Back again

Hi. I apologise for my absence..
I have been in a study hole, just trying to get work done, and i thought i didn’t have much to say except what might sound negative when in fact it is not.
There’s a lot on my plate, and now i’ve found my balance i’m a bit behind in work.
I have been a bit of a shut in, but despite this, I have not been in a complete bubble. I live near Juliana Park – a really beautiful park with deer and goats walking around, chickens in every bush, aviaries of exotic birds, impressively scary geese, and beautiful trees; and I have walked all around what was previously a grey area of Utrecht to me – the north. I do feel more acquainted but boy is the attached housing repetitive. But this way, I have found and been shopping at smaller grocers (trying to steer clear of Albert Heijn), and now have a handful of familiar shopkeepers who help me speak Dutch.
I taught myself pronunciation of the alphabet and i’ve got Dutch name/word stickers on everything in my house. I can say a few sentences so far only, but am pleased to announce i now have a television so hopefully some downtime viewing will help my language skills better too.
My ov chipkaart finally came in the mail after much delay due to my ING net-banking set-up taking so long (to translate the instructions and find the right Post.nl outlet), and so now i can travel ‘free’ on the weekends and so will be doing my readings on my way to the ends of the country for next block.
So far i used it to go to Amsterdam on this last weekend where i went to an amazing party in a community of renters, squatters and anti-squatters (people who rent buildings the government is trying to keep squatters out of – these people aren’t necessarily against squatting at all, nor are all renters and owners). This party was spread over at least ten houses with the inhabitants of at least 20 in between them all participating. There were folk bands, rappers, improvised acts and a jam room in the living rooms, and one house was dedicated to running a sauna – a home-made one in a shipping container (amazing!). The area was packed with people, a really happy and fun environment, and finished at ten p.m. so the homes and people could clean up and sleep or move on.
After that i went to the Hermitage Museum to see my friend’s theatre group ‘PipsLab’ displaying their experimental, interactive 3D light technics as part of the Amsterdam Museum Festival. This whole thing was excellent and i wish i could have seen more but the tickets had been sold out so i was lucky to have gotten into this one at all. So much effort was put in, and all to a very beautiful effect. But also the museum itself was fantastic. I really want to go back and look at the renaissance paintings and impressionists’ again, among everything else i did not see yet. Actually i think a museum card might be in order – especially to go with my ovchipkaart.
Well, i have a huge take home exam to be doing right now, and a lot of other work due Monday, and in time for next block, so i shall be off. So far I have received information about the Conflict Resolution course and i love it already. Struggle or not, this experience in Utrecht is amazing.

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