Fortunately I didn’t have to wake up super early to catch my plane in Norfolk. It left at 3 PM. I was so happy both my mom and dad could see me off. I was too excited to get sad at the time but now that it’s almost 7 AM here and I can’t sleep it’s sinking in how far away I am and how long I’ll be gone. My flight to Washington was all of 35 minutes and it went smoothely. When I got to DC however my terminal was all the way across the airport but I ended up getting there okay. I boarded the flight to Amsterdam and as soon as I got on the plane what did it do? Started snowing heavily. So, we sat on the runway until we coould get de-iced which took about an hour an a half. I fell asleep. The woman I sat next to was originally from the coast of Venezuela and is currently working in Rotterdam. She gave me her e-mail address if I wanted to contact her to show my friends and I around Rotterdam. The flight to Amsterdam wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. I wasn’t as nervous as I expected myself to be. I slept off and on and watched the Social Network which I wasn’t really impressed with.
When I landed in Amsterdam the airport was incredibly crowded . Going through customs was a lot less intimidating than in Mexico however and the ‘customs guy’ flirted with me telling me he also lived in Leiden and could take me out. I didn’t get any contact info so that will obviously not happen. After I got my luggage I saw two girls waiting by a train ticketing station and I recognized one from the Facebook group we have for those studying abroad in Leiden. I was so excited because I didn’t want to travel to Leiden by myself. We had quite the time figuring out how to buy a train ticket. The automatic machines wouldn’t take our debit or credit cards and they didnt’ take euros. We finally asked someone to help us and he definitely got a good laugh because of us. We finally went to the window where we bought tickets to Leiden. Everyone has been really helpful and friendly so far. Except this one younger guy we asked about outgoing trains but we don’t really know what was up with him but for now he is an exception.
The train from Amsterdam to Leiden was no more than 20 minutes. After arriving in Leiden we had to figure out how to get a cab – another seemingly easy challenge but with so many bags and so little tips from our program it wasn’t. We ended up walking from one end of the train station to the other. When we found the cabs I was stunned (ignorantly probably) that they were almost all Mercedez Benz – nice ones! We got in a VW station wagon because that’s the only one that could fit us and all of our stuff – which was still a nice car. The program advisors are very nice. They’re helpful and were very cheerful when we got there. One of them insisted my last name was Dutch and I didn’t have the heart to tell him my family was from Germany because he was so sweet. Our cab ride to find our dorm was one of the most amusing things I’ve ever experienced. Our cab driver looked I don’t know – 13? And he was incredibly hyper and talkative. At one point he took a wrong turn so he took out this map (while still driving on their narrow streets) and then turned down a one way street (going the wrong way) and said “it’s okay there are no cops around.” Oh, and he was inches away from hitting a biker, more than once.
My dorm is so cool. When our dorm keeper opened the door I was like are you kidding this is my dorm room? The ones at Peace don’t even compare. It’s in a very old building and about a 5 minute walk to the building where my classes will be held. My bed is lofted and everything looks as “European” as I imagined. I like it so far! I’ll post pictures that I’ve taken later.