See here for days 1 and 2.
I was much less tired – one, I wore woolen inners (finally!) and two, I ate a lot and walked lesser and three, the weather was not that cold – so it was back to feeling awesome about Europe.
Sometimes I deeply question my decision to be here.. so I am glad I relied on hard facts and not just emotions.. like – health effects of great weather and silence – already seem to be working (though of course it is crazy to start evaluating a life decision in 3 days !).
Also, the people here have a good work ethic – we worked on a design project today and did a commendable job.
Poster for a building in Rotterdam
I have done similar exercises with guys in India and most would just not take it seriously – as it was only a team building exercise.
Tangent –> There is this Swiss guy who looks at me as if deeply interested – he looks at everyone that way – and that makes him interesting. He comes from Zurich. Must be a bummer to be a native there – what will you dream about if you already live in the perfect city?
In general, there is an environment of not judging people. Dutch people look different from the chiseled Germans, and they are more approachable. When I sit with a group at a party- only guy without a drink, people notice it, but never mind it. Very few even ask about it. If I say no to an offer of a drink, it is not forced – it’s quite easy to say no. So I hang out with people more. And yes, Dutch girls look beautiful – some of them have blue eyes, and it feels like you are talking to a moving statue.
I have not done a lot of necessary shopping yet as I want to spend more time with more people. It pinches the pocket, but I have learned that people matter more than money, so I go out, explore new places and food, and have a good time with friends.
I regularly wonder at how developed this place is. On the project about Rotterdam we found it had so many awesome buildings and museums and universities and wow. I imagined it to be a quaint little place. But it seemed way more futuristic and advanced than any metropolis back in India. I had assumed Amsterdam was the only major city in Netherlands. Rest was just.. tulips & windmills. I was very, very wrong.
I feel very thankful to the technology around now. The net speed is an awesome 30 mbps and I can talk to any of my friends anytime on WhatsApp. This was tough the last time I came here in 2010. We had to spend a lot of Euros in calls, and there was no easy way to share pictures. There were no smartphones – none with people like me at least. Being connected to family and friends this way makes me feel very good and optimistic about life ahead.
From Male (age 35) to Male (age 27). That’s what my camera says (on a Xiaomi Mi4i).
I walk around 3-5 kms everyday, and sometimes I run to catch the tram, and thus there are dramatic effects in a few days. I knew Europe would boost my health, but feels so much better when it actually happens.
Results of the design competition were announced in the evening – we didn’t win but it was fun to dance in the after-party and just hang out with a lot of new people. I have met at least 30 by now. Most people were bad at dancing, but great at enjoying a party.
For dinner, there was a beef burger which I felt conflicted about. I feel uncomfortable eating beef just because I am not used to it – just like sea-food. It didn’t taste so great either so I left it mid-way. Chicken is my comfort zone.
In the day time, we had ‘faculty introduction’ – this is when I saw my department from the inside for the first time.
IDE (or IO, in Dutch) Department from the outside – simple, boring.
We got introduced the huge place with interesting design, got the schedule of our classes and met Academic Counsellors and also saw the actual ambulance drone. I discovered that I was the only Indian guy joining this semester (bummer), though there are a few Indian girls. But good to know some of the senior students are Indian. I came here to explore cultures but I admit, I do love to speak a bit of Hindi.
Made me happy to see some German guys in the program. I know a bit of German and have always admired their work ethic.
Morning began with me feeling lonely and questioning life for around an hour. But soon I checked out my Wi-fi router – and words can’t explain the beauty of this image:
Had a lot of fun chatting with friends and family. SO GLAD for WhatsApp calling/ FaceTime/Smartphones. Whole evening went chatting. It’s not just about saving money on calls. You just feel so free and relaxed – that you can call a loved one anytime, anywhere – it’s immensely empowering.
Finally went out for shopping and got some food. This reminded me of all the good things I loved Europe. So much awesome food, nice, respectful people. Indian people are great but everything is so rushed – it’s tough to be nice when too many people are fighting for too little space and food.
And since I got some time today (a Saturday) – did some good ol’ 2×2 thinking:
As I get – ‘set up’ here, there will be lesser daily updates – will try to document interesting events though.