I had my first day of orientation today. I walked and stood so much! My legs are dead now. A couple things I learned:
1) Smoking is still cool, evidently.
I guess I assumed that since Europeans are pretty progressive on most issues that they would have all given up smoking because of how bad it is. I was sadly mistaken. All the Europeans were chain smokers! Every five minutes they needed a smoke break. I don’t really mind other than the fact that my clothes smell like cigarettes. And I was not planning on washing those for another three weeks! Damn.
2) The stereotypes are true.
After spending three hours in an “intercultural workshop,” I’ve come to realize that every single stereotype is true. The Italians and Spanish eat late and are Catholic. The Australians were bundled in hoodies, ski jackets, and fur caps on an averagely cold day. The Dutch were kind of distant and indifferent to the tour groups. But most of all, Americans are loud and obnoxious. Case in point:
The American boy in my tour group was from California, which he demonstrated by basically yelling about how his friends all own clubs in L.A. and let him in for free, and contrasting his Californian accent with a poor imitation of a New York accent (Cooawfee, anyone?). The entire day he smoked joints while we walked around the city, and each time he lit a new one he shouted, “Three joints in one day, man?!” “Four joints in one day, man?!” He hung out with some gangster lookng pothead kids and talked about how “all the ladies want my nuts.” He would disappear for long periods of time, coming back exclaiming about how red his eyes were and how excited he was for dinner. Okay, we get it. You like weed. You came to Amsterdam for the weed. But nobody cares or thinks you are cool because it is legal here. The Belgian guy next to me said concernedly, “He iz very…talkative.” Yeah, that’s not the word I would have used.
3) Dutch food is disgusting.
We had traditional Dutch food at the dinner tonight, and it was the most horrible thing I’ve ever eaten. Even our Dutch group leaders said it was gross. First of all, the main course was what looked to be bits of salisbury steak covered in freaky gravy. Next came some green Indonesian-looking thing. I ate that. It was okay. I also ate the applesauce that covered everything on the plate. There were sausages and little balls of barely-cooked dough. Basically, it was horrifying. I’m going to stick with cheese sandwiches. That’s traditional.
So basically today I made friends with a girl from Barcelona, a girl from Slovakia, a girl from Singapore, and a girl from California. And all the boys are gay, as I will elaborate in my next post, entitled “The Nuances of Hipster/Anti-Hipster Dialogue.” Til then.