Solo-ride on a Roller Coaster Named New York

March 16, 2015

This week was CRAZY. I’ve had the opportunity to see AMAZING places and I would love to take you with me on my first journey over Spring Break: NYC.

Friday March 6th I leave after my history class. At 10 AM Huldah and I take an Emory shuttle to the airport. At the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport we have lunch and say goodbye to one another.

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I have to wait for a really long time at the airport and I fill my time with writing a piece for the magazine of my students union Particolarte. And then… my flight has been delayed. In order to reach New York that same day I have to change my second flight and US Airways arranges for me to fly to Newark instead of Laguardia. I’m fine with anything, as long as I will arrive in NYC that night!

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The first flight went by really fast and at my layover at Charlotte I charge my electronics and buy some nuts (because airports have great food/snacks… NOT).

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On the second flight I sleep for a bit and enjoy the amazing view from my window seat.

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At Newark I try not to look like a tourist, but like a student coming home for Spring Break. Unfortunately for me I obviously look lost and an airport-employee helps me find transportation to Manhattan.When I step outside my excitement goes up to another level: there is SNOW ❤ It’s cold, but I love it. It already feels like home here. And at that moment, I already fall in love with the beautiful city.

I choose to go by bus and meet a friendly German guy named Laurin, who apparently is a professional soccer-player. We talk during the whole trip about Europe, States, study abroad, and excitement to be in New York (he is visiting his girlfriend). After a really long drive (over a hour) we arrive at Grand Central Terminal. Wow, I’ve seen that place in the movies! We buy some food and say goodbye as Laurin needs to catch the train.

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IMG_4738I walk toward 140 east 41 street, to an apartment that is going to be my place to sleep for the first three nights. I found the place via Couchsurfing.com (sort of Airbnb, but for free!) and lucky for me, host Ryan turned out to be great! Ryan’s apartment is small but neat. After I dropped my stuff and we awkwardly introduced ourselves, he asked me if I wanted to join him and his friends for a night out. Hell yeah! IMG_4903

We go to a nice bar that plays all familiar Top40 songs, every girl drinks gin-tonic and we talk about city-stuff. We take a yellow cab back home and I fall asleep as soon as my body touches the couch.

Saturday I wake up really early. I feel energetic and can’t wait to explore the city! I sneak out the house and wandered around. I got breakfast at Prêt a Manger, walked passed the Empire State Building (and dropped my camera in front of all the tourists, they were all sighting ‘oooohhhh’), had coffee in a cute shop, walked and walked and enjoyed all the amazing streets. Everything is so pretty!

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At Macy’s I buy a pair of summer shoes, since I did not bring any to the States and my big black boots probably are going to be a little hot in Cancun.

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At Times Square I visit the TKTS booth and buy a half-of-the-price ticket to the matinee of Chicago!

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After the AMAZING show I take the subway (gosh there are so many) to WTC and the 9/11 memorial.

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The memorial silences me, it is an incredible beautiful work and it touches my heart.

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I walk all the sad thoughts of by going to the Southern point of Manhattan. I take the free Staten Ferry to have a better view on the Statue of Liberty, and of the city as a whole.

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Back on land I walk toward the Brooklyn Bridge and pass Wall Street!

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Since I walked on the ‘edge’ of manhattan, alongside the water, I ended up under the bridge instead of on the bridge. This gave me a reality check on the gap between rich/poor in the big city.

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Finally I found a way to walk on the bridge (I seriously considered walking alongside the road at first). The view, of course, is breathtaking. And cold. I want food. My feet hurt.

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I have dinner by myself (‘table for one please.’ ‘are you alone?’ ‘yes’ ‘so one person?’ OMG girl, you are making it so awkward) at Applebee’s and try to get back to Manhattan with the subway. Aaaand… I travel in the wrong direction for 20 minutes. No, my blondness has nothing to do with that. A guy gives me the advise to not walk around with a map and look all touristy, but use my phone. Ok thanks man.

Since Ryan is partying again, I cannot do anything but join him again (oh tough life :P). According to his friends I now get the ‘real American experience’ => we’re in a Southern bar >.< I complain a little, by saying: I don’t want American (since I can experience that in Atlanta), I want NYC! Unfortunately nobody is up for clubbing, so I decide to make the best out of it! At 2 AM the daylight saving time makes the clock skip one hour. Since we’re all tipsy we have no clue what is happening and I swear that is has not happened yet (I looked it up: March 29 is the date… for Europe… Did not know USA had to be ‘special’ again). And these are the crazy people I went with (the one recurring in three pictures is Ryan):

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Sunday morning starts with a couple of realizations.
IMG_49301. I lost my shirt at the bar. No I did not do a striptease, but someone bumped into me and spilled my red whine on my white/pink shirt.
2. I left my debit card at the bar. They have this weird system of leaving your tab open if you are considering buying multiple drinks. And then they keep your card. WEIRD.
3. I was not drunk the night before, I have a perfect memory of the entire night (in case the previous points occurred as doubtful).

