things now. I hope the taught-in-Dutch thing works out...

And - I bid on the Elton tickets. Minimum bid, 160 euro, and I'm absolutely not going any higher even if I get outbid. But I had to try for it.

Starving and headachy - time to go home.

Current Music: Nat & Natalie Cole - "The Christmas Song"

Is this what the flu feels like? If it is, then yuck! I'm supposed to be at school right now but I couldn't even stand up long enough to put both contacts in without feeling lightheaded and nauseous. I'm feeling better all the time, especially if I stay sitting or lying down, and I really shouldn't miss today since I already missed Tuesday... but the pauze is in an hour and if I'm going to go in, that's the time to do it. I just don't know... it keeps changing. One minute I feel fine, the next minute I feel sick again. Sigh. Oh well, at least I got my spreekbeurt done yesterday - thank goodness...

Which went extremely well, by the way! I didn't talk too fast and I said everything I wanted to. They're taping us this time, so we can listen to ourselves later, but usually the way it works is, you talk and then the teacher gives you a short critique - what was bad, what was good, if there are any consistent problems, etc. Then you take the tape home and listen and try to find the problems she was talking about. But with me she said she wasn't going to correct me - she wanted me to first listen to the tape myself and see what errors I heard. And she said my pronunciation was 'fantastisch' (and the class agreed). And when I listened to the tape, I was really surprised - I have a lot less of an accent than I thought I did! My voice sounded different on the tape, of course - I wouldn't have recognized myself - so except for a few words (and the mistakes, of course :)), I would almost have thought it was a native speaker. That's a big ego boost. I hate listening to my own voice - everybody does - but that was really cool.

OK, done bragging now. :)

Story: yesterday in class we watched a tape of a TV program - KopSpijkers or something - and there was a parody song on it. "Billy Joel" sang "Remember"... except that it of course wasn't really Billy Joel and the song was a Weird Al-type remake of "Remember" - it was about the low prices in the supermarkets. And there was a "background choir" of men all dressed in supermarket aprons, singing, "En we gaan allemaal ten onder..." Really funny! Anyway, after we watched it, we had to discuss if things like that should be allowed - parodies - and where the 'line' is for what's 'allowed' and what's not - e.g. should you be able to make fun of the royal family. Anyway, so S, that American girl, was in my group, and she was clueless - I had to explain to her a second time, really slowly, what we had to do, and then she said in English, "All I saw was Billy Joel singing a song." I stopped and looked at her and said, "That wasn't Billy Joel!" She looked at me for a second and then said, "Well, I was wondering how he knew Dutch!"

By the way, I finally got my mobile phone connected to MSN, so that means you guys can message me on my phone for free - from MSN Messenger. Step-by-step explanation, for Mom: if I'm online, right-click on my name and then click Send A Message To This Person's Mobile Device. If I'm offline, double-click on my name (there will be a small black phone next to my icon in the list, showing that I'm hooked up via my phone.) Then you'll get a message window just like the normal ones - type and send like usual - and then instead of going to me on the computer, it goes to my phone. Neat hey??? And it's free, too - MSN obviously doesn't cost you guys anything and I'm not charged for incoming SMSes here the way I am at home. Nice. :)

I think I might try to go to school. I forced myself to eat something and I feel better now. The question is, bike or bus? I hear you all yelling at me, "Bus, you idiot!" but if I take the bus then I have a ten-minute walk from the stop and I don't know if I'm up to that. Biking feels easier to me than walking.

Well, I'll try to get dressed and we'll see what happens. Ciao!

dinsdag 11 november 2003

Current Music: whatever's on Gilmore Girls :)

Got the Shania tickets! That was totally unexpected, but OK. :) I just hope I can find someone willing to shell out 75 euro for the other ticket... I didn't really take that bid seriously. I do want to go to the concert - of COURSE I want to go to the concert, you're talking to the girl who went through a two-year teenage obsession with Shania to the point of plastering my walls with pictures, making a website about her (which got me in the newspaper :)) and wearing red Christmas lights to her Orlando concert (which got me onstage :))... but I think the face value for these tickets was something like 50 euro. And her music has really gone downhill since Come On Over. (Sorry to any of my Shania-world connections who may be reading this.) Oh well. "A girl does what she can," as Drew Barrymore said... :)

