Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happiness

:-)  | :-(

From as far back as I can remember, I was never happy with who I was or what I had.  I always wanted to be someone else or have more things.  Still to this day I have issues with this.  It never seems to matter to me how successful I am or all of the good things that I have in my life, from time to time, I will just sit and dwell on what other people have and think about how much better other people are than me.  I hate feeling this way because deep down, I know I have a good life, filled with great memories and people who care for me, but I don't know, sometimes I feel like it's not enough and I am missing something.  I really don't want to get into a lot of details right now, but it is just strange, I am a happy, healthy, and successful person yet I always see other people as being better than me, I can never be good enough to be happy with myself.  There is always someone who I feel is better than me.  I guess this could be a good thing because I am always trying to make myself better because of it, but at the same time, it is really tiring.  I need to start being happy with who I am and not worry about everyone else, but at least for me, that is way easier said than done.  Even though it is going to be hard, I am going to try to make it a point not to worry about this stuff anymore.  Let's see how it goes.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I am Thankful


Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  Unfortunately, I am writing this from work even though against popular American belief, (at least most who I've talked to) Thanksgiving is NOT celebrated outside of the US.  I know this is hard for most of you to belief, but alas, it is true.

I just wanted to take a quick moment to list some of the things that I am thankful for, because there is a lot this year.

I am thankful for:
  • Having this awesome opportunity to live and work in Europe and get to experience a bunch of new things and see the world from a totally new prospective.
  • Meeting wonderful new friends who have made this experience even better.
  • Traveling all around Europe and getting to see things that most Americans can only dream about for relatively cheep.
  • Having family and friends at home who still love me and support me.  I think about them often and can't wait to see them all in December.
  • Being successful in the fact that I can do pretty much whatever I want when I want to do it.  I am by no means rich, but am happy with the fact that I have what I need, and that is all that I want.
  • Being healthy.
On a side note, I will be cooking American Thanksgiving for my European friends next weekend.  That should be fun.

Now I want to know what you are thankful for.  Leave me some comments.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fish Shoarma ?

Wander if this is any good.

Ups and Downs

Life has given me a lot of ups and downs recently.  More ups with is a good thing and of course I'm sure you all know the subject, Dutch!

I am still studying Dutch almost each and every night, all night.  I am doing a number of different things to help me, and I am pretty proud of myself so far.  I know a lot of words, and partially follow conversations pretty well now, and can get by at most stores/restaurants.  Just Wednesday, I went to my third Dutch meetup.com group where we speak pretty much exclusively in Dutch.  Everyone there says that I am doing pretty good for being here seven months.  There was even a Dutch teacher who showed up this past meeting who told me the same thing.  Made me feel pretty good.  Also, I even talked to someone at the datacenter where I often go for work.  He started talking to me in Dutch today (which surprised me!) but I went with it for a while and he also told me that I've come a long way since the last time he tried to speak Dutch with me.  There are also people at work and some friends who are impressed with what I know.

I am very happy to try and speak Dutch around the meetup group, at stores, and with fluent Dutch speaking individuals one-on-one.  But I am very uncomfortable speaking whenever there is a group of Dutch speaking individuals, it still makes me feel really dumb and I don't like doing that so much yet.

So now we get to the not so good part.  Even though I am really happy to see some progress with myself, there is still just so much more to learn.  I still can have "real" conversations with people which I still have such a strong desire for.  I know that the process takes a long time and things don't just happen overnight, but I wish there was a date or timeframe that I could be waiting for where I know that, after this point, I will be where I want to be.  I think that is the most frustrating part is not knowing when this will be coming.  I still get upset (though not as frequently) and thing to myself that it is never going to happen and that I am just wasting my time every night studying and studying and studying.  Sheesh, I though all this studying would be over after I graduated from CMU.  Guess it never ends.  I have piles and piles of flash cars stacked up here and and making more every day.  They have been pretty helpful in learning new words but I just can't help but wander, how many do I need to make in order to just be "normal" here and go on with everyday life?  How much longer will it take?  Is  all of this trouble worth it?  What if I finally learn this crazy language and then I decide to move back to the United States (or even some other non-Dutch speaking country!!) will this all have been in vein?  I sure hope not, but these and many others are the questions that run through my head each and every day.

I know I need to start speaking more for sure, but that is easier said than done.  It is quite embarrassing to speak with fluent Dutch speakers whenever your speech is really cumbersome and s-l-o-w.  But I HAVE TO get over this or else it is going to stay at this level forever, and that would be terrible!

