This is the windmill that was just up the street from where I lived, so I rode by it every day. There’s actually a local brewery and cafe inside it that I unfortunately never got to visit.
My building had an awesome rooftop with a really cool view of the city. This picture really doesn’t do it justice because my camera wasn’t the best quality. I miss this roof a lot.
This is a picture of my building at night. All of the flats had these floor-to-ceiling windows with glass panes of all different colors. It looked really cool at night and during the day — very modern and chic.
We had a mixer at our building where they provided like 30 bottles of wine and a bunch of beer to encourage us to get to know the other international students that we shared that wing of the building with. Some people set up a beer pong table in the hallway on the first floor, and I remember this German girl wearing a pink Yankees hat was dominating the beer pong table all evening. I also remember Allison shoving a bottle of wine under her shirt to bring back to her room so we could guzzle it down before we went out to celebrate her birthday. The rest is history.
This was the view from the window of my flat. It sucked having windows that faced the train tracks because they were SO NOISY. And it was nothing like the train sounds I was used to in Springfield — distant clanking and eerie train whistles. No, no. These trains SQUEALED and SQUEAKED and clattered like you would not believe. But I got used to it, and I definitely miss the full wall of east-facing windows in my flat. I still prefer American train sounds to European ones, though.
Speaking of trains, this is the historically styled train that I took with a bunch of students from my program on a day trip to the beach. I miss riding trains — I wish the Midwest had a train system.
This is the Haarlem train station, which also had a historical style to it. “Haarlem” is a perfect example of one of the nuances of the Dutch language — weird double vowels that American mouths can’t quite handle. I think no matter how many years I studied it and practiced, I would never be able to speak Dutch well. There are too many insane consonant combinations and odd vowel sounds that are nothing like English pronunciations.
I love the beach, so I was really ecstatic about going to the North Sea when I was in Europe. This was my first time on a west coast shore, so I insisted on staying at the beach all day, even after most of the student group had gone back to the city, so that I could see the beach sunset.
A small group of us went to a grocery store and bought some beer (which was exciting in itself, because none of us were 21) and watched the sunset while drinking in the sand. We barely caught the last train back to Amsterdam, but it was so worth it.