Tuesday, December 7, 2010

♫ ♪ A Lot Like Christmas ♫

After our unintended month-long hiatus, we find we now have a great deal to talk about. We celebrated our first bizarro-Thanksgiving, met the Dutch winter a bit earlier with a week-long snow, and became official residents of the Netherlands -- with the i.d. to prove it! As per usual, we have plenty of pictures of all these events which we will put up in the next week along with any associated stories. This post, however, is dedicated to more recent and upcoming events. 

The semester is beginning to come to an end, though a bit differently than usual. Here, classes continue until December 17, when Christmas break commences, with exams held throughout the month of January, though usually at the end. At the moment we are supposed to be registering for courses next semester, although this is proving more difficult than at the beginning of the year...or, at least stranger. Experience would prove that perhaps not posting dates and times for classes, or not assigning fixed locations for classes/meetings is some sort of annoying, though otherwise benign, byproduct of some mysterious Dutch culural characteristic. Either way, experience has also proven that it will eventually be worked out. As for the next two weeks, we have some early exams and final papers, but nothing to unmanagable, though we will not be going on any day trips during this period.

It is perhaps all the more fittng that on the day I turn in my final paper and Farrell finishes his final exam (before break), Farrell's Dad (Frank) will arrive, as we intend to do a great deal of travelling. Plans before Chrstams are not final, but the goal is to explore the Netherlands more, visit a Christmas Market in Germany, and maybe a short trip to Paris. Of course, after Chrstmas we have concrete plans flying to Edinburgh for New Year's, explore Scotland, and then hop over to Ireland to explore for a few days. It's all very exciting! Yet, as you can see it has taken a great deal of time and planning -- one of the many activities diverting our attention from the blog, and one of the many reasons we are so appreciative. Though, I think we are most looking forward to simply showing off Nijmegen a bit, particularly our favorite places, which include two delicious restauraunts that I look forward to revisiting. 

Fortunately, for those nights that are simply too cold to go out, the flat is warm and inviting, expecially with the Christmas decorations up. As you can see, they aren't much,  but it was fun to do. What has really put us in the Christmas spirit is the Christmas tree lot in fron of the windmill behind the flat. Needless to say it is pretty awesome being able to look out your window and see such a sight, especially with the snow on the ground -- though it it not really as exciting to talk about snow now that it has snowed back in North Carolina as well. However, it is worth mentioning that this snow event was unlike any other in our experience, though it is thought to be typically Dutch -- it snowed constantly (but very lightly) for about a week, with high wind and temperatures in the teens and single digits. It was an interesting experience riding our bikes in the snow for the first time, but it is not too bad as long as you are careful. 

Returning to the topic of Christmas trees, we have been debating buying a small, "Charlie Brown" tree, but I haven't yet visited the lot to even confirm that they sell such trees. It does seem odd that they are only now beginning to sell trees though, especially since the Dutch just celebrated their SinterKlaas this past weekend. As far as Sinterklaas and the Dutch Christmas I could not possibly explain it better than David Sedaris -- American author and comedian -- so, please follow the link and learn a little about this interesting holiday tradition. 

Hopefully this post was both informative and entertaining. In the next week look for uploads of new pictures and updates.

Until Next Time,
Jessica (and Farrell)


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