So, my day started with a search for the lost items. Unfortunately they did not find my shirt, but they did have my card. While walking from the bar to Central Park, I magically lose my glove (handmade by my grandmother) and I go for a search again.

While walking, I pass a movie-set so now I’m going to be famous. I could walk into the frame, but I could not look to my left. I forgot the name of the movie, so I can’t see my moment of shine, but that is okay.

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I find a vintage clothing store and I buy a new coat, bye bye old-ugly-primark coat!

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I have lunch in a small, not so great café and meet two Dutch medicine-students!

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Like Queen B… eh M!

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Central Park time! It looks fabulous with all the snow ❤

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I’m Olaf and I love warm hugs ❤

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As a last thing I decided to see the city from greater heights and I take the Roosevelt tram for a cheap but amazing view.

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I return back to Ryan’s place, my feet can barely carry my body anymore. I watch series, FaceTime with Roxanne and pack my bags for the new adventure that is waiting for me!

Monday starts early and with rain. I travel to Chinatown with the subway (I’m getting better at it) and wait for the tour bus that is going to take me to the Niagara Falls! I meet Misaki, a Japanese girl that is traveling by herself as well and we talk for a bit. The bus is very uncomfortable, it is really small and since I am sitting above the wheel, I have no space for my legs. Luckily I sleep for most of the time. The food-stops are terrible, but I AM GOING TO SEE THE FALLS, so I don’t care. Oh and the tour guide Fay does not speak English very well and change languages halfway through her sentence. But I was not interested in the guiding-part anyways ;).

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We enter Niagara Falls at 7 PM, and I have my own bedroom with two double beds and an amazing (Canada-) view! We only have time to drop off our stuff before we are going to look at the falls by night (American side).

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I decide to be adventurous and walk to Goat Island, in search for a better view. I take Misaki and two other Japanese girls (seriously, I’m turning more Asian in the States) with me and I am so thankful for my curiosity, since we have a much better view from there!

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We decide to eat some REAL food at Friday’s and when I return to my hotel room I take a long hot bath and enjoy my own space.

Tuesday starts early again. My fellow tour-ists went to some sort of castle, but I did not came for that and I decided to cross the border and see the falls from Canada! Funny how I read some things on the internet about the Rainbow Bridge being made for LGBT people. Well, if that is the gays: I qualify!

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IMG_5121 IMG_5112I think the pictures say enough: breathtaking. And white, I kind of forgot about the snow when I pictured the falls in mind. But it made it even more special!

But it also made the trip really cold. Luckily I found a Starbucks to get some heat 😀

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Border control on the way back was surprisingly strict. I only visited Canada for one hour, but they wanted to know exactly what I did and what I was going to do in t
he U.S.A. (‘I’m going back to New Yooooork’ ‘who do you know there?’ ‘ehm… someone named Angie, via Couchsurfing…’ ‘for how long will you stay there?’ *starts to feel very uncomfortable*). Luckily he let me into the country again :P.

On the way back we stopped at a Glass Museum, but my priority was series and food. Back in Chinatown, me and the three Japanese girls have dinner at a famous Chinese place.

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After dinner I take the subway to midtown and I find Angie’s place on 162 west 56th street (in between Times Square and Central Park). Her place is incredibly cosy and it feels like coming home. I work on my assignment that is due on Monday, take a shower and go to bed/couch.
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Wednesday starts with a small talk with Angie (who tells me that New Yorkers seriously order all their food/stuff online) and a lovely breakfast at Fresh&Co.

Then it is time to go see MoMa! I wanted to do that on Sunday, but there was no time for it.

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The modern museum-visitor.

After MoMa I take the subway to 246 w 10th st to meet Yamini for lunch. Man, the street name system is so complicated! When I arrive on the address I wonder: where is the restaurant? This looks like a house… OMG I’m so stupid, as I double checked the address it turned out that I had to go to 246 w 10th ave. Avenue instead of Street: 22 minutes walking distance. Annoying things. The walk however was lovely, the weather was so beautiful and so is West Village!

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After lunch we walk the High Line and go to Soho to shop shorts (for my travel to Cancun!).

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And go to a Hookah bar! Afterwards we walk around the neighborhood, looking into gallery-windows.

