I made it.
I have survived a full academic year in The Hague. Well, full is possibly a bit of a misnomer. Sure, up until my singing exam at the end of May I was all into practicing, studying, rehearsing and being a good little student. But since that was over and I gained acceptance into the Master’s programme for next year, my level of dedication has been noticeably lower. In fact, I’ve pretty much been on holiday since then, despite June being the month of all other exams. My mind just decided that my life outlook would henceforth look a little something like this:
So I went to all my other exams with a minimum of study or care, handed in assignments and did presentations with the bare skeleton of preparation, watched movies and fuelled my addiction to peanut M&M’s. I have also discovered a few new things about Holland, the main ones being:
1. Indicating is optional.
I always knew the Dutch went a little bit weird when put behind the wheel of a car, but since I have been outside marginally more than normal due to nice weather, I have realised that many of them are like ostriches in a spaceship. Unpredictable. Perfectly normal traffic situations, like T intersections become crazier than a theme park in school holidays as you try to telepathically figure out where everyone intends to go.
2. The Dutch don’t swim.
They seem to believe than swimming pools are not created for exercise, but instead to function as communal bathtubs. In which everyone wears swimmers, naturally. But the idea of swimming in lanes, or putting your head underwater seems totally foreign to most of them. It’s very bizarre that I completed a lap faster than a Dutch giant who seemed totally designed for swimming, having hands and feet the size of flippers. He was also about a third of the length of the pool in height, yet somehow seemed to go no faster than a turtle on land. Which is the scientific description for the speed at which I am capable of swimming.
3. Orange is a thing.
Since the start of the world cup, the streets and windows of The Hague have taken on a certain tinge. Or perhaps that’s a bit of an understatement, seeing as the city has practically become phosphorescently orange as the Dutch get their national pride on. At first I thought they were getting pre-emptively excited for Halloween, then I remembered that the whole House of Orange thing could be literally represented by the colour orange. Genius. I can’t believe the number of things you can buy in orange packaging at Albert Heijn. Even my beloved peanut M&M’s have gone orange. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
Speaking of soccer (or football, if you must)… actually, let’s not speak of soccer. See the above picture for an accurate representation of my feelings towards this sport, and indeed sport in general.
But speaking of holidays, I’m off to Portugal. Like, now. I’m off to the land of bacalhau, fado, sunshine, warmth, hospitality and… oh yeah. Passionate interest in soccer. Ah well, can’t win them all.