Now the question is, do I want to shell out another 160 (and maybe more if I get outbid) for Elton John? Because he's also on eBay now, and in my opinion those seats are even better than the ones for Shania. I really want to see him too, especially since Mom and Dad have seen him twice this year (or will have after November 21) and I've missed it both times. But I just can't afford that. I guess I'm hoping Mom would throw a little sympathy my way... in the form of a transfer to my ECCU account... LOL! :) No, seriously, she likes him too so she'd understand. (Right??? ;))

Chatting with my lil sis, an opportunity that doesn't come along very often, so... byers!

Current Music: Nena & Kim Wilde - "Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime"

Saw P again last night and aside from catching the couch on fire (don't ask how that happened - it wasn't funny then but now it's really really hysterical!) had a really nice time. I'm at Boswell now, even though I can post from home... I still have to come here to send mail so I just do all my work here. :)

Not ten minutes after I got back this morning, S came in too... with H! I didn't know she was coming - he didn't tell me - but it's always nice to see her. Three people in a tiny apartment gets a little old sometimes, but it's also sometimes nice to have another girl in the house. :)

I just placed a bid on eBay for two Shania tickets - I was really mad that I missed out on her as well as Elton John. It was kinda stupid of me - I read the description of where the seats are (DN, eerste ring) and somehow in my misty little mind decided that ring = rij. So I quickly placed a bid - there were (and are) only a couple of hours left on it - still half-expecting that it was going to kick me out because my account is with ebay.com instead of ebay.nl. But it didn't and I placed a bid of 150.14 (only 6.14 euro higher than the other person), totally not expecting to get it but not willing to go any higher... but I got it. And THEN I went back and realized - first RING, Jess, first LEVEL dus, not first ROW. (I don't know if 'rij' is even the right translation of 'row' but in my head at that moment, it was.) So now I'm waiting to see if it works out. If it doesn't, I'm sure there'll be more tickets - the concert isn't until 4 march. (The day before the Staatsexamen.) And if I do get them, then the seats will probably be good even if they're the absolute last row in that first level (which they probably are, since the seller didn't give the row) - the arena seats 10,000 people max, according to the site, so there's really not a bad seat in the house.

Hungry hungry HUNGRY... I'll let y'all know later what happens with the eBay thing. Ciao!

zondag 9 november 2003

Current Music: Gareth Gates - "Any One of Us" (great song!!!)

Hello hello - my project for the weekend is replenishing my music. I've already got almost 3 gigs worth! I had over 1500 mp3s before this all happened, but I'll get back there. :) It was time to 'clean out' anyway, I guess.

Other project: spreekbeurt. I'm having the opposite problem than I thought I'd have, but I guess, knowing me, I should have expected it... it's WAY too long!!! Part of that is because I refuse to write anything down (if I have anything in front of me, I get dependent on it) but another part of it is simply that I'm trying to say too much. I'm aiming for around 8 minutes and it's at like 15 now. Oh well, I'll get there. But I have to get it done today - I'm most likely going to be in Vinkeveen (near Amsterdam) tomorrow night and I'd rather not have to wake up at 6.30 to get back to class by 9.15 on Tuesday morning in the middle of the morning rush hour. So I want to switch with someone, but let's face it, who would want to switch with the person who's second in line?? So I tried to call A, who's first, thinking maybe she'd like to go a day later and I could go first (gulp). But she's in Belgium this weekend, which I forgot, so I can't get ahold of her. Oh well - maybe both of us can go Monday, or maybe Saskia will have some other solution. Or maybe someone actually wants to go second. :)

Albert Heijn rocks! I know about all the problems that are splashed all over the news, with the money and all, but they're really amazing. The milk is fresh - or at least a lot fresher than Edah - and they have fresh pasta too (Edah's pasta is like little rocks of tortellini). But this is the crowning touch... they have AMAZING orange juice!!! I hate pulp (here it's called 'vruchtvlees' - "fruit meat" - makes sense, I guess) so I don't drink the Tropicana they get here, but I just found something at Albert Heijn that's fresh with no pulp. It's organic, I think, so it's more expensive, but who cares - I need my vitamin C. :) (Olga: bedankt voor de verbetering... ;))

Guess that's it. Ciao!

vrijdag 7 november 2003

Current Music: Volumia - "Kies mij"

MY COMPUTER IS BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After 8 weeks, the saga is finally over!!!

