I’ve been here in Nijmegen for just over 2 days. Well, I think that’s right but all the days seem to have blurred into one thus far. Hopefully they’ll become easier to decipher soon.
The first full day I had here was a massive rush but I came with my parents (with my 11 year old brother in tow) and despite my initial reservations I was very glad they were there. Not only did they provide some reassurance, they also had a car. Oh, the benefits of a car. After taking about 3 hours to register and get the keys to my apartment, we managed to get to town and buy a Dutch phone, as well as a second-hand bicycle. It’s not exactly the old-fashioned mint green bike with a white whicker basket that I had imagined but it’s low enough that I don’t feel as though I’m going to topple off it all the time and it has a (sadly, metal) basket. It even has 2 breaks, which is apparently not the norm in Holland. The man who sold me it said that most Dutch students have bikes with either one or no breaks because it’s more expensive and they have to fix the break wires. Instead, they just peddle backwards to break…er, no thank you!
Having driven my 2-wheeled purchase back to my accommodation and purchased provisions from Albert Heijn, the clean down of my room begun. Let’s just say there was a lot of Dettol and Bleach involved. Now it’s as clean as a hospital. Thanks Mum!
Being left alone for the first time was quite nerve-wracking but I managed to get an interrupted sleep thing going until morning.
Gisteren, I met up with a lovely Finnish girl called Terhi. She’s living in Hoogeveldt like me so we took the bus to the train station together to meet another Finnish girl from her university, called Suvi. They had arrived the previous day together and got the train from the airport with two American international students who I will hopefully meet soon as they are in my mentor group. Terhi and Suvi were both lovely and their English is amazing! I feel bad that I can’t speak to them in Finnish at all but after hearing them speak it’s like nothing I’ve ever heard before!
While we were looking for their bikes we ran into another international student called Michelle. She said that both her English and Dutch weren’t great but we managed to communicate okay and she came with us to town afterwards. We spent 8 hours out and about in total and the weather is well above 30 so I spent the day melting away. Today it’s supposed to get to 37 so we’re going to cycle to the beach for a picnic. I’m more than a little worried about properly cycling for the first time as I’ve only ever ridden on the pavement or at Centre Parcs, not to mention how terrible my sense of direction is! But Terhi seems to know where she’s going so I’ll trust her to get us where we need to go until I get the hang of it.
Now to make some sandwiches.
Groetjes uit Nederland!
P.S sorry if this first post is a bit dull, I’m tired and overwhelmed but hopefully they’ll get a bit better soon
P.P.S I’ll start using my DSLR camera for pictures soon but I’m too scared to take it with me on my bike in case I crash!