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When I return to Angie’s place I meet two fellow-couchsurfers who are going to stay at her place: Lia (Brazilian living in Berlin) and Nadia (from California). Lia and I decide to go see Times Square at night. On our way, we take a look in the M&M store, ridiculous shop.

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Eventually we end up in an Irish pub (man, I love my self-made fake ID: a Dutch transportation card that says I’m born March 30, 1993; works every time!)

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We end our night by doing grocery shopping after midnight (I love the city that never sleeps)!
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Thursday already is my last day NYC. Angie takes the three of us on a tour to Brooklyn – Williamsburg. With her rental Tesla!

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We cross the Queens-bridge and leave Manhattan behind…

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And we enter Brooklyn!

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Angie shows us the Mast Brothers Chocolate shop. Smells so goood.

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And the Art Library, inspiring initiative to make art something to share, to read, to touch and to see.

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And more beautiful views on Manhattan!

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And this dog is like a bird or something, chilling on the fence!

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After lunch Lia and I look for some thrift shops/vintage clothing shops, since I need more shorts!IMG_5257

After shopping some cute shorts and a skirt, I sit down in Starbucks (I’m totally getting the hipster-lifestyle that occurs to be hot-and-happening in this part of Brooklyn) and finish my assignment that is due on Monday.

For dinner we are going to Chinatown. On my (sub)way I enjoy a little party in the station, a DJ is playing music and disco lights add to the party-ambiance.

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Again I make a subway-mistake. I took the 6 – express instead of the 6. So I end up at Brooklyn Bridge, as the subway skipped the station I needed to go to. *SIGHS*

Eventually I was too early anyways, so I sneak into a staircase of an apartment building to write postcards to friends and family. After being lost and found again in Chinatown, we have a delicious Chinese dinner (family-style: share everything!).

After dinner it is time for a Manhattan-by-night car tour!

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At high speed we drive through the city. Music out loud, open skylight:

Now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it from New York, New York, New York!
– Alicia Keys

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We have to charge the battery of the car (due to speeding), somewhere far away in Queens.  Luckily nobody runs out of conversation!

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Interesting how the poor Harlem-part of Park Avenue looks totally different than the classy Upper East Side-part of the avenue…

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We end our fabulous tour, of course, at Times Square. And yes, I stood in the car and reached out the skylight as well! What an priceless experience. NEW YORK I LOVE YOU ❤

Back at the parking lot we find out the keys of the car are missing (lol, fun those hyper-technological cars). Luckily we find them in Diana’s (Angie’s roommate) purse. We arrive back in the apartment at 3.30 AM and I pack my bags and talk some more. Angie takes my picture and I write something on it for her Couchsurfing-photobook. At 4.30 AM it is time for me to leave. It hurts. I wanted to more. At least I have some good reasons to come back! Packed with all my stuff I wait for the SuperShuttle that is going to take me to the airport. To my new adventure…

To be continued…

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Solo-ride on a Roller Coaster Named New York

One more week…

March 6, 2015

The last week before spring break is a tough week, some last assignments to hand in and no focus to study at all since I am planning on doing amazing things over Spring Breaaaak!

Sunday, after arriving home from GILC I make myself a delicious salad and take a long bath. I do laundry, do stuff on my laptop and cycle to Starbucks with Melody, we eat at Chipotle and of course, I watch my series!

Monday starts with getting back to business, early class, work in library and starting my history assignment. I have lunch with Ashley in the sun at Highland bakery, we talk about everything, and we enjoy the moment. I have to race to class and afterwards I finish my history assignment at Starbucks. I check out my mailbox again at DUC, and OMG I RECEIVED THREE LETTERS AND A PACKAGE (my carry on bag for spring break)!

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Mail makes me crazy happy, so if you want to write me, send it to:

Maartje Hensen
MSC 121208
605 Asbury Circle
Atlanta GA 30322
USA

Two letters from Roxanne and one from my best friend forever Henrieke ❤ Totally made my day. Back home I eat dinner, watch series and do my readings for next day. Pretty productive day!

Tuesday I join Melody on the early bus to main campus to study. At main I find out I forgot my book. Shoot, that means I have to go back ALL THE WAY to Clairmont (3min busdrive). So much for waking up early to have extra time. During the women’s class we watch a documentary of the ethnography we are reading. It is nice to take it easy for a change in that class! For lunch I meet a Dutch, Emory-going, Anthropology PhD student Hanne. We talk about a large range of things and time flies. Her experiences inspire me and our meeting makes me think about doing a masters or PhD abroad… interesting! After the dreaming class I went home to have food and at 8 PM I go to Zumba at the SAAC. Great to sweat all the stress out. Back home I take a long shower, send some emails and do some research for my book review deadline that is coming up.

