Monday, October 15, 2012

cheers to the freaking weekend!

28 - 30 september
this weekend certainly deserved a cheers or two! the fun started friday morning biking with two of my friends to study in the Peace Palace. the Peace Palace is the home of the International Court of Justice and is an amazingly beautiful landmark complete with breath taking gardens {not open to the public so don't even try to go wander through them} connected to the actual building is an extensive library with many old books especially on law.

so amazing

statue by the library - no idea why a cat but it was cool!

the Peace Palace!
before settling down to study we wandered through the short display about the history of the International Court of Justice and then through security. because this is such an important place it was necessary to have photo id. I thought rather than taking my passport i would take my new residence permit even though it has a terrible photo. they won't really look anyway, right? WRONG. after the seemingly sweet security officer checked my id he asked to see it a second time and then burst into laughter. not wanting to keep the source of his mirth a secret he showed it to my friends asking if they had seen it yet. of course it is such a terrible photo my friends couldn't contain their laughter either. and not wanting to leave anyone out he called over his fellow security officer, who until then had been minding his own business, that he had to come see this! my word i think i deserved them taking a photo to put on the wall as worst photo of the year!
after making everyone's day with my specter-esqe photo we made our way to the library after meeting up with a friend from one of the other girls' classes. as we were walking across the grounds to the library i couldn't help but think i picked one of the greatest cities in the world to study in. 
the library was very large and very quiet. we settled in a room with a couple of couches and large old paintings on the wall. after a couple of hours everyone's stomachs were growling so we figured a bite of ice cream was in order. but first we had to check out the flame that is united from countries all over the world. 

around the flame are stones from each country. the united states was a sad looking little stone that looked like the top half had been taken away by an adoring fan but it was cool to see anyway. we savored our ice cream and conversation sitting in grote markt but scarttered for home when the rain started to fall. once home and fed i had the pleasure of skyping with my dear friend in London! seeing her made me 1000 times more excited to finally visit her.
with the afternoon drawing to a close it was time to head out to spend time with the cool peeps i call friends. we met up and then headed over to a friends house who had just scored and gotten two free sofas so there was finally enough room for all of us to sit! after a fun evening a few of us headed out to a new place where there was a 90's theme night. sadly they hardly played any actual 90's music but we had fun anyway.

saturday was quite a lovely day as the sun decided to stay out and play making the day warm and enjoyable. after a chill, homework filled morning my girls and i met up to go to the market for kilos of fresh food for cheap. just as we were climbing on our bikes laden with fresh veggies and baked goods we had gotten for that nights supper, two other friends called and invited us to lunch with them. 

at the market

we biked back to the centre to drop off our goods and then meet the other two for a yummy lunch of Italian pizza. after the delicious meal and conversation everyone split to go their separate ways for the rest of the afternoon. i met up with a different friend  to check out the British and American import store, Kelly's. walking into the store filled with specifically American food i realized just how many products i hadn't even thought about or hadn't noticed were not on the shelves of the grocery stores here. and the really funny thing was i hadn't even missed them. sure they are tasty and what i am used to but not necessary or a craving. after getting a couple of things we stopped by a sweet little eatery for a cup of coffee and mozzarella sticks. the waitress was even able to convince my friend to try bitterballen {a dutch specialty} which he was convinced was some sort of unmentionable, don't fret it wasn't.
after a delightful afternoon i headed home to do some homework until dinner with friends. this is quickly become a habit which i enjoy. we made a lekker {translation - delicious} supper of spaghetti and veggies which we finished off with speccalaas  from the market. sadly i don't have an oven so i can't make these treats myself!

this evening was a big gathering for our friends birthday the next week. so we all went to celebrate with him. there were loads of people there including a smattering of new faces. its is always interesting to meet new people from all over the world come together in one place. it was a great evening and we all had a really fun time.

the next morning my friend and i made our way to the American Protestant Church for service. the sermon and worship are all in english here and it was lovely to be back in a body of believers praising God and reflecting. the service was more of a traditional sort and the hymns were all ones that are well known and loved. i'm so thankful that i have another friend here that holds the same beliefs that i can talk to and discuss matters of faith with.  after church it was time to head home and prepare for the coming week. after a fun, busy weekend it is nice to spend a day in resting, reflecting, and preparing for the next week.

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