30 September 2013

Week 39

Last week was a bit of a blur for me, as I got sick and have just been recovering and trying to get better.
On tuesday night I had the worst ear ache ever! I could only sleep for about 2 hours altogether, as I was in so much pain. My ear was full of pressure and I just tried to survive the night. The next day I rang to the doctor and she said that they don't heal ear infection with medicine - only in really bad cases - and I should just wait for it to go away at its self and take some nose spray. Well now its Monday, and I am still feeling a bit sick. Some pressure, but not that bad thank god! On Saturday I think my ear opened. 

Besides being sick and moaning, I have been...

taking more medicine in a week than I have during the past year
at school looking very sick
amused by my fellow inhabitants

eating some delish food #instafood

introduced to the cheapest and yuckiest drink; Taksi

witnessed an old couple dancing on the table at Vismarkt

searching for a space to park my bike - without success
going out on a whim.. My new favorite place, Warhol
exploring Groningen


Since ESN announced their first sport activity day, I have been waiting for this weekend eagerly. Yesterday, on Saturday we travelled 20 km from Groningen to a small village to explore the Dutch national sport, or something like that, Fierljeppen or Canal Vaulting.

Luckily, we had the most perfect day and weather for the activity; sun, no wind and quite warm still. I was a little unsure how I could act for the day, as I was feeling quite sick the day before. I could not hear anything with my right ear, as it was locked due to the flu. Recklessly I still went and tried.

First we had about an hour for practicing the technique and getting to know the sport. The basic idea was to jump over the water with an iron pole. Back in the days, the idea came from farmers, who wanted to cross canals and/or rivers but they didn't have the ability or capital to built bridges to every corner. So they carried a stick with them and by that, went over the water.

First the task seemed impossible, and I did not get the idea and my first try was morbidly horrible(see the video below).. I basically just fell to the ground with the stick. After a few rounds of practice, it started going better. While the others went forward to cross the water, I wanted to practice a few more times but finally was brave enough to cross the water too. My first attempt was not the worst but I landed a little bit into the water, so my calves got wet. But for my second try I landed on the sand safely and was really proud of myself!

Here I present you, our beautiful fierljeppen skills. For your entertainment:

29 September 2013

ESN excursion: Weekend in Ameland 20.-22.9.

Last weekend was the best. On 20th to 22nd of September I joined an excursion to one of the northern islands of Holland, Ameland. The excursion was held by ESN, Erasmus Student Network Groningen and there were in total around 90 participants excluding the organizers. So we enjoyed a weekend full of new friends, lots of laughter, luckily a lot of sun also and new experiences. Oh, I enjoyed it so much! In between all the stress from school it was nice to get out from Groningen to explore a new place.

As it took a while for me to actually write this post, I am not sure wether i remember everything, but at least I have a lot of pictures to share!

We started off the trip with a one hour bus ride to the harbor, in a city called Holwerd. From there we took another one hour transfer to our destination, but this time by boat. From the harbor of Ameland we walked trough the city to our accommodation. The city was the cutest thing ever. Narrow roads made of bricks, old houses with perfect gardens and families biking around. 

For the first day our schedule was to settle down to our rooms, have some barbecue-dinner and get to know each other a little bit better, and finally enjoy the party with a theme of "High School". We had a lot of fun, dancing and meeting new friends. Nevertheless, quite many people, including me, were so tired from the traveling and all that we went to bed "early" at 2 am or so. I think it is better to enjoy as long as you want/can and leave while it is still fun.

The next morning was relatively early, wake-up at 9 and to breakfast. I think I made the perfect choice to come to Holland, as even though the schedule handed beforehand seemed quite tight, everyone got to have their breakfast and other morning activities without a rush. 

Finally the program of the day started - we were divided to two groups. The other group stayed at the guest house and we went to pick up bikes and from there to the beach.