Wednesday my focus decides to go on Spring Break. After my morning class I book a two-day bustour to the Niagara Falls for next Monday. I start to fantasize about what I should do during my break. It is HOT! 73 degrees fahrenheit (I try to adapt to the weird American ways of measuring). I meet Jennie (who I met at GILC) for a late lunch and I miss the first quarter of my next class. Luckily I brought my bike today and it does not take me a long time to get to class.

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After class I sit outside at the squad, FaceTime with my mum and take a powernap. At Starbucks I try to do some homework and at 6.30 PM I go see the LGBT club again. Everyone is exhausted due to midterms and everyone needs a break, but (or maybe because of it) we have a lot of fun. I have dinner at DUC and finish my book review. By the time I finish it is dark and rainy outside. I cycle home and find my pants dirty afterwards since all the water is coming off the wheel. Lovely. It is late already, but because I finished my assignment I feel excitement. Annoying at midnight. I find ways to enjoy myself for a little longer (facebooook, freddi fish app, bother roommates who tries to study in the living room and series).

Thursday is the last full day of school before spring break, and my brains are switched off already. I do a last laundry for things I want to bring on spring break and by the time I get to main campus I enjoy brunch with Melody at DUC. I also say Huldah goodbye since she is leaving for springbreak again! In the women’s class I receive the grade for my paper on a teenage magazine, I got a 88 (B+), YAY! After my first class of the day I go to Starbucks again, to try to download series for on the plane. Last class of the day, luckily it is half lecture, half dream discussion group, so I do not need focus for the full hour. After class I find out that Huldah’s flight has been postponed to Friday and we meet her again for food in DUC. At 7.30 PM I join the Queer Women’s Group again (second time) and we talk about stereotypes/heteronormative society for over a hour. We watch a funny but serious clip about heterosexual people answering questions homosexual people often hear. Back home I pack my bag and shower & shave to be totally ready for SPRING BREAK!

My spring break blog will be published soon! 

One more week…

Students – estudiantes – студенты – 学生 – studenten – 학생 – étudiants

March 1, 2015

This weekend we joined the GILC, Georgia International Leadership Conference.

My Friday started with my history class (in which I experienced a lot of distractions on my laptop… blue/black, gold/white dress for example), after which I went home to pack the last things for my weekend-trip!

At 11.45 AM we leave in an Emory-van for GILC!

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In the van I sit next to Ryo, and we have a lot of fun. He provides Huldah with interesting flirt-tips (you have to touch someone first with one finger, you can point at jeans and make a compliment for example. Eventually you add fingers and voila… you get the boy you want). I laughed my ass of. We are in the van with more Emory-people, who I did not know yet and we talk about majors, names, cultures, etc. After a three-hour drive (due to a long stop) we arrive in a beautiful forest (in the country-side obviously, and we drove the last part with country music on the radio), where we have to do a service project.

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IMG_4459A lot of other groups have arrived as well and the whole group get mixed up in four smaller groups. Smart move, we are all forced to socialize with new people! My group got the task to ‘clean’ the forest from branches that might be in the way for the mud-run next day. I get carried away and nearly hurt people (including myself) with the big branches I carry.

I make friends with Ansley, an adorable girl from Mercer University (sophomore in some major to prepare for Physical Therapy). We talk about all kinds of stuff and the clean up is not that bad! I also talk to a guy from Kenia who got a scholarship to study in the US. How awesome! I have a lot of small talk with other students, and all those name begin to dazzle me!

At 4.10 PM we drive to the ‘campsite’. Yes, this is definitely the middle of nowhere. There is no cell-reception or wifi to be found. Good place for a smartphone-detox! We receive name-cards and are assigned to a cabin. Again we all are separated over different groups for the cabins. The cabin/cottage looks adorable from the outside. Inside is really… camp-ish. It feels like a schooltrip in middle school, so coooool. I share a room with seven other people (mostly names with a M, of which most speak Spanish).

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At 5.30 PM it is time for dinner and afterwards we have to attend a welcome-meeting.

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Homero González (triple Emmy Award winner or so) gives an inspiring talk on the definition of succes (not always what we think it is). To strengthen our connection we play some ‘teambuilding’ games. And… I meet a DUTCH guy! I did not expect to meet someone Dutch (he didn’t either) and we had fun talking Dutch to each other for a bit!

