Hey there. I decided that although not much has happened in my life (although I can summarize what has) I will use this entry to do something to address Dutch cultural differences or some hoo-hah like that. First thing first, whatchu been doin' Patrick? Since my last entry I have been going to school (duh) and considering picking up some additional classes. I have been presented with the choice of adding Math (at the lowest level, C), which would be like statistical stuff, as well as the option to choose between Economics and a type of Management class. Gotta get the energy to go up to the department office and be like "give me more classes please." Because well, let's face it, it takes a lot to want to go somewhere to sign up for classes. People in school are still consistently nice which I find very good. This past weekend on Friday I had dinner at a classmate's house, Thomas. It was really great in my opinion - he's got a nice family, scrumptious food, and we watched TV!!!! It was like Jesus showering kisses all over me for being a good person.
This brings me to a very sore subject - Dutch weather. I despise it. Already. It rains way too much for comfort and when you are biking as much as you do here in the Naythurlinds it really does stink. I got drenched three times during the week and when I wanted to leave Thomas' around midnight it was raining pretty hard. Luckily here when it pours the Dutch strap up in their rain jacket and yes - rain pants. So I borrowed some of those suckers and fiet-sed (that is my anglicism of biked) it home. But seriously, I hear the next months are rather rough so I'm trying to mentally prepare. I have a rain jacket but I doubt that will sufficde. We'll see.
The rest of the weekend was pretty normal I guess you could say. Ivy and I wandered downtown Eindhoven for a while on Saturday and then I went home. Later that night I met people in town and it was alright I suppose. I definitely like the people here more than the way in which they party. Personal opinion though. Sunday was generic sitting around and then this week started. I am trying really hard to find something to do because well a lot of the activities I held as really important at home have been swiped out right from under me. Between homework, Panera, and friends all of those have changed significantly. I can't work a real job, can't do actual homework, and although I have friends, I miss the feeling of being part of your friends life (waking up to a text message or phone call, spontaneous activities, just less thought in general). I hope this changes with time because I'd love to be a part of some of these people's lives - I truly like them a lot. I have become rather determined to prove that one can have something to do if they don't participate in sports since our society holds it as such an esteemed pastime. I wish there was some good volunteer work or internships I could find in Eindhoven. Could be great for my Dutch seeing as homework is a nonexistent entity.
Oh I said I'd do something focusing on Dutch stuff in general didn't I? Ok let's think here...5 things that make the Dutch dutch.
1) I'd start with bikes, but how cliche? Instead I'll talk about something my host parents were telling me about. When Dutch people sigh, it has a very specific sound to it. They all go "ah-ha" with different inflections in their voice for each part. It doesn't particular bother me nor do I find myself infatuated with the situation but it is true. I was slightly skeptical when my host parents told me about it, but sure enough, tons of kids in school do it!
2) Buienradar.nl This website shows a map of the Netherlands and the clouds that are uhm...floating on the country at the current time (due to my lack of proper education for the past six months, I have lost most linguistic eloquence). But in fact it is quite a handy device, if it looks unpredictable outside I give this website a quick check and some days I can be pretty useful. My host parents use it, kids seem to just laugh and nod when I mentioned it at school, and when it started pouring Friday night all we needed to do was put that baby up to see that well, the rain wasn't stopping any time soon. Curse the rain, but let us give thanks for buienradar.nl
3) Ok we all knew I couldn't hold out that long before I mentioned something about biking. The Dutch amaze me with their tact, grace, and composure on bikes. They can bike in multiple layers without looking the least bit uncomfortable, while I bike to school with a sweatshirt on freezing cold mornings and still feel gross and hot when I get to school - not ok. On top of that boy can they make straight lines with them bikes! I can't stay straight ahead for the life of me! I weave a lot and truth be told I find it fascinating that on the bike paths there is a dotted(?) line in the center to divide it - like a road. So I can often be found weaving my bike in between these lines. Reckless - yes. Fun - yes. Something 18 year olds do - no. It really reinforces the idea that I have that I am mentally a Dutch 4 year old. Between my cycling skills, the diksap, my Dutch knowledge. So here's a sad story. Biking out to town on Saturday night, an unfortunately late 12:30 am, my FRENCH teacher sees me as he is biking the other way. He just smiles at me and I know I will regret this on Tuesday when I have French. Sure enough. Today, in front of the whole class, he talks about seeing me swerving every which way into town at midnight thirty. Needless to say he thought I was intoxicated. I regretfully informed my surrounding classmates I'm just really terrible at biking. I think I'm giving off this image that Americans don't know how to bike - Sorry everyone.
4/5) Yeah I'm lazy and I'm going to combine these two because frankly I don't think I could continue this exercise otherwise. Four and five are rather boring so don't say I didn't warn you and if you want feel free to skip down a little when I finish. Pin pass and Hyves. Two things that honestly I have never heard of/ doubt I would have ever heard of before being here. Pin pass along with (CHIP) are credit card/ payment methods. I don't have much to say about them except most stores except this instead of credit cards, making it rather difficult to go about one's daily business without taking out money left and right. I'll survive - possibly. Hyves is like the Dutch version of Facebook because, typical Dutch, no one can just conform and be like oh sure we'll use the same social network the rest of the world uses and make everyone's lives easier. No. Not even close. Eventually I'll probably be forced to conform. Jesus.
Ok so you gotta gimme props, I kinda finished that list. That was like the most mental strain I've had in a long time. Thinking of five things that make the Dutch individuals. So that begs the question, who should be more embarrassed, the Dutch or me? Okkkk well I'm going to relax my mind after all that strain. T-minus 9 days until Berlin!