Bureaucratic Survivors

The picture to your right is of the dramatic staircase in the bizarre house in the upscale and out-of-the-way neighborhood which Ana held a dinner party to celebrate New Years. I find this to be the only remotely flattering photo of that house. My Parisian vacation was fabulous, but like all good things it had to end.

I left rainy Paris by train on Jan. 3 and stopped in cold and overcast Amsterdam long enough to get a train discount card and ticket to cold and overcast Utrecht.

We suffered through the pre-departure bureaucracy and, some with less sleep than others, arrived safely to Utrecht. I made my way to University College by about 3 p.m. and into my temporary apartment by about 5:15. I managed some settling and unpacking before I came back to UCU to meet the others.

Representing several UC campuses, we 29 EAP students were treated to a well-deserved feast at a pancake house along the canal near the center of town. Tip: if you order the Pirate Pancake, they give you a sword.

Since then, we've managed to get more settled and unpacked, to spend a few Euro at the grocery store (and learn to bring your own bag), and to discover that despite the widespread use of spoken English, very little is actually written in English. Websites often don't translate, pamphlets never, and only a few food products.

Here is what me and a fellow UCU-er (Brenda) have dubbed The Ikea Palace. Everything-- sheets, light fixtures, dishes, furniture-- is from Ikea. The floors are red, the curtains are blue, and the front door is purple. One wall in my room is yellow. The place is brand new and I am on the 17th floor, which would be great if I had a view of anything besides the grasslands. I think I have a roommate, judging by the non-Ikea rice cooker, dead roses on the table, and groceries in the cupboard, but I'm guessing she's on vacation (I gathered gender by the hair in the drain and girly shampoo in the shower).

In any case, I've got a quiet/lonely place to study for what seems to be a daunting language program. We may have survived the bureaucracy, but ahead of us remains two weeks of 9:30-4 classes with field trip assignments on weekends.


Christine said...

more pictures!!

KC said...

more pirate pancakes!

Jenna said...

"Tip: if you order the Pirate Pancake, they give you a sword."

This is the single most hilarious thing I have read in, like, weeks.