Afterwards it is time to end our day with s’mores (roasted marshmallows on a cracker with chocolate) and dancing! Project bonfire takes a while and we decide to roast marshmallows above a burning notebook-page. The sky is so beautiful, it is so dark that we can see a lot of stars.

Around 1 AM I fall asleep, totally exhausted from the whole day.

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Saturday, at 6 AM the first alarm goes off. ARgh… so aweful. At 6.20 the lights are turned on, and since my phone was charging in the bathroom I did not know it was that early. I hurry to make myself ready for breakfast… and by 6.30 I am ready to go… But breakfast does not start until 7 AM. So I listen to some music (not so much a morning-socializing-person) and at 7 I walk to the diner.

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Breakfast is not that bad! Unfortunately the lady did not want to give me more egg as a bread-substitute, but I am already happy I do not have to eat cereals. At 8 AM we have our first meeting of today. There is a test on what kind of person you are (gold, blue, orange, green). I am blue! ‘Feelings’. Blue to the max: overemotional. (me, overemotional??? Neverrr)

At 9 AM it is time for our group picture. And although I am tall, I manage to be invisible on all the pictures…

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Then we split up in different groups again for the conferences. I choose ‘communication is the key’ and ‘the key to world peace is world travel’ (in which we play a game called ‘connect’). The talks are very inspiring and taught by peer-leaders (students).

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Lunch is absolutely terrible and I eat just a little. This results in a very hungry afternoon.

After lunch I participate in the game ‘The Emperor’s Pot’, about a Western Country that wants a precious pot of an Eastern Country.

The game ends with murders on both sides.

The weather is absolutely amazing and I decide to not do the third round of conference, and to relax in the sun and in my room with other students.

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Perfect weather for a photoshoot!

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At 4.30 PM I have to rehearse for the fashion show that I am going to walk that night and afterwards I have dinner. Because of my hunger the food tastes delicious!

A special performance takes place after dinner, and the bachata/salsa dancers teach a class afterwards. I am so tired that I decide to sleep for 30 min in my room.

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At 9 PM the talent show starts and I prepare for the fashion show.

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The fashion show was hilarious. We were all dressed up in national clothing, and obviously I looked ridiculous (with an improvised Dutch hat). But I had so much fun!

And almost no one saw my mistake of walking in the wrong direction (I hope…) at the end. And most importantly: I did not fall!

At the end everyone wants to take pictures with us and we feel like celebrities!

We make the last hours of the night count by making s’mores again and dance with our last bit of energy. Funny how they have some sort of line dancing that everyone knows (and of course I try to keep up).

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Sunday morning is very very hard on me. But the prospective of going back to Emory, my home now, gives me the strength to leave my bed early again.

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GILC ends for us with an interactive ‘what-did-we-learn-on-a-poster’ project and a goodbye movie of the weekend. Of course there is a lot of hugging going on at the end. I met so many lovely people and I feel that I randomly hug everyone because I spoke to so many of them! We take some last group-pictures and selfies and drive home at 10.45 AM.

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Students – estudiantes – студенты – 学生 – studenten – 학생 – étudiants

Wicked Winter Week

February 27, 2015

Already week SEVEN, time flies!

Sunday I wake up with a cold, but without my alarm. Lovely. My pace is really slow and that is possibly the best description of the whole day. I go to DeKalb farmers market by Emory shuttle and within 20 minutes I collect $108 worth of groceries in one basket (or and a hand full of potatoes, goat milk and kale). The place is amazing and has a lotttt of fresh products.

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Back home I unpack the groceries and make myself a quick salmon salad. And I watch series again.

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After dinner Melody and I cycle to main campus to see The Vagina Monologues. The performance is amazing! Main point: we have to love our vagina’s! They are amazing!

After the performance Melody and I go to Starbucks and believe it or not, I do my reading for Monday! Cycling back is less fun, because of the rain 😦Screenshot 2015-02-23 13.57.38

Monday is surprisingly productive! I made a schedule that works out well. Class, readings, assignment, lunch, cancelled class (perfect for family (face)time. Daddy, little sis and bro are staying in Germany for a long weekend where they have REAL snow), and grocery shopping by bike! Melody and I buy mint and Belgium chocolate ice cream and eat some of it when we return home. 2015-02-23 15.36.38

While cooking, I listen to the podcast/virtual lecture of the cancelled class and I do a lot of reading (anthropology class is so dense!). Of course I reward myself during breaks with series and the ab challenge (six pack is coming, I can feel it).

Tuesday starts off with a little snow/hail/rain. Everyone excited. Except me. I study for the dreamclass-quiz, go to class, have lunch, go to library again and find out I should’ve watched less series and more study materials for the quiz (eventually it is graded with a B+, so it is not that bad after all).

