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Archive for the ‘Vlissingen’ Category

Leaving Vlissingen!

Been more than a month, sorry!

I’ve been pretty busy. We hadn’t done any homework all semester and it really caught up with us in the last couple weeks. While rushing to finish all of our final projects we also had to study for our exams. I literally hardly left my apartment for two weeks. We got such bad Cabin Fever we dragged one of our tables outside and had a homework party in front of our ghetto apartment. Its funny here the instructors are pretty vague and you’re never quite sure what is going to show up on the exams. It was pretty different than anything back at home, but I did pretty well in all of my courses.

Lise’s boyfriend Ryan and his friend Zack came out to see us for our last few days in Vlissingen. Lise convinced Ryan to fill his carry on bag with red Dixie cups (Don’t have them here, or any cups even close to the same size) and when he got here we hosted a beer pong party. It was tons of fun, and everyone loved it.

I went to Jan’s house for a family birthday party a couple days ago. It was quite a bit like our family gatherings, a little smaller and not quite as loud or obnoxious, but pretty awesome also. I am definitely missing my fam jam, so it was nice to have something that compared to Friday drinks at grams.

The world cup is a pretty big deal here. In my neighbourhood every time anyone scores in any game there is like a five minute stream of horns in celebration. Its sort of awful after awhile. Since Canada doesn’t have a team, by default I think I’m cheering for Holland. Being a registered citizen and all, it seems like the right thing to do.

I’m pretty sure everyone knows by now, but I’ve decided to stay another semester in Vlissingen for sure, so I’ll be home sometime in January! (Yay, only half a Calgary Winter)

I packed up my apartment yesterday. Most of my stuff and Bianca are crammed inside a small bike locker in the depths of Hercules Segherslaan building number two. The rest of it will be riding on my back for a couple months. These next two months are going to be quite an experience, just going that long without having a home base to go back to and not having anywhere that you feel completely relaxed. I have a feeling the key to avoiding stress and home sickness will be just to take some time to myself every couple weeks. Maybe a day of no plans, just wondering.

Anyway, we’re on the train right now from Vlissingen to Paris. I’m meeting my mom and Max on the 23rd in Paris and we’re going to hang out for 10 days! I am excited!

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Back In The NL

I`m finally cracking down and doing some school work. Projects are due and exams are coming up shortly after we get back from Spain.

There it is, the first mention of school work since I left.


I love living by the ocean.

I went to a Sangria party this weekend, and unknowingly ate pineapple out of the bottom of my cup for a couple hours before I realized it was Pineapple. …Still alive, and without reaction. Yay.

The Iceland ash cloud grounded quite a few of our friends in foreign countries last week. We’re hoping everything stays clear before/during our Spain trip! Fingers crossed.

Its starting to warm up here. It hasn’t rained once since we got back from Greece, which is lovely. The flowers are starting to bloom. I’ll post some pictures of Vlissingen soon. I need to start bringing my camera places with me.


Yay Monkey Puzzle Tree in Vlissingen!

More soon. Love,

Ashley

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Finding chase can sometimes be a challenge.
.
 Irina Maria March 21 at 6:15pm
No worries … we have vodka … I’ll show you how ex-communist countries drink it 🙂
 
…I love the people here. ❤

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I love the smell of rain

 I bought a 2 kg bag of onions for .99 cents last week.   You may or may not know how much I love onions.

It was like a sign that I picked the right place to be right now.  Just kidding, sort of.

The reason I was purchasing an overly large bag of onions is because Liseanne and I cannot stop ourselves from continuously planning dinner parties.  When we are surrounded by large amounts of people, and under the influence of any amount of alcohol we make dinner plans with anyone and everyone.  It’s great, most of the time.  Unless you invite more than 10 people and need to have a BYOPlates shin digg.   I think if we continue to acquire bottles of wine and hard liquor from having people over at this rate, we may never run out.   

I almost dyed my hair last week.  I bought the box of hair dye, it was a medium auburnish colour.  It would have been very nice, but I figured it would  fade quickly in Greece and I would never get my natural hair colour back.  So I took it back.  Crisis averted? 

When I took my hair dye back I remembered I was almost out of deodorant, so I went to check out the european selection.  They do not carry sticks.  The choices here are roll on or spray on.  Terrible idea!  After I put it on in the morning I walk around with my arms in the air, drying and looking like a dork before I can get dressed. C`mon Zeeland, get with the program.   

We moved today.  It didn’t take us very long, we had lots of help.  

pro·cras·ti·nate [proh-kras-tuh-neyt, pruh-]   

1. The intentional and habitual postponement of an important task that should be done now.  

 

My suitcase is still sitting in my room, and it is full.  I wonder how long it will take me to completely unpack.

