Friday, August 31, 2012


23-24 august
AH! i still can't believe sometimes that i am living in Den Haag! i already have loads of stories to tell from my first week here. settling in, exploring, meeting new people! 
i started typing this post when i was about halfway to Keflavik, Iceland and then didn't continue it until a week later.... oops. i've also been trying to write things down every night so i have my own journal of thoughts but i'm also a few days behind on that. anywho! without any further ado or excuses lets begin with a week ago thursday! 
{ oh and a huge thank you to all for the many well wishes and prayers! each and every single one is appreciated and cherished.}
 my family and i left lynden late in the morning and grabbed a quick lunch on the way down. 

on the way to the airport
just a shot sara got the night of the goodbye party :)
once arriving at the airport it was a simple matter of pulling out my two underweight suitcases and saying goodbye to dad and tonka. check in was simple and the only next step was security. so final goodbyes were the last thing before security. hugging tim proved to be ok and then brooke wishing her a great start to the school year and to skype often with any/all questions. i only had the slight glimmer of tears until i stopped hugging her and looked at mom.

oh let the waterworks begin!
she was already close to crying so hugging and farewells only made it worse. tears were streaming and more hugs before it was time to turn and move forward. wiping tears away i continued to join the line for security to fly solo for the first time. security was no issue and it was simple to move to the tram to get to my gate. i was there plenty early and exchanged texts with mom and eric before it was finally time to board. i got my boarding passes for my two flights and then just waited for them to call my section. 

14c was my seat for the first flight, which was an aisle seat. when I found it {just 4 rows after the important people seats} my row-mates had already arrived. we did some seat switching and not caring where i ended up i got middle. 

each plane was named for a different mountain or volcano in Iceland - this was mine for both flights

during taxi until about an hour into the flight we chatted. such sweet people and all of us complete strangers! the sweet lady to my left was retired and traveled about twice a year. she was headed to Paris to visit her college roommate then to tour around France to see all sorts of exciting things. the gentleman on my right was doing research down in California and was headed home just in time for his sons birthday. 
the flight was about 6 1/2 hours in total through the night. yet we were flying into the morning so we kinda skipped darkness, we got maybe two hours of it but i couldn't sleep of course being on west coast time and whatnot. we even got our own little tv screens in the seat in front of us. there was tv shows, movies, music, and flight updates available on it. 

this was where i was when i started to type this. 
this would have been super handy if i haven't packed my headphones into my luggage by accident. 
no matter i just browsed through one of the thick magazines i had gotten from thoughtful family members and then figured i'd attempt some shut eye with the nice blanket and pillow that had been on my seat. I got some rest off and on but thanks to my family jinxing me there was a small child who was non to happy to be on the plane for the last hour or two. really it wasn't so bad the flight attendent loved walking the little guy around. 
we landed in Reykjavik, Iceland about 6:30 am in that time zone. it was just a quick stop through customs. they do customs there to get into all of Europe rather than for each country. then an hour wait for the plane to be fueled up. i munched on some yogurt and a candy bar i had brought with me and chatted with an older couple on their way to Amsterdam before boarding the flight. 
this was only a 2 1/2 hour flight and i slept through 2 hours of it! so that was lovely. just minutes after waking up i landed in Amsterdam, Holland! 
woo! i made it! 
i gathered my luggage from baggage claim and exchanged money into euros before heading into the rest of the station to get a ticket for the train. so far so easy. then down to catch the actual train. hmmm. it should have been easy and it was for the most part but Den Haag has two stations and most go to the Central Station which is about 1 kilometer from the school. i needed the one that stopped at Den Haag Holland Spoor which is right in front of the school. i missed the one that goes right there so i hopped on one to Leiden and then switched there to go right to Den Haag HS. 
if i could give one piece of advice: DONT TAKE MORE THAN ONE SUITCASE. 
it's a pain in the neck to try to get those things up and down stairs. i don't care if they are only 35 lbs. 
ok tangent. sorry. 
so i made it to the correct station. from there i had to walk outside to the tunnel that goes underneath the station. 

this goes under the trains to connect without having to go around the long way.  its also how to get up to each separate platform.
cross the street looking out for cars and bikes and trams. down a little more roadway and ta da! 
the university! 

it's a really large building and really really cool. the water you can see right there in front of the bike parking leads down through that concrete {where the people are walking - have to watch your step or you'll end up in one of the waterways} and into the canal. it's really pretty. from here just keep walking under those glass bridges and around the corner to my housing. 

the red tower is the apartments for students with the main office on the ground floor for student housing here and throughout the city. i don't actually live in the red tower but that tan strip connected to it. 

just so you can get an idea here is a shot of the university. the station is the Station Hollands Spoor (HS). the main part of the university including the photo i included is the one marked Ovaal (OV) it's *super* cool inside and i'll show more photos later. the glass bridges connect it to Slinger (SL) which holds tons more classrooms, offices, etc. Ovaal also connects to Strip (ST) and it's the same things there. Rugzak (RZ) is also connected. Basically it's a HUGE building all connected. it's really simple to get from one to the other. i've ended up in the Strip without even realizing i'd left Ovaal! The red tower is also marked and you can see how close it is. my section is basically connected there to the school. and at the top is the city centre where all the shopping is and etc. 
back to this very long story. 
i signed my paperwork in the office and they gave me my keys to my new home for the next months. i lugged my suitcases to the elevator to get to the 3rd floor {which they call second because they count ground as zero}. Down the hallway....

they have this glass tiling every other section of flooring! 
and into my room! 

my roomie was already all moved in but not there. there was a box of kitchen items they provided for each student and my bedding. all from ikea as you can see :) 

just walked into my room! welcome home. 
not yet set up. 
everything from ikea!
so i set up my half of the room. putting away clothes in my half of the wardrobe and just getting situated. but i needed to run into the city centre to pick up an internet cord because they provide internet but we have to have our own cord. 

lookin good :) 

so i got directions before heading out to get to media markt. i picked up a cord and thought about finding a place to eat but they would be closing soon and i wasn't sure where a good place was so i simply headed back to my little apartment. while i put on a pot of water to cook some of the pasta that mom thoughtfully packed i looked to plug in the internet cable. hmmm i wont bore you with the details but basically my roomie had set up a wifi already. so i put the cord i had gotten away for now. i couldn't figure out which wifi was ours and they all needed passwords anyway so no quick email home to tell everyone i was alright. instead i just munched on some pasta and read another magazine until my new roommate got home. 
She finally came home and i got to meet her. her name is Sue and she's from South Korea. she's rather nice and soft spoken because she is unsure of her english. we got to know the same basics about each other and she invited me to hang out with some girls she had met that day on a city tour. she also gave me the password for the internet but it wasn't working so we couldn't use it until monday when we could call for it to be fixed. so i took a short nap and then we headed out to meet with the others. They were really sweet girls from Germany and Austria. it had just started to rain so we walked quickly to the International Pub which is a big weekend hang out for the students. we hung out for a few hours and i met loads more people which was great. finally at the end of a long couple of days {which i'm sure has taken almost as long to read about} we headed home to shower and sleep! 
so there is my whole travel and first day in a new place! sorry it's so crazy long!

1 comment:

Natalie said...

Love the updated blog LP Sizzle! So great to see you new digs & hear about your first few days! Glad you are safe & sound & meeting people. We all miss you! XOXXO Natalie