anyone heard of them? anyone love this candy as much as i do?
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
mike is the ninja, patrick (from germany- a buddy) is a carpenter!? mariel from mexico is something?! me and meg the musketeers!
dancing to carnaval music!
me and vincent (a buddy from belgium)
i bought my first bike! me and trevor went to meet this woman at her house that i found online from this dutch e-bay type website. just to let you know- there are 6 millions bikes or something in the netherlands (or maastricht? not sure) and about 1 million are stolen every year. that gives you an idea of the kind of bike businesses being run here. so anywho- we get to this womans house and she shuffles us into this huge ghetto van that is so run down with her husband and son in it. as uncomfortable as we were already- this man starts driving us and parks outside this garage. i think im just going and picking up a used bike and leaving. nope- this man, with his 15 year old cig-smoking son- opens this garage and there are TONS of bikes! we end up getting two of the cheapest bikes (2 bikes for 100 euros) and head home. it was quite an experience.
anyways- my bike already broke today. the chain fell off on the way home from school and now i have to bring it so sammy angel (fake name ofcourse) to have it fixed/replaced. and my tushy is beyond bruised. the seat on this thing is so bad. lets hope ill be able to have children some day, because right now- my future isnt looking so bright.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
count down to carnaval: 24 HOURS!!!!
we purchased our costumes today. im wearing some black outfit with this lovely black and gold feathered hat?! and i have a sword!? i dont know pictures will be posted immediately following carnaval. a week off school to drink and dance in the streets...for 5 days!!! this will be nuts and quite an experience. scared is an understatement to explain me and my fellow americans. i think we might head to cologne, germany for the second half of festival as well... this is going to be crazy!
Yesterday was a lovely day. First we had class. We became quite friendly with some students from our class who were nice enough to invite us to a party tomorrow night in the dorms. We are going to go. It is nice making friends!
Then, we had a dinner for all exchange students. There were about 15-20 of us plus our buddies that we were assigned. In the school there is a student run restaurant that is ok to eat in every day and then there is a nicer restaurant that serves three course dinners. We got to eat there! It was all free- including alcohol!!! A school sponsored event ON school grounds... serving free food and alcohol! My idea of perfection. Anywho- they started out with a salmon amuse-bushe (??sp??- a little something i picked up from top chef)...then i tried duck liver. I really did try it like an adult- but i really did not like it one bit. Then we had bacon-wrapped pork- quite delicious i must say- with potatoes and mixed veggies. Then we had chocolate desert with a scoop of ice cream. Plus a lovely champagne cocktail and free wine! Seriously- it was great! We made new friends with other buddies who were students at the school and ended up sitting at dinner chatting for 3 hours. We then followed them to one of their houses where they had all of us over and we had a really good time. I finally feel like a normal student in this school and everyone we have met has been so nice. I also got to try this delicious German wine that is mixed with herbs and spices and served hot. It was deeeelish. We also became friendly with a few of the students who will be exchanging to penn state next year. I cant wait to show them around!
Then we biked home as usual (my on the back) and it was lovely. I still have not gotten a stupid bike (although we are waking up early tomorrow morning to do so) and I am getting quite comfortable riding on the back. Dont worry ma- it wont last long...ill get my exercise! AND if i dont find some G-D ice cream in this town soon i might lose it...
Monday, February 16, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
so we did not quite make it to bruges as planned. me, meg, our new friend marciel from mexico, mike and trevor go to the train station planning to go to bruges but soon realize the ticket counter is closed so the only tickets we could by were out of the machine and the wonderful security guards told us - go to liege! its great!... the LAST time we ever listen to the security guards. we bought our 5 euro tickets to liege and hopped on the train. we were pumped and excited thinking we were going to this great city because well- the security guard said so! we had heard bits and pieces and we thought it would be just a nice weekend. not quite.
so we arrive in liege and have a taxi take us to a cheap hostel. we check in and everything is great and there are people at the bar downstairs. it looks like a castle and our room is awesome. so far- we like liege. we go out to a main strip of bars and have a really nice time until we have our first encounter with the french belgians. we try to buy fries and a kabob and we pay and wait for our money- they never come. the man starts screaming at us in french saying we never paid- took our food and threw it away! we got into quite the argument to end up foodless and cold on the streets. we head home.
the next day we wake up and go to the aquarium. its a pretty pathetic aquarium but they had some interesting fish and taxidermy that kept us occupied for a few hours. we found this lime green giant eel that was extremely fascinating at the time. it continues to haunt all of our dreams. it was unlike any eel any of us have ever seen. i will have to post a picture when mike loads his pictures. but i must warn you- it is veryyyy scaryyy!!!
