Things I have learned while having lived half a semester in the Netherlands
1. Riding a bike whilst holding an umbrella is a tasks that should only be undertaken by professionals. And with a very good umbrella. In face just use the umbrella for when you are walking around and just skip using it entirely on the bike. You will still get wet from the rain and you will be slower when trying to ride since you will only have use of one hand. All in all while a good idea in theory the practice of it is a little bit difficult
2. The rain is the worst in the morning.. The rain is without fail horrible in the morning and usually by evening has died out a bit or is actually nice outside
3. When they are doing construction on your normal bridge in and out of the city EVERY IS BAD AND EVERYTHING HURTS and it is an extra half hour to get anywhere and you have to go through sketchville and ick
4. They dislike selling actual medicine. Like if you have a cold you will not get rid of that by the usual drugs you would use at home. You will only be able to buy strepsils tea and honey based cough syrups. This means you will probably have a cold of some sort the entire time you are here. Unless you have contacts or get your parents to send you actual cough medicine as I have
5. 50 euros is a much more preferable price than 300 euros if you are ill. Better to find a local doctor than go the emergency room.
6. As much as I like a party I will never be a party girl. I love nights out sitting on my friend’s couch doing nothing useful while still feeling social.
7. There are two ways one can take being in a country that is relatively accessible to the rest of Europe. You can A) spend every weekend in new place on a trip never staying still for a second or you can B) stay in your town and spend time with the people you will only know for a few months. Both options have their pros and cons. Personally I would have liked to be an option A but I suck a planning anything so I have become a B but maybe that will change?
8. Football is a vastly superior sport to hockey. If only for the fact that I can watch my friends watch it and get endless hours of amusement. But actually I really like to watch it, I find it strangely relaxing and kinda space out pleasantly if it is not one of my teams playing at least until the boys start yelling. Also the men are fit and I am usually the only girl watching the game with the boys
9. Speaking of boys, boys are excellent to hang out with I have actually I think become one of the boys. Which is a strange new thing. But it is nice you don’t really have to try with boys. So at the moment no romantic prospects here but a whole lot of mates. This is something I am quite fine with.
10. I like exercise. But I don’t understand weight measurements here… which is probably for the best. But if my calculations are correct I think I have lost about 10 pounds
11. Trying to start up email conversations with distant family/friends with the end goal of crashing at their European home is absolutely terrifying I mean how does one word those things
12. Stop trying to convert euros to dollars in your head. It will make you want to cry over how much you just spent on shoes/frits. Best to just forget about dollars existing in general you won’t use them for a year and lord knows you are going to be broke when you get back anyway
13. Even though it is a really good school. You are still taking English courses at a Dutch school. Most of them are bound to be just a bit rubbish. But the fact that they are 2 hours with a break in the middle mean you only have about 1.5 hours of class a week and a break every 45 minutes. This will make the transition back to normal school with 3 hour lectures painful
14. You are in Europe this was always the goal of school. The fact that I reached my school goal means I no longer care as much about school as I really should.
15. European clothing sizes are weird. Just grab a bunch of sizes and hope for the best I mean there is nothing wrong with a 40 right? That is normal sized?
16. One never really knows what to write in a postcard it’s always just a little bit awkward
17. Perfect, literally perfect foreign girls exist. They will make you feel inadequate by no fault of their own that is simply how they are. You might resent them a little bit for the fact you are sure all the boys fancy them and would not look twice at you but really it’s your problem and you just have to get over it.
18. People will apologize to you for their bad English. Never mind that English is their second or fourth language and they speak it better than you who only speaks English
19. You will remember someone’s home country but never their name. usually but never both at least not until the 4 or 5 meeting
20. Having fights with machines that yell at you in foreign languages makes you feel about 10 times stupider
21. You can literally say you have friends from all over the world; they will be some of the most amazing friends you will have ever had. Even if you are only with them for a few months they will help you out and bring you new perspectives and take the mic and share all of this with you, hold on to them.
In short so far this has been the most amazing experience of my life. I can’t wait to see how the adventure continues.