Its been a few days since I last checked in, mostly because I’ve just been so so busy! After Noise ended we had the weekend off. I spent the majority of Saturday doing readings for the week and wandering around Utrecht, and then on Sunday, my group went on an adventure! We got on the train at 9AM in Utrecht, and 2 hours later we were on the coast of the Netherlands, near Texel Island. We had a quick walk to the ferry, which only took 15 minutes and felt like something out of the titanic (seriously, this ferry was huge and so fancy- I don’t understand how it is only used for this 15 minute trip!), and then we arrived on the island! The island is really quaint and like everywhere else here, it was super bike friendly. All 10 of us and Iveta, our professor/leader/camp counselor, rented bikes and began exploring. The weather was perfect, we only got lost a few times, and we ended up making it to the beach! The water was freezing but so refreshing after our ride, and we stayed at the beach for while. Some people kept swimming, a few went on walks, but I decided to read and then take a peaceful nap, which was perfect. It is hard to explain how lovely the day was, because while uneventful, it was really special.
On Monday, classes began for us as a separate group. Getting back into the academic mindset has been difficult, especially given the structure of our lectures. Here, everyday we have 2 seminars/lectures, one from 11-12:45, and the 2nd from 1:15-3. At Skidmore, most of my classes are only an hour and 20 minutes, and I often schedule them such that they aren’t back to back like this if I do have a longer class. Although its only an extra 25 minutes for each class, I have noticed the difference, and have to push myself to stay engaged. I am relieved though that class starts as late as it does, as it allows me to have nice leisurely mornings, and by bike it is really easy to get to class! Learning the biking rules is scary at times, but overall, I really am happy I got my bike for the short time in which we are here. It allows me more freedom than I had before, and that freedom really makes a difference.
Tomorrow, I am taking some me time and venturing all the way to Belgium for the weekend. I decided to take this trip pretty spontaneously, but am really excited to have another city to explore, and to have some time away from the rest of my group. I really do appreciate everyone here, but spending so much concentrated time with only 9 other people can be taxing at times. This trip will be a nice escape, and yet I am already aware that I will miss my new friends while I am gone! If anyone has any Bruges tips, please send them my way!!