As I look at the date I continue to be amazed that I've already been here for almost six weeks. It's really crazy to think about it, but just this afternoon I was going through the weekends here and it seems like there's barely enough time to fit in all the things that I have planned for the next 2 months. At least half of my weekends from now until December are already booked with various trips to Vienna, Lille, and other parts of the Netherlands. And on those weekends that aren't spent leaving Amsterdam, I feel like I will still find myself with so many things to do, because that seems to be what always happens in this city. I'm really enjoying that about living here. There is almost always something exciting going on in this city and rather than searching for something to do, I find myself trying to decide what to do from a multitude of options.
The first week in October has gone by quickly with a few exciting highlights. First of all, on Wednesday night, I got together with a group of my friends from my program, and we had an italian themed pot luck. My friends Mike, and Natalie, and I attempted to make a pizza, but since we didn't have a baking pan to bake it on, it ended up getting turned into a calzone, which was actually quite delicious. This is a picture of Natalie, Erika, and Scott enjoying the pot luck... Not a very good photo, but I was trying to get a candid shot.... I failed slightly. The rest of the week was extremely exciting because Wendy (a friend from camp who is living in France until April) visited me for the weekend.
On Thursday night I made my way to Centraal Station to pick Wendy up (her train got in at 11:05pm). Unfortunately, Centraal Station is extremely large and although we had picked a meeting point, since Wendy had never been to the station before, we had a lot of trouble actually finding each other. Also, since Wendy's French cell phone didn't work in the Netherlands, we couldn't even call each other. Eventually Wendy went to an information desk and they let her borrow their cell phone so we got in contact with each other and finally managed to find each other, which was pretty miraculous. We were going to go out dancing that night, but by the time we got to the place it was almost 1am and they were closing up for the night, so we decided to just head home and ended up talking for a few hours in bed before actually going to sleep. It was really awesome to have such a close friend from home here just to talk to and reminisce about the summer and so forth.
We spent the next two days enjoying the (unusual) warm weather and cloudless sky by visiting both the Turkish Market near my dorm and the Waterlooplein market, which is also quite close to my dorm. Wendy purchased a few random articles and I got myself a big cloth hanging to put
up in my room. Now all I have to do is figure out how to hang it up. Unfortunately my walls are concrete, so I don't know if I'll be able to hammer anything into them... But I'm going to try. This picture was a warning by the hemp bracelets that a vendor at the Waterlooplein Market was selling... priceless. When we got back from the market I decided to rearrange my room to make it a little more comfy and homey, and also to create a good spot to put my new wall hanging. I plan to put it over in the corner by the bed is I can ever manage to get it into the wall. Otherwise I'll just have to save it for my room in Oberlin next semester. Here is a picture of both my room as it is now, and the wall hanging, so you can imagine the wall hanging going into the empty corner over my bed. I hope it actually happens.
Later that night Wendy and I went over to Yitka's house and cooked dinner for all of us and also for Taryn (the girl Yitka lives in her homestay with). It was a delicious meal with Couscous and stirfry vegetables. All in all a pretty laid back night, but also very enjoyable. Today Wendy and I got up slightly earlier (for me at least... It was about 10:30). After puttering around for a little while we headed over to Centraal Station and sat by the water chatting for a while before Wendy had to get on her train back to France.
I spent the rest of the day doing homework and napping, and then this evening my dorm had a "Neighborhood Potluck." Each floor was supposed to cook a dish from a different country and we all got together at 5pm and had a delightful dinner together. I was a little skeptical that anything would actually happen, because the RA's had just put up these posters randomly advertising this event in the middle of this past week, but no one from my floor had spoken about what we were going to cook or anything like that. But two people on my floor ended up being wonderful and getting it all organized so that we didn't seem like the moochers floor that didnt contribute anything to the dinner. There was lots of good foods from all over the world, including Vietnam, Romania, Italy, Camaroon, and many more that I just can't recall right now. I ate a whole lot and got nice and full and then spent a few hours sitting on our terrace by the canal and talking to friends, lots of fun.
Tonight my floor is throwing another party so within the next hour or two there will probably be a large number of international students roaming my hall and kitchen area with lots of alcohol and loud music... It should be a grand old time. That's all for now, I'll be sure to update if there's anything exciting to tell you all about, and as always, I would love to hear from all of you. You can also write me letters, as I have recently purchased stamps and will be sure to write back to you (eventually) in either letter or postcard form, just make sure you include your address somewhere on the letter. My address is:
P.O. Box 26
1000 AA Amsterdam
I look forward to hearing from anyone motivated enough to write to me!