After class it is time to start the excited things! I eat food at DUC and get on the Emory Shuttle with Melody to see WICKED in the Fox Theatre in Atlanta! The show is a-ma-zing. I had never seen Wicked before and although we did not have the best seats (not even next to each other), I absolutely loved it.

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Wednesday 2015-02-25 15.25.362015-02-25 11.10.26is a snow-day! Strangely, there is no snow to be found, but who cares: a free day is awesome! Or… maybe not so much. Personally I think a day off is a reason to party, but apparently most of the students Screenshot 2015-02-25 13.52.26here think ‘YAY, I can catch up on homework!’ And then Melody and I found out DUC AND Starbucks were closed… Eventually Melody and I made a new friend, Gurnaj (think ‘nicki minaj’ > naj > plus ‘gur’) and we had food at Emory Village. Back home Melody and I eat more ice cream, I FaceTime for over 1.5 hours with Rox and late at night I decide to do some homework (watch virtual lecture of the class that was cancelled today) and do my ab challenge!

Thursday I find out my women-class is cancelled (haha it seems like I had no class at all this week) and I decide to start peeling potatoes for my Dutch dinner tonight! I invited Melody, Huldah, Jeslyn and my roommates (eventually Diana is the only roommate to show up). After the peeling, I go to Starbucks to study. I finish my assignment that is due next Monday (ambitioussss) and do a dream discussion session in the one class of today. Back home I start cooking, and I finish perfectly on time.

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2015-02-26 18.21.34-1My guests LOVE the meal! Huldah says “This is so good, it is like comfort food! Seriously, I want to make this at home I could eat this all day.” I saved two portions for my other roommates and later on they told me they loved it as well!

Personally I thought this ‘Boerenkool met worst’ tasted very different, since the potatoes tasted less flavored or something. But I don’t care, they loved it!

The rest of my night is relaxed, I watch series, have tea and chocolate and pack my bag for the GILC. And then THE dress comes to my attention. My roommate started a chat on Facebook, and I swore it was white/gold. The next day I swore it was black/blue. Rox saw blue/green. Stupid dress. I decide to go to bed early, but Yamini invites me (through Facebook) to play Kings with her friend. I hear it is Jack (the guy I talked to at Mardi Gras for the whole night), and I say: no thanks, but tell Jack hi for me. She says: he doesn’t know you. So, of course now I HAD to go out of bed to say hi. Apparently he was black out drunk at Mardi Gras and he never got my name. Well, good to know… So I end up playing Kings and eventually go to bed at 2 AM… So my 9 AM class on Friday is pretty painful! And that is where my GILC blog starts!

Wicked Winter Week

Winter is Coming

Saturday February 21, 2015

This week was SO COLD. Apparently it is only winter for a few weeks a year, so hopefully it will become Spring soon.

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Monday started with cycling to my history-class in which we talked about cotton (and how the South became the richest part of the States in the 18th/19th Century) and the professor brought actual cotton with him. I was surprised by my ability to concentrate (normally very hard for me at 9 AM!). Between classes I tried to edit the video on Mardi Gras that I wanted to submit for the Campus Movie Fest at Emory. Unfortunately I could not make it work, since I did not ask people’s permission to use their faces in my movie and obtaining licensed New Orleans Jazz music was too difficult for me to find. This resulted in a very grumpy Maartje, suddenly everything seemed to go wrong. Even lunch at Highland Bakery and the happiness class could not cheer me up. Stupid day. Miss my friends and family, I want a hug! Huldah and Melody see my grumpiness and give me a hug, and tell me to cheer up. Really sweet, but I just want to be grumpy for a little, OKAY? Whatsapping with my friend Marloes (who currently is in Nebraska on exchange) cheered me up a little. Feels like I have an ally! After having food at 2015-02-16 16.19.17DUC Melody and I go home with the bus. Our bikes go in front of the bus!

Back home I work on my studies (stupid assignment deadline on Thursday) and I cook a delicious paleo dinner. Afterwards, I watch series (oops… started a new one, smart move… NOT)

Tuesday started not very early, I had a hard time waking up. I have breakfast with Jeslyn, Melody and Huldah at the DUC and I try to work on my assignment. After women’s class I have lunch by myself and Skype with my cute little sister Lotte. So lovely to speak to her again! I also decide to check my mail and yay I got a package! But… it is not Roxie’s 😦 I am waiting for her mail for over a month now… The package I received is my history book, which I was supposed to have received two weeks ago. I made my complains on Amazon and I got my money back… And suddenly there it is! Emory-mail service, not great.

