It's been a week since we have returned from the crazy city of Amsterdam. I am now resting and catching up on work ( phew! lots of reading/papering to do!) But I definately had a great time there. Everybody knows the city for it's liberality, but there's honestly more to it than just that and it is not a dirty city by any means, even though the red light district is obviously raunchy. We went to the VanGogh Museum on Friday night, The Anne Frank House on Saturday, and the Rijks Museum on Sunday. We also took a boat tour and saw the Sinterklaas parade, which I am currently writing an article on for Cafeabroad.
My two favorite parts of the trip were the Anne Frank House and the beautiful canals. It was so wierd to actually jump up the ledge behind the bookcase that Anne Frank used every day. It was also quite eerie to be in her room and look outside to the only view she had during her two years of isolation. I got chills up my spine. The canals were gorgeous. If you venture from the heart of the city, you'll find a lot more. There were also christmas lights everywhere and it looked like a town out of the 1950's. It was so cool!
One thing I am really glad that I did on this trip was relax. I spent a lot of time in cafes or bars just sipping an Amstel or Heineken, which was nice. Sometimes you literally walk for 7-8 hours straight during trips and it can be extremely tiring, tothe point where you're cranky and just want to sleep. I knew my limits this time though, and wasn't afraid to just stop when I had to. My parents and I did this a lot in London and Brugge and I found it be a great way to re-energize oneself. Oh the powers of a pub!
I almost forgot to mention the markets! Saturday was market day in Amsterdam, as it is in most cities. We went to this huuuuge antique market and I about died and went to heaven when I found this amazing 80's store. Inside were metallic sweaters, hot pink dresses, and crazy multi-colored spandex. I wanted to buy this one dress that was hot pink and black and flared out at the bottom, but it was 25 euro and I just couldn't justify it, seeing as the exchange rate is at an all-time low and money is going even faster, due to gift-buying for the holiday season.
Well, now I must get back to reading Dracula, because I have to finish it by Thursday. I don't think this is honestly going to happen, but I guess I can make an honest attempt, right? The work is a burden and is not too fun, but we are all pumped about Christmas around here. I have put up a stocking outside of my door and am counting down the days until I can return home! We have picked secret santas too which is exciting. We're going to give gifts every week and then we're going to have a Christmas party on December 13th. I originally booked a flight to London for that weekend, but I am going to ancel it because I want to be able to share that weekend with people here before I go home, and I also need to finish up all the stuff that is due before I go home. Also, I know that Im going to be experiencing major jet lag after my trip home. It's comforting to know that I will be returning home soon, because to be honest, I was really homesick on Thanksgivbing. I have not legimately felt homesick this whole semester ( ok, maybe a few times here and there), but on Thanksgiving I was down. It was just hard hearing about all the activities that my family and friends were doing without me. However, we had a GREAT feast here and it was so much fun. Everybody went out after and we also played football, which was fun. When you can't have your family at home, you can definately rely on people in Leuven, and they have definately proved to be a source of great comfort for me.
I can't believe I've been living in Europe for 3 months now! wow!