...Needless to say, I haven't really moved all day. :)

donderdag 6 november 2003

Current Music: Volumia - "Laat het zien"

One last thing: will this @#$%^&* weather PLEASE stop changing??? My foot has been hurting in the mornings for the past week or so, but the past couple of days it's really been killing me. I haven't had any problems with it since way before camp, even when I was running around in flipflops all summer. Why now??? Oh well, at least I can still ride my bike without it hurting - a lot better than I can walk, anyway. :)

On that cheerful note (which I know will spark an e-mail from Mom... won't it Mom?? ;))... goodbye for real.

Current Music: Volumia - "Zeg dat je hoeft niet te gaan"

Well, another day of class is over. But I wish it weren't. I have another spreekbeurt on Tuesday and this time it has to be longer - between 5-10 minutes. It's not the talking per se that's so hard - it's thinking up something that you can TALK about for 10 minutes! I think I'm going to talk about my Auschwitz trip, but I have more details about the trip itself - trains, etc. - than I do about the actual places. Oh, well, I'll make it work somehow. Too bad I have to do it with Petra, though - I'd be less nervous if it were Saskia. Around her I manage to speak slowly and clearly, which is hard for me - I talk fast in English, I talk fast in Spanish, so now I'm doing what comes naturally and talking fast in Dutch, and I need to stop it because nobody can understand when I go that fast. I think I rattled off my last spreekbeurt in about 2 minutes when at home it took 5... LOL! But I figured out something about Saskia that may be the reason why I'm more comfortable with her - if I don't look at her while she's talking, her voice and intonation sound almost exactly like P's, my first Dutch teacher. That makes it easier.

I had my taalkunde tentamens yesterday and it went pretty well. But it took three hours with no break, and my 'flakes were fading' by the end, as Mom would say. I expected the phonology part to be easier, since that's the way it's been all along, but that wasn't so - the syntax part was only one question, drawing a surface structure tree (of course) showing all movement and theta-role assignment. And I of course had my notes (it didn't even seem like a test; we were allowed to use whatever resources we wanted) and I had an example almost exactly like the one on the test, so that only took around 10 or 15 minutes. The rest of the 3 hours was phonology, and let me tell you, if I hadn't been able to use my reader and notes, I would not have had a good time on that test. He purposely made it hard so that we would have to look up things - he even included something called 'parsing' that wasn't anywhere in the notes OR the reader, and I've been in class every day so I don't know how I could have missed that. It just wasn't there. But he was using it in contrast with assimilation, so I had a tiny bit of context so I did what IBers do best - made something up that actually sounded kinda right. :) Oh well, but I'm sure I passed - with a high mark, even - and that's all that matters.

I think I'm going into hibernation. I'm always tired lately! I came home on - was it Tuesday? - and fell asleep around two, then briefly woke up and through my sleep-clouded mind saw how dark it was (it starts getting dark here around 16.30-17.00 depending on the weather, which is weird for me), mistily decided that it was nighttime, and went back to sleep. I woke up at 19.00 and couldn't sleep that night until like 2.00. Oh well.

I made a really hideously ugly calendar yesterday when I was so bored (no class). It's loooong and white and now it's tacked to my wall. The squares are pretty straight, but it's really ugly because it's white on a white wall. It just looks tacky. Oh well, I'll brighten it up somehow.

I want to print these entries for my scrapbook!!! Let's see if the printer will work this time... somehow I doubt it. It never works for me, though everyone else seems to have no trouble.

