Saturday, September 22, 2007

The busy month

As I anticipated, these weeks have been very busy for me. What I can tell is that the Dutch course is on the way, getting struggled with the synopsis of the language, but going on. Also, my bathroom at home was reformed, with three pictures are the before, during and after construction.

Personally, I didn't enjoy at all this two weeks: my provisional bathroom was at the first floor of my building (I live at the fifth), and I had to share with I don't know who besides the guys working on the construction. My complaints about that were in vain, nobody from the housing company care about the not so nice situation I lived... but in any case they reacted and gave me a very practical solution:

Of course, I didn't use this, and note this is just at my kitchen and living room...

But not all are bad news! I got a visit last weekend. Carolina, a friend from Colombia I met in Chile who now is doing her PhD in Bonn. We just went out Friday night where we danced a lot! On Saturday time for a walk in Amsterdam, and on Sunday, just a relaxing bike tour around Eindhoven. I know she didn't enjoy much this tour, as she is not used to bike, and specially she is not used to bike 30km at once! I hope she overall liked her visit down here. This self-portrait was taken at the Dam Square in Amsterdam.

And this weekend it is time to tidy up things at home, while also helping some friends to move. And as if these were not enough, yesterday I went on biking tour of the 'lichtjesroute' (lights route) which I'm planning to repeat by car with my cousins from Spain who will visit me next week. I exhausted, that's why I'm lazy and owe the translation to Spanish :)

Update (29/09): Carolina sent me an album with her pictures.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A sweeter life

Today I was reading one expat's newspaper from The Netherlands and after a long time I felt identified a lot with one report. Before reading it, let me tell you that some time ago I started adding something sweet to my dinners (as a dessert or a fruit) thing that in general I didn't use to do so often. I also have been buying lots of candies and have them all the day long.

What is special with this, read the report:

Dutch seek consolation in sweets

AMSTERDAM - To make them forget the rainy weather this summer the Dutch en masse sought consolation in sweets. Figures published by marketing research agency AC Nielsen showed that more sweets, chocolate and biscuits had been sold this summer than usual. The agency confirmed this in the daily

Sales figures of small and large bars of chocolate rose by 14 percent while those of chocolate sweets went up by 11 percent. The total turnover of chocolate increased by 10 percent to EUR 73.5 million.

Biscuits were very popular with Dutch consumers (up 10 percent). Liquorice too was favourite in rainy Holland and saw a rise of 4 percent.
Click here!

A spokesperson for AC Nielsen said that the weather always has an influence on eating and drinking patterns of people. Last year when we had a hot summer the sales figures of lemonade, beer and ice creams were higher than usual.


LOL, how weather affects our behavior... And something to eat more sweets: according to the Dutch Meteorological Center, this summer has been warmer than the average records... In summary: a very depressing, forgettable summer...

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Una agenda apretada = A busy agenda

¡La hora de trabajar ha llegado! :) en realidad, voy a tener más actividades que las usuales tareas de investigación. De hecho esta semana ya empecé a dar clases: la asignatura es matemáticas básicas (algo como Análisis I para los de la UNSa), y por supuesto que lo tengo que ahcer en inglés aunque tengo que responder las preguntas en holandés de mis estudiantes que a veces entiendo. El curso durará un mes, los contenidos son bastantes densos, pero veremos cómo nos va.

La segunda actividad tiene que ver con el inicio de mi curso de holandés: luego de más de un año y medio creo que me siento lo suficientemente seguro como para comenzar a jugar con el idioma local. En general, puedo entender a un muy alto nivel de lo que tratan que las conversaciones o los textos escritos. Por supuesto que ni confío en mí en la mayoría de los casos, especialmente cuando se trata de cartas importantes. Pero en general me doy maña para entender. ¿Hablar? Ni una palabra, dificilmente puedo decir goedemorgen (buenos días) o doei (como el chau nuestro). Aunque hoy aprendí que un tasje es una bolsa de plástico :) No es un idioma fácil y no es fácil de aprender cuando la gente cambia a inglés ni bien sospecha de tu acento o cuando estás sudando porque no podés decir ni una palabra... Vamos a ver cómo va. En lo personal, voy a experimentar el aprender un idioma mientras vivo en el país en el que se habla. De más está decir que va a ser una forma muy importante de sentirme más de este país...

Y bueno, esos son los nuevos eventos en mi agenda que van a tenerme un poco más ocupados que lo normal }:)

Actualización (08/09): Los invito a leer los comentarios de este post, se hacen varias reflexiones interesantes...

Time to work has arrived :) Actually, now I'll have more activities to do than my usual research tasks. I already stated teaching: the subject is basic mathematics (mainly concentrated in calculus), and of course I must do it in English although I have to deal with some questions in Dutch which sometimes I understand. It will last one month this course, the contents are quite dense, but we'll see how it is going on. The second main activity will be that I'll start studying the Dutch language: after more than 1,5 years I think I feel confident enough to start playing with the local language. In general, I can understand at the very high level what a conversation in Dutch is about, the same for a written text. Of course, I cannot trust myself in most of cases, specially with letters I got, but in general I can manage to understand. Talking? Any word yet, I hardly can say goedemorgen (good morning) and doei (Brabants word for bye). Although today I learned that tasje is a plastic bag :) It is not an easy language and it is not easy to learn as many people just switch to English when they detect on you some accent or that you're being struggled to speak... We will see how this goes. Personally, I will experience learning a language while leaving in the country where it is spoken. It is not necessary to mention that will be an opportunity to have a belonging feeling to this country...

And that are essentially my new items in my agenda which will really make me more busy than usual }:)

Update (08/09): There has been an interesting discussion on the comments. Unfortunately, they are in Spanish, but I'll post a spare thread on that matter soon.