We drove to the beach, at the same time sightseeing. The island of Ameland was so pretty. Everywhere the roads were so clean, the vibe was incredibly serene and I could not have asked for a better start for the day. The fairytale continued at the beach, kilometer after another white sand and dunes. There was even a horse carriage party, just, you know, normally strolling by the waterline. While biking around we got to see the island well, as it was only 100 km to bike around and 27 km, if I remember correct, from the one end to the other. 

After a dutch lunch, aka, sandwiches, in the afternoon was our turn to play some games at the house. We played dodgeball, volleyball, blind football and other fun activities. Blind football was the absolute favorite, so much fun!!

Drained from the day, we just enjoyed the beautiful weather and played HalliGalli and drank a few beers, of course. The germans also introduced us to a hilarious sport drinking game; Flunkiball. Of course, girls defeated boys like no other!


Bagpiper from the neighbor 

In the evening we were knackered from all the things we had done just during that one day. We joked that we had done more in one day than what normally do in one week. After dark, we headed back to the beach for a cozy moment by the bonfire, eating marshmallows and so..
After the bonfire, we had the chance to go check out the one and only night club in Ameland. We had heard some pretty fishy rumors about the place, "Swinging Mill", so of course we wanted to go. First of all, at the entrance when we left our jackets, we had to buy these special coins, looking like poker chips, to buy beverages at the bar. For example, one coin was 2 euros and for one coin you got a beer. How weird and unique, have never seen such! The place was super small and- verifying the rumors -filled with underaged boys. Still, we had fun and lasted until 3 pm. Luckily the place was in a two minute walking distance from our house.

The last day started very lazy. Breakfast, cleaning, packing.. Last rounds of HalleGalle and trampoline jumping and back to Groningen. Kindly, ESN had organized a fairly tasty lunch by the local "snägäri" and all who were hungover got their dose of salt and grease.

The whole weekend felt like I was 15 again on a summer camp without any worries. Perfect, relaxing weekend! Even though the flu caught me even worse after the weekend, but oh well, it was all totally worth it!!

19 September 2013

What's new

I just finished my classes for today and I am having a snack before studying for a while at the school library.

As my cappuccino cools down, I figured to share some random things from the past few days.

This week I feel like has been the brake point in the weather when you can actually wear a coat without boiling in the midday sun, in other words Autumn is here. So I have been using my new denim jacket like everyday, don't know how I managed to live without one before. I have also been FINALLY, after weeks and weeks, able to start using my gorgeous ACNE scarf, pure love and totally worth every penny!

I don't know if it's because of the change in the weather, my kiind of unilateral diet (of toast, cucumber and lettuce + occasional pasta) or 6am arrivals to the house after a night out, but I have managed to get a cold. Not feeling the best atm with dripping nose and red eyes..

Fortunately tomorrow we will head up to an island called Ameland and spend the weekend there. Really looking forward to this excursion - hopefully it will be a-mazing! So on monday I will be either on the top of my game, or even more sick..

p.s. I really don't mind spending time at the school canteen - cappuccino for 1€, Arctic Monkeys and One Direction playing on the background!! Thumbs up for Hanze fo sho!

16 September 2013

Week 37

I feel like the threshold of writing is getting higher every day since the last post. In the other hand, there is a lot going on everyday but on the other hand, I don't feel like they are worth writing a full-on blog post. And sometimes after an event for example, it would be nice to post something but I don't have any photos so don't want to do that either.

But I figured it would be nice that on Sundays(or Mondays) I could do a little round up from the past week. If I can still remember what has happened..

So on Monday I had my first lectures for this semester, starting with dutch. I was almost late from the class, as I had to buy some books and of course got lost.. I went to a wrong classroom but soon found out that it was not where I should have been. After school, I went for a run and found a really good path to run trough a park called "noorderplantsoen" I think, so very excited about that! In the evening I made my first "Erasmus meal", in other words pasta and tomato sauce. I also got allured to check out the ESN party at "Drie Gezusters", aparently the place to be as an exchange student. 

