Monday, September 04, 2006

Amsterdam Update

I love the Internet! I just received a long email from Emma with pictures, and she’s having a ball. The photos above show the view out her window. It sure doesn’t look like Brampton, does it?
On Saturday Emma went to Ikea with some of her new buddies, and bought a rug, tea towels, a blanket and some bedding. In her words: “My room is fab.” But she says she’s definitely having culture shock. In cafes, people smoke “with their babies…the babies themselves weren’t smoking, but you know what I mean.”
Another thing Emma has noticed is that there doesn’t seem to be a celebrity culture going on in Holland. People are not hung up on how they look, and no one checks out what she’s wearing. Emma says she hadn’t realized how much people do it here.
She’s addicted to cheese now (there’s a great cheese shop just around the corner), and today she’s buying a bicycle because that’s how everyone gets around. My mother phoned me last night to say that she had just called Emma and was really upset when Emma told her that no one wears a bicycle helmet in Holland!
Emma says that European guys are more relaxed and not as concerned with being manly. “For example two guys in my group – one from Italy, the other from Greece – were arguing over whether Italian or French is the language of love and passion. They all double kiss too. It's hilarious. You can tell who the North Americans are because we are wearing similar clothing and are a little more standoffish…”
So far, she’s met several people from Poland, Russia, South Africa that she’s sure she’ll become friends with, plus a couple of people from law school she knew, but had never spent any time with. Her only complaint? “I am dying for more novels to read since English books here are really expensive, and I foresee spending a lot of time reading at corner cafes and stuff.” Obviously we’re going to have to send her a care package, and pronto.
Today is Emma’s first day at the University of Amsterdam, so I keep thinking about her. But since she’s six hours ahead of us, she’s probably eating cheese right now and admiring her new bicycle.

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