It’s Friday night and we’re spending the evening in the apartment washing and preparing fresh fruits/veggies, packing, and looking up things to do in Belgium. Off to our first mini-trip tomorrow – Antwerp, possibly Ghent, and Brussels! Really looking forward to those Belgium waffles and beer (perhaps not together)… Finishing off a big bowl of popcorn as I type this now and the rest of a bottle of wine with Hunter.

My first day at the Voedselbank was really fun! It was also my first time trying to navigate on bike the canals and streets all by myself. So I left a good thirty minutes early. Good thing too, I ended up being there about four minutes early, which is probably a little late by my standards. To be fair though, the entrance to the place was exceedingly difficult to find. I had expected a pretty young crowd there, and was excited at the prospect of making some new friends in Amsterdam. Turns out, they were pretty much all middle-age unemployed folk who probably don’t have as much interest in hanging out with me on the weekends ahah. But they were a super nice group, I liked listening to them chatter in Dutch (cannot understand a thing…), and I did my fair share of talking and telling them about myself (they were also all fluent in English, like pretty much everyone around here). I also made kind of made a friend of this one guy! He had spent some time in the US – California and then Chicago – and so could relate to me well. We added each other on facebook and later that night, he sent me all these suggestions and links of places to go to in Amsterdam from fun touristy things to the best bars/clubs. I’m glad to have met him.

Speaking of friends and meeting people, we’re slowly starting to branch out on our floor. I’m pleased to say that everyone I’ve met so far has been super likeable. The building seems to house a lot of students, many who are international (like Hunter). Everyone that I’ve met on our floor has been really nice, young, and seem like fun people to hang around with. There’s this girl Roxy diagonal from us that we met in the hall, and have run into a bunch of times. Susan, this pretty blond thing we met tonight. And Wilson, the guy next door, who basically saved my day this morning (long-ish story). Turns out, Wilson is also a student at VU like Hunter and they’re in the same neuroscience program (he’s a first year and Hunter is second). Dinner or drinks or something, we’ll all have to do something together soon. Yay new friends!

Other than that, these last few days have been pretty uneventful. Hunter’s been busy with a ton of deadlines this week, I haven’t done any more touring (although, the bike ride from the Voedselbank was nice and took me around the zoo and a quieter part of town). I got my bike seat fixed (it was a little loose) at the same little bike spot in Waterlooplein and had a really good conversation with the older guy that runs the place. And now I know what all the XXX symbols that I’ve been seeing around the city mean! (No, not like the explicit XXX.) It’s the city coat of arms symbol and “one for strong heart, one for… uh, steadiness, and one for courage” – Mr. Bike Guy.

We’ve been eating really well! Or rather, cooking well. I’ve still yet to spend any money on food in Amsterdam outside of groceries. But our meals have been really fantastic and I’m definitely going to come home a chef.

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