Speaking of Monday, the Krommerijn will finally be open then! I've been told to bring 70 euro cash and a passport photo (see, Mom, I told you I always end up needing extras! Good thing I got 4 before I left) to the reception desk and they'll make me a membership card. That's going to be a busy day... swimming on my own in the morning, swimming with het Zinkstuk for the first time in the evening, and then a basketball game right after that. But at least I'll be back into a somewhat normal routine as far as physical activity goes.
Tomorrow is Sunday, so Christine and I are going to (finally) try to get together. We've talked on the phone several times but haven't seen each other yet even though she only lives a few miles away. If the weather's good we're thinking about going to one of the old Utrecht defense forts or something. We'll see.
Dia and I went to the centrum this morning to buy her a bike. That was interesting. I can't really remember how things were before I learned the 'lay of the land' when it came to biking in NL - it all comes so naturally now. But Dia was having trouble today - in the store, she didn't know what to look for in a bike (which is why she took me along) and then when we finally decided on one and she went to try it out, it took her four tries to get going on it without falling over. (The Dutch keep their seats raised high, which, granted, takes some getting used to, but I'm a good two inches shorter than Dia and I was able to ride it fine.) But even beyond that, there are other things you have to learn. Rules of the road (ahem, don't cycle blithely along the left side of the path), bike mechanics ("No, there's nothing wrong with the bike, that loud jolting from your pedals is because you're between gears. ... Gears. ... That little switch on the handlebars. ... Oh, just switch bikes with me!"), and simple tricks (like if the bicycle light is red but the pedestrian light is still green, you can still cross the road without getting killed). But there's also a certain 'feel' which takes some time to develop; you have to change your reflexes in a way. Like Pauline said, way back when, "The bikers know where they are going." And it's true; in whatever you do - walking, biking, merging, crossing a road - you can't hesitate or panic and double back, because that's what causes problems. You just have to go, and they'll adjust for you.
Anyway, at the moment I'm working on creative writing homework. We've finally moved on to creating characters and not just writing about objects; we have to fill in long questionnaires about the name/age/residence/habits/family/etc. of a character in a book we've read, and then we have to invent a character and do the same thing for that character, plus write a 500-word introduction to the character. In my case, the introduction will come first; I can't stick someone into all kinds of slots and then try to write freely about them; it feels too limiting, like I've already made all the decisions. I normally write in a very stream-of-consciousness way, by opening a Word file, typing random phrases and sentences that pop into my head, then sticking them together in different ways to make a character or situation start to take shape. I'm usually the same way with essays and papers; I always end up starting in the middle and building outwards. Oh, well, the teacher said he'd do it that way himself too, so I suppose it's fine.
Speaking of writing, here's something else no one will care about but me. There's been some debate as to whether or not Dutch is a Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) language like English or an SOV language, but the general consensus is SOV. Jocelyn (my thesis advisor) tried to explain to me why that is, but it still didn't make sense in my head, since at the simplest level of sentence in Dutch, i.e. Ik ga naar huis (lit. 'I go to home'), you get SVO order. (Unless there's inversion, but that's another story.) Anyway, but yesterday I realized that when one is making a To-Do list in Dutch, things are written as "tickets boeken, Christine bellen, sportkaart halen", with the verbs last, and not the other way around. So maybe there's some support for SOV in a way that makes sense. Cool.
Anyway, so I have to get all the creative writing stuff done today, plus print the first half of the linguistics reader and read the assignment, and then (if there's time left) also read as many of the Workspace texts for Spanish as I can handle. I don't have Spanish or creative writing until Tuesday, but I don't want to have all that hanging over my head tomorrow with Christine or Monday with all the sports.
Things to do tomorrow: swim in Waddinxveen, try for the 3rd time to get an Olympos sports card, get cash for my swim membership (no ATM fees here!), call/get together with Christine, listen to the Jags game, and do laundry.
Something else that's hanging over my head: my UK trip. I need to book my tickets, but I can't do that until I'm reasonably certain of my itinerary, and the one thing which does not want to drop into place is the horseback riding on the beach in Ireland. I thought I'd found a place, but they're closing for the season on the 15th, and even if I moved my schedule around a bit, the trip I wanted (the Two-Hour Trek) isn't available after the 9th. Bah. Back to the drawing board. If anybody from Ireland surfs across this site and can recommend a place, please drop me a line.