Gladly for my grandma-naturewhen it comes to partying(nowadays) we didn't stay out too late, so it was rise and shine the next day. On Tuesday I had two lectures, first marketing at 10:30 and the other at 16:30, statistics for dessert. In the morning, I watched out from my window and the sun was shining and I was really excited for still being able to wear almost summery clothes. But, when I made it to school, I was absolutely soaking wet!! A little shower to top off the day. From that point on, I have been wise enough to always carry my raincoat, just in case, even if it is just a little overcasted. After my statistics lecture, I remember feeling so tired and drained so the plan for the evening was to watch a movie and get a good night sleep. Statistics was SO hard.. I don't know how I will manage to finish the course, better yet with some decent grade. 

Wednesday was my day-off from school, as our lecture was cancelled due to the teachers extended holiday. Good for him, better for me. So I just slept in, went for a run and took it easy. Stocked up my fridge shelf and wondered around the neighborhood. In the evening I met up with a new friend, whom with I will be going to Amsterdam to see a band called Daughter on 18th November. First we went to his friends house and later to a jazz pub called Peter Pan I recall. My night was filled with Italians, air kisses and german beer. It was so much fun and in addition, I got to know my neighbor!

During the whole first period, I am going to have lectures first thing in the morning on Thurdays. 8:30 a little crispy from wednesday time for HR management. Even though our teacher seems really good and funny, the course once again is not going to be an easy one. This course is meant to be taken on your 4th year, and most of the students have just returned from their year abroad and are almost graduating already. But hey, challenge accepted.. Overwhelmed from all the information, just headed back to the dorm and chill. Don't remember if I did anything too overwhelming, just went to the city center to find some notebooks but couldn't find any decent ones. I still don't know where these people buy their notebooks, all of them were just awful, not practical at all or for children. I ended up buying my first pair of Vans and a new jean jacket from H&M as I forgot my own at home in Finland.

TGIFriday: On friday we had a nice set of lectures, first two hours of HRM and straight after three hours of marketing. And I believe this will be on every single Friday for the first period. How cool is that, I get to sit at school until 5:30 pm every Friday when I could be spending a long weekend in Amsterdam for example. Oh well, no can do. Friday night I didn't have any plans, except for kitchen duty of course. Also, Martin was so kind that he went and bought me ticket for a ESN excursion to some island. So next weekend I will be spending exploring the countryside of Netherlands. Very excited and looking forward to that!!

For Saturday I had made plans with a german girl to meet up in the city, as I wanted to buy a book from her. Even though it was pouring rain that day, I am so happy that I went as I got my marketing book for just 15 euros, bought myself a new hat and some fresh veggies from the market. When I came back to the house, I bumped into Martin and we decided to go check out this second hand store called Mamamimi quite near to our house. Unfortunately we didn't find anything for ourselves, but there was a lot of good furniture etc. for sale. We also went to the market to taste the waterloo fries again, as they were so yummy and neither of us didn't have anything to eat. We also grabbed some fresh berries to have as a dessert. In the evening we then enjoyed our dessert and gathered with some other friends to the 6th floor. Gradually, more people joined us and in the end, there was like a 15 people party going on including people from at least Spain, USA, Greece, Slovakia, Germany, Brazil, France, China and Bulgaria. We all decided to head out to a bar and ended up going to the three sisters(Drie Gezusters). 

Sunday was like the most perfect sunday. I slept in, feeling a little hungover have to admit. Ate breakfast at 2 pm(toast with peanut butter, cucumber and lettuce - so good!), spent the rest of the day in a favoloso company of italians and to top it all off - finished my Kitchen duty week honorably. No more kitchen duty in at least 6 weeks!!! We had plans to visit the Martini tower to see the view, but as we made it there it was already closed. Fortunately it was a really nice weather and we decided to walk around the city for a while, and hunt tobacco for Cesare - with unsatisfactory results. Espresso, Twin Peaks, italian couscous and porto. Me happy, good night!

