After another long flight full of anticipation, we landed in Amsterdam! With ease we all strolled through customs (literally only a small detour through a hallway that separated us from the natives) and loaded up the bus to begin our trek to Maastricht.
Along the way I experienced my first "dutch" meal. Each label was of course in Dutch, therefore I'm not exactly sure what it was that I ate. All I know is that the sandwich consisting of a wedge cut tomato, half a boiled egg, cheese, and some sort of meat on bread was very... bland. Mayonnaise, and other condiments, cost extra. Speaking of extra costs, I also had my first experience in a European bathroom.
A couple years ago I saw the musical Urinetown, a comedy depicting the lives of those who are broke and are in need of public bathrooms, yet, they must pay to use them. Never did I think paying to go to the bathroom was REAL! So yes, I paid half a euro to use the bathroom.. along with this experience I made an observation that I wish I hadn't paid attention to- because now I'm completely grossed out--- These people don't wash their hands with soap! BLEHHH!! Now, this might not be true for everyone in the Netherlands, but it was for sure true for the four people that shared the bathroom with me.
The drive from Amsterdam to Maastricht was gorgeous. The houses are so adorable! ...exactly what I pictured! The green countryside goes on for days and the grass even seems to be greener (really!). We made jokes that they must clean the grass and fluff it every once in a while. When driving through the city of Maastricht I saw the about as more bikers riding along the street and on the paths laid out for them at one time than I have ever seen. I can't wait to get my bike! This city is a lot more populated than I expected it to be: therefore, there's tons of apartment buildings everywhere.. All very old and pretty!
Once we made it to Universiteit Maastricht, we promptly received our dorm keys: Bonnie and I are very pleased with the rooms! They're very spacious and long.. the only downside is the beds. They seem to be very uncomfortable, but I shouldn't judge until I have slept on it.
We met with the group after getting settled in and took a walk to the mall. It was so difficult to buy groceries since EVERYTHING was in Dutch. Bonnie and I stood back several times to see what the locals picked out, and then we'd pick the same! When there weren't locals around, for example in the bakery, we just bought one of everything that looked appetizing and decided we'd try them all-- that way, when we return to the store we'll know which kind we like best. There were many firsts on this grocery run such as my first purchase of spreadable sausage and first time to legally buy wine :)
All day I have been super exhausted, yet I have managed to stay awake because of the exciting sights and people surrounding me. When we first arrived it didn't feel like I was actually in another country 5,000 miles away from home. It's beginning to become more and more real with each experience and I keep thanking God for this incredible opportunity. I can't believe we made it!!