Saturday, December 25, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Water Fountain

I miss these!

Coming Home

It was so cool coming back home for the first time in 8 1/2 months.  Flying over New Jersey (on the way to Philly) was cool just because I was seeing America!

When we landed in Philly, the first English I heard was from two ghetto women who worked at the airport on the Jetway.  I was thinking to myself "I'm home!"

The line for security in Philly was crazy and I though I might miss my flight to Pittsburgh, but I ended up making it in enough time.  On the plane to Pittsburgh when I got my drink I was thinking, wow, this is really cold.  Then I realized, OMG, the cup is full of ice!  Once we were over Pittsburgh, it was almost magical seeing everything.  I had a huge smile on my face.  When I stepped into the airport I was so happy.  I ran down to baggage claim and saw my dad, it was a great feeling.

As we were driving back home I told him it almost feels like I never left.

This weekend I spent pretty much in Pittsburgh hanging out with my friends.  It was really nice to get to see them all.  The strange thing is more and more every day that I am home, it really feels like I never left.  Everything is almost just how I left it.  I feel right at home and already really disconnected from The Netherlands.  Strange, I was not expecting that, but o well, it's nice to feel at home and like I belong for a change.

I've been eating Mexican food, drinking good coffee, and ordering in English this whole time so far.  It's pretty great!  :-)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The "Dutch Club"

I think my theory about Dutch people not really liking you unless you speak Dutch gets stronger and stronger every day.  This is not to say that Dutch people hate you if you don't speak Dutch, they don't, but they are also very passive towards you.

Today I was at the datacenter and one of the guys that works there walked into the room.  This guys has maybe said two words to me the whole time I've ever been there besides when he had to ask me a question regarding PPG's business there.  Well today was totally different, he walked right up to me with a big smile on his face looking like he genuinely wanted to talk to me!  I was thinking to myself, WTF?  He came right up and was like hey, who's it going?  Are you learning Dutch!?  I was like did you know?  He said that he read one of the emails I wrote in Dutch to the workers at the datacenter.  (I usually try to do emails in Dutch but I can't really think fast enough to talk in Dutch yet.)

I was like I ya, I am learning and explained to him why I don't speak it to him.  He was like o wow, that's great, you will get it soon.  And then he went on and on talking to me, asking me questions, telling me about himself...I was like wow, this is crazy, as soon as someone finds out that I am trying to learn Dutch, all of a sudden they want to talk to me.

It kinda is strange that it has to be that way, but at the same time, cool!  I thought those people didn't really like me there.  But now that they know I am a member, or at least trying to become a member of the "Dutch Club," they will gladly talk to me.

I think it is going to be an interesting next 6 moths.  I wonder if I will be a member by then, or even by April after I've been here a whole year.  I guess only time shale tell.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Paris, Not as Planned

What a crazy trip so far...

Right now I am in Paris laying in bed tired as hell.  Yesterday, my train arrived at the station a little late.  It was about 10 o'clock at night.  I got in line for a taxi around 10:15.  The line was really long and there was only about one cab coming every 15 minutes.  I ended up waiting 3 and a half hours to finally get a cab.  It was pretty terrible.  I was wearing my book bag the entire time because the ground was all wet.  Everyone was miserable and upset.  I finally ended up getting a cab and got to my hotel around 2:10.  My toes were so cold that they were literally blue!  As they started to warm up in the shower they hurt really bad and I could not put any weight on the front of my foot.  I was a little nervous about frostbite, but it ended up being okay after a little while longer.

Today I arrived at the datacenter and met up with Amir and Christophe.  We were waiting for our shipment to arrive but we only got one box, the most unimportant of the two.  All it had in it was a printer.  So we called DHL and it ends up that the box is stuck in Belgium somewhere and whould not be in France until at least tomorrow.

So I went back to Amir and Christophe's office in Rueil and got some things done there.  So that means I had to stay in France one more night.  I almost didn't go into Paris because I was tired but decided to at the last minute.  I walked on the Champs-elyées and saw it all decorated for Christmas, it was very beautiful.  They also had Le Village de Noël which was a bunch of stands setup selling things.  I ended up getting some mulled spiced wine and some sweats, all was really good.  After that and dinner I was really not feeling like walking around any longer so I came back to the hotel.

Hopefully tomorrow goes better at the DC.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Parlez-vous français?


Unfortunately, I must say besides only remebering a few words and phrases here and there from my THREE YEARS of French in high school, I don't remember anything and thus must answer the question, "No, I do not speak French."

If only I knew back then that I would be living in Holland, have French friends, and actually be in France from time to time, maybe I would have paid attention.  I am sitting on the train right now on my way to Paris and I hear the French language everywhere.  It is very disappointing to me that I can't even pick up on a little bit of it.  Not that I want to be fluent in it, I don't live in a French speaking country after all, it would be nice though if I would have taken French more seriously in school and could use it at some level now.

Really though, I would like to seriously question my three years of French.  What did I really learn?  I could not even say anything at all in French while I was even in the classes.  I don't want to point fingers at the school or the teachers (I did have 2 really good teachers, 1 that sucked) but why don't I know anything??  I think I want to say it was a serious lake of motivation at the time.  Sure I knew enough to pass the tests, but that was about it, I could not have a conversation, shit, I could not even make simple sentences then...
I think language classes in the US should first point out how truly valuable it really is to know another language.  The students, I think, need to really want to learn the language first, and coming from the US, we (and ya I am including myself at the time) think that English in the whole whole..."why the hell should we learn another language, that is just stupid."  Also, during the course of study, the importance of languages should be reinforced.  If I could go back, knowing what I know now, you better believe my French would be better, and who knows, maybe I would have even took more than three years as well...  I just remember that I could not wait to be done with my third year so that I could fulfill the requirement that most colleges had in order to be accepted.  Get in, do the work, get out, that was my mindset, no wander I don't remember anything.  Man, I would kill for those kind of lessons right now in Dutch!

I realize that it is not to late for me to learn French now, but there are so many other possibilities at this point.  First of all, I'm not sure if it would be a great idea to learn to languages at once, and second of all, maybe there is another language I would like to learn instead.  Maybe even Italian, the language of my great grandparents.  For right now, I want to put all I have into learning Dutch, it is really starting to get interesting now that I can have actual conversations with people.  Though simple and awkward, conversations non the less, and I must say, that makes me really happy.

I knew this post would somehow start to sway towards Dutch, but I'm done talking about that now.  I think the next time I come to France, I am going to put a little bit of effort into learning some of the basics.  And who knows, maybe some of it will come back to me from school without much effort, hey, that would be nice!  :-)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010


People told me it does not snow in the Netherlands like it does in
Pittsburgh...I say bullshit!