Help. I’m trapped in the computer room by three feet of hanging wet clothes.

Okay. People here use energy carefully. Even more carefully than those who have followed me around turning off lights my whole life. This translates into no dryers. With space at almost as much a premium as energy, you get a clothes rack in the doorway to the computer/laundry room. I did laundry for the first time since arriving and I learned that I am glad I only did about half of what I had to do. If you do all of your laundry, then you have to find places and clothes pins to hang all of it up. I was very nervous half way through that I would run out, but I have clothes pins to spare. It occurred to me that I could not do what I did in college: my laundry once every six weeks or so. No, no…I would need to do it weekly, if not more often.

I will have to brave the wet forrest of clothes if I want to go to bed. Speaking of going to bed, it is also unwise to wash one’s pajamas just before bed when dryers are a thing of the past.

I think that we should have canals in the US. I stepped out of a talk with a friend this evening to look into the lily-pad dotted water reflecting the lights of the town. Be still my heart. Water running through the entire town. I think it is only beginning to sink in how much water there is here…like…I could cognate it when I was in my delirious sleepless state on the way back from the airport. But every morning when I wake up and the canals are still there along with the thousands of bike and pedestrian and car lanes, each with its own walk signal and stripes on the light poles…it’s still there…and I begin to believe that I am in a somewhere all it’s own.

Can I just say that the church in the square in Delft all lit up at night is impressively beautiful, and the red bicycle with the light on the front strolling across the bricks we’re all sharing as night is setting in, night’s inhabitants scuttling to their next destinations…that was sweet and simple and completely other. Other than I have ever known before.

Somedays it feels like trying to play a violin with a pickle for a bow, but I really love learning this new place, culture, people…

I’ve been in the Netherlands since Thursday. This is my first time out of the Americas, and I often wonder if my trip to Equador counts as an international experience, seeing that I was with hundreds of teenage girls at the time. I would say that was an experience of a different sort…and definately the foreign country made it more…um…exciting.

The first thing I learned is that shorting yourself sleep the night before only helps with jetlag if you are indeed ABLE to sleep on the plane. If you do not sleep on the plane, it only gives you more of a deficite to recover.

If one is going to pop over standby to another country, I highly recommend having friends like mine. One sleepless hour I was talking to the purser on the plane. She asked where my friends were picking me up. “Uh…I think….they’ll just meet me as soon as they can.” Like, it’s the world’s biggest airport, and it never occurred to me that we should discuss where to meet…I just figured it was my job to get past the customs officials, and then they’d find me.

Passing through customs is the EASIEST process in Amsterdam. You just hand them your passport, then (assuming you have nothing to declare) walk through door number 2, which is clearly marked “Nothing to declare”. IF one chooses door number 1, I have no idea what happens. Maybe you end up in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, for all I know. I chose door number 2 and there found two very dear friends jumping up and down, clapping…or was that me jumping up and down. It’s all fuzzy now.

Speaking of fuzzy…gosh…this language thing. I have learned something very important about myself. I never stop listening. I am listening to people around me all the time. ALL the time. I can’t turn it off. I get confused as to what I am hearing…and my poor little brain is trying to solve the puzzle of what is being said. I’m pretty sure I sprained something in my head today.

So between the sleep deprivation and the language thing, I’m pretty exhausted by the end of the day. I often feel like because I cannot speak the language, I have lost other basic skills…like math. Yep. I’m pretty sure that arithmatic does not work in Europe. Music, however, is very soothing, and I wish I had my violin with me.

Does anyone know where I can get a brain massage?

Other random facts:
These people are tall. The steps are tall, the chairs are tall, the toilets are tall.
There is a little waterfall in each toilet. That’s right folks, they still believe in water pressure here in Europe. Turns out there is a way to make eco friendly toilets that flush on demand. I’m bringing one home with me, if I can figure out how to fit it underneath the seat in front of me or in the overhead bin.
The biggest thing to be careful of in the Netherlands is the bike gangs, and I don’t mean sissy motorcycles. We’re talking biped here, folks. Millions and millions and millions. They aren’t afraid to kill you, if they need to.
Some of the bike lanes have a little curb of their very own, so it goes street-curb-bike lane-curb-side walk. You think I’d be having trouble with the abnormally tall stairs or random extra curbs, but it’s the flat ground that gets me. Maybe that’s the sleep deprivation, there.
Yesterday we went to Wall-E and I had a beer. Because I could. Next I will be drinking in the car. Apparently that’s legal, since I’m not the driver.
It seems I have finally adjusted to the time change. No more of this silly going to bed at 9 PM and getting up at 7 or 8. No, no…I am on my regular circadian pattern. I figure it’ll be bedtime…oh…sometime before 3 AM.

*looks at clock*

Yeah…bedtime…sometime soon.