ok so sure lovely day at the aquarium, we head back to nap and then the plan is to go out for a lovely valentines day dinner. here is a piece of advice- dont bother trying to communicate with ANYONE in a french speaking country. literally NOONE would speak english. not a single person. we tried going to 4 different restaurants for dinner where we were abruptly turned away. it was fairly early and none of us could understand why we could not be served. every restaurant we went into they would say "COMPLETE." we started to get really upset and 2 hours later we finally found our way to an italian pizza place where still no one spoke English- but they were at least kind.
we ended up going to bed early after dinner and leaving early the next morning. the french are mean people who treat you terribly and refuse to acknowledge your existence. the boys had a really tough time accepting people being so mean. it was the first time any of us had experienced such discrimination for being american. we hated every minute of it and could not wait to go home.
i dont think i will be going back to liege ever again.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
hello mates! just spent a night at the bar getting free drinks by convincing these two dutch boys i was from 8 km outside of london! (who even knows how far km's are?! and dont worry ma and pa- i watched every single drink be poured directly from the bar tender!). any who- who knew how much americans were hated?! try sitting in on a class about economics and hearing every other country bash on america! and then my friend had the bus driver close the doors on her! as nice as everyone is there are definitely people here who are not such fans of the americans. oh well~ we are lucky to be here none the less! cherio mates!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
yesterday was our first real class and yesterday we were half an hour late! the bus system is crazy here and we ended up walking in late. luckily our teacher is nice and really likes us so everything is okay. i am going to have to work with the other boys and we have to write an entire report all module long about why they should build a hotel in cape town. seeing as none of us know anything about south africa, this should be interesting.
this morning, I, Jessie Robbins, rode a bike 25 minutes to school at 730 IN THE MORNING! yes...thats right....me! talk about a morning workout! it was actually quite nice and refreshing. we had a day of classes and then time to head home. but dont be silly- of course nothing could go as easily as planned. trevor has been having some bike trouble lately, and today the bike won. his bike became completely useless and we had to ditch it at the school. this somehow meant i was stuck riding on the back of a bike instead of my own. i rode straddling a flat piece of metal for 30 minutes. i can barely move my legs. the other night riding on the back of megs bike left me bruised from tush to toe and i was only on the bike for 10 minutes. i can only imagine what i will look like tomorrow...
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
yesterday was our first day of class finally. we got our module (which is what they call it- it is for 8 weeks- then we take another module after that). we are in a group with all international students. we have met most of them already since we live in the same building but some new people are coming now and its been great getting to know them. I have a lot of friends from Spain and Finland and there are a few from Mexico and Germany. All kinds of people - its really neat.
So my module will be cover hotel international and its about econ and hotel properties. we will have to write a paper about where to locate a new hotel and why. it sounds interesting and we work in groups so it will be nice. we got split into two different groups and i am going to be with trevor and mike so i am sure things will go well. i was scared i would be all by myself and too scared to speak up but that is what most of your grade is based on.
today we actually begin our group meetings so lets hope it goes well!
Sunday, February 8, 2009
last night was my first adventure on a bike besides falling off of one the night before....
so we went off to dinner with 4 bikes a 6 people. In this situation you simply put the extra people on the back of the bike. everyone does it here and they sure look comfortable doing it- we thought it would be no problem. it was. my friend meg and i for some reason shared a bike. she was the driver and i was the passenger. it was such a disaster that it confirmed my fear of bikes. to get one a bike you have to hop on the back wheel while the bike is in motion- and thats not even the hardest part. it is so hard to keep your balance i cant even describe it. we ended up far behind the rest of the pack and we were almost hit by multiple cars and ran directly into a wall. it was just a disaster.
so riding home. there is really no rules again drunk bike riding and everyone does it. no helmets or anything. after a long night at the bar we all hopped back on our bikes to get home. this time i rode the bike. it was my first time riding a bike since i was ten (thanks to my darling sister lizzie who left my bike at a friends house, never to be seen again). i spent the entire bike ride screaming and laughing i didnt know what to do. lets just say i would pay someone $50,000 to see a video of myself last night. i am lucky i did not pee my pants. no seriously, i am really lucky.
my body is certainly feeling the pain from my adventure last night. they always say its like a riding a bike...for me not so much.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
what a night. i come to the netherlands assuming ill be learning dutch (which i will be) but now i am also perfecting my spanish! my spanish neighbor and a bunch of other spanish boys came to our floor last night. i talked spanish the whole night with them- we have now even made an agreement if i help them with english, they will help me with my spanish. sounds good to me.
