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For The Memories, Babe Finding myself in a rut, I've decided to try something new. Or a few things new actually. I've taken a job as an au pair. And moved to a different country. And don't know anyone else. And am directionally impaired. Here goes nothing...

Groovy, Baby, yeah...

NETHERLANDS | Sunday, 2 March 2008 | Views [1054] | Comments [6]

So today was maybe my favorite day here so far. I met some great people, listened to some great music, and am now curled up in a nice comfy bed to sleep in tomorrow! I'll expand:

As I've already told everyone (too many times, probably) I am becoming an active member of the CouchSurfing.com community. Last week I met up with a guy in Utrecht, and it was a great introduction to what you can get out of this website, and these people. Today I met another group of CSers who were a blast. I had contacted two different people to see if they wanted to hang out at some point, and they had apparently been in contact as well, so we all decided to meet up together and go exploring. Kristina and her friend Kristine, both from Norway, recently moved to Den Bosch as a central point between their schools. They have an AMAZING apartment above one of the shops outside of the Markt (main square). We made plans to meet up with Guus, who is a Den Bosch native, though quite well-travelled.

So of course I miss my bus (as usual) because it's Sunday, so they only run the bus once an hour instead of twice, so Guus met me at the bus station. We walked to a little koffiehuis (please see previous blog for clarification), and met with Kristina, Kristine, and their friend who was visiting for the weekend (can't remember his name for life of me), and Guus picked up another friend that actually went to high school in Sint Michelsgestel (the little town I live in). So the group of us went to this little coffee place and had the getting-to-know-you chat that is required for these kinds of things. It was pleasant, and we all decided to go on a "secret tour" that Kristina had gone on with a friend the week before. We went to a staircase that led down to one of the canals and walked along little bridges and took a little tiny ferry boat (read as raft with a hand crank) to cross the canal. We walked down a little back grassy area and saw a new side of the city. It was nice to feel like you were just in a park instead of a congested area filled with people on Shopping Sunday. Apparently on the first Sunday of the month, everyone in the Netherlands goes shopping. It's pretty intense. Very New York feeling with people piling into and out of little shops.

The tour was fun, and we all decided that as it was a little drafty (basically gale force winds), we would go check out the girls' trendy little apartment. I'll set the scene. Apartments in the Netherlands (both Misha's and the Kris') are usually multi-layer and over shops. Housing is really hard to come by, so it's kind of you take what you can get. In fact, due to the housing shortage they have laws that say that any building is up for grabs if it has been vacant for a year. So, say you have noticed over a long period of time that no one has been selling anything out of a store front, you can literally just move your stuff in, call the police, and tell them that you are going to live there. You pay like 150 Euro or some other low set price, and you can occupy the building until the owner either starts a business in it or allows another tenant to move in. Very strange. Can you imagine just like walking by a house and thinking, yeah I think I'll just move in? Bizarre.

The girls' apartment was incredible though. Kristina is a travel guru and has been basically anywhere you can think of. She's also a design student, so she has a really interesting aesthetic. Her bedroom is an attic, but she has added flowy white linens all over, and a hammock she got in India. The place is basically an homage to the 60s. Kristina herself is Twiggy reincarnated I think. We sat around drinking spiced teas and listening to LPs of Bob Dylan and vintage Michael Jackson, discussing the Vietnam War and the power behind the movement that led people to stand up and act out. It was incredible. I would also like to note that I had some excellent points in this discussion, as I was kind of being grilled on the American point-of-view as seen through the eyes of the hippie. For example, when asked why I thought people had such strong feelings about the Vietnam War and why they thought they should have riots, etc, I noted that it must have been around the time that recorded images were just kind of becoming popular. It was probably the first time that the American people had been given access to such vivid depictions of what was really happening. With the war in Iraq, we see pictures on CNN every day showing the conditions, but if we weren't used to that, and were seeing for the first time the injured and dead and the harsh reality that these soldiers are seeing everyday, we might be more riotous ourselves. Someone please feel free to correct me, since it was quite the interesting topic.

Anyway, everyone was great, and the Kris' and I have promised to meet up again soon. I can't wait :)

Also, the cozy bed came into play because I'm in the Big House tonight! Last night I went to get in the shower and there was no hot water, but with the storms over the past couple nights, I thought maybe it would be fine in the morning. Instead, I woke up to no heat along with no hot water. I left a note, but no one read it, so we tried to fix it when I got home, but the Dad thinks we need to call a heater guy. So I'm in the guest room, which is nice because the kids come in and say good-night and stuff. Kinda fun :)

So overall, things are good. I'm looking a lot into travelling, but am still trying to figure out logistics since I'm alone. Kera- Greece?

Miss you all!

Fin, for now.

Tags: friends



SO, reading the hippity-dippity (as natalie would say) parts of your entry, I'm thinking maybe you got the types of coffe houses confused... :)

I'm so glad that you're meeting people! They look nice and fun - yay for katie!

Also, have fun in Greece or whatever, but we're still on for Inverness, right??

  Lauren Mar 3, 2008 10:34 AM


Greece, sure why not. Also, I love being included in your blog... just FYI- I'm only a bit vain. Also, I have every hope of coming to Greece or wherever with you. Let me know. Love you... Sidenote: Please don't refer to it as the big house.

  Kera Mar 3, 2008 2:11 PM


So the Netherlands are about 48 years behind the times. I love it ;)

  Michael Mar 4, 2008 9:31 AM


I think at some point there should probably be a blog about the children...

  Kera Mar 5, 2008 2:55 AM


Hmmmm.....Vietnam.....Hippies....I'm having a flashback....:)

  Faine Mar 7, 2008 8:23 AM


Vietnam isn't that a little before your time. I don't even remember it as a kid. Maybe you should ask Uncle Calvin since he experienced it. Glad your having fun. Watch out for the special brownies.

  Sylvia Mar 8, 2008 9:38 AM

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