After my dreaming class I sit at Starbucks and work on my assignment. And I have to admit: it is actually kind of fun. For the women’s class assignment I have to analyze a teenage magazine in terms of gender patterns/heteronormativity. I choose a Dutch magazine, LINDA. meiden, and it is interesting to deconstruct ideology! After being to productive, I decide to blow of some steam by doing Zumba at the SAAC. I even do my ab challenge afterwards (started Feb 1, but skipped some days). I end my night with series and food.

2015-02-18 15.49.57Wednesday is all about finishing my assignment. I have a quick lunch with Melody, Huldah, Ryo, Jeslyn, and a Korean student (who’s name I do not remember, sorry!) at Cox. We go to Starbucks afterwards and Huldah helps me with my struggle of making a Table for my assignment. After class I nearly finish my paper and I feel relieved when I go to the LGBT meeting. We finish the Paris is Burning movie, so intriguing! And afterwards, I actually finish my paper! Feels so good. I thought I would fall asleep peacefully, but for some reason I have a hard time falling asleep this week. When I lay in my bed, I start thinking of all the exciting things I am going to do in the coming month and this makes me so excited that I cannot sleep…

2015-02-19 07.51.44Thursday starts too early because I join Melody’s bustrip to her first class. Crazy me. And it is COLD (picture is in degrees celsius). I have breakfast at DUC and watch series (starting to be an addict) and try to do a little of my reading for women’s class (OMG 170 pages is never going to work in two hours). During the discussion group I am keeping my mouth shut for most of the time. Same for my dreaming class, in which we talk about my best friend Freud. At DUC I upload my essay, bam, done! And then it is time to go to Maroon 5’s concert! Jeslyn and I bought tickets last week (a bit impulsively) and we are so excited, but it also feels a bit surreal!

When we are in the Uber toward Atlanta I realize how much I love this city. Who would have thought all buildings can be so beautiful.

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The concert is amazing! He sings a great variety of songs and we sing with him out loud.
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Afterwards we try to get an Uber (drama…) to get to Decatur, where we have a drink with Melody, Devesh and Jaimy (a Korean friend of Devesh). Melody and I go to Devesh’ place for an ‘afterparty’ and we go to bed wayy to late.

2015-02-20 13.49.06Friday starts relaxed, without an alarm. My history class was cancelled so it is officially weekend for me! I take a shower and have an egg-breakfast. Then I meet Melody and Jeslyn for yoga at the WoodPEC. It is intense and I feel so stretched afterwards! We have lunch (and coffee <3) at Rise ‘n Dine, really cute place in Emory Village. Jeslyn and I go to DUC to ‘study’ (= watch series and work on blog). I stop by the mail again and OMG I HAVE MAIL FROM ROXANNE! The New York travel guide and a sweet card plus picture. I am insanely happy. At 5.30 PM Jeslyn and I go for Zumba, I think I have never been this productive on a hangover-day before. The teacher is a cheerleader like blonde and we have to shake our booties (uhh… which booties?) for the entire hour. This, of course, results in a ‘who can make this dance most awkward’-contest. Afterwards we visit the Emory Underground Arts showcase. There are some performances and exhibition on pictures and paintings/drawings of students. Back home I make myself comfortable and I watch series, do laundry and drink self made hot chocolate. At 11 PM Melody and Huldah come over to have a glass of red wine before going to Devesh’ dorm party. The party is… okay. Not great. I feel like the main purpose of partying here is ‘get drunk’, instead of actually having a good time. Nonetheless I had a nice chat with Kyle (who I know from Mardi Gras and other party) about all sorts of stuff. Eventually I returned home pretty late!

Saturday I wake up at 12.30 PM, so late! I make paleo coconut flour pancakes with baked fruit for breakfast and I watch series for the whole afternoon. Don’t feel like doing anything serious. I also feel a cold coming up, so I decide to take it easy.
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At 7.15 PM Melody, Huldah and I take the shuttle to the High Museum of Art for College Night! But first we have a lovely dinner at a Thai restaurant.

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Make your own small piece of art.               Airbrush tattoo.

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Band performance.

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Super interested in the arts.

Winter is Coming

A Week of Happy Moments

February 14, 2015

Since all of you, enthusiastic readers, probably get bored of all the detailed and repetitive events during an Emory schoolweek, I have decided to share my three most happy moments of each day for this week. This does not mean that I only experienced happy moments, but I want to increase my happiness by being grateful for these moments in my life and remembering positivity instead of negativity (thank you Sociology of Happiness-class for the inspiration). Enjoy!