Love,

Ashley

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Happy One Month!

We just celebrated our one month in our new house!

Here are some things that I should tell you about;

I have grown to like raisins (Thanks to Courtney and her trail mix)

I have learned to ride my bike against the wind, with the wind and in spite of the wind

I have established an efficient process for doing laundry in my sink

I (we) clean my entire flat at least once a week. (Weird right?)

I have bought and broke two umbrellas(Really the winds fault)

We have not bought or used saranwrap once.

We have established a meat-less day in our house

I have been grocery shopping more times than I have in my whole life. (We went almost daily for the first two weeks)

I have invented the ultimate vegetarian chilli recipe.

I watched the worst movie ever.  ‘The Bad Lieutenant’ (At Sneakapeek)

My favourite Dutch discovery so far – Winkle Wagon = Shopping Cart (Still makes me happy every time I see it)

I bought a tea pot and a hanging plant pot for a euro today at my favourite second hand shop on the corner by my flat. This place is seriously awesome. Liseanne and I found a black fur head band in there for 3 euros. Worth every… euro cent.

For anyone I’ve given my address to, we’re moving to flat number 162 instead of 50! We’ll be forwarding our mailing address anyway, but just FYI.

With love for now,

Ashley

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Visitors and Brugge

Our roommate went back to Belgium this week for the break, and Courtney, Liseannes friend from high school came out to visit. So we threw a house party. It was fantastic. No cops were called, we only received one noise complaint, and we met lots of new people.

At all the international parties we’ve been to, the hosts give out beer throughout the night, so we went to pick up a couple flats. (And got them all the way home on the back of Bianca/in backpacks) It cost us 8 Euros for 48 bottles of beer. So cheap, we also made quite a bit of cash in deposits. We played Olympic drinking games by betting on ski jump placement early in the night. Later we moved on to Sociable’s when a few more people came. I had never thought about how hard that game would be with language barriers before. Playing ‘Rhyme Time’ with anyone whose native language isn’t English is hilarious. Later on it got so packed in our little apartment we could hardly move. Poor Courtney was jet lagged from the time difference, so she snuck off to bed a little bit before everyone left. The double cheek kiss is a time consuming hello/goodbye when you’re hosting a party, but it’s still lovely and almost my favourite part of Europe so far. After a few hours of intense cleaning the next morning we took Courtney to see down town and the ocean.

We walked along the beach, where the back of the boardwalk was lined with beautiful graffiti. I get a little bit home sick sometimes after staring blankly at the constant stream of Dutch messages strewn around the windows and walls of Vlissingen. Even the babble of unfamiliar language sometimes gets a bit lonesome. I might go back to take pictures of my favourite pieces so I can translate them.

I’ve never been more thankful for a sunny afternoon. The air was a bit cold, but the sun was bright and full of some much needed vitamin D. I have realized since I’ve been here how often I take the sunshine in Calgary for granted. It might be a bit dreary here, but the grey skies make you appreciate the sunny afternoons so much more. We walked past a +15 that said ‘For you, grey turns into blue’. It was the first piece of English writing I’ve seen in our town. It was beautifully significant, especially that afternoon.

We had an incredibly tiny coffee on the boulevard. Did I mention all the coffees here are the size of an espresso shot? …I mean ALL the coffees, there are no sizes. I thought maybe it was a European thing, but the rest of the international students seem just as confused as us. This may explain why there isn’t one Starbucks location in the Netherlands (according to their website).

Courtney brought her fancy camera, so you can all look forward to some beautiful pictures of our home town soon.

Liseanne, Courtney and I decided to head to Brugge for a night. The ferry from Vlissingen to Breskins is exactly long enough for me to drink a Dutch sized coffee, and the bus ride from there to Brugge is a little under an hour. It only cost us 8 Euros to get there. We booked into a little hostel for the night and dropped off our stuff before exploring the city. It was drizzling almost the whole time we were there, but Brugge is beautiful! We went to the Salvador Dali art museum, and walked around the city center at least twice the first afternoon. It’s not too big, just the perfect size to wonder around in the rain. They have much more to offer than Vlissingen as far as shopping, so we took advantage a little bit. I bought a wonderful (and cheap!) lace dress.

