07 September 2008

Random notes

Thanks for the birthday wishes!

Over the last few weeks I've come across a few interesting tidbits that haven't fit in with any other conversation. The following is random notes my Dutch experience.

  • At supermarkets the shoppers bag their own groceries. This can be a problem when either you're too slow and you can't get your things off the conveyer belt quickly enough or when you've forgotten a bag to carry your things home in. Thankfully I usually have something with me to take things home.
  • Dishes are washed then put aside to dry, never rinsed. Sometimes I will pick up a dish from the drying rack and I can see a layer of dish soap.
  • Last year my apartment blew up. There was an accident on the roof and a tank of gas exploded, no one was hurt. Currently we have people checking our balconies for stability following the accident. Search for Hoevestein at google or youtube to see a video of the explosion.
  • Store hours are strange. On Monday stores don't open until around 1 PM and stay open till around 6, Tuesday through Friday stores are open from 9-6 and Saturday stores at the town center are open until 5 while other stores are closed. Nothing is open Sunday.
  • Dutch students always go home on the weekends, very similar to SDSU.
  • If it isn't raining, that means it's about to rain. If it's raining that means it will continue to rain. Always carry along a raincoat and cherish the sun when it appears.
  • It isn't unusual to see students eating lunch in class or to get up and leave half way through.
  • It is nearly impossible to pay for anything on campus with cash, Chipknip is usually the only payment accepted.
  • Rules are rules in the Netherlands, no exceptions.
  • Almost everything is animated, which can makes human interaction a rare commodity. Coffee is purchased from a machine, doors open on their own, train tickets are purchased from a kiosk, bank transactions are all done through the computer, meetings with profesors are impossible without prior reservation, and most course materials are available only through the internet.
  • Water is an ever present issue. A study was recently stating that if the levies blocking the sea are not raised and strengthened the Netherlands will be under water in 50 years. Most major cities have canal systems and most goods are transported by water. Water is controlled to reduce flooding risk at many different stages of the water cycle.

I can't think of much else but maybe in a few weeks there will be a new addition of random notes. Amanda will be leaving for France in less than 3 weeks. The picture below is of my fellow MAKS students and me.

Best wishes, Andrew


  1. I wonder how mom will feel to hear that your apartment recently blew up?

  2. It was just a fireball above my home, it's no big deal.

  3. There have been days when all of you boys' rooms looked as if an explosion had occurred in them. No surprises here.

  4. Today I saw a guy wearing wooden shoes!

  5. If you can see soap film still on the dishes either the water was not hot enough or too much liquid was used.

  6. You're preaching to the choir my friend!