The Slutty Mermaid

Trip Start May 25, 2010
Trip End Aug 29, 2010

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Flag of Netherlands  , Noord-Holland,
Saturday, July 10, 2010

It has been a while since I have blogged so I will just mention a few highlights of the last week or so:

On Friday I got off early and watched the soccer match, Holland vs. Brazil at Museum Plein where they had a public viewing. Public viewings are when the city sets up a HUGE screen TV in a park for the public to watch a game. It was so hot and there were thousands of people but it was exciting. Everyone (but me) was wearing orange to support the Holland team. The game started out very dull and the crowd was disappointed. In the second half Holland scored the first goal and the park exploded in celebration. Holland won and the viewing turned into a massive party. I had watched with some co workers and after went to the Canadian's for dinner. Because they have bikes and I don’t, I rode on the back of one of theirs. It was a little scary to have no helmet, riding with traffic, in flip flops, but I relaxed and went with it. The next day I wished I had just walked – my bum has bruises that vaguely resemble iron bars.

On Saturday I met with Ashley, a friend of my roommate Eric from India, who is an au pair at The Hague. We found a bar to watch the Germany-Argentina game but couldn’t really see the game from our seats. When the game finished, a big group of Germans celebrated their victory right in front of our bar’s patio, where we were sitting. They chanted, danced, sang, and maybe cried. Check out the video I took. It was very fun to watch. On Wednesday with some German co-workers I watched the Spain vs. Germany match. It was one of the most intense games I have seen because both teams played really well and tried so hard to win.   We watched the game standing outside a bar at one of the massively overcrowded bars on Rembrantplein. About half of the viewers around us were German and the other half Spanish (or cheering for Spain anyway) and the groups competed in traditional songs and chants throughout the game. I was with my German co-workers and near a loud group of Germans so I picked up their songs and enthusiasm.  When Germany lost it was very sad for my German friends who had planned to go home for the weekend if Germany had made it to the final game of the World Cup. After the game we found another bar but didn’t stay there long. Some English guys were still pretty upset about their loss to the Germans a few weeks ago but overly happy so se Germany lose the game against Spain.  I am not really sure how it happened but in a matter of moments a friendly conversation turned into lets go 'round the corner mate and I’ll smash your bloody face in is what I’ll do, yeahhh.  One of my German friends looked like he might not walk away so, in an attempt to make it easier for him I put my arm around the German and said I want to go baby!      

On Fourth of July I celebrated with Ashley and her Austrian boyfriend Franz on his boat, the Slutty Mermaid.  It was a beautiful day and everyone was out on their boats. We cruised through the canals for a while but it was not exactly relaxing. There were so many boats on the water that we had to always keep an eye out for boats around corners or on the other side of a bridge. All the boats were having difficulty and some even crashed into each other.  But people were happy with the nice weather and almost everyone was in bathing suits and had drinks in their hands.  The boat crash involved a tour boat and an expensive looking medium size motor boat. The motor boat was driven by a man in his underwear and during the crash everyone on his boat instinctively protected their drinks from spilling, rather than try to keep the boat from tipping. Luckily, the boat didn’t tip but it did take some damage to the front end. The nearly naked driver didn’t seem to care about the damages, but he was also the one at fault, so I am suspicious of his sobriety.  Friday I went out on a large private boat with the office.  We spent a few hours having lunch, drinking, and burning in the sun. It was meant as a team building/biannual office party and it was a lot of fun (see pictures).  After the boat ride I met up with some co-workers for dinner and then we went to a bar at leidesplien to listen and dance to some live music. The band was pretty good and played lots of classic rock covers from the 70s and 80s.  

Since I have been here the question, what will I do next? has always been on my mind. Ok, well I know I need to study for the Lsats, so I bought an lsat prep book. But what can I do for work? All the very few jobs in the Sacramento area that I am vaguely interested in and would utilize my specified skills require fluency in Spanish. What to do? Learn Spanish of course. It has now become my mission to learn Spanish during my year off from school.   I told my roommate from Brazil that I need to learn Spanish and she is helping me. Now, we only speak in Spanish to each other and the helps me read magazines and go through verbs some evenings. She is so patient with me and a huge help.  She even leaves the Spanish channel on for me!

 To prepare for my lessons with my roommate, I went to an English bookstore to find a Spanish language book but the store was closed. I thought, well, I will just check out my favorite artsy bookstore and see what they have.  Before I entered, I noticed the name of the bookstore for the first time: the American Bookseller. The American Bookseller? I thought. What makes it American? It’s all erotic art and pop culture. When I entered I noticed for the first time the store actually has three huge floors and sells all kinds of books.  I guess I had just never made it past the more interesting first floor…

To continue my Spanish studies I enrolled in a class at Sierra College for the fall semester. I also took it (arguably) one step further and bought a ticket to Spain to au pair for a really nice family for three months. I leave December 21st!  I am in close contact through email and Skype with the mother of the family and I believe this will be really good for me.  I try to write my emails in Spanish but in my latest email I attempted to say it is good that we keep in touch with each other. But when I translated it back to English with Word translator, it said it is good we keep in touch with the enemy. I can only hope she understands what I meant to say.  The family has only one child, a 9 year old girl, and I will be responsible for helping her with school work, entertaining her after school, and conversing with her in English. While she is in school, I have free time to take free Spanish lessons at the local language school. The parents will also help me learn Spanish.   So, with hard work and some luck, I might become pretty good at it by the time I come home! The family will not need me after March 19 so with the money I save from working for them I will take maybe two weeks to travel to Madrid and then Barcelona before coming home. 

Now that I have a plan for the next 10 months, I felt comfortable with planning the rest of my time here in Amsterdam. Before I had this plan, I was not sure if I should try to stay here longer or if I should go home at the end of August and look for work. The 90 days I am allotted to live in the Shengen treaty area expires August 24th and if I should stay longer I need a visa. Rather than go through the trouble of getting a visa for an extra three days of work, I will leave before my 90 days expires. I had really hoped to visit some friends in Paris before I return but since France is in the Shengen area, I would have to go before the 24th of August. So, I will be leaving the office exactly a week ahead of schedule (if I had the visa) so that I can spend four days in Paris. On the 24th I will take the train to London, which is out of the Shengen area, and spend another four days there as well before flying home on the 29th.
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Mom on

Sounds like you have mapped out a good plan for your time before you start school again next year. Being an au-pair is not something you have done before, but you will be great! I think you will have fun and it will probably be a lot different that what you are doing now, a good change and a new country! You really know how to get around. Lv...m

julietam on

well, i love to try new things! :)

chrisarah on

The au pair job will be great for you!

chrisarah on

Also, is "the slutty mermaid" your second most popular blog entry? LOL ;-)

julietam on

I hope so! I think I will learn a lot and it will be so different than anything I have done before. you will have to give me some tips on children :)

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