Hallo from de Nederlands! I will start with the beginning of my journey. Before leaving I had a bittersweet feeling, filled with excitement and nervousness. As a first time traveler outside of the US I wondered what it would be like traveling to a foreign country on my own? What would it be like once I arrived, how would the people there percieve me.. how would they greet me? Boarding the plane was a surreal moment at the time. Once I sat down and got comfortable, I quickly started talking to the girl next to me who is a Native of the Netherlands. She was visiting the US for a few days, and was describing how PA reminded her of the Netherlands, which made me curious.. in what ways!? After talking with her my nervousness disappeared and I became filled with excitement of what would come after landing. We became friends on the flight and are now planning to meet next weekend, which will be nice. I hoped all people in the Netherlands would be as kind as she was! I also know if I ever need anyone to kick some butt I can call her! She's a professional Brazilian jujitzu fighter!
Sarai, my friend from the plane led me to the train station and made sure I was Okay to get to Nijmegen. Once on the train I met yet another professional athlete--a boy from California training for the 2012 Olympics. Crazy, right?! There was yet another kind girl who made sure I got to the right train stop (maybe everyone realized I was a confused American girl). I got off the train and got a taxi to where I'd be staying at the guesthouse. Yet another smooth travel. The taxi driver was so cute, showing me landmarks and teaching me how to avoid being pickpocketed. He even gave me money back when I was giving him a tip. I realized then how kind people can truly be if you reciprocate. I was pooped after not sleeping for a 24 hour period, and came to my apartment and passed out!
The first couple days jetlag got the best of me. My sleeping habits were so strange and my body was rejecting foods and just felt odd. I'm not gunna lie, it was hard adjusting those first few days and strangely enough the hardest part has been living on my own. It was strange to be called a foreigner too! Everyone at the Donders Center (the building where the lab is) was very kind and informational though, which made me feel comfortable. There is one PHD student who Janet connected me with, Sybrine, that has been extremely kind and patient with all the questions I kept asking her.
It was strange to be given my own office! I feel soooo professional! I learned though that it is regular for research students to have an office. I met with Janet my third day here, which was very nice being able to see a familiar face and be given some advice. Since that day I've gotten used to living in Nijmegen and I'm coming to love it here! It is soo green, and I love exploring the parks and neighborhoods. I love seeing the families outside playing hopscotch with their children and playing at the park. It gives me this homey-feeling that I can't explain. This week I have almost seven participants, which feels AWESOME! I hope things continue to go as smoothly as they have been as time continues. :)