Sunday

  • Waking up without an alarm, with the sun shining into my room and FaceTime with Roxie
  • Reading my family’s weekly diary
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  • Cooking and eating Korean Pajun!
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Monday

  • Finishing my journal assignment for the dreaming course
  • Skype with my lovely sister Femke, laughing too loud and spilling my drink over my legs and chair
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  • Apppic of me on the moon
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Tuesday

  • Laughing with Huldah in the DUC over waving at people who don’t see it (and the resulting awkward hair move afterwards).
  • Journal check with Dream-professor Blakeley, which resulted in a talk about my exchange experience.
  • Dancing to class in the sun.
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Wednesday

  • Joining the CMF (campus movie fest) and getting film-equipment! I walked with two backpacks for the rest of the day, YAY.
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  • Paleo-lunch at Cox! Grass-fed beef burger, sweet potato-fries and some salad.
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  • Sitting at Starbucks’ terrace, reading LINDA Meiden (teenage magazine) as study-material!

 Thursday

  • Getting the lavender bath-bomb that Taara (from LGBT-meeting) made for me!
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  • Discovery that I have all the credits to graduate, bye study, hello fun stuff!
  • JESSIE J CONCERT <3<3<3
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Friday

  • Breakfast @Highland Bakery
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  • Receiving my BIKE and fixing it all by myself (and Melody and Huldah).
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  • Receiving my first postal card from Roxie!
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  • Going to Mardi Gras => post about it is coming soon!
A Week of Happy Moments

NoLa Mardi Gras

February 15, 2015

This weekend, Melody and I did something TOTALLY CRAZY. We went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans! But that is not the most crazy part: we went by bus on Friday night, stayed and partied for a whole day and night and went back by bus on Sunday morning. Due to the popularity of Mardi Gras (and our late booking…) we were unable to book a hostel. But we figured: YOLO. Here are the pictures of our insane adventure!

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Green and purple (and gold) are THE colors of Mardi Gras, so we decide to create party-nails!

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At the Greyhound busstation we have to wait for a really long time. Eventually our bus leaves at 2.30 AM instead of 11.30 PM… BUT WE ARE GOING TO HAVE SO MUCH FUN!

During the ride we sleep most of the time and when we wake up we see a totally different environment!

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At 11.40 AM… or huh? 10.40 AM we arrive in New Orleans. Apparently there is a hour time difference (props for our trip-orientation). And well, hello hot weather (20 Celsius, 68 Fahrenheit or so)!

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At first sight, the city looks surprisingly peaceful, but as we walk towards the French Quarter the festival sphere increases.

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We walk toward Café Du Monde, apparently it serves legendary beignets! And of course it is incredibly crowded so we decide to take away our breakfast to eat it by the Mississippi-river.

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Afterwards we wander around and enjoy all the joy and colors on our way.

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And we buy some beautiful Mardi Gras-tiaras!

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And sitting at terraces in the sun is awesome. With food.

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People take Mardi Gras really seriously

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Time to take a break in the Armstrong park! And oops… I fell asleep.

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Which made us miss the parade 😦

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We decide to catch the next one and with a lot of effort (and money) we manage to get a cab that brings us to Metairie.But first: let’s have a delicious (uhh… not) dinner at TacoBell!

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Parade-time! Apparently the point is to collect as many beads as you can. Oh and minding your head when the people on the parade-car throw the beads at you!

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I collected 15 or so woop woop!

And then it is time to go back to the French Quarter! But how do we get there? We try to call every cab service that we can find through google, unfortunately with no end. We try to hitchhike, but clearly we are doing something wrong. After two hours we decide to start the two-hour walk back to the French Quarter. And then (I almost believe in God now) an empty cab drives by and wants to bring us back! We did not care about the $40 we had to pay: we were able to get back!

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Let’s get this party starting! We meet some Emory-friends I met at a previous frat-party and we party all night long. We drink a ‘granade’ (disgusting sweet strong alcoholic beverage) and it hit us very quickly! I decide to not drink much more, since we will probably not find our way back to the bus when we are both drunk…

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Mardi Gras’ nightlife is crazy. Crowded. Drunk. Slutty (flashing for beads and all). Interesting. Not totally my scene but awesome to experience!

Eventually Devesh (one of the Emory friends) let us sleep for 2 hours in his hotelroom and for some magical reason I woke up before my alarm went off! We find our way to the bus pretty easily and wauw… Surprisingly the whole trip went pretty smooth. We sleep for the entire bustrip and we arrive back at Clairmont around nine PM. Totally exhausted, but with a wonderful and exciting new memory!

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NoLa Mardi Gras