Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Ok I have to write about this holiday cos it has to go down as one of the stranger experiences of my life.
To set the scene you have a guy and three girls, who dont know each other that well, and who decide to squash themselves into a tiny car and go on a roadtrip through Belgium and Holland. Dont ask me exactly why or how I ended up going with them, but I suppose Im just not very good at planning holidays, and they needed an extra person so I just said yes.
Was it a good idea? Well it could easily have been a disaster, but we had a lot of fun so I suppose I was lucky. There was a small problem for me in that they always spoke Spanish between themselves, and inevitably the entire decision making process was done in Spanish, but seeing as I knew f--k all about what I wanted to see it didnt matter too much anyway. I learned some handy Spanish phrases as well
At times it was a little strange (thankfully not awkward) to be just with girls, for example in Brugges they had mixed showers and so I had to stand guard while they had their showers (oh my god oh my god oh my god), and then in Amsterdam our bathroom was separated from the beds by a curtain
. but I suppose luckily for them Im shy and wasnt really in the mood to have three girls mad at me for the rest of the week (jaja doesnt mean I wasnt in the mood
There is also the severe disadvantage that the Dutch in general are a beautiful people, so while they could all giggle about theyre buenos and bonitos, I had no one to judge the talent with. And you can imagine walking through the red light district in Amsterdam, its like when your mum points out someone is pretty (no offence mum), it just kinda kills the moment.
We visited quite a lot of cities, first Brugges and Brussels in Belgium, then Rotterdam, Utrecht and Amsterdam (of course) in Holland. Youd have to say everything is very pretty, and Belgium is very religious so there are heaps of beautiful churches (if anything, theyre a nice place to sit down cos we were always walking.) Amsterdam too is very rich in culture, with a surprising amount of (overpriced) museums and a very laid back kind of atmosphere, because every man and his dog rides a bike
.. but Ill come back to Amsterdam ;-)
Firstly I should mention my travelling companions: first there are the two Mexicans, Nathalia and Tarnya. These two organised mostly everything, they had the maps, Nathalia drove and Tarnya directed, they had the vision, the we have to get up at 7 o clock everyday or we wont be able to see everything mentality, so they were sound but they were often just a bit too uptight.
Then theres Yess, this half mad little Columbian girl who is always singing or dancing (even in the morning aaargh), but shes really fun and doesnt speak English (although she can understand it) so I got some good french practice in. Funnily enough she sounds like a New Zealander whenever she speaks English, you could even say she looks a little bit Maori.
Thankfully she can be a bit of a party girl and so I convinced her to go and have some nice strong Amsterdamnian coffee with me while the other two visited a Rembrandt museum (yeah, Im sorry but theres not many times that Im willing to fork out ten euros to see, of all things, an art museum) The other two never suspected anything, I suppose because were always a little bit stupid, even though straight afterwards we met them at the Anna Frank house. Maybe not the best condition to learn about the Germans treatment of Jews in Amsterdam. It was kinda cool though, each room had a short video, and it was amazing how you could watch it three times and it was like a new presentation each time
. and those damn buttons at the end
.and why are tuna sandwiches so amusing
Anyway try and find a Mexican and tell them to chinga tu madre
. or for anyone who still has Fred for lectures at uni, try cursing hijo de puta mal paritha [iho de poota mal paritha]
. spanish just seems suited to obscenities.
alors bonne semaine/journée/mois
Location: London, UK
ok so trying not to over speak
I'm in London! Hurrah! I've been here since yesterday and it feels a little bit like I've come home. Judy, my cousin once removed who I've never met before, picked me up from Wokin station after the three hour train trip across...
It was a bit surreal but this kind of thing seems to happen a bit so I'm almost used to it...
They have been so warm and generous its amazing... I really do feel so welcome, and I'm kind of disappointed I organised something for Christmas, because it would've been nice to come back. I can relax because I know that I can communicate easily with everyone and I feel very safe and secure here (maybe its having a proper doona, and being in a house for a change...)
I met John and Patrick, my second cousins, Paul, my cousin-removed-in-law, Anne, another cousin once removed, and Squib, my great aunt. They've gone out of there way to make me feel at home... last night we went out to dinner at a chinese restaurant. I felt just a little bit uneasy, not knowing how much I should order when someone I have only just met is paying... obviously my conscience wasn't enough to hold me back, because I think my meal was worth about £22.... (close to $60 in one meal.... aaaargghh!!!).
I also spent the first half of the meal shitting myself with the knowledge that there first impressions were going to be based on how i ate....
Today was relatively quite. I went with Paul to watch Patricks soccer match, which involved two and a half hours standing in the cold, but was all up entertaining, even if the other team only had 7 players half the game, resulting in a 14-0 thrashing. When we got back there was a bake dinner waiting and ive almost defrosted.
The sun went down at about 4 oclock, as a result it feels about 9 when its only 6 at night. On the upside its still warmer than Troyes (??!!) although a bit damper (but it still hasn't rained!!)
Just out of interest, they kept talking about todays weather in reference to 'at least it wasn't raining', and the first thing judy said as I came in yesterday was 'would you like a cup of tea?'.
Also on the train here I couldn't stop smiling, and giggled occasionally because they all actually speak british!! Its like being in a first class restaurant or walking round the bill, its hilarious! and kinda cool....
tommorow i'll be staying in picaddilly with three other exchange students and i can't wait! I don't even need a map, I've played monopoly enough
Location: Troyes, France
As usual, nothing out of the ordinary is happening. About three weeks ago it started getting real cold
as in daytime max is about 4 degrees, minimum around minus 3. And last Friday we finally got snow! About time too! Everyone agrees, if its going to be so miserable and cold, we might as well get some snow for our troubles.
It was kind of funny because heaps of the latin Americans have never seen snow before. Apparently Efrain, the little Columbian, was staring mouth open in wonder as it fell, and Gabi thought someone was through stuff off the top of OPAC. People expect me to have never seen snow before, and they are even more incredulous when I tell them you can actually go skiing in Australia (gotta love stereotypes).
Been trying to study much more lately, but efforts are often impeded when people start organising consecutive parties. Monday night was Daves birthday, Thursday night was the Latino dinner, Friday night an ADPS party, and Saturday night the mise de diplôme, i.e. the second biggest piss up in UTT. I was a little happy, but sober enough to notice all the drunk people mauling each other, kind of amusing and disturbing at the same time.
And Saturday day was also the inauguration of OPAC
which meant heaps of free champagne and little quiche thingies. I also managed to score several glasses (no more drinking out of the same coffee mug!) and a bottle of Clan Campbell whisky. This I only pretended to nick, but the guardian saw me
half an hour later though, when most of the people had left, he gives it to me and tells me to take it quickly to my room
Got no real stories though  what to do what to do
Whats doing in oz? Youre all on holidays arent you i.e. send me stories of adventures from Australia (just try not to mention the weather too much)