Found out while skyping with my mom on the weekend that not only did someone try to break in to our house, but also my childhood playground was burned to the ground.


Luckily, the would-be burglars didn't get in (though we now need a whole new door, thanks so fucking much), and no one was hurt in the fire.

I'm just so mad, though.

(But. I don't want to end on a negative note. The Whirlwind City Tour was beyond amazing. Pics up soon at Dutch My Life.)
In Finnish: Hyvää Joulua! 

We just got back from Hanna's grandparents' place, where, in true grandparent style, we were plied with all sorts of delicious Finnish Christmas food (I took pictures of every dish - all will be up on DUTCH MY LIFE once I have access to my laptop again). We had rice porridge (delicous!) and fruit stew, pulla (little balls of sweetbread), jouluutorttu (flaky pastries filled with plum jam), taatelikakku (date cake) and rahkapulla (cream-filled sweetbread with lemon and raisins). I also learned how to say "thank you" - kiitos

Hanna's family was there: her siblings came with their children (adroable!). Her whole family is apparetly coming over to her house tonight, so I will get to meet even more Finnish people (and fail to communicate, due to the language barrier - but I have developed he general strategy of thanking everyone copiously and smiling all the time - seems to have worked so far...)

Can't really believe it's actually Christmas, though! I donät know where the time went! But last night, we decorated the Christmas tree, and today, we laid out the presents under it (literally a mountian of them - feels just like home!). I hope Hanna and her family like the gifts I brought- I'm thankful that the Gluhwein survived the trip here. 

Suffice to say, life is quite exciting at the moment, and I feel so lucky and blessed to be able to celebrate Christmas with Hanna and her family - not that I don't miss mine, but seriously, this is something special! :D 



Dec. 4th, 2011 08:48 pm

Well, technically it's been a week since I was in Germany (and if you want to get reaaaally nitpicky about it, I've been in Germany once before, to visit Tante Freidl - but I was in grade four then, so that doesn't count for these purposes), but I'm just getting to the post now, because a) there's a lot to process and b) NO TIME OMG.

Let's start the journey!
Nuremberg, part 1 )

*He's also famous for writing the Mare Liberum, among other things, which formed the basis for international law. But he's most famous for the escape he orchestrated, involving his wife, a book chest, and a serving girl.
I have travelled! This post is a bit late, since the trip was actually yesterday, but I was so zonked by the time we got back that anything I tried to type would have turned out rather like: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

So we simply had to eat there. Jamie ordered bitterballen, which I've never had before. They were kind of like meatballs, with a crunchy outside and a really mushy inside - not so much my thing, but I can see how they'd be really popular pub food.

And finally, after the meal, we hopped back on a train to Groningen. On the way home, we made the acquaintance of another Dutch student - she was very friendly and we ended up buying cookies together. It still amazes me how people are so friendly here. In Toronto, no one really talks to each other on trains - friends, yes, but it would be really strange to start having a conversation with a perfect stranger. But here, it's really not a big deal to strike up a conversation with whoever is sitting next to you on a train. IDK if I would ever be brave enough to do that, but it's interesting to think about.

TL;DR, Utrecht had absolutely lovely scenery, and I'm so glad I got to go. Next weekend, life premitting, some other housemates and I are planning to go to Leiden for a day. Hooray, ease of travel in Europe! :D

Photos posted hopefully later tonight at DUTCH MY LIFE.

* Or jography, as Jamie pronounces it.
I still can't believe this place. I still don't understand how this - any of this - is real. I'm still grappling with the fact that with one plane trip - literally, from August 28th to August 29th - life can change so drastically. Groningen is amazing. The people I live with are amazing. Everything is amazing and I am constantly in awe (and I know, I know, give it a few weeks and see what I'm saying then, but right now I'm living in this crazy happy bubble and everything is beautiful and nothing hurts.)

In the two weeks since I've been in Groningen, I've met people from all over the world. I'm making plans to visit places I've only ever known as names on a map - if that. One of my friends, Hanna, is from Finland, and has graciously mentioned invites to her home near Christmas time. Apparently they can hunt moose there by the light of the Northern lights! There are jokes going around about Oktoberfest in Munich, which I am so, so down for. It's crazy.

And that's probably the most extravagant experience for me: I am surrounded by people - and it's awesome. Over the last two weeks, I've been talking to people, connecting with them, initiating and carrying on conversations - and it's been fun! I never knew just being with people could be this enjoyable; is this what normal people feel like all the time? Even though school is already in full swing (I read three chapters of my Industrial-Organizational Psychology textbook this weekend and I have an oral presentation due on Thursday), I'm able to sit with people and just chill, relax, without stressing about projects or deadlines. I'm actively seeking social contact, which is so novel for me that I'm having a hard time believing it myself. This is so different from anything I'm used to; I smile at people in the mornings, say hi to them, even just sit quietly as they talk around me, all of us just doing our own thing - it feels like acceptance, community, and it's such a completely addictive feeling. How have I never experienced this before? It's so liberating, and I never imagined it could be like this.



Many, many photo posts up at Dutch My Life, though I feel like I could never actually textually capture the whirlwind of the last three days. Right now, I'm chilling in the Orange Kitchen with my roomie (Cindy, from China) and our neighbour Jamie (Master's student from England) and Hanna, another Master's student from Finland. I'm sleep deprived and haven't exercised properly since I left, but oh mannnnn, this is just going to be so much fun, I can't even. Last night, I went out with Jamie, Hanna, Sara (psychology student from NYC, also probably a Fan~), Francois (from Belgium), and a couple other people whose names I don't remember exactly atm, but who are all awesome!  Had my first Dutch beer - but was dumb enough not to take a picture of it, so I don't know what it was called.

Today was the first day of the Welcoming  Ceremonies. We got so much paper and free food - and free beer! (I can't get over how cheap the stuff is here... good thing I don't like it :/). IDK, it's just been so busy, and ESN week is on Friday, and classes start on Monday - I don't even know how I'm going to handle this, but oh my god, I am jjust so excited and whelmed to be over here, I have no words.




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