To quote one of my lecturers from Orientation week “You are still in the hone moon phase of living in Utrecht, there will be a crisis but you will come out the other side of it stronger”. Call me optimistic, or call me naïve but I am of the belief that I am only in Europe for 6 months really it’s a fling with European culture so I’m thinking the honey moon phase might just last the 6 months and hopefully I’ll still learn a thing or two regardless! That doesn’t mean to say Utrecht and I haven’t had our domestics. I know I am only about 11 days into this exchange but I may or may not have been cursing Mother Nature while I was riding from Zeist to Utrecht. When I left Zeist the sun was shining it was HOT! But at some point clouds came and there I was caught somewhere between Zeist and Utrecht in the middle of a storm – no umbrella and no raincoat … it wasn’t one of my finest moments. But I swear that day went from sunny to stormy about 20 times. I have since learnt not to go anywhere in this country without having an umbrella and raincoat in your bag for good measure. Now that I have all the practical equipment needed to bike my way through storms and snow I find I am adapting to the weather here. In Australia my mood is dependent upon the weather; if I had that state of mind here I think I might get very depressed. So the best thing to do is just accept the weather is going to be bad, be prepared for bad weather and appreciate every drop of sunlight you that touches your skin!
Ally McBike and I
I have since christened my bike ‘Ally McBike’ and although the first few days of riding her from Zeist to Utrecht and doing Muay thai training and then riding home again were painful and exhausting I think my muscles are getting used to the trip now. But just as a side note after being out all day and having training finish at 7.30 pm and riding home smelling everyone else’s dinner….. Man, I have never appreciated food so much in my life before when I stumble home at 8.15pm and start devouring all the food I can find!
So Ally McBike and I may have got lost in Utrecht for 4 hours
It took me 4 hours to find my Muay Thai gym, since then I now know north from south and I know more or less where the Law faculty is, the Humanities faculty, my Muay Thai gym, my home in Zeist and the main shopping centres. Now that I have mastered that maybe this week I’ll start looking for short cuts!
New Muay Thai Friends
I was very nervous going to my first Muay Thai class I thought they might not be too welcoming to new comers. These nerves were probably enhanced by the fact that although I have been here 11 days I have not had too much experience with Dutch people (mainly only other international students). The Muay Thai club is full of Dutch people and I am learning my Dutch numbers quickly as a result of this. It is nice to go to these Muay Thai because the university is run so differently to Flinders, the place I live is so much different to where I live in Australia, the landscape, the people, the weather – you name it, it’s different. Muay Thai on the other hand is more or less the same here, it is familiar to me and at the risk of sounding very corny it is a saving grace amongst all the confusion.
Should probably talk a little about my education (I guess)
Well at last I have finalised what topics I will be doing and proper classes start tomorrow (now that orientation week is over). I will be studying Dutch Present-day Society, Dutch Law, Transnational Law Perspective and Legal Ethics. I am really excited about all my topics and can’t wait to start learning the ins and outs of each subject.
The perfect Saturday
After having a rather large evening on Friday (my apartment hosted the first of what will be many student parties in our accommodation) I woke up late and a group of us from Zeist went into Utrecht (by bike) to meet Jenna and Faith for a day of being Japanese tourists. The ride in took longer than expected because the four of us were distracted by the markets and old car show in De Bilt. The four of us being Dale and I (Australia) and Bjarke and Trine (Denmark) normally Australians and the Danish are time conscious but like I said there were markets and old cars!!! So we were a little late meeting Jenna (Finland) and Faith (USA) and Trine and I had a laugh about the time habits of the Spanish we live with rubbing off on us !!! We climbed the Dome Tower which is the second highest church tower in Europe and I think it is about 466 steps high, so fair to say the butt was a little sore this morning! We had burgers for lunch and here I have to mention Bjarke had a burger called SHAGADELIC which was the source of much amusement for us. We checked out an archaeology site where they are digging out the remains of the old church and just walked around Utrecht taking many photos. On Saturday night after being pretty tired we all stayed in and watched the big storm, chatted and showed each other pictures from our home towns
The Rain Suit
Ok, so on orientation day when they showed us this suit I said to myself “I will not be wearing that, as I want to hold onto the last threads of dignity I may have”. Well… not even a week into living here I have bought one and man do Ally McBike and I look glamorous together riding from Zeist to Utrecht (thankfully it is normally dark and I don’t know too many people here!!!)
Anyway, I better shut up now as this is another lengthy blog from me (we all know once I start talking I don’t stop!) and since this is a blog nobody is here to tell me to shut up!
Thanks for reading!