Please tell me there are some Star Trek fans reading this? Or at least a few Chris Pinenuts (the name given to crazed fans of Chris Pine also known as Captain Kirk of the Enterprise). Either way, I think this is a suitable title to this blog post as it relates to the never ending territory in outer space. Amsterdam is sort of like space because the possibilities are endless. I initially believed the city was very small and tight with a few museums and landmarks dotted across canals. This is completely untrue. Amsterdam has a special and uncommon quality about it. It is a vast city but it also possesses this small town feel. It has urban areas, suburbs, parks, small cafes, a huge university, dozens upon dozens of museums, and (of course) thousands of bikes. What I am trying to say it is a city setting with a small town atmosphere. There is always something undiscovered to be discovered.
This last week has been absolutely beautiful. No rain, no hail, and no snow. Thank goodness. Back home, there is about a foot of snow on the ground. The sun has graced us with its presence the entire week which offers a warm kiss on the cheek while speeding through the cold air on bike. Honestly, the feeling is magical. I spend most days studying in a cafe close to the university or my housing. There is no shortage of locally owned eateries where you can order a latte or mint tea and people watch while you attempt to study.
Surprisingly, studying and going to class is one of my favorite things about being abroad. I chose classes which were of no relation to my majors (International Relations and Spanish) because I wanted to emerse myself into Dutch culture and experience the city more than being kept up in a textbook. I am currently taking a Dutch art history course, a gender course at the university, and an independent research seminar. So far, the art class is my absolute favorite. Art is definitely not my best skill. I have played classical music my entire life but when it comes to lines and color and shading I am clueless. However, the instructor knows we are not all art savants and takes it easy the majority of the time. Half of the class is a lecture style and then the last two hours are spent going to a museum. Seriously. Going to a museum every week is part of class. Yesterday, we rode our bikes to the Rijksmuseum. The majority of us can hardly keep up with the instructor on bike which is actually quite entertaining to me.
What' great about going abroad is the accessability to other countries. Just hop on a train for two hours and you are in Germany, Belgium, Denmark, etc. For example, a friend of mine studying in Antwerp graced me with her presence on Monday. I attempted to show her and her friends around the city (attempted because getting lost is something I am very good at doing). We went on a canal tour, ate pancakes the size of our heads, and got lost repeatedly. I am not positive I will ever be able to navigate the city like the back of my hand. While everything is very close, you can still get lost quite easily going through all the winding roads and canals. I believe I spent a half an hour trying to find where I parked my bike. I guess using a canal as a point of reference was a poor decision on my part, since there are a gazillion canals. I apologize ahead of time for all my pictures of canals. They are all too beautiful not to share.
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<p>Although I am a Kansas native, I can honestly say I have never witnessed a tornado, tended to the farm, or religiously watched The Wizard of Oz. I am a studious college student who enjoys going into the city and testing new ethnic restaurants or going to a symphony performance on the weekends. This explains why my phone primarily consists of photos of food porn and Kansas City architecture. I study international relations and Spanish, both of which offer me a different perspective to the world beyond the Midwest. I often find myself distracted walking to and from class because I hoard pinecones and insist on showing my friends the ones I come across. </p>