Dorm Life.

At the request of my dear mother…I’m actually going to post about our dorm before I put up pictures from London!

We’re staying in a building just outside the city center (sounds like a 15 min. walk to everything=I’ll check out a bike) that’s part doctors’ offices, part international student dorms, a cafeteria in the basement, and classrooms tucked away somewhere.  This is the “P building” section of Teikyo, where we’re staying.  On the outside it looks like  strange amalgamation of different style buildings but they’re all mysteriously connected and warm inside.

P Building

Here’s the entrance to the building:

Arrival at Teikyo

It’s quite confusing, but the staff speaks English and they’re super helpful.  So apparently there’s a shortcut to the grocery store/shopping mall I’ve nicknamed the Brusselsprout [eh, my attempt at learning Dutch already failed] through the building itself, but this is why I can’t find my way around.  All the halls look like a hospital and no English, nowhere!

Entrance…all in Dutch!

So down the hall, through a few doors, around a few corners, you find our hall!  There are about 18 rooms and (shh!) …it’s co-ed.  Toto, we aren’t at Baylor anymore.  My roommate is wonderful, and though our hall is mostly inhabited by guys both from Baylor and other random schools, it’s really not bad except for the bathrooms.  Ew. Gross. Smelly.  Oh, and our neighbors like serenading the hall until wee hours of the morning (like now!) but fortunately, they’re pretty good guitar players and I like music.

Our humble abode

Our room is nice, clean, and big and as you can see we’ve already had a little time to settle in, buy groceries, and unpack.  Oh! Outside our window is a nice view of a hill and some trees (currently snowy!) but after all it’s 8pm here and quite dark.

Our room part 2

We even have two sinks in the room and a little kitchen area completely stocked.  Through the program they really emphasized having everything else taken care of so we can focus on studying.  I like this idea!

mini kitchen

So I even brought coffee grounds with me..and we have a coffee pot!  But no coffee maker.  There’s coffee at breakfast but it’s not very yummy… When I finally figure out how to make it successfully, I’ll let ya know!

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goedenavond

Hello! I’m alive!

(and finally connected to the outside world)

Maastricht is a beautiful, wonderful city and I’ve already experienced so much here I can’t possibly sum it all up in one post!  So I’ll start from the beginning…we flew out of Houston last Friday so I got to wake up nice and early for some last minute packing and a five hour drive to the Houston airport.  Both my parents took the day off to take me and (oh so graciously) allowed me about 15 min. total to grab a calling card at Sam’s club and a few essential novels at B&N on our way!  We got to Houston a couple hours early and took the time for lunch and coffee- I really enjoyed the time with them before we rushed into the airport chaos.  The flight was oh so long and I packed dramamine (mostly for sleeping purposes) in my backpack, which I couldn’t really lift into the carry-on cubbies on my own…I utilized that 40 lb. weight limit!  So I had a nice bit of conversation with a Dutch tug boat inspector on his way back from Mexico.  Quite a nice fellow, until he fell soundly asleep and began sprawling across the plane.  When we arrived at the Amsterdam airport it really didn’t feel much different, and we boarded a bus that took us all the way across the country (a few hours, at 40 km/hr) to Maastricht.  Believe it or not, the Netherlands (literally, “the low lands”) is pretty flat.  We got a little settled, spent the night, and took off to London in the morning!

Me, Samantha, Derek

Our first shot at traveling: bus to the Maastricht train station, eurail to Brussels (incl. change at Liege), Eurostar through the chunnel to London, tube to our hotel!  Made it alive in one piece!

Liege Eurail Station

Had to include this picture of the Liege train station.  The structure is awesome!  Very modern, but its lightness makes a nice transition between a hillside and the old classic buildings of the little town.  Apparently we have to take the 30 min. trip to Liege whenever we need to make train reservations- usually only to/from Paris and Italy.

Much more about London later, the last two days have been University of Maastricht orientation.  Thursday we had a meeting with the coordinators at the University bar…interesting setting.   But really, we had coffee and vlaii- a dutch specialty kind of like rice pudding pie.  We went on a walking tour of the city, which I think involved many many circles.  Our dorm, which may also be a hospital, is a little way out of the city center, but it’s only about a fifteen minute walk to the city center.  Since Maastricht University is only 30 years old, it isn’t all in one established place.  Rather, the University bought old buildings throughout the city, many of which are old churches and monasteries, and converted them into classrooms and offices.  This way the college, as well as college students, are fully integrated into the life of the city…and our classes are in really cool old buildings!  It’s been pretty darn cold and what I’ve deemed “sludgey.”  Some combination of eternal 98% humidity, drizzle, a few flurries, a touch of haze, and extremely short days; this is Maastricht.  When I first stepped off the bus in Maastricht I felt the glory of a drizzly gloomy day at home, inviting me to slouch off hard work and cuddle up with a book and hot cocoa.  Such quaint books will now be focused on international relations and philosophy, and the days will never ever end!   I have yet to find hot cocoa.

Well, literally speaking, the day ends at sundown around 4pm, and it doesn’t rise again until after 8am.  So I’m planning to adapt to this bookwormey cave like lifestyle by “hibernating” Monday through Wednesday and studying like a fiend, so I can go out in the daylight and travel Thursday through Sunday!

Teikyo Building ViewA little chronologically out of place, but this view from our the front of our dorm portrays the weather pretty accurately 🙂 SNOW!

originally posted: January 22, 2010

1st- definitely need a new blog name…. [done].

2- only ONE day till I leave for Maastricht!

3- packing is the bane of my existence.

4- High temp. today in Texas: 74 F. and in Maastricht: 38 F.  enough said.

5- I’m going to miss my sister terribly!!

6- only 21 days of school this semester.  I can handle that…. :)

Count Down

originally written: January 12, 2010

10 days until I leave Texas for Maastricht!
Today was Baylor’s first day back at school and I’m finally realizing that this trip is real! There’s still so much to do at home and so much to research, but my favorite sources of inspiration so far are:

http://travel.nytimes.com/

http://www.eurail.com/eurail-useful-links

http://www.lauraspeaksdutch.info/

http://arealdutchtreat.blogspot.com/

Packing is still an unbearable monster, as expected. Thankfully the only textbook I have to pack with me is Russian (and I already have it from last semester!), the lovely taxpayers of Maastricht pay for the rest of my books. But coming from Texas, my wardrobe isn’t exactly suited to the frigid air of the Netherlands- and packing all of this(+bedding) in 2 suitcases? This feat will defy physics.