7 September 2013

And then I did a little shopping..

I have a confession to make.
I, however, have been doing a little something else than just studying.

First this happened. No biggie, 29,95€ from H&M

Then they gave me wine, for free!


First Week

Our first assignment was to come up with a certain product, produce it and present it. All this in four days, in a group of about 13 members from all around the world.

So, the last four days have been about meeting new people, cultural collaborations, teamwork and adjusting. I suppose this is how it's going to be for the next five months; adjusting to a new environment with new people, and to top that off, who are all from different countries and backgrounds.

Campus area
Our assignment was to make a survival guide, especially for international students who come here to study. And we did in the end manage to produce our product, Survival Stickers. We designed six different stickers with different kind of tips for surviving. One was for supermarkets and restaurants, one for Hanze rules, one for biking instructions etc. Personally I really liked our product and I think they looked really good. I believe that we even made some profit out of this project ;-)

Natural Science building, I think?
This project already taught me so much, it was a great way to show that some "sacrifices" has to be made to turn this year to something else than fighting, bad feelings and unfinished group assignments. It is for sure not going to be easy but I guess that is part of this experience, exchanging emotions and learning from each other.

After all the first week hustle, today I woke up feeling really sick so I am just going to stay in and have a good night sleep. Tomorrow it's time for an international Dutch dinner.

1 September 2013

Last night

Yesterday was my first official day walking around the city and getting to know the places, in other words: shopping day!

I took my bike to a shop to get a basket installed and the light fixed, as it was broken. In the meantime, I decided to just stroll around the city center and see what is out there. 

My first stop was this adorable little shop, can't remember the name but I am sure I will visit it later again. They sell clothing, interior and other things from young designers. I bought the cutest little backpack by a spanish designer Depeapa. I just couldn't resist. The outlay of the shop and all they were selling were very scandinavian to me, and the seller also told me that they indeed are really fond of scandinavia designers.

Bag by spanish designer Depeapa/ Dress from Zara

While strolling down the streets of Groningen, I just popped in to every shop that looked nice. The diversity of supply was amazing. So many cool stores, and so much to choose from. I also saw some super stylish people! I am beginning to like this city more and more everyday.

I also found my way to Zara. So a lot of spanish shopping for me yesterday.. :-D I did buy a couple of things, but they were really nice and something I will need and wear a lot I think. 

At the Vismarkt there was a market sell going on, and I decided to look around. I was in heaven. Fresh vegetables and berries, flowers, cheese, pastries, bread... So much stuff! I want it all! I ended up buying an assortment of nuts, blackberries and raspberries. For lunch I had the "The Belg Waterloo" fries. There was a lot of people gathered around their van, so I figured it must be good. And it was. A little bit of spiciness and a lot of unhealthiness. Lunch on the steps of some old building while watching all the people passing by, I felt like I was on a holiday in some big city. I love the city hustle in here, SO different from Vaasa.

In the evening, me and another finnish student in here decided to head to the city for a beer or two. Everyone else was at the ESN party(which unfortunately was sold out before I even knew it) or just not up for anything, so the two of us went to see the town at night. We ended up walking around for like a half an hour, looking for some nice bar to sit in, nice city tour at the same time. It was quite quiet yet and nothing seemed that nice. Finally we ended up in one place and ordered us this special beer called Grimbergen. According to the waitress, that bar is the only place in the city where you could buy this beer. And to my surprise, it was really good! Very light beer, almost fruity to say. We sat outside watching the local people passing by.

The next place we went to was a bit further away on a little, silent alley. There were two people inside when we got there, but the owner was really nice. She told us how to say cheers in dutch(proost, I think?) and we also talked about the dutch drinking culture and such.

Snägäri dutch style 

I had a great time, even though it was just me and Mertsi, thanks a lot! It was nice to see the town a bit and get to know you.