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Settling down on Prinsengracht


What has been a very busy week has just ended.  I had a Dutch exam today, and have also been organising my student residence and academic plan for the coming year.  I am now looking forward to a very relaxed weekend out enjoying the city.  People are sitting enjoying their Friday evening in the houses opposite my residence, while the Sound of Silence plays into my headset.  The life of a student is not an entirely bad one.

I eventually had to do the Dutch thing and buy a bike, it seems the thing to do in this city.  Despite not having been cycliing in a very long time, I took the proverbial plunge and bought one this afternoon after a rather wobbly attempt in the Vondelpark.The person I bought it from was another South African, ironically, who spent a year here doing a Masters.    Only one mishap on the way home hopefully bodes well for future attempts.   After all, it’s like riding a bike!  With any luck cycling will take me further afield in no time.

The induction week at the International Students Network has been an eye opener.  They’re all so young!!!!  Most of the others were about 20, but nonetheless seem to be a likeable bunch.  I had to miss many of the events due to timetable clashes, an unavoidable necessity during the maelstrom of college life.  However a dinner at another student residence last night was very enjoyable, although it is good to know that my residence at Prinsengracht is relatively quiet.  It was a really lucky find.

Most of us here are foreigners, the only Dutch residents are what they call Resident Assistants, or RA’s for short.  They all seem stereotypically Dutch, tall and blond, but they keep things ticking over for the rest of us.  The rest of the crowd are from all over, Poles, Americans, Brits, Chinese, even another South African.  Almost like the United Nations.  I don’t know how I would have reacted to the change in circumstances at 20, but they all seem to be adapting to the Netherlands well.  I was probably the last one to buy a bike, and am sure they have probably seen more of the city by now.  

I promise to do something interesting tomorrow and let you know all about it.  Who knows, perhaps this evening might be interesting?



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