Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Eurotrip: The Beginning

Oh hello there bagtak! LMAO! :)

I haven't told everyone about my upcoming short Eurotrip. Or no. I just shared it to some very close friends and family.Honestly, I was quite uncomfortable. I don't like this thinking that "hey, go there, find a boy friend there." Like oohhhh. give me a break..I travel because it is my passion. I travel because I want to learn, to see the world, get lost and take these different cultures with me. Not because I am desperate to find a romantic partner. Okay? It can be funny but too much of it, like your relatives telling you repeatedly, it becomes irritating. I can fend for myself. Thank you very much.

Or probably, they are conditioned for so long that a woman in mid-20s should "settle down" and settling down means marrying, having babies, getting a regular job and wait for your pension afterwards. And marrying is like getting the best choice, preferably a European to pass on good genes to your future kids.*eyes roll*  Because our models, the Azkals are half-breeds and they really have good looks. Great idea.  But wait. It doesn't work for everyone. I just believe that you cannot hurry Love. If it is my destiny, it will just come. :-)

But anyway..why I was here? I just made an unnecessary rant.Forgive me.hehe..Ooohh, I'm here because I applied and was accepted to a two-week short course on Competing Claims and Natural Resources at Wageningen University. I got a fellowship from Nuffic Fellowship Program (NFP) and after a 3-month struggle with my Visa, here I am.

Europe is definitely a whole new experience for me.It is my FIRST TRIP ABROAD And currently I am in a huge delta called The Netherlands.:)

Women showing poer over in class with one of our lecturers, Karen. :)

We are 14 in class coming from 11 different countries- Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Indonesia, Mongolia, India, Ethiopia, Zambia, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Philippines. We came from different backgrounds dealing with various cases of competition over minerals, wildlife, water, mountains.

So we came with these cases, discuss it and learn the framework and theories about it. For the first week, we really had fun just getting to know each other, debating about trivial things and getting the coursework done.

And I love the fact that I met Nur Hasanah, an Indonesian bubbly girl who has the same interests with me. We walk around and take pictures together! And she reminded me about Couchsurfing and shared her experience. So I signed up and had a wonderful experience too! :D

I learned that women, regardless of age and ethnicity will understand the language of shoes, bags and accessories! :) We women do a lot of shopping or going out at the market after class since shops here close at 6PM! Yeah, they have their social life too. But we say, "That's too early!" in our countries, we even have 24 hour shops. Of course, there's no point of comparing for labor cost with our respective countries. 

What I love is that, Wageningen is just a small village and it seems everyone knows everybody. Generally Dutch people are gentle people but here, it's like everyone's extra polite and helpful. Cars stop when you're at the pedestrian (even though you're still far and you have to even run and ashamed for dillydallying) or trying to cross but the traffic light still on Red. They would ask you, "You want me to take your pictures?" whether you are in groups or solo. Tourists possibly do not get here that much as Amsterdam is the always most known tourist area. I love to say this is a quaint charming village. I like the atmosphere of being in a community here. :)

Then, last Saturday, we went to Oosterschelde where a storm surge was made to stop the seawater from entering the country after the devastating North Sea flood in 1953. It is part of the 13 ambitious Delta Work.

It also the coastal boundary between Netherlands and Belgium. We can just see Antwerp at a distance. And one in my bucketlist is really standing on a border between to countries.Just like what Jamie Sullivan, the female protagonist did in A Walk to Remember? She wanted to be in 2 places at the same time. So step at the boundary of two countries or area. Yeah I want to do that too. But probably, this is the closest thing I can do for now! :)

at Zeeland. No, not in New Zealand. :) Photo by Nur Hasanah

Then we went to this very charming historical village of Veree. Around 500 inhabitants only! I can imagine during spring or summer people are just sitting outdoors, enjoying the sea.

Then for Sunday, I made a solo trip to the neighboring cities (it deserve another long blog) meet awesome guys from Couchsurfing (would probably make another blog solely about this online community) and just walked around, lounge around, drank coffee and beer, and just TALK! as in truly talk. and that's better than jumping around, taking too many photographs without making any real connection. I can say I have made new friends, and I see the city on a different perspective. I went there without even knowing what "tourist spots" I have to see. But these guys, Kevin and Freek, the gentlemen who lived there accompanied me to the streets and 'untouristy' alleys and corners. :)

And today is Monday. Everyone's still having a hang-over from the week-end. But we had a very interesting lecture on Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA). It's about making monetary value of thing you'll possibly lose and gain from a certain activity. But there are controversial issues to consider like: How do we value the ecosystem? There are other factors like psychological and social things like spiritual value of that area that cannot be monetized. But CBA should ideally guide the decisions of the legislators.

And tonight, for de-stressing, we've met another CSurfer studying at Wageningen who brought us to this small pub and introduced us (Nur and I) to his group of friends later. They have a weekly dinner together and we joined them. The dinner table was so lively with people switching from Dutch to English to Spanish, joking and laughing at mundane things. That's another aspect of a locality's culture that one should experience. Oh, when we were going back to the hotel, we passed by this marijuana (they call it weeds here) store. Everything is quite legal here especially marijuana. And it becomes a tourist come on too! hhhmm....:D

And right now, I am sitting on my table, unable to sleep. We are now on our 2nd week, everything seems to moving fast....I hope to maximize my stay here, to learn more and determine how to make my re-entry plan at the office. Yes, it will be a big work when I get back but for now, it's not bad to grab the opportunity right? :)

As the Mcdo Commercial sings, HOORAY FOR TODAY!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Freaky Happy Pre- Valentines

“Valentine’s Day is a celebration, but it becomes a crucial time for self-evaluation. There are a lot of reasons to celebrate Valentine’s Day – and being in a relationship isn’t the only way to enjoy life."

So the best way to enjoy the much awaited Hearts Day? Spend it with your single friends. travel together. be crazy. And it was our FIRST trip together.

Saturday is for learning about history of Manila. We took Carlos Celdran Walk Tour. Lunch time is for Binondo Food trip. Afternoon is for Divisoria shopping.

Sunday is for the 17th Hot Air Balloon Festival at Clark Air Field, Pampanga.

(will post more after I find my sanity. hehe


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