I am sincerely sorry for the long wait, we had some trouble with our internet hookup. I will try and give a quick summary of my first week here.
My flight went well, I had a layover in mineapolis which I've discovered is quite a nice airport. I highly reccomend you stop there over the other common stop in Houston. Although my trip across the globe went smoothly I was unfortunately not able to catch much sleep and so arriving in Amsterdam at 6AM with a full day ahead was definitely interesting! I filed for my residency permit apon arriving, it was granted to me without any problems, I am just waiting for my card in the mail now. I will try and take a photo with it for you all when it arrives. I have now also recieved my BSN number so in the next few days I will be able to set up a bank account and hopefully set up a job. I took a train trip into the city of groningen earlier this week, I had a productive day setting up my Dutch lessons at the university of Groningen, as well as talking to many work agencies. My Dutch lessons do not start until MArch 25th and I have been told that to find a job before I start these lessons will unlikely. Therefore I am hoping to do some traveling to spend the rest of my free time. I am currently looking into Italy as it will cost me less than A hundred Euros to fly threre and back. if anyone has any advice or input on my travels please let me know!
I will mention a few other events as well now. First off I want to say that I had a wonderful although very chilly time on the island of Ameland my first weekend here. We (the entire family and significant others) rented a house on the island with a indoor pool, sauna, and even a tanning bed! Since it remained cold and windy the entire time we did not venture out often, but had plenty of good times playing settlers of catan and swimming in the pool. It was nice to get to spend so much time reaquainting myself with the family.
Other noteful things I can mention include my scattered conversations I have had with some of the locals. I chatted with a woman I met while I was out running and she walking her dog Barry, she is from my town of Rottum and although does not speak a lot of english she still made the effort and was very nice to me. I had an interesting day on Thursday (Donderdag in Dutch) when the helpful men from the internet company came to find out why it was not working. Neither of the gentlmen spoke English and my Dutch is next to non existant so it involved some hand gestures and simple words, but nontheless they got it working and I kind of understood what the problem was! A not so successful conversation took place more then once while looking for the university building in the city last week, I spent well over an hour on the city busses going back and forth around the city following different uncertain directions. I finaly gave up on the busses and locals, and headed to the main train station. Once there I was able to obtain a printed map of the city and get a helpful woman at the information booth to draw me a route to the school building I needed. It took all of ten minutes to walk there from the station! Where in the world all the other people were trying to send me I have no idea. Despite this I have had mostly good luck with trying to talk with people, even if little English is known I usually get enough out of the conversation to be polite and get the information I needed.
On the subject on getting around my new town and surroundings... I love it! I can walk or bike everywhere and if I want to get there quickly there are train and bus stops very conviently located. The nearest city is only a 30 minute train ride away! Although the wind and the rain can make this not so desirable we have had great weather and I do have the option of a vehicle if I am brave enough to drive here.
I think thats a pretty though update on my trip so far, I will be plaogging more regularely from here on out!