Amusing anecdote of the week: P (nee, niet jij, de andere!) was teasing me earlier in the week about finding my 'gevoelige snaar' ('tender spot' in English... or something like that) when he said I didn't dare to chat live with him - the problem was with S's computer, it wouldn't let me get on MSN, but he was having fun teasing me about being a chicken. Anyway, he speaks a lot of Dutch to me, even on the phone, and that's hard - written, I'm fine, but we all know my troubles with men's voices, plus on the phone you can't watch mouths... and it doesn't help when my mobile's cutting in and out like it does at home. So yesterday I complained via SMS (in Dutch) that Dutch was hard on the phone, so he sent one back (also in Dutch) saying "You're the one who wants to learn it, aren't you?" so I responded that THAT was my 'gevoelige snaar' and we got to mock-arguing about it. Then he called and said "Wij hebben nu oficiëel ruzie!" ('We're now officially fighting!') and then we started talking about what an expensive argument this was, with all the calls and SMSs. So then he said "We could also have a cheap argument." I answered, "How's that?" Right as the words came out of my mouth, I knew what he was going to do, but it was too late... click... and there was the dial tone in my ear. HAHA!!! I laughed for about ten minutes.

OK, I'm STARVING! Time to go get some food and look for sweaters. Ciao!

dinsdag 4 november 2003

Current Music: Veldhuis & Kemper - "Bijzonder"

Oops, S just broke a glass... he'd had ice cream in it and then he ran hot water over it and it just cracked! Cheapo Ikea stuff... my bed's breaking too.

Other news - Petra's pregnant! (That's one of my teachers.) I had just thought to myself today, "Hey - is it my imagination or is she getting bigger? Maybe she's pregnant!" but then we moved on to something else and I forgot about it, but then at the end of class she told us she's expecting in May. Spannend! I hope it's a girl - she already has a boy.

Oh yeah - CII. OK, so, arrogant though it may sound, our afternoon group is a lot more advanced than the morning group. We're combined now and the 5 of us afternoon people are a lot better than the morning people. But it's nice... nice to feel like I'm 'on top' again. I was never one of the worst, but Saskia (the new teacher) sees me as one of the best ones, I think, because I talked to her during the pauze and for some reason I didn't have any trouble at all - the words just flowed out. Petra is nice but she makes me nervous. Saskia is easier to talk to. I talked with A during the pauze today and she agreed with me that Saskia's better. But they're both good and it's a nice group. So we'll see...

One complaint - I don't like being finished with class so early. I come home by 13.00 and have nothing to do with myself. I really need to find someplace to do sports... too bad basketball's almost over.

Seems like I had a lot more to say, but I can't remember any of it. Maybe later.

zondag 2 november 2003

Hello again! It's November! (Thus the month of October is all safely tucked away in it's proper archive if you're looking for it.) I can't believe it... I've been here almost three months! I'm glad I didn't just come for a semester - it wouldn't have been long enough. One good decision made! :)

I already said this, but I'm still thinking about it so, once again, date with P was very nice (ja, dat ben jij! :))... I think (hope) that that might turn into something... my mobile bill is going to be soooo high with all the SMSing we've been doing, LOL! Oh well, it's worth it.

Went to MediaMarkt last week and asked AGAIN about my computer, and they all got on the phone and then came back and gave me some long convoluted story (in Dutch, to make it even better) about how it had been sent to Compaq, then Compaq sent it to another manufacturer, then those people sent it back to Compaq and then Compaq sent it back to the manufacturer and now they still have it and Compaq is calling every day going, "Come on, hurry up" but nothing's happening. Geez, my laptop will have traveled more of the country than I have, LOL! Anyway, so it's been 7 weeks and there's still no end in sight. I AM NOT HAPPY!!! I want to watch my DVDs but S is home so I can't use his computer and there's nowhere else to do it... even if there was, all the computers here are region 2 anyway. Sigh.

Just added a REALLY long survey to this page, in the 'random' section... C, I got it from one of your friends' LiveJournals...

Boswell (CII) starts tomorrow! Hard to believe that after that I'll be fluent, or supposed to be. Staatsexamen op 5 en 6 maart 2004!!! Yikes!!!

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