Monthly Archives: January 2013

Hey, I’m Hank

I’m a drunk and I fucking love life. I’m almost never hungover, that’s the advantage of being a drunk. For this post, I’ve done research for many nights. Field research, yes drinking.

Friday, I woke up drunk. The night before was crazy. Jersey is probably the lamest place to go clubbing before the semester starts. Both pubs were empty but we decided to have drinks, shots and whatever anyway. The next day I had to meet with my counselor to register my schedule. At 9:30 am. Believe it or not, but I woke up on time after only three hours sleep. I walked up to the faculty which is a 15 minute walk from the cafe (where I had breakfast). I wasn’t able to stand straight, so how on earth was I going to make important decisions today? Right in front of my counselors’ office, I was wobbling and giggling ’cause I felt so funny and excited at the same time. Usually, I’m not the funny person in the group. I’m quiet and shy when I’m in big groups, but one to one I can be whatever you want. Just before I walked to my counselors’ office, I showered myself, brushed my teeth and put on some new clothes. Just in case she’d smell the vodka. Every single time I met a faculty member, I thought to myself “does he smell what I feel like?” and at one point I couldn’t take the hesitation anymore and asked a girl if I smelled badly. She said no. Thank God.

Of course, I had the worst luck of all. Because I was still at another level, I couldn’t pay any attention. So when we were discussing which subjects to take, I didn’t notice the overlap between 2 subjects. Thanks to this, I walked from my dorm (1) to the Student Union Building (2), to the Dickinson Hall (3), and then to Robinson Hall (4), Kron Administration Building (5) and back to the Dickinson Hall (2), only to realise then that I had to go back to Robinson Hall (4). Fuck me. I think I’ve walked for over 45 minutes and to be honest, I didn’t know what I was doing.

This is the route I walked. From 2 to 3 will take you 15 minutes.

My counselor is so kind. She helped me through every step of college schedule preparation. The annoying thing at this university though, is having to fill out so much paperwork. First you decide which classes to take, then you have to fill out all of the paperwork at least three times. Also, during introduction we were writing for about 2 hours. Things we had already filled out the day before. But that’s okay, it’s only the first week.

At 1:00 pm I finally finished the paperwork. I took a nap and had dinner in the SUB (student union building). After that my friends and I hung out til midnight and went to sleep. Next day NYC!

Around 2 pm Florian (my German friend whom I met on the first day) and I hopped on the bus off to NYC Port Authority (station). We were so happy and couldn’t wait to go clubbing. Unfortunately, the party we wanted to go to was sold out.. Cheeky as I am I wrote an email to the organisation because I wanted to go there so badly. What did they do? They put me +1 on the guest list. Fuck yeah! Too bad I didn’t read their email earlier, because that would’ve been epic. No, we were already on our way home. Better luck next time!

When Flo and I arrived at the campus our friends had bought us some vodka and we brought it to the local pub. We were drunk in an instant and had an insane night. Our American friend Brittany was the DD (designated driver/bob) so she watched us having the time of our lives whilst she was enjoying her soda. Yosua, Florian, Burak, Ruby and I were pretty pissed. It was one of the best nights in the last two weeks and hopefully we’ll repeat it soon. The next day they all were craving fast food and water (our uni cafe was closed and the water here is disgusting). I just felt normal, not even a slight headache. So thanks Amstelveenseweg people (friends back in Amsterdam) who prepared me for college drinking, even though this probably wasn’t your intention.

Okay, let’s get serious now. My observations about college so far: college is all about drinking, having fun and misbehaving when you don’t have classes. I really didn’t expect this to be honest but you won’t hear me complaining. Furthermore, college is a great way to meet internationals, building up a network outside of your comfort zone and of course, studying. My classes start on 28 January which was a couple of days ago. I’ve been a bit lazy writing this post, because I was too busy doing nothing and going to classes. Sorry!!

So on Monday I had my first class with a fantastic lecturer. Her name is Kirsten Tripodi and she’s one of the most loveable professors I’ve had to this date. This first class, called Manager & The Group was an introduction so nothing happened to be writing about. The professor of the next class didn’t show up and the class after that was simply amazing. I didn’t have high expectations so I wouldn’t be disappointed but it’s the exact opposite. Events Planning is great!! Our lecturer is VERY talkative but kind and she’s super interested in the differences between America and the Netherlands (I’ll definitely make a list about this one day).

Tuesday I only had one evening class. I had to draw myself and was dismissed after that. Due to a drain problem students couldn’t eat at the cafe and people of some of the buildings weren’t even allowed to shower (I could though).

