Thursday, July 24, 2008

Like A Local

Day 135
At 5:30 in the morning one of the ancient Esperanto women felt the need to turn on the light. I couldn´t seem to find the switch myself to turn it off, but managed to get her to do it. About ten minutes later she turned it back on again and when I gave her a dirty look she motioned to one other person in the room who was up. That meant that 2 people out of 26 were awake. I found the switch this time and turned it off myself. She didn´t speak any English so I pointed to the light and said no! She didn´t turn it back on so I think that she got the point. I, however, couldn´t fall back to sleep. Eventually I just gave up trying and got my act together. I was once again headed to Utrecht.

I ended up there hour early and I didn´t want to do too much exploring before I saw Anke. I figured that I would take full advantage to having a local to show me around. Instead I spent the morning reading my book over tea, in a park, and by a canal. Of course, I did manage to forget where I was meeting Anke and had to find the internet cafe again. It opened late and I almost didn´t make it to the square. When I got to the Neude I had no problems spotting Anke. I was exceedingly nice not to just have a local to show me around, but to see someone I already knew.

Anke took me to a rather generic looking sandwich shop that only the locals knew how good they were. She was right too, I had a really good, and very cheap sandwich. After wandering the canals for a bit we stopped by the tiny Grocery Store museum. This basically had an assortment of food and soap packaging from the 1950´s.

After some more chatting and wandering (Utrecht isn´t very big) Anke invited me back to her place so that I could update blog. Anke lives in university housing that is really different from the dormitories that I lived in. There are eight people that each have their own room but share a kitchen and a bathroom. They had the cleanest college kitchen that I have ever seen. It was really something. In fact, I don´t think that my kitchen in NYC was ever that clean (except for when I first moved in and my Mom cleaned it) and I never even used it!

I didn´t want to overstay my welcome and I knew that Anke had dinner plans with a friend. I told her to kick me out whenever and tried to work quickly. I was really surprised and happy when Anke invited me to join them for dinner. She then left me to update while she met Suzanne at the supermarket to pick up dinner. Apparently we were cooking. Now this is a way that I can loose either fingers or friends really quickly.

By the time they returned I had gotten as much updated as possible. We headed to the kitchen and I tried to be as helpful as possible. I even cut an entire cucumber (one of the biggest I´ve ever seen) without loosing a finger or bleeding every where. I know what a shock this will be to my parents, that´s why there is a picture of bloodless chopped cucumber!

Dinner was a really good salad. I really loved being able to spend the evening talking with Anke and Suzanne. Travel isn´t just the museums you see, but really the people you meet. They both really made me feel that I was at home and welcome. They were both psych majors and it was interesting to hear about how different Dutch schools are from American one´s.

I stayed as late as I could, and decided to walk back to train station instead of taking a bus. I got a bit lost and ended up just making the last train back. By the time I got back to the hostel it was almost 1 am and I was exhausted. It had been a full day and I hadn´t gotten a good night sleep in a while. I briefly said goodbye to Sam and we decided to try and meet up some where in Asia. I headed straight up to bed and had no problems falling asleep.

1 comment:

Anke said...

Hi Kathryn,

Nice to read your story of Utrecht and the day we spent together! :) I enjoyed it as well. Too bad you got lost on your way back to the train station!

I hope you meet many other locals you can spend time with during your trip :).

Love from Utrecht!