How Time Can Move Both Fast and Slow Amazes Me

I can’t believe I ever thought about not coming to Amsterdam.  I absolutely love it here.

I miss my family, friends, and Weston a lot, but I think I’m doing a good thing here.  I feel like by going out on my own and trying to make things work (AKA winging it), I am becoming a better person.  Not better in the sense of nicer, but better in the sense of more interesting.  I am accumulating quite a few stories here, after all.

By studying abroad, I have realized that anyone who is ever mean to an immigrant has never been out of the country.  Thankfully, people have been nice to me here, but it has really changed my perspective on people who move to the U.S. and don’t speak English or don’t know everything about the country.  A lot of stuff is confusing!  I can’t tell you how much time I have spent in front of the dairy section of the grocery store, trying to decipher what is soy milk or butter, or how many times I dried my hair with a t-shirt before I could find a place that sold towels.  But, in the end, I have conquered my surroundings and came away the victor! (And by that I mean I get to eat stroopwafels every day.  Heaven.)  I think that instead of having children I will just host exchange students.  That way, I can help them adjust to a new country and tell them things I wish someone would tell me.  And if they are annoying, I can just send them back to where they came from.  You can’t do that with babies.

Stroopwafels! (Syrup waffles, so delicious)

I have not blogged for a few days, but that’s because I have been doing very important things.  Like sleeping until 1pm every day.  But really, I have been doing things.  I know my dad doesn’t think so because every time he sees me on the webcam I am sitting in my room, but I really do leave my dorm.

I watched part of the Superbowl.  Kickoff was at midnight, though, so I was too sleepy after halftime.  It was a really interesting experience watching the game in Amsterdam.  First of all, did everyone from New Orleans relocate to Amsterdam after Hurricane Katrina?  I felt outnumbered as a Colts fan in this apparent enclave of Saints fans halfway across the world.  I watched the game at a sports bar with Thomas, Ole Martin, Magnus, and Oystein, and it was really cool to be with the Norwegians the first time they ever watched American football.  They had spent the day researching the rules of the game online, so they were not completely lost, but I still felt proud when I explained to them the line of scrimmage and how the teams get four tries to get a first down.  The boys asked me if the yellow line goes back to where it started if the team does not get ten yards in one try.  Don’t worry, I got them straightened out.  My dad would be proud.  :)

Earlier this week Thomas and I went to the Rembrandt museum and the Van Gogh museum.  The Rembrandt museum was interesting because it was housed in the actual house where Rembrandt lived.  The part that was not so cool was that Rembrandt had gone bankrupt so he had to sell all of his posessions and his house, meaning that all of the things in the house were just the curators’ ideas of what everything might have looked like.  Also disappointing was the fact that there were hardly any of Rembrandt’s paintings in the house.  I would read a description of a painting and it would be like, “This was done by Rembrandt’s friend,” or, “Rembrandt knew this guy.”  I didn’t know I was visiting the Rembrandt’s Friends museum.  I actually learned a little bit about the guy while I was there.  As it turns out, he was completely anal about the principles of design.  I viewed over seventy etchings and each one had a description like, “Because the eye moves from left to right, Rembrandt placed the light source to the left of the subject.”  Seriously, seventy etchings.  Every one the same format.  OCD, anyone?

After the Rembrandt house, we went to the Van Gogh museum, which was a little more my style.  I mean, I can’t insult the master, but there are only so many dramatic seventeenth century portraits I can take.  The Van Gogh museum was pretty awesome.  It was actually one of the only times in my life where I have gone to a museum and famous paintings were there, and not on loan to or permanently housed at another museum.  I saw Van Gogh’s self portrait and the sunflowers painting, and others that I don’t know the name of off  the top of my head.  It was beautiful.  Van Gogh is rad!

I think there were four floors of the Van Gogh museum, but we only went to three.  The first and second floors were mainly Van Gogh, but the special exhibition on the third floor was…Van Gogh’s friends.  What is the deal with art museums here?  These guys need to get famous off of their own art, not hang on to the coat tails of their famous friends!  I loved the Van Gogh museum and will definitely be back, especially as Gauguin is the next exhibition.  Now there’s a friend I’ve heard of!  To get into these museums and others in the future, I bought a museumkaart, or a museum card for 22 Euros.  It paid for itself the first time I used it, as the Van Gogh museum is 14 Euros and the Rembrandthuis is 9.  I would recommend this card to anyone who plans to visit the Netherlands (it can be used many places outside of Amsterdam as well) and visit a few museums.  I’m excited to go to more places!  The nice thing about living here is that I can go to these places slowly, instead of rushing through all of these museums in two days like most tourists to Amsterdam.  I think I will go to more museums when I return to the states.  It is sad that I don’t.