Yesterday, Wednesday was my last class of the week. Intro to the study of wine. Brilliant! This professor is so interesting. He is 77 years old, has been to 147 countries and has many interesting stories to tell. His family owns the oldest wine merchant in the United States. He graduated from Columbia and later he became a professor at this university, teaching the current American president about wine. He told us three things about Obama: he was a good student, liked dating and something else (on request). The course is really fun and he makes it even cooler.

I’m off to the city in an hour. Gotta be back on time because tonight is THIRSTY THURSDAY! Everyone on campus is going to the pub. Should be amusing!

Oh by the way. This is my schedule.

Monday

11:30 – 12:30 Manager and the Group: Work Experience (there’s a chance I’m staying longer in the States if I can get myself an internship, hence why I’m doing this subject)

12:50 – 1:50 Professional Development Sequence Lab

3:30 – 6:00 Events Planning

Tuesday

5:30 – 8:00 Collage and Mixed-Media (arts)

Wednesday

12:30 – 1:30 Global Issues in Hospitality Management

6:30 – 9:00 Intro to the study of wine (free drinking, perfect)

Thursday

5:30 – 8:00 Advertising Design

Partly fictional, partly real life. And no, I’m not a real drunk, I just like to exaggerate. Why introduce myself Hank? I really felt as if I was him last week. Californication is one of my favourite shows and Hank can be an inspiration, except/especially for his drinking habits (kidding). Oh and sorry for not posting earlier!

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4 shots and no booze

It seemed like a mission impossible, going from Manhattan to the campus somewhere in New Jersey along with my two heavy suitcases. Around a quarter past ten this morning I walked away from the hotel. Bye hotel in the city, hello campus in Teaneck!

I smartly asked for the directions to George Washington Bridge as I have the worst orientation one can possibly have. From 117 West 79th Street to 81st Street with the C train. Overpass at 125th, switch to the A train and hop off 175th. Then I was advised to take a mexican bus to the university.

The driver told me where to get out and so I did. Strangely, the bus stop was on the highway and I had to walk down the road with the two suitcases (such a burden). Of course, I made a wrong turn and I ended up at a Korean church. It took me at least half an hour before I finally set foot on the campus ground.

The first thing I had to do was get a medical clearance. In the Netherlands it’s not standard practice to do such things so I didn’t know what to expect. A woman who went over my files told me I didn’t get all the vaccines I needed so I had to go the school nurse. Hepatitis B, Chicken Pox, Influenza and adult Tdap. Four shots. As a kid I used to love getting my yearly Influenza shot but after this experience not so much anymore. The first two didn’t hurt at all, but then came the third. Oh-my-god. This shot hurt so so very badly! I could cry (but I didn’t want to make a pussy impression). The last shot wasn’t as bad as the previous one, thank God. Now my arms are soar and I still have to go shopping for a duvet, blanket and more room stuff. Err, this hasn’t been my best day!

But now comes the worst part. Alcohol is prohibited on the campus because FDU is a so called dry campus. This is what they call a tragedy when you are used to having drinks almost everywhere with your friends. Bye vodka, I will miss you dearly..

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New York, New York

New York, the greatest city of all. So they say. Yesterday, which was Monday, was my first real day in the big apple and since I had a lot of time on my hands, I decided to plan absolutely nothing. Okay, except for one thing: buying pajamas. I knew where I wanted to buy them, Victoria’s Secret of course. So after I had showered and prepped myself to explore the city, I walked to the subway and asked the first person which way to go to Herald Square.

I hopped of on 34th Street and asked a cleaner which way to go to Herald Square. He told me that if you see Macy’s, it’s right next to that. Unfortunately I was way too excited and walked to the left, only to notice this when I walked all the way up to Times Square (which really isn’t that impressive!) via 23nd St, Penn Station and back again. But I finally found it, right next to the station!

Last november Victoria’s Secret opened a flagship store in Manhattan. I knew that if I wanted cool pajamas, I had to go there. Guess I was wrong. I have inspected every floor (there are 3 of them) at least three times and all of the lingerie and bikinis were absolutely stunning, but for some reason they sold only 3 kinds of PJs. I will definitely come back to this store but not in the near future as it will make me poor as hell.

After Victoria’s Secret I wandered around between 7th and 5th Avenue. I have to say, I expected so much more of New York. I expected it to be bigger, brighter, higher and definitely way more crowded. Yesterday was Martin Luther King Day so maybe this explains why trains didn’t come as much as in London and why some stores were closed. Hopefully the weekend will be much more exciting and fun.

