College, Coffee and Cycling!

Tomorrow will mark one whole week in the Netherlands. In one week I have….

….Got lost in college. I attend Hogeschool Utrecht, based in De Uithof which is essentially a campus of campuses. It is the centre of academia in Utrecht where all the universities are housed and is simply like a mini town. The buildings are some of the most interesting I have seen. The FEM (Faculteit Economie & Management) where I am based is an architectural wonder. There are officially two floors but there are stair cases and random inclines/declines everywhere which means there are 5 levels. You think you are walking along level 1 only to suddenly find yourself on level 3 with no warning!

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….Found my go-to cafe in Utrecht city centre. Note I did not say coffee shop!! We all know how seriously I take my coffee and Mockamore is by far my fav place for my beloved americano. They have such a great selection that I feel like I should try a different coffee every time I go in. I ordered a ‘White Memories’ the other day which definitely contained my entire calorie intake for the day. Totally worth it though!

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….Moved house not once, but twice. As everyone and their mother knows by now, the first place T and I moved into had no doors! I’m all for an open plan apartment, but having no bathroom door was a little bit creepy. With the help of our college coordinator, we moved onto the UCU campus. UCU is a Liberal Arts and Sciences college and probably one of the prettiest campuses I have ever seen. Red brick buildings. Big trees. Lots of grassy areas. A real American style university. T and I split up and live in different ‘units’, different by location and design. I live in the Wall, so nicknamed because of it’s positioning along one side of campus, it’s quirky brick interior and long & narrow structure. I was a little nervous moving here at first as I haven’t lived in student accommodation since 2007 but I’ve been so lucky with who I’ve been placed with – such lovely, friendly people from all over the world who have made me feel so welcome It’s also literally less than a 5 minute cycle to college and less than 10 minutes into the city. Perf!

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….Bought a bike. (#53 of my 101 in 1001 list. Check!) It has a light and everything. Not only that, but I’ve successfully remembered to use the other side of the road and managed to not upset too many cyclists… so far! I haven’t knocked over any rollerbladers yet either! I’ve also been naughty and texted while cycling without losing control of my bike. This is probably my biggest accomplishment to date 😛

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….Not had my bicycle stolen. Although I feel like it is a Dutch rite of passage to have someone nick your bike! I did have minor heart failure yesterday when I couldn’t see mine in the bicycle parking lot! I’m surprised people can find their bikes at all half of the time!!

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….Heard about an amazing pancake house nearby. Everyone raves about it but I have yet to try it out! Anyone here up for trying it soon?

….Learned a Dutch word/phrase a day. Some of which have turned into inside jokes. What the fence?!
(Spoiler: The Dutch word for fench is hek… you do the math…)

….Adapted to the Dutch sometimes ominous sense of humour. And got around the few not so friendly Dutch people with the magical powers granted to me by the hospitality industry fairy. Smile, ignore their rudeness, kill them with kindess, and throw in a dank u wel just for good measure.

…Marvelled at the canals. And how so many of them are overgrown with plants and the water is green. Or like pea soup (another inside joke and a traditional Dutch dish!)

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I’m still adapting to not having to work 5/6 days a week. All this free time is surreal, but I am putting it to good use. Lots of exploring, cycling, napping and lack of thesis-ing… 😛 I’m hoping to make it to Amsterdam this weekend if I get a substantial amount of work done. On that note, I’m going to stop procrastinating right now and hit the books… in a minute, I swear!

Tot gauw,

Charlene

xoxo

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