Oh, if only I knew then the things I know now. If I could go back three months and re-move to The Hague, the things I would do differently! Actually, let’s go back five months and start the process again. I would change about 87% of what I did in preparation and once I got here.
But sadly, not matter how many episodes of Dr Who I watch, I still haven’t managed to master the art of time travel. So I shall simply content myself with passing on my infinite wisdom to any lesser mortals who choose to follow in my footsteps. So here it is:
I woke up with the day all mapped out in my head. First up, I would run to the office and collect my keys, swing by my new home and scope it out, then dash back to the hostel, check out, stash my suitcases in my new abode, then head off to IKEA to initiate the flat-pack joy that would define my coming days.
The first step went well. I collected my keys without difficulty. The sun was shining and the giant seagulls cawing happily as I made my way over to my new home. I climbed the four flights of stairs, and breathless with anticipation and unfitness, I unlocked my new front door and pushed it open with an excited flourish.
The hunting of houses is a delicate affair. Houses are particularly variable creatures, adapting their characteristics to suit local conditions. Many a seasoned hunter has confidently applied proven hunting techniques, only to discover that his target was a variant invulnerable to his methods.
The Dutch student house, a genus including the species of apartment, room, studio and share house, is notoriously elusive. I was advised that the beast was most commonly taken out through attrition, that is to say persistent, repetitious and consistent applications of force aimed at its weak points, designed to bring the animal to a point of exhaustion where it would no longer be able offer any resistance. As an outsider to the Dutch Student Housing tribe my status as a hunter in this field was precarious from the outset. However, I was determined not to let the odds overwhelm me. With my trusty tools internet, email, and Google Translate, I set about studying my prey. Continue reading