Nerves of steel
“Hey, do you think that maybe it won’t rain today?” asked Sarah, the other Response Volunteer at the same organization as me.
No more than five minutes later, the cool winds started – what I am finding is a sure sign of rain on its way. Lucky me, the rain held off until we were leaving the office – it was raining, but not heavily. So I rode my bike home in it, without a poncho – I figured that I am doing laundry today anyway…and it kind of felt nice. No, I don’t particularly mind getting wet, a good quality to have here!
Laundry. Today is my designated day to do laundry. Luckily, there is an overhang that provides shelter from most of the rain, because the rain falls straight down. So I am doing my laundry, rain and all. I mean, if I waited until it was not raining, I would never get to do the laundry. I’ll have to figure out what to do when my Dutch lessons start, as they will be held on Wednesdays and Fridays.
I’m starting to get a bit used to daily life here. Yesterday around lunch time I walked to one of the mini-mart type stores that are up the street and bought a bag of honey bbq flavored cheese puffs. As another Response Volunteer said, flavored air. Well, these were not so bad – they had SOME substance. But there is a rather large array of the cheesy puff or cheesy balls here – one is shaped like Bigfoot’s feet (or what someone imagines they would look like). Unfortunately for me, these could develop into a vice – I guess I have to have one. Since I’ve been here, I’ve had only one dessert/chocolate. I guess they have ice cream but it seems expensive, and these cheese puff things are not. So I may break another “habit” of mine – I broke my desire for soda in Ukraine (I was not a junkie – one or two cans a day, but still), so I guess my love of sweets (well, chocolate) is next?
I’m still trying to figure out what it is going to cost me to eat, as I am currently still kind of stocking up on things. So I am trying to be cautious with my money and stick with the basics as much as I can. Not doing so well though, given the fact that I have tasted three kinds of cheesy puffs in the past week and a half! But like I said, they’re cheap…
Riding my bicycle is also interesting. On one of the roads there is a designated bike “lane”, which keeps bicyclists out of traffic. The rest of the time, I am riding along with the cars. Most of the time they give me a pretty wide berth, but a couple of times they have passed me with mere inches to spare (passing me means moving toward the other lane or waiting to do so, and during rush hour, who wants to wait?). So far, so good, though – these are some skilled drivers to pass me with a small clearance without hitting me! Still, I am glad I don’t scare that easily or I would not be able to bike at all.
The sun goes down here much earlier than I am used to in the summer – makes sense, we have about 12 hours of sun every day as we are pretty close to the Equator. I will appreciate this when the winter months come! From what I’ve seen, the sunsets are beautiful. I’d like to see one near the water (ocean, not puddles). Maybe I will get to do so…
I also seem to be acquiring some bird friends. A couple of times (once when I was cooking, and once this morning, when I was at my bathroom sink), little birds come and land outside my window. I wish I knew what they were, because they are quite pretty. They sat there for a few minutes, checking me out, and then flew off. I guess I passed their test?
In short, I guess the adjustment process has begun, and I am trying to figure out how to, as our Program and Training Officer suggested, become involved in a community. Idiot me, I did not bring workout clothes, so that’s out (some fun options here, too!). I’ve contacted the local synagogue to ask about services there, and am trying to get to know the other Vs (hard to do when you are not so outgoing). I hope to get to know some of the locals, but the language barrier, when it exists, may be a challenge. I speak English and am learning Dutch, and people here can speak any of the languages of the country, but most speak Sranan, which I am not learning.
Not bad for week two?