Sunday, September 25, 2011

p o l i t i c s

h  a  l  l  o  !


So, I am taking a break, or rather procrastinating, from my school work at the moment. I have to do a presentation on a Dutch political system, and I chose to do my research on the party GroenLinks, which means green left. They describe themselves as green, social, tolerant and part of the "freedom loving tradition of the left." Basically their ideals revolve making a greener world to live in where everyone enjoys freedom and peace, and where we protect our Earth, ecosystems, and animals. 


It actually sounds like a very appealing politic party to join, to be honest.


Anyway it got me thinking about politics in general and how they vary from country to country, continent to continent. Policies, ideals, thoughts, actions, everything is a little different where ever you go, but one thing remains the same: there is always more than one political party. So what would happen if the entire world operated together? Like, they would still do their own things and be their own country, state, person, but they would all work together to create a better a world, a perfect world one could say.


But, that is impossible, right? A perfect world. The idea is constantly laughed at and looked at as impossible. I don't think anything is impossible, I just think there are things we choose not to do because we are too lazy, or we don't like the sound of it, or it just plain scares us. So a perfect world, in my opinion, is not impossible. It may be out of reach, but when people work together who knows what can be accomplished. 


Anyway, I'll stop being a hippy for a second and share with you guys some funny cartoons I stumbled upon today (and no I didn't use the website "stumbleupon" I literally just stumbled across them while researching political parties.)


Here is a link to the website that has all the cartoons and stuff:


http://ottobiography.wordpress.com/page/2/


[[ so to be clear, I do NOT own the rights to any of these pictures (obviously) ]]









Enjoy the pics? Then check out his website cuz there are even funnier ones, here is the link again for those of you too lazy (or find it impossible) to scroll back up to the link: http://ottobiography.wordpress.com/page/2/


:)

Friday, September 23, 2011

l i f e

Its crazy how things seem to work out, or not work out. For instance, I never thought I would be going to Europe in my entire life and here I am. Living here for 4 months and being pushed head first into a new culture. But then again, coming here has ruined some pretty amazing possibilities for me. At least, to me they are, or were, amazing possibilities.


To be honest, I chose to come here because I was running away from life. I wasn't happy at home because a lot had happened last year. So my thinking was to just leave. If I left the country and took time out for myself, time to be myself, then maybe I would be happier. Then I met someone and my attitude towards leaving changed. I guess its cliche to say that a boy is the reason why I wanted to leave, and a boy is the reason why I wanted to stay. But its the truth. Now, I don't have the boy who caused me to dread coming to Europe. Now, I am completely on my own, completely independent again. Its sad and it does hurt that it didn't work out. But, maybe its for the best. Maybe I'll be able to enjoy myself here a bit more now that I am not constantly thinking about the boy I want to go home to. But, now, all I can think about is that going home is going to be hard. Nothing will be the same, and the chances of this boy wanting me again when I am back home is probably very slim. 


I guess I can't think about that now. I have another 3 months or so here. Anyway, I'll just have to suck it up and do my own thing for a bit. Maybe I'll figure out what the hell is wrong with me. Why am I such a nut job, why do I constantly over think things? I guess everyone asks themselves those questions at one point or another in their life, but I honestly want to figure out who I am. Being here, completely on my own, away from everyone who cares about me, gives me a chance to learn to love myself again. Maybe my life is turning into that movie Girl, Interrupted. Maybe Europe is my mental institution, bent on making me sane again. Or maybe I just watch that movie way too much.


Anyway, I know that most of my posts lately have been rants and random inner thoughts, but I promise I will be writing more about Europe soon. You guys just have to sit through this depressing stage of trying to figure my shit out for a little longer. But, I will make sure to post more fun, less serious posts in between the more serious ones. For balance, ya know? 


In the meantime, I would like to give you all a bit of advice. Take a day for yourself. Do things that only you want to do and do them on your own. Basically, take a mental health day. Everyone needs one sooner or later.


Until then,


:)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

r a n t

Its easy to think that life in a different country would be, well, different. And it is. But there are so many similarities here it is crazy. Sometimes it feels like I am at home but then I realize, no this is not America. This is Europe. This is the Netherlands. 


Right now it is almost 8:30 in the morning and I should be getting ready for my first day of regular classes. (So glad that the intensive dutch class is over!) I think now that I will have classes to distract me, I won't miss home as much. Maybe I just have to dive straight into this life and stop holding back. Meaning, I should just live my life day to day, do things that I want to do, and do things that I have to do. If I distract myself with class, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and other random things then the days will go by quicker and therefore the months would go by quicker.


