Monday, May 14, 2012

Welcome to Maastricht.

Well, hello there. I'm writing this blog post from my dorm room in Maastricht, Netherlands!  Not sure why or how, but my computer has already decided to automatically translate everything into Dutch for me, which is considerate, but I don't think I'm quite at that level yet.  So hopefully it doesn't translate what I'm writing into Dutch. If it does, good luck reading the rest of this.

So Chelsea and I arrived at the airport on Sunday afternoon, around 1:30pm. Our flight was scheduled to take off at 4:00pm. Did it take off at 4:00pm? Nope.  Due to "computer malfunctions," our plane was delayed...for 6 and a half hours.

Chelsea and I tried to entertain ourselves with books, balancing acts, and even our own feet.  When you're stuck in the airport for that long, you'll do anything to keep yourself entertained....

I've actually always kind of enjoyed airports.  I think I just like people-watching...which I realize probably classifies me as a creeper.  But so be it.  But, let me tell ya, if there was ever a good time to be fond of people watching, it's in an international airport during a plane delay.

So I spent most of my six and half hour delay observing the narcoleptic Dutch woman (pictured below), the Saudi Arabian stewardesses, and the hyperactive British toddlers, which made the delay MUCH more enjoyable.  

can you find the sleeping Dutch woman in this photo??

Finally, at 10:30pm, we were airborne.  And we were exhausted, but still SO excited!

The airline served us a meal and then Chelsea and I settled down for some much needed sleeeeeeeep. But, instead of sleep, I watched a movie. Still not asleep. So I started another: Alice in Wonderland. Considering this movie about a young girl fallings asleep, you better believe I fell asleep in no time.  I guess I'll never know if she caught up to that white rabbit.

I woke up as they were serving us breakfast, which was....interesting. Not the best meal I've ever had, I can tell ya that much.
And then, after 8 hours on that plane, the wheels gently touched down.
At last. We were in the Netherlands.

After gathering our belongings and getting my passport stamped (the first stamp of many to come, I'm sure!), we made our way to the Mercedes Benz bus (hollah!) that was waiting for us outside of the Amsterdam airport.  A college student named Bert was there to welcome us and to drive us to Maastricht, which was about a 2 and half hour drive. There are about 20 of us students and I'm pretty sure all of us slept most of the drive there.  But I managed to stay awake for a little bit.

Amsterdam is such a funny city. At some points we'd be driving past tall buildings and hotels and then, ohp, there's a huge field of cows and sheep.  And then we'd drive past some more business buildings, a Tommy Hilfiger store and then, ohp, there's a giant wooden windmill.
The drive was so interesting, watching all of the little European miniature cars zoom pass our oversized bus and trying to read all of the Dutch bilboards, but I simply could not keep my eyes open for much longer.

I awoke as we were entering the city of Maastricht, which is much larger than I had originally anticipated.  I'm sure I'll get more of a feel of the city tomorrow during orientation, but seemed like a fairly modernized city with a quaint little downtown area and LOTS of bicycles.

We got to our dormitory and checked into our rooms.  Chelsea and I have a dorm room that is pretty big. Definitely bigger than our Baylor dorms. We will definitely have plenty of room for our dance parties. And the tile floor makes it much more conducive to moonwalking.

We made our way to the cafeteria area in the basement where we enjoyed a delicious catered meal.  A precious little man names Ger (pronounced like 'hair') makes all of our meals for us. Never thought I'd say I like my meals with 'hair'. I'll definitely be looking forward to his meals every day.

After dinner, Sarah (the graduate assistant) took us to the mall where we picked up any necessary items that any of us had forgotten.  Let me tell ya, if you want to make grocery shopping twice as challenging, try shopping in a store where nothing is labeled in English.
However, my mission was simple: find the Nutella. That's the whole reason I came to Europe anyway, right? For the Nutella? Ok, not really. But that stuff is GOOD. Which is why finding an entire shelf of Nutella jars was possibly the highlight of my very long day.

Well, we're back at our dorms now.  Ready for some sleep.  I feel like I've been up for days.  I am ready for bed!  Thankfully, I'm definitely already adjusted to the time difference.
Chelsea and I have a TV in our dorm room, but most of the channels are in Dutch.  So we've spent the last half hour of our day watching Dutch game shows, trying to learn the language, but with little success.  I'm sure we will pick up on it as the time goes on.

Well, while you all are probably enjoying your sunny afternoon, I am enjoying my cozy little bed.  I am so happy to be here.  However, it doesn't really feel real quite yet. I'm sure it'll hit me tomorrow, when I wake up and I'm not in my own bed but I'm in a dorm room 5000 miles away from home.

Wow! So much to look forward to! I'm so happy to be here.

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