I’ve been falling a little behind on posts lately here on this blog, thanks mostly to my 3 classes at this moment. At this time, I’m working on editing the short film for my Narrative course, studying for my User-Centered Project Management final, and putting together the big final presentation for Multimedia Management.
However, I’ve had time to reflect upon these past few months, namely on the things that Maastricht has done to me as a person. After all, I’ve been here since August 28, so there’s certainly been new perspectives and habits that I have developed since my arrival. And here following is the list, as to what I have now this November 16:
I cook nearly every meal for myself.
With a central community kitchen in my residence hall on this second floor, I’m usually in there twice a day preparing a dish for myself from scratch. More often than not, chicken is the primary meat, with onions and pasta serving as auxiliaries to the dish. I’ve mixed and matched other veggies and foods over time so as to keep things interesting for myself and not get dulled out by the same thing over and over again.
So far, I’ve prepared dishes ranging from the standard spaghetti and sauce (sometimes with chicken, ground beef, or a steak), BBQ chicken with Gates/KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce, Oriental-esque pasta with numerous veggies (and usually chicken), and chicken salad. Basically, chicken is my specialty and I know now how to prepare it in various manners.
The bicycle is my bst friend.
In order to get around Maastricht, a bicycle is a must. The city is easily accessible by bike, much easier than any car or bus could do. I use my bike to get from one end of the city to another to attend school (a 4 mile/6.3km trek); to make grocery runs to Albert Heijn, Lidl, or Jumbo; and to get away from the city and out in the countryside.
So far, my bike has given a little trouble from time to time. First, I suffered from a flat front wheel, which necessitated the replacement of the tire and inner tube, a small expense. Then there was the matter where my bike tried to murder me by greeting me with a wall in a bike tunnel, which could have been a far serious accident if I didn’t the ground the way I did (am finally healed from that incident, which occurred over a month ago).
And my front brake has decided it doesn’t want to be a part of my bike anymore, which leaves me with only the backward pedal brakes as my way of stopping (which work well on their own thankfully).
I get out more often.
Thanks to having a bicycle, I do seem to get out more often then I realize. Sure, there are long stretches of time where I am away in my room, working over some project, but in the end there’s always the occasion of getting out and going somewhere with friends. While I’ve only gotten out of Maastricht once, I do not feel troubled that I have not been anywhere else. This city is quite a delightful one to live in, to which I surely will visit again in due time!
I’ve also had a few excursions out into the countryside of the Netherlands, making a few trips out east of the city and into the beautiful hillsides near Valkenburg. I hope to make another such trip soon before the weather turns truly bitter, but for the time being my attention lies on accomplishing my courses.
American politics matter to people abroad.
If there was one thing that I was not prepared for, it was the intense discussions I would have with others regarding the 2012 elections. I was often asked by other Europeans about my views on Romney and Obama, as well as if I had yet voted for the election. Nearly all such discussions were never brought up by myself, but rather the other who would engage me in talk. At times, I would hear other students speak about the 2012 elections themselves, with not me around to lead the discussion; they went entirely on their own free will. Even such political news as Todd Adkins’ ridiculous remarks made the news here with Europeans (and the Middle-easterners) that I’ve come to know here.
And I’ve had the opportunity to talk with all matter of people on American politics, ranging from Britons, French, German, Dutch, Lithuanian, Latvian, Finns, Norwegian, Bulgarian, Russian, Ukrainian, Italian, and Spanish, and all the way out to Iranians, Afghans, Azerbaijani, Japanese, and Australians. No such small talk can be had from merely living in your hometown.
New perspectives on 9/11.
Yes, the terrorist attack from 11 years ago in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania were horrid to all Americans, and it was just as much to anyone else in the world. I talked with a few from my building on the matter of the terrorist attacks and they all remarked about their feelings from that day. Most remember where they were when they first heard the news of the attack, just as myself and many others of my generation do as well. The event was one that was felt globally and continues to be felt the world over.
No haircut for 8 months.
Yes, I haven’t had a haircut since late April, when I moved out from South Complex at Northwest and back home to Kansas City. I can easily say that I have never had my hair this long ever in my life!