Monday, August 27, 2012

The Netherlands - Exploration Days

It's been more than a week! And yes I have tons of reasons and excuses for not posting anything to this blog. The Annual Introduction Day (AID) took so much of my time, and I actually fell sick on my 3rd day in the Netherlands.

The weather had been pretty bizzarre here: it was sunny, hot (37C) and humid. It wasn't the usual Netherlands weather, so people said. And since it's normally windy and chilly here, there was no fan or AC installed in the dorm room so those days were friggin' hot. I couldn't sleep for 3 days. Back in Indonesia I deal with hot and humid weather, around 32C in average, and I could survive because almost every house is installed with at least a fan. Luckily, the temperature was back to 'normal' after 5 days.

The orientation was fun, although I wish more of my group members would turn up. We only had about 5-6 members per day. It's a little sad, but I got to know a little more about the campus.

Travelling by bus is a little expensive, but if I save up on other expenses I'm sure I'll be able to reach the school just fine.

As I heard from  many people, almost everyone in the Netherlands uses a bike to travel around. I'm quite used to walking a long distance walk, so I was actually fine not knowing how to bike. But the problem comes when your friends ask you to hang out with them and you're the only one who don't have a bike. It's hard to tell them "please go on ahead I'll be walking" and if you keep making them wait for you I'm sure they'll get fed up.

So I bought a bike. Yup. I fell down so many times as I tried to learn how to bike for the first time in 20 years and the bruises on my left leg actually look pretty scary. They're huge and black (not blue). I showed them to my mum and she was actually freaking out. Well, I hope they heal soon.

Anyways, I explored a little bit about the town I'm currently staying at: Ede.

Being an Indonesian, I saw a lot of familiar words from Indonesian language, such as the picture at the bottom:

I knew that a lot of vocabularies in Indonesian language is actually derived from Dutch, yet I still find a lot of things awkward. Especially when you see Indonesian terms written in Dutch, as follows:

Sajoer Lodeh is actually an Indonesian dish, kind of like vegetables in coconut milk-based soup. I find it funny because that was how Indonesians used to write before 1972. We learned how to write roman letters thanks to the Dutch, and we learned how to read those letters according to the way the Dutch read them. The correct way of writing it in current Indonesian language is Sayur Lodeh. So it felt like I was brought to the past.

Tons of "misspelled" Indonesian products in the Netherlands. Those products may have been adjusted to the local taste but it's better than nothing :)

Another exciting thing about my first week in the Netherlands was the celebration of my country's independence day from the Dutch. I didn't feel anything awkward about it, but when I thought about it, it was ironically funny.

The red and white flag is actually Indonesian, by the way. We share the same flag as Monaco, and if you invert our flag up side down, you'll see a Polish flag.

The food provided by during the orientation was so-so. Well, I didn't expect anything grand since the university must have been affected by the Euro crisis as well. One day we had a BBQ outside. It was really hot and humid. We had chicken sate (skewer), beef patties, chicken sausages, bread and some salads.

The last day of the orientation was fun: graffiti workshop.

We went to the museum in Wageningen as well. There's no entrance fee. A lot of things have English translations, but you'll see some stuffs that are only available in Dutch.

When Germany surrendered at the end of World War II, the agreement to have the Germans disarmed was actually signed in Wageningen. 5 May, 1945.

And then we walked a little bit towards the meadow at the back of the school. Well, in general, this is how things look like in Wageningen. It's a very small town with lots of greens (which I heard will turn yellow and brown once autumn has started). Very peaceful, and you could see lots of beautiful stars when it's not cloudy at night.


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