We finally headed to our hostel a bit after dark as the streets closed down. Brugge on a Tuesday night is apparently not a very lively city. We found that we had another person staying in our 5 bed room, but we didn’t see them when we went back up. The three of us headed to the hostel bar and started playing cards and sampling different local Dutch beers by recommendation of the bar man. We invited a Brazilian guy named Juan to join us, and found out he was our mystery roommate. Soon our innocent game of crazy eights had turned into a competitive game of Bullshit with drinking rules. When our hostel bar closed, we weren’t quite ready to head in for the night, so we asked the bar man where we could find a liquor store. He navigated us a path on our map and we headed off in search of good times. As we meandered through the city, the sheets of rain quickly soaked our map and pretty much everything else. Our map was soon many little squares of unattached parts being fumbled and dropped by four giggling twenty somethings in the city square. We satisfied our drunken munchies with some authentic Belgium fries from a street cart vendor, and asked the man there for directions. (Side note : They had a ridiculous amount of sauces for your fries. We decided on ‘American Sauce’ because we had no idea what it was. It turned out to be a pesto-ie kind of taste.) A couple side streets and a dance off later we found the liquor store/ internet cafe. We made it back to our hostel, played a few more drinking games and went to sleep.

We hit a few street markets the next day and I bought my first plant for my flat! She only cost me a Euro, and we named her Jimmi after our favourite 9% Hendrix beer from the night before. The three of us got quite lost (Had no map) and ended up seeing the outskirts of Brugge as well, which was equally as beautiful as the center.

Love for now,

Ashley

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Watching the Olympics here is lame. No wonder no one in this town is as pumped up for them as we are. The only thing I had seen on TV before yesterday was speed skating. It just got worse when the Netherlands won its first metal because they continued to play that clip over and over again. We finally saw a hockey game, but it was between Germany and Sweden. It was better than watching people skate around in a circle. We have been following the metal count online, but it’s just not the same! We’re going to try and find a Canadian bar in Amsterdam next weekend.

We got a hair straightener! Yaay life is good again! I even used it to curl my hair for our masquerade ball. We also bought a blow dryer when we first got here. We looked for a couple days and decided we would get the cheapest blow dryer we could get, because really how bad could it be? That might have been a little bit of a mistake. Our blow dryer doesn’t work if you hold it over like four feet high. So when I stand up or even when I’m sitting in a normal chair, it stops working. Safety feature? Is it safer to blow dry your hair sitting on the floor? To prevent falling? Anyways, hindsight.

I need my bangs trimmed. We have a hair dressing studio in our school and I think I might end up going there. I’m a little nervous letting a student I don’t know cut any part of my hair, but it can’t be any worse than any time I’ve ever cut my bangs. Hopefully I won’t need to break out my headbands and expose my fivehead.

Doing laundry in our sink is turning out to be a very efficient process. We don’t do ‘Wine and Laundry Wednesdays’ anymore because we had to fight over the drying rack. Instead it’s more like ‘You Do Laundry, I’ll Watch MTV and We’ll Always Drink Wine’ day.

De Dop had a Karneval party on Wednesday. Liseanne and I went as Team Canada (That’s right, representin’). They turned the bar into a catwalk and had a best costumes contest and fashion show. It was pretty fun, but like the last Karneval party we went to, it was all Dutch music. Dancing to Dutch music gets old after awhile, and by old I mean boring. On the upside, drinks were only a euro each. It wasn’t until way later in the night they started playing dance music. I had more than one person come up to me and ask me where I was from; it was a hard question to answer, considering what we were wearing.

Ball De Masque was on Thursday night. There was tons of amazing dresses there, and they had events going on all night. We already had our masks from London, so we were well prepared. A live cover band played for a couple hours. They did a few really awesome songs but the rest I didn’t recognize even though they were in English. The other three Canadian girls came out, but must have drank quite a bit before they arrived, because we practically had to carry them into a cab a few hours later. We left with a big group and headed to De Dop (again). We danced with some new internationals we met earlier in the night until the lights came on. Some Irish guy wouldn’t leave us alone, so Can (Turkish spelling for ‘John’) scared him away by yelling ‘The Canadians are with me’, and then didn’t stop repeating it all night. It was entertaining to say the least. We were pretty set on going home when De Dop closed, but we got dragged out to The Vik, another cafe that doesn’t close until 6. We snuck out as soon as we could and got home around 4:30.

Staying out this late all the time is wearing me out. Rarely in Calgary would we have stayed out past two. Last night we decided since Courtney, Liseannes friend, was coming in the next morning that we should have an early-ish night.

We went to an apartment party until 2:30, and when they all decided to head to the center we decided to go home. We got booed by the entire  party!  Its like they never sleep!  We held strong and went home.

We finally decided what we’re doing on our breaks and booked tickets to Greece for our first one and Spain for our second! I’m so excited! We don’t have classes this week, so we’re heading to Amsterdam for a couple days to do some sightseeing.

Love for now!

Ashley

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