Tonight the boys and I made tacos at Magnus’s house.  They were good, and yes, the Norwegians make tacos just like we do.  Over dinner we discussed English grammar, which of course they knew better than me and Thomas.  Or Thomas and I?  It was quite interesting trying to explain when to use “good” and when to use “well.”  Also, we laughed about words like their, there, they’re; too, two, to; and marry, merry, and Mary.  Ole Martin said a funny thing in Norwegian, like a tongue twister where all the words sound the same.  It was something about lambs, but that’s beside the point.  Did you know that Norwegian dialects differ greatly between regions?  Like, so greatly that they spell things completely different or use words that other Norwegians have never heard.  I learn so much from these guys.  And in return, I do my best to imitate a New Orleans accent for them, but the only thing I can come up with is, “I’m from Nawlins.”

I’m going to Belgium at the end of this month, and I’m going to Prague in March.  After that, who knows?  Hopefully Mom and Aunt Kelly will come visit at the end of March.  My brother asked me how I felt about the Griswalds coming to visit.  I can’t wait to take them to a coffeeshop.  My life will only be complete when I get my mom stoned.  I’ll keep you all updated on the progress.

Ole Martin demonstrates card tricks to woo his women

Magnus got this helmet in Prague. He was modeling it for us.

I’m going to Belgium at the end of this month, and I’m going to Prague in March.  After that, who knows?  Hopefully Mom and Aunt Kelly will come visit at the end of March.  My brother asked me how I felt about the Griswalds coming to visit.  I can’t wait to take them to a coffeeshop.  My life will only be complete when I get my mom stoned.  I’ll keep you all updated on the progress.

Mary

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7 responses to “How Time Can Move Both Fast and Slow Amazes Me

  1. teach this to your buddies…..mares eat oats, and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy…..a kid’ll eat ivy, too, wouldn’t you?! Hey, maybe that was what Ole Martin was saying all along! your dad and i are very proud of you, and if it wasn’t for this ache in my heart when i need a hug from you, i would be ecstatic! I am content to see your face(though somewhat pix-elated) and read your words…..you make me smile. Keep checking out all the stuff there in Amsterdam and make plans for me and Kelly that don’t include much time in a coffeehouse. I have given up paranoia for good!

  2. When you come home me, you and Jake are totally watching “European Vacation” together. I about peed my pants when I read about the Griswolds coming to see you!

    Just wondering – do you hang out with any chicks in the Netherlands or have you alienated all of them at this point. Trust me I know it’s a curse.

    • No, I don’t really hang out with girls in the states or here. A few, but not many. I just don’t own enough slutty clothes to have a lot of girlfriends. I think I’m too low maintenance to get all dressed up and go clubbing. But the girls I am friends with here are cool and seem to all have boyfriends, so that may contribute to the fact that they like to do things other than get drunk and wear hooker boots.

  3. I love Van Gogh’s Sunflowers—It is one of my fav. paintings. A print is hanging in my dining room. So wish I was there to see it in person. Glad you are experiencing all of these amazing things!

  4. I’m a little offended at the Griswold refrence. I’ll have you know I am quite the world traveler! And I too cant wait to get your Mom to the coffeeshops!!jk
    Mary your hysterical. Keep it coming!
    love you
    ak

  5. I’m proud that you know enough about football to learn those guys a thing or two! I am with you about the boyfriends versus girlfriends. I always hung out with guys when I was your age. Girls are just too needy! Are you allowed to take pictures in the coffee shops? Ron says you probably don’t make margaritas there because they don’t have ice. I’m still wondering about the beer, too. Is it thick? Is it warm? I don’t think I could ever acquire a taste for European beer. I am thinking about taking the kids to the museum sometime. Are there any good ones here in Mo?

  6. hi! It’s nice to find another exchange student in Amsterdam! I’m glad you love this city as much as I do. I’m also excited to visit the museums, there is so much to see here.

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