first bike wipe out last night. the boys were able to buy bikes yesterday and so going out last night we tried riding on the back of them. it didn't work to say the least. naturally i ended up flat on my back on the ground. then i ended up in a cab. i don't like where this bike situation is going. all of the people here with bikes took off last night really quickly and poor Trevor was never able to catch up. we waited for him at the bar and he never arrived. we came home to find him laying in bed by himself because he got too lost. haha way too funny.
and i finally talked to lady and big al last night! always much more fun to check in with the rents at 530 in the morning.
and i am of course still loving every minute of it!
there is an overnight trip to brussels tonight people are making. unfourtanitly after my wild and crazy night
Friday, February 6, 2009
yesterday was really nice out so we walked around center city and did some shopping. the style is a little more jazzed up than at home with boots definitely being a necessary factor. our Finish friend Pia took us around to some really great stores and of course I couldn't resist a new pair of boots (don't worry Ma they were cheap!)
then last night we went to pre-game at our Buddy's house then walk to the bar on campus. beer was only 1 euro! i could get used to this...
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
last night we went to a club to celebrate the finals the other students are taking right now. it was a fun club and we had a really good time. but of course, we get separated once again! i spent last night on the curb outside of the club with two of the boys for an hour after our entire group hopped into a cab and disappeared. it didn't seem like so much of a problem and we thought we could simply hop in a cab home. we quickly realized that a cab cant take you anywhere if you have no clue where you live, what street the apartment is on, or even how to pronounce it. Luckily we found our german buddies in the club and they were able to help us out and we finally found our way back home to find the rest of our friends enjoying them selves five levels up on the Dutch floor of the apartment building.
Oh well, after an hour long lesson of Dutch on the side of the road waiting for a cab, and after being laughed at continuously for my more than pathetic attempt at an accent, I learned how to count to ten in Dutch! Something good comes out of everything!
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
So on Friday I arrived in Amsterdam!!! The flight was fine and everything worked out well. From the airport we made full use of the transportation in Amsterdam and took a train to central station and then the free tram to Vondelpark which is an area of the city. The journey to find our hostel was an exhausting one. At the station this homeless Jamaican man began talking to us and also serenaded us with a song about angels?! Once we stopped laughing at him he ended up helping us through the city to our hostel. We each dragged our heavy suit cases over the cobble stone for at least an hour. I never thought I would find the Stay Okay Hostel but with 3 bags, 1 homeless man, and 2 euros for his help- we were able to finally set in. The weekend was great and we traveled from pub to pub with little sleep to begin our trip in Europe. Amsterdam was really beautiful and we had an amazing opening weekend.
Leaving Amsterdam, one of the worst things that could happen did! On our trip back to the train to travel to Maastricht, we separated into 2 different taxis. Meg, Mike and Dan hopped into a small cab and threw a majority of their luggage into the minivan taxi with me, Kate and Trevor. The plan was to meet at the train station in Central Amsterdam as opposed to the train station in the airport. With a bit of a language barrier, the first taxi went to the correct destination (central station) and our taxi ended up taking us to the airport....20 minutes from the other train station. We got dumped on the curb with the three of us and about 7 suitcases. We had no phones and absolutely no way to contact the other three who were at Central. Trevor and Kate were the only two with cell phones and they were both with me. We knew the only way for us to reconnect with the other group would be for them to call us. After about 2 hours of them waiting at Central for us we finally got a phone call from them (after they had to buy a calling card, call home for Trevor's phone number, and then contact us) and we eventually met up. What started as a huge mess ended up working out well and we found our way to Maastricht.
Now in Maastricht I am all moved into my room (my own room with my own bathroom...not bad!). We have been assigned international students form the school to help us around the city and show us around and they have been great. I also live in an apartment for international students and everyone is really friendly here.
Our first night we went out with some German boys who are our buddies and they took us to this amazing Italian restaurant in one of the main squares where I had amazing pizza and drank delicious wine. We then went to a pub to watch the Super Bowl...and didnt Bruce look great!?
Yesterday, only our second day in Maastricht, although it already feels like we have been here for over a week, we went to the school to meet the dean. He seems like a really nice guy and we learned we will be taking some interesting classes about european business and we also get to take an Intro to Dutch course! I am really looking forward to picking up a few words so I can at least learn how to read some signs (how to pronounce all of these J's!?).
I am finally settled in after doing a bit of shopping. Everything is going great so far! The people I am with are great and so is everyone we met so far. With two amazing nights under our belts already I can only imagine what the next five months will be like!