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This blog is named after one of my poems. Even thought its not the best of the lot, I just fell in love with those words- The Psyche Unknown...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Life in Netherlands- Part 8- Dutched...

Life in the past 3 years in this country has taught a lot...Including adapting to new cultures and places...Being in a completely different cultural setting proved to be scary, exciting, enriching and rewarding. From wondering how I’d live here for 2+ years by just smelling pancakes at the airport to enjoying them in their entirety has been such a revelation on various levels. It is nearly impossible to jot down all experiences here in detail. So here I note, just some random musings, pointers, observations, experiences of nearly 3 years in the country of windmills (which, by the way, is such a cliché!) - all bundled in that little part of the brain that handles memories. Systematic, chronological extraction from source not guaranteed.
(Blogspot is giving me a hard time getting the photo locations right. Will upload some to this barren article as soon as I can fix it.)

  • It is gonna be hard to appreciate any internet speed less than 30 mbps after living in Holland.
  • Love the endless miles of cycle and pedestrian paths in this country.
  • I couldn’t have asked for a better Aerospace faculty anywhere! The facilities, student teams, the opportunities, getting to learn from some of the great minds of today….I bow down…
  • I will forever remember the day I sat in an aircraft cockpit for the first time… and it was a real F-16! J Even though the engine is stripped down for studies, it is the most striking thing on the campus.
  • But the new mementos of scientific innovation across the campus with description are pretty damn cool too!
  • Talking about cool places, the Fellowship is an awesome concept.
  • The structures lab hosting every single part of an aircraft for individual studies- Wow!
  • The magnificent horse drawn carriage carted by a beautiful Dutch woman, which passed in front of the faculty every Sunday morning with rays of summer light penetrating through the long line of trees - The most beautiful scene ever on a very mundane day! Watched this every week from across the street…
  • I first look to the left and then my right before crossing a road as opposed to what I followed for nearly 2 years since I came here. It was a habit that wouldn't die soon given the years of training in school and home to survive Indian roads. “Look to the right, look to the left and then cross the road….” Well, it was a hard change, but I got there.
  • Barbecuing seems like a natural thing to do even if the tiniest bit of sun rays creep in. Yes, despite the fact that I stay away from meat, the concept, the people, the spirit....I love it all...
  • The only response I got for “Which meat goes into a Kroket?” was “I don’t know..I actually don’t wanna know!”… Every single time I asked!
  • A veggie Kroket in between a bun with mustard sauce + milk was my lunch on many afternoons. I made some of my Dutch friends really proud! 
  •  I finally got the Dutch ‘G’ sound right! J
  • My Turkish friends will wince at this but I still thank them for the Falafals. However bad you think the taste has been compromised in this country, the Doner stalls have been my safe haven. I could not have imagined my life without them here!
  • Japanese wok, Vietnamese loempia, German Schnitzel, Italian coffee, Turkish pizzas, Dutch Pancakes and Oliebollen dipped in ground sugar- I have devoured you all time and again and you have pleased me much beyond my expectations. Thank you. 
  • It floors me that a country which sells French fries by the kilos manage to look like atheletes.. Yes, the entire country!
  • After being protected by parents, TU Delft international office for a long time, I did understand the difficulty of finding a house and furnishing it.
  • I do know the existence of a thing called TV… We had one in the “common room”. We switched it on, on the day we got it (for ‘gratis’ by the way) and then again on….… well, that’s about it.
  • Despite the fact that I will forever beat me up around this episode for some memories; I did learn how to fix a flat tyre!
  • Speaking of bikes, I will never forget the day I saw this really old couple cycling hand in hand across the canal with such happy, old, toothless, wrinkly smiles on their faces that definitely glowed brighter than Holland’s sun!
  • And talking about unforgettable strangers, the guy in the train from Arnhem who travelled on my OV discount card, the old lady at Dominos one evening-talking about all the amazing things she had done in her life, the potters in Delftse Hout, the nomadic hippie couple that gave away free tickets, a stroopwaffel and some awesome stories at the dead of night waiting for the trains, the falafel guy who made my dinners at reduced prices on most evenings… You will all be remembered for inspiring me in your own way..
  • Heineken is overrated!
  • Douwe Egberts coffee in the machines sucks!
  • Multivlaai is a must-try!
  • Magnificent French Chardonnay + long walk to the lab + music = A walk I will remember.
  • That one night I couldn’t stop smiling, cycled back in air and guttled paratas+channa like never before in my life- I shall remember. ;)
  • All the amazing food, drinks and company in those tens of potlucks, pub-crawls and shindigs: Strangely, I cannot remember all the details!
  • Amsterdam doesn’t mean “Eurotrip” experience only. It is quite a vibrant, culturally and technologically advanced city otherwise too.
  • And the Dutch are not stoned most of the time contrary to the popularly thought. In fact amongst all the people I knew here, the Dutch were the least number of smokers.
  • Netherlands has the highest population density but visibly lesser number of people at any given point in space and time.
  • Those bridges that go vertical always cracked me up! Don't ask why!
  • A calm country with no potentially harmful idiosyncrasies that threaten its security or image. You will find it to be a technology and research oriented country with a rich set of highly educated/ qualified individuals.
  • One does start feeling the spirit of 'Orange' as time goes by. One will not mind wearing the bright florescent Orange gear out on streets! One has to witness Queen's day-that is when you see how crazy the Dutch can be! It is like one day of the year they are allowed to be who they actually want to be as opposed to who they should be!
  • Constant rain will be the only companion you can trust completely to be there with you irrespective of your desire.
  • Finally, Oh, dear Holland! Thy be Blessed! For I shall cherish the impeccable sculptures that your sons are...Tall, blond, blue-eyed, those torsos and legs born out of constant cycling…Sigh…Many of your sons have sent my friends and me giggling away happily on several occasions. You have raised them well.  Your daughters too, but you would understand if I spoke more about your sons now, wouldn’t you? 


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