So generally speaking I am happy with my progress but still really frustrated.  Either way, I am still, of course, going to continue with this and hopefully someday look back at this post and laugh.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Erin's Vistit

I had my first visitor from America last week!  Erin came to visit me for a week.  I went to go pick her up at the airport last Wednesday morning.  Unfortunately I had to work from home that whole day but she got to catch up on some sleep then.  That night we had dinner with Wouter and his girlfriend at Pancake Bakery in Amsterdam.  The pancakes there are really good and big, you can get pretty much anything on them.  Here is one I had another time Erin and I went.  It has cheese, basil, pesto, tomatoes, and onions...so good.  After that Erin wanted to see the Red Light District.  She was a little disappointed that the girls don't really do anything in the windows besides talk on their cell phones and smoke!  haha.

Thursday we drove to Brussels for the day.  It was a nice city but we really didn't know what all to do so we ended up walking around and around.  Finally at the end of the day we found Manneken Pis.  It was a lot smaller than we expected.

Friday we spent the day shopping in Haarlem and then went out that night there as well with Kris and Erik.  Sophie met us out too after a while.  It ended up being a really fun night.  We haven't had a chance to go out like that in a long time, I am really glad everyone made it out.

Saturday we went to Amsterdam but the only problem was there was maintenance on the tracks between Haarlem and Amsterdam Sloterdijk for the whole weekend.  We had to take an NS-bus from Haarlem to Amsterdam Sloterdijk and then continue on the train to Amsterdam Centraal.  That really sucked, it took about an hour when normal time is only 15 minutes.  While there we went to House of Bols which was pretty interesting.  Then we had to hurry home since it was going to take an hour, get ready, then go back again on the bus/train to go out in Amsterdam than night.

Sunday Erin was tired of walking so we ended up going to Zandvoort for lunch and she picked up some shells on the beach.  I can't believe how many people were on the beach with their jackets!  Thought we would be some of the only people there...I was wrong.  After that we went to the movies in Haarlem.  Erin got to experience her first movie with Dutch subtitles and an intermission!  haha.  After that we just hung out, ate pizza, and watched the EMAs.

Monday we went back to Amsterdam and went to Anne Frank House.  It was interesting to be in the house we her and some others were hiding from the Nazis.  My new goal once my Dutch is better it to read her diary in it's original language, Dutch.  Next we went to Heineken Experience which was really cool.  There was a lot to see and do and probably ended up being my favorite thing that we did the whole time.  I would recommend seeing this one to other visitors to Amsterdam.  Finally, we had dinner at the Hard Rock CafĂ©.  I can't believe how American everything was there!  It was crazy, almost like stepping out of Holland for a couple hours.  The people that worked there did not even know how to speak Dutch!  Nothing was in Dutch, everything English, all the people there were speaking English, they had Ranch dressing on the menu, and there was a tip line on the credit card receipt!  haha  Now I guess I know where to go in case Holland ever starts to get me down and I am home sick.

Tuesday I dropped Erin off at the airport before going to work and they were stopping everyone driving to departing flights checking for illegal weapons.  We both had to get out of the car and be searched.  They looked in the car too but did not even open the truck or look in Erin's luggage...kinda pointless.  O well.

I had a good week and was glad that Erin could come and visit.  It was nice to see an old friend again.  Anyone else who wants to come, just give me a call and let me know.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Random

Steelers shirt at a second hand store in Haarlem. Only €2,75! Haha

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hoi Hoi

So, what's been going on lately with me?  Nothing really too eventful this past week I guess.  It has been nice driving my own car to and from work, much better than the project van not to mention the feeling of independence it is giving me.

Yesterday I helped Kris with his house.  Did you know that they make a steamer machine to peel wallpaper off?  I really really wish that we rented one of those when I was a kid and we had to peel wallpaper off the hard way!  Also yesterday, I cleaned this place up for my American visitor who comes on Wednesday!

I am a little sad that I am going to miss the Dutch meetup group this week, but I will get over it because I'm sure Erin and I are going to be having some fun.  I'm still studying almost every night and am starting to see some improvement which is kinda nice.  I even got a complement from someone at work the other day witch was totally unexpected and nice to hear.  I'm still waiting for the moment where I can just jump right into conversations, but I think I am still a bit far away from that for now.  It is good that I (finally) realized myself that I am making some progress with Dutch.