University College Utrecht, The Netherlands
I came to The Netherlands in January to stay with family and by this point I knew I would be studying in Utrecht (less than 30 miles from Amsterdam) the following year. It seemed as if all was falling merrily into place but a few days later I left the country a little disheartened. The price of a wheel of gouda was extortionate, the Dutch have an abrupt manner that can easily be mistaken for disdain and I spied definite panic in the bartenders’ eyes when I didn’t order a beer. However, I have now been here three weeks and don’t want to leave. Crisis averted. Phew.
Intro Week at University College Utrecht is like an American summer camp, think ‘Camp Rock’ minus the singing, plus a shit load of beer and sexy Dutch boys. The whole week, day and night, was planned out with fun but sometimes cringeworthy activities. There were some definite what-the-f**k-am-I-doing-here moments for instance during Sports Day when I was wheelbarrowed through a field as fast as I could with my boobs jiggling about the place. My bad for not wearing a sports bra.
They have fraternities and sororities here. Yes, keep laughing. I know I still am. I had to momentarily take this information seriously when I went on a date with a graduate fraternity boy. The date went surprisingly well despite the nuances in humour (he sometimes mistook my sarcasm for extreme candidness. Oops). He did ask to see me again so maybe he finds my outspoken nature endearing. Or perhaps he just wants to sleep with me. All will be revealed in due course.
I have already formed a strong bond with my bike whom I decided to name Paula because of her being super savvy. I took her along for a “get to know your surroundings” bike ride organized by the Bicycle Club which, fear not, is at least ten times cooler than the Caravan Club. My task over the next couple of weeks is to master biking without touching the handle bars in the hope of appearing more Dutch. There is nothing they will not do by bike, it’s like a circus act every time you go out.
Utrecht is a bustling but also very beautiful city and I feel right at home here. I’m meeting fabulous people from all over the world, learning Dutch and bonding with Paula, all the while eating krokketjes, a Dutch delicatessen which will eventually make me very very fat.