Last weekend I took advantage of the beautiful weather and spent most of my time walking around outside. Saturday I went to the market in Wageningen. I checked out the two fair trade shops as well as a few of the local produce booths at the market. There was also a couple of bands playing while I was there. Sunday I went to nearby Arhem, made famous in the film "A bridge too far", because it was one of the few towns with shops open on Sunday. I found out when I arrived that the town was hosting a statue fair in which professionals and amatuers strike poses as statues throughout the city. It was pretty neat to see all of them and many were quite convincing.
Monday I started classes and they have been going well so far. I realize that it may be difficult for me to take courses in social sciences but that is the main reason that I'm here. On Tuesday I talked with a professor about possible thesis options and I believe that we will be able to work something out. I think that I will be doing research in Bolivia, Peru, or Ecuador. I would like to do a study on the effects of either fair trade or farmer field schools on production practices of farmers.
Today after class we went to Arnhem to visit the open air museum as an introduction to Dutch culture. After the first World War, the museum was opened and farmhouses from throughout the Netherlands were picked up and moved there to preserve their history. Each farmhouse at the museum was representative of a certain area, period, and social status. Towards the end of the tour we climbed up to the top of a huge windmill to see how the mill ground corn. We also saw how they extracted the oil from flax seeds and how they made paper from cloth. It was an interesting view into the Dutch rural past.
And a few of the living statues, I put some more photos at picasaweb.google.com/andylehne/ .