My feet couldn’t bear to walk another meter so I decided to go back to the hotel. First, I had to figure out which way to go. Someone told me I had to change trains at the Rockefeller Center stop so I did, but smart as I am I took the wrong train (but in my defense, it was the right letter!) and ended up in Brooklyn. The ride was interesting though. A homeless (I think so at least) woman gave a speech to someone on the train, with gestures, shouting and the whole shebang. She had a fiery debate with someone but I didn’t want to look who she was talking to, because maybe she would have yelled at me too.

I pretended I listened to my music but secretly overheard her/them. At one point she said “I hope you make a gun and fucking explode yourself, cause there ain’t a thing you can do about it. You buy your clothes at Gucci and JCPenny, carry a bag from Macy’s but you won’t even help poor people. The only thing you people are good for is paying taxes”.

After a short while I noticed she was talking and shouting to a non-existing person. Someone in her head probably. She made a couple of good points and made me think about how materialistic the world is. I am materialistic, I love spending money (good for our economy!) but I do care about people. Then why don’t I often give money to a homeless person? If you want a better world you have to start with yourself, but I don’t think it really works that way. Maybe they will spend your money on drugs or alcohol, but perhaps they are trying to make a better them. I don’t know. It is late (at the time of writing) and my head keeps spinning around this woman.

New York, what have you done to me? I was used to be zen in my head and now I am constantly thinking!

I will see you soon, big apple. But the next couple of days are devoted to international student orientation at the university..

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Worst. Flight. Ever.

I am not kidding. I have been on longer flights than Amsterdam – JFK but this was the absolute worst. The thing is, it started off so well! I spent 3 wonderful hours with my two best friends of which one is my boyfriend. During boarding the cabin personnel put me in the priority line whilst all the other travellers had to wait in the regular line.

But then the drama started.. I stowed my carry-on and went to my seat. There I found an Arabian couple who barely spoke a word English, even though they have a green card (eavesdropped them, what else to do on an 8 hour flight?). The woman I was sat next to was kind and calm, but she was so big she sat on my chair as well.. Not just a tiny bit, no, almost half of my chair! This turned out in me sitting in the flight attendant chair which isn’t very comfortable.

Economy class isn’t great for long-legged people but this was simply tragic. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t sit normally and my head was bursting because of the crying baby in the seat in front of me.

But hey, all of this really doesn’t matter anymore because I am in New York City!! Today was exhausting so I am about to sleep (but first finish the new episode of Revenge on ABC).. Tomorrow is a new day!

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One more night..

..And I am off to New York City. I have been waiting for this moment for so long! And now it is only one night away. Unbelievable!

I don't own the rights to this photo 

Doesn’t Manhattan look tiny from above?

My plane departs at 1:55 PM (GMT +1) from Schiphol and I will arrive at 4:05 PM (GMT -5). In about 20 hours my plane hits American soil.

I haven’t made any plans yet of what I shall do in the city. I will probably do some sightseeing on Monday and maybe go to the Museum of Modern art (I love contemporary art) but most of all relax before school starts. If any of you (I know there must be a follower!) have recommendations for me, they are more than welcome! It is my first time New York and I am up for anything!

..And ended up at the embassy

Visa

Wednesday morning I finally had an appointment with the American Consulate in Amsterdam. I am not much of a morning person so I had a tough job waking up. You see, the last year was a very lazy year for me. From January to May I had to go to school but only for 2,5 days a week and no early classes so I could sleep in every day. During the summer and fall my boyfriend and I did home improvements so we could just choose whenever to wake up. This spring semester is going to be hell, every day waking up before the sun even rises.

But yeah, back to the embassy.

I was very nervous because what would they ask? Would they deny my visa application? Did I bring all the necessary documents? Of course, I had to forget something. Proof that I had paid the application fee. For this reason I had to talk with 3 employees instead of 2. And God knows why, but I had my first appointment with the grumpiest employee in the bunch which didn’t make it any easier. This employee, a woman, was cranky and did not even have the decency to greet me. She scared me. I thought all of the employees would be cranky if she was. She took all of the documents and passed them on to the second person. The next two persons whom I talked with were so much more friendly and patient. The second person I spoke with was a bald man and he checked if I had paid all the visa fees. The last person asked me the following 3 questions:

  1. What are you going to do in America?
  2. How are you going to pay all the expenses?
  3. How are you going to keep in touch with family?

So that was that. One hour later, my visa application got approved. And two days later I found my passport along with the J-1 visa on the doormat. Woohoo!

And now, only 8 more nights left in the Netherlands and I still have to do so many things but more importantly, say goodbye to my friends..

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