Sunday, May 23, 2010

[saturday, may 22] the one where we get there.

our delay in houston was not a bad one. we all truly appreciated the kerr family's hospitality throughout the week. cruising around lake conroe has a tendency to make one's mind forget any desires of europe. but getting here was like a dream nonetheless. the fresh european air brought chills to me. after arriving in amsterdam we took a bus to our new home. passing windmills and sheep grazing the countryside along the way helped me realize that i had finally made it. i think my friend, caleb, felt the same way after taking note of the fact that nothing here is in english.
our maastricht arrival soon approached and we quickly got settled into our dorm rooms (which are thankfully much more spacious than collins). the window is my favorite part. we can keep it open to let fresh air cool us off and enjoy the beautiful trees in the courtyard.
we headed to the market for some groceries later that afternoon.
what a joke.
the only thing that i am certain that we purchased here was spreadable sausage. comes highly recommended by dr. rust, but i haven't yet decided where it falls on my scale. so far my wonderful method of choosing what the locals choose has not lived up to it's expectations. this food will take some getting used to; i can't live off of bread and butter much longer. if you look closely at the picture you can possibly see the body wash i purchased. in the states it is called "touch of happiness" which translates to "happy time" over here. this brings a small bit of laughter to me every time i reach for it in the shower. which brings me to...the showers. i did not know we would be sharing them with boys. strange.
the sun set and we debated calling it a night, but we felt exploring the town was a much better start to our summer here.
erin and i had purchased a very cheap bottle of wine from the market and a group of us shared it as we walked across the city.
the bottle looked far too pretty for how this wine tasted.
a guy living across the hall from me led us to the shamrock, a small little pub full of locals, and he ordered a pitcher of grolsch (netherlands beer) for us. after being there for only a short time, a young man asked us if we would be willing to move to a table to make room for the maastricht rugby team. he offered to buy us another pitcher for the act, but i jokingly told him that wasn't necessary as long as we could mingle with the team. we were expecting young athletes..not men that looked my father's age. so jean and i went to meet the rugby team in hopes of a movie-like experience with them doing some sort of team chant. i'm fairly certain they understood what we meant because they all began some sort of group humming. as we told them goodbye they approached us with kisses. just the normal european goodbye ones...except jean's friend (the one who's poking his head over my shoulder)...he was a little friendlier. he said, "one," and kissed her left cheek. he said, "two." and kissed her right cheek. ..then as she started to walk off, he said, "three." he grabbed her face and started to approach her as she quickly swatted him away yelling in disgust. so, so funny.
we found a beautiful church right in the center square. i took several pictures, but none turned out. fortunately, i managed to capture these of a nearby fountain with absolutely no meaning at all.'s actually quite spooky looking. maybe i'll learn something about it in my dutch art history class.
we stopped in some sort of club on the way back to the dorms where quite a bit of dancing was taking place. cyndi lauper's "girls just wanna have fun" came on and we had to join in. european boys sang along to the hit, and it was easily one of the funniest moments of my life.
we were very exhausted from the day and got back to out dorms around midnight. we decided to open some cinnamon roll-like bagels from the bakery for a little midnight snack, and of course, they tasted like cardboard.
good thing dr. rust had scheduled a brunch for us this morning. we made it downstairs to find that brunch consisted of bread, egg rolls, and some yogurt. surprisingly, the egg roll was pretty delicious as long as i could convince myself it wasn't morning time.
after brunch we had a small orientation.
we walked all throughout the town and found our ces classes too. it was all a bit overwhelming for such a short time period, but i can tell that i'm really going to love this place.
the main part of the university that my classes will be held in is an old monastery that they've restored. the wooden staircase reminds me of dead poets society, and the walls have been painted in such a way that they resemble alice in wonderland's crazy scenery. it is a very interesting place, and i am so excited to begin studying here.
on our way back to the dorm we passed some boys around our age playing street futbol. there are fields placed throughout the city the way basketball courts would be placed around the states. it is all so different and exciting.
a group of us went out for dinner at an egyptian type restaurant. nora's. a kebab, fries, and a drink (dr. pepper!) for only five euro. i am pretty sure it was the first time any of us have been full since sunday. soo good.
after dinner we headed over to the highlander, one of the two bars showing the inter-bayern champions league final. (will had to tell me that is what it was..i was told maastricht was playing?). munich lost which resulted in some exciting yelling from different fans.
i was ready to come home after the game, and found my way all by myself. it feels good to get the hang of things around here.

cheers, here's to a new home.

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