So as you might have noticed, I haven’t been as good about writing in the past two weeks. It might seem like neglect, but I assure you this is not the case. There’s one thing people don’t seem to tell you about when you study abroad, and that is that sometimes… on rare occasions… you actually don’t do anything. Or, worse, you actually study! Because Dutch universities divide their semesters into intensive “blocks”, I’m going through one of those moments now because… it’s finals week (s)! WOOHOO!
In other words, I’ve basically been living at my desk making flash cards and freaking out about when I will find the time to write my research paper. Traveling and other jovial activities are not exactly in the cards at the moment. Still, I have to say it has been nice to relax a little, stay in, and see a little more of my own “home” city. And I do have a few things—such as my birthday on Oct 31st, Halloween party, and post-finals trip to Stockholm—to look forward to and keep me going. It has also been absolutely lovely to watch the area evolve into the warm, autumn-y colors we never get to see in Florida. It’s an understated, homey kind of spectacle.
These are all basically from last week, but here are the few pictures I have taken since my last post, all of Utrecht:
This is Café Olivier, a really cool bar/restaurant in a hidden medieval Catholic church! The story goes that there was a time in which Catholics weren’t really allowed to practice their religion in the Netherlands, so in order to hold their services they built hidden churches inside regular-looking buildings. This one was eventually converted for different purposes, and ultimately became the café it is today.
So the Dutch version of Santa Clause (actually the original version which inspired ours), Sinterklaas, is a liiiiittle more racist than ours. Instead of having elves as helpers, Sinterklaas‘ assistant is called Zwarte Piet, or Black Pete. People will try to tell you that he’s actually only black and his hair is only fluffed up because of the “soot in the chimneys” (as the costume always involves a white guy with a wig and his face painted black)… you decide.
So… time to stop procrastinating and get back to work. Hopefully next time I’ll have a little more to show for myself but, ‘till then, doei!