I know that it is kind of sad that I am not enjoying myself to my fullest here but that is for a number of reasons. (1) I don't hear from home as much as I would like. Hearing from your friends and family from home can actually help keep you sane, remind you who you are, and bring you back to reality. Cuz, lets face it, being here does not seem like reality. Feels like I am living a dream most days. So, a connection from home is what I need to know that I am not dreaming, I am living. (2) Half the time I am broke. Everything is expensive and it doesn't help that 70 euros here (which feels like spending monopoly money) actually means you are spending 100 US dollars. You would also think that flying to places in Europe, while you are in Europe, would be cheaper. And yea, it is cheaper than flying from the states, but its still expensive. Kind of like flying from Boston to California is expensive when they are in the same country! I guess that is what I am learning the most, how to spend my money wisely. That is one crash course that I really need to take because I really am terrible with money. I wish I could buy things when I want when I want them. Selfish attitude, but not everything I buy is for me, ya know?


Anyway, I just felt like having a morning rant before class. Let me make this clear to all 5 of the people reading this (idk if its 5 but I doubt its more than that lol): I am not unhappy. But I am not completely happy either. I'm in this sort of limbo, I guess. I dunno... But it is nothing to worry about, I'm sure I am just in a culture shock type of rut. 


Wonder what reverse culture shock will be like.


Until then,


:)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

l a n g u a g e

h  a  l  l  o  !


So, I've officially been in the Netherlands for 2 1/2 weeks and guess what?! I'm still not fluent in dutch. Don't get me wrong, I didn't expect to become fluent in another language in 2 weeks. But since I am taking an intensive 2 week dutch course (every day for 5 hours a day we learn dutch) I thought I would at least be able to have a conversation without looking at the book for help. But the language is a lot harder than I thought, and Europeans teach language in a way that is both faster and harder than the way Americans teach a language. Be honest, how many of you have taken a language for 2 or more years but you only know a few words and are in no way close to being fluent? Here, everyone is fluent in at least 2 languages. Every dutch person I have spoken to knows English almost as well as you and I do. 


I wish no one here spoke English, that way I would feel more forced to learn the language and use it in everyday situations. The closest I get to use what little dutch knowledge I have is at the grocery store. And even then I have no idea if I am buying yogurt or milk (they both come in cartons). 


So, my advice to anyone who is actually reading this blog, if you decide to go to a country that speaks a language other than English, then get rossetta stone or something and at least try to know the language before you go there. It will make life easier, and maybe a bit more interesting. 


Until then,


:)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

l o c a l s

h  a  l  l  o  !


So I highly suggest talking to the locals when you go abroad. I promise you the idea of talking to someone who may or may not speak perfect English might seem a little, well, scary, but believe me when I say it isn't. The people in Europe are extremely friendly and very open. Constantly I have been told that Americans are too closed in on themselves which I find to be exactly right. 


Last night while a few friends and I roamed the streets of Leiden we found ourselves bumping into more locals who just wanted to talk. First we went to the snackbar to get a quick bite when a few local guys began conversation with us. It was hilarious because we all kept trying to show off what little dutch we knew and they kept correcting us. Then they gave me and the other girls I was with 3 kisses on the cheek. They said that if a guy has a good conversation with a girl he just met he gives her 3 kisses on her cheeks to show respect. If he gives a girl more than 3 kisses then it means he likes her a lot. 


After we left them, we stopped at a bar for another beer before heading home but on our way home I was stopped by 2 girls who I thought were asking for directions but then they said that they just wanted to talk. Of course I was like, oh sure why not right? This was quite a funny experience since the girls kept breaking out into song, singing about dutch boys wanted to have sex but going home to have sex with themselves and singing the dutch national anthem. But, the good news is that they told me of cheap shops to buy really cute clothes and shoes.


I must say that talking to the people here is a lot more fun and interesting then going to a bar with the American people you already know. So do as the dutch do, open up, talk to someone random, and maybe learn something new.


Until then,


:)

Friday, September 2, 2011

a m s t e r d a m

So the other day we took a trip to Amsterdam where we had a canal tour, a walking tour, and went into several museums. And yes, we saw the red light district which was both strange and some what amusing since most of the prostitutes were very large. Anyway, here are some pictures from that trip:






hilarious robot guy.



And as promised here are some pictures of my room...


bedroom window (so big!)


bed is up on a loft and those stairs are not easy to climb


extremely messy desk 


what my meals usually consist of. 



So, I do have more pictures from Amsterdam but I doubt you guys want to see a bunch of pictures of buildings. The funny thing about Amsterdam was that it reminded me of Boston and made me a bit homesick. Apparently Boston is the most European looking city in the U.S. so three cheers for Boston.

But anyway, I do love it here but now that my Dutch class has started I can't help but get a bit frustrated. This language is somewhat easy because it is so similar to English but at the same time it is not easy at all. But, that is the point of being here right? To take me out of my comfort zone, to learn something new and to hopefully gain some sort of knowledge to bring back home with me. Its not easy being away but maybe it will get easier.

Until then,

:)