Welcome to my blog about my Erasmus adventures in Holland, more specifically – Nijmegen! Lots of friends and family asked for regular updates about my move to Holland from Northern Ireland, so this seemed like the easiest way to do so.
WARNING: Expect selfies, food and embarrassing stories!
So I’ll start from the beginning, this may be a long one so just hold in there.
Wednesday night involved a LOT of butterflies in my tummy, well-wishes and tearful goodbyes. However, the 6am busy start on Thursday soon made me forget about those, and as soon as I saw Erin and Rachel (my travel buddies – you’ll be seeing a lot of their faces) and quickly tried to reduce our overweight luggage by stuffing our hand luggage full, the butterflies began to turn to excitement. We got settled on the plane, discussing all we planned to do on arrival, soon ‘making a new friend’ in a rather intoxicated man in the seat behind us who has nicknamed us 17A, 17B and Shakira. To say we were embarrassed would be an understatement when the rest of the plane passengers were unboarding and said ‘nice to meet you 17B’, we are now EasyJet celebrities.
We survived the flight, and managed to navigate Schiphol Airport with all of our luggage onto the train to Nijmegen Centraal. We were informed by a nice train conductor that we had seated ourselves in 1st Class, but allowed us to stay as we had too much luggage.
We were greeted by students from the university who would then bring us to our accommodation. We were given a great culture shock when we discovered how direct and abrupt they were about us being slightly late (I haven’t changed my ways just yet) compared to the friendly NI people back home. We got to our accommodation around 6pm and went out to seek food. We were pleasantly surprised by a Domino’s closeby, however translating the menu proved to be a task in itself. We were also noted as ‘engelse meisjes’ which we first thought meant English messes, but soon translated it to English girls.
We surprisingly made our first journey to the university on Friday, considering I had burnt myself with straighteners, hit my head, stuck a makeup brush in my eye and Erin failed to wake until Rachel battered on her door saying it was time to leave. We managed to rush out the door, making the bus without having to run. (As our new Spanish friend says – Running is for cowards and bad bull fighters – not us). When we got there, we got involved in introductions, a quiz and tours. Our second night’s dinner was chips, as we hadn’t managed to buy kitchen utensils and saucepans yet. The lack of super sauce was disappointing, but at least I was able to source my Heinz tomato ketchup!
After uni, myself and Rachel had to pick up our suitcases which had been sent by courier to the international office (you can never have enough clothes). We began the journey home on the bus with my 24kg and Rachel’s 29kg suitcases. This was all well and good until we got off the bus and started the 3/4 mile walk back to halls, when a dutch girl ran up behind us with A WHEEL THAT HAD BROKEN OFF MY SUITCASE. So, we began to formulate a plan to get it home, taking it in turns to carry the injured patient and placing it on top of Rachel’s trusty grey wagon. Where is the mighty clio when you need it??
Saturday morning (sorry, afternoon – Rachel Glenn certainly knows how to take a lie in) we ventured into Nijmegen Centrum to nosey around the shops and purchase kitchen utensils and pans. Although, I was missing my 1pm chicken nuggets and chips with the Fiveways boys and Sinead, exploring a new city 800 miles away wasn’t a bad substitute. By the time we got home through the lashing rain we were ready for a home-cooked meal and demolished a spaghetti bolognese with ice cream for dessert.
On Sunday morning, I streamed my church live before lunch and a long walk along the river, finding some beautiful spots along the way. Again, we were ready for a feed, and made ourselves a chicken stir-fry (No super-noodles to be seen… The boyfriends would be proud)
If you’ve made it this far without clicking off, I hope you enjoyed hearing about our antics. That’s all for this week.