I decided to go to the hotel continental breakfast this morning in order to save myself trying to eat while worrying about my luggage. This was generally a good plan except that this continental breakfast wasn't free - I mean this isn't that uncommon - but I figured for the high price they were charging this meal was going to be awesome. It wasn't. That's ok. I filled up on bread and yogurt.
So anyways, I leave the hotel, catch a bus, walk my bags to Amsterdam Centraal, buy a ticket, find my line and wait - here I discovered the station had free wifi! I almost died with excitement that I could use my phone, I'm such a info junkie.
I boarded the first train which took about half an hour to a station south east of Amsterdam, at this point I had about 5 minutes to run to my other train which was sad because they didn't have an escalator or elevator and my bag was heavy. I didn't take my care re-packing it. I don't look forward to re-lugging my bags back on the train in 5 months but I'll worry about that at a later time. Caught the next train which was closer to two hours north east until I reached Groningen. I dozed a few times because I had trouble sleeping last night. I always get hungry right around bed time and it kept me up.
And so it goes, I catch a cab to the residence. I have to admit I was a little shocked by the state of this place. Not like it is awful but it definitely isn't really kept up. I guess that is to be somewhat expected because the people who care for it are only here for 5-10 months at a time. When I arrived a couple friendly people saw me in, it was nice because the student manager who was supposed to meet me was nowhere to be found. They called her and got everything figured out. I got into my room which is pretty bare and I got a tour. It doesn't seem too big but I think it is one of the biggest student houses for international students.
My room is right beside one of the shared kitchens (the one I will be using) so far it has proved to be fairly noisy but I understand that cooking is off limits after 11 so it shouldn't be an issue. I don't foresee myself hanging out in my room too much to study. I am sure there are nicer places in a campus building to do that. The bathroom is down the hall from me and the shared showers are down the other hall. So far I have heard nothing but good things and great reviews from the other tenants and everyone I've met has been super friendly. Right now things are kind of hectic because last semester's students are moving out and this semester's are moving in - except for a few full year-ers. In that sense I feel like it is a little chaotic here right now.
I found out that there is no wifi, and if you want to use the internet you have to be plugged in. This, and the need for a towel so I could shower in the morning, sent me on a short journey down the street. I stopped at KFC out of ease and I will stand by my earlier claims that fast food = bad food, I need to stop going to these places, eww. I went into a sort of future shop/best buy type store called Saturn to buy an ethernet cable, and just to be safe I purchased a 10m long one so my computer will reach everywhere in my room and more. Ha. Fortunately for me there was an IKEA right beside the electronic store so I found a new pillow (cause I'm picky), a cover for the comforter, an extra blanket, and some towels. This went quite well. It was even a fairly quick walk. I stopped at Shell to buy some dinner due to a lack of other options, peanut butter and jelly. The guys in shell looked at me like I was an alien when I didn't respond to them in Dutch - I think it is safe to say that Groningen is way less touristy than Amsterdam and they don't switch to English with near as much speed or ease. Although I still haven't met anyone who hasn't done it.
The cool thing about the residence is that everything is in English and everyone knows it. Kind of wild.
I spent my evening unpacking a little, setting up my bed, looking at classes, figuring out where to travel next, and looking at the welcome week stuff (it starts on Thursday the 3rd and runs until Wednesday the 9th) - looks like they have us pretty busy which will be nice. Most things look quite fun or educational and I am excited to have some sort of structured "this is what you are supposed to be doing right now" activities. I think it will help meeting people who might be in my classes/might live in the same building. Right now it is hard to tell who is coming and going. I also tried to download the latest episode of Glee tonight, but when it finished it wouldn't play. This made me sad.
Tomorrow I am going to investigate buying a bike (as it seems to be the most important thing I could do at this point), getting some groceries, and some general exploring so I know where I am going on Thursday.
Also, I am kind of weirded out about being back in classes, although I did class in Mexico and Moncton last summer it wasn't really the same. I haven't been in a proper university classroom for 9 months. eep!
Oh and I have to split a mini-fridge with 4 other people. This baffles me. I guess I won't be storing things and what I do store needs to be small. Ha, and if you've ever seen the fridge in the condo I live in at home you know this is a practical impossibility. Maybe I'll just eat at IKEA a bunch - it is super cheap.