Busy Week – Pt.1 – A bike called Gary!

It’s Saturday and looking back to the past few days I can hardly believe how rich they have been. I’m sitting in my living room sipping coffee and simply enjoying it! Since Monday things have been just great, I thought I should really share this week with you. I split the whole thing in two as I got carried away and wrote a lot..

As some of you may know I was able to move in my flat earlier than planned, so I was busy from Monday with it. Because my flatmate Murielle is in Austria at the moment, it was her best buddy Denny passing me the keys to my new “home”. We met at the flat sometime around 12, we went through the flat again and had a chat. When an hour later I was going back to Nienke’s place I was proudly shaking my booty to make the keys at my belt ring, I had a home again! Later in the afternoon, Nienke drove me to Ikea and then to the flat where we dropped all my stuff before having dinner at her parents’ place. I slept at Nienke’s that night again as my room was not ready to receive me yet… I woke up on time the next day and dropped by the flat to arrange things, clean a bit and fill my fridge with goodies. I could totally picture myself living here for the 10 next months and the feeling I had when closing the door behind me was great. I was going to spend one more night at Nienke’s for that we had a movie night planned with Miranda, and staying over night was probably the safest option for me as riding my bike at night is still quite of an adventure.

Wednesday was the first introduction day to InHolland. I was really nervous when I thanked and left Nienke and biked to school. I also got lost in the building!
It was about 9.50 when I arrived in front of the class G1.24 where a little group of students was already waiting, chatting. Students came in small groups and soon the corridor was packed with internationals. Meta and Iris; our international coordinators, welcomed us warmly and there are no words to describe how cute and caring they are!!! Before entering the class, we played a little get-to-know game; a nice twist to those really awful name games students are forced into. Anyways it already gave me an idea of how diverse our group is: Finnish, German, Korean, Italian, Moroccan, Turkish, Bulgarian, English, Welsh, American, a lot of French and Spanish (for a change) and I have probably forgotten some…

The Erasmus group at Mango's the beach bar!

The day went on with a couple of lectures or intro thingies, a lot shorter, faster and condensed then JAMK’s introduction lectures; for the best I must admit. And soon we were all off to the beach with Meta and ESN buddies Nino and Bart to have a BBQ at Mango’s; a cuban-feel beach bar with expensive beer but savory food. After dinner many students went to join another party further on the beach, I didn’t go. I was feeling really tired and wanted to be on my own again. I took the train back to InHolland and let myself sink into my thoughts while a bike called Gary was taking me home.

Read about Thursday and Friday here.

Look! Even baby pigeons Mikko and Antti don't have a home in Haarlem and have to live on my balcony, this is tragic!I should now briefly mention the housing situation here. Finding a flat or room to rent for an affordable price is nearly impossible in Haarlem. I have heard many other students or young people, international or Dutch struggling with flat searching. I rent a lovely room, in a big flat with balcony and living room, about 20 minutes from the center. Now from not living at the student’s residence DUWO, I might be missing on some of the Erasmus parties; in fact most of my Erasmus fellows are living there but when I heard them talk about their rent, I could only feel lucky for getting in touch with Murielle! DUWO tenants pay from 318 euros for a shared room up to 516 if they want their own room, however they still have to share their kitchen and other common spaces with up to 8 people…. How can a student housing company expect students to have so much money ? I don’t get it!  Look, even baby pigeons Mikko and Antti didn’t find a home in Haarlem and have to live on my balcony. This is tragic!