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Welcome to my travel blog! I document my adventures through words, pictures, and videos. Hope you enjoy your stay!

โœˆ Chicago, IL, US

(Next: Cuba)

A Hectic First Few Days

Trying to situate and figure my life out in Rotterdam has not been the easiest. Everything that could go wrong has or they were more difficult than need-be. From airport and traveling troubles to transportation and living arrangements, here is everything crazy that has happened:

Trying to get to Rotterdam: Originally I though I had a 3 hour layover in Istanbul before my flight to Rotterdam. However, it turned out I only have 1.5 hours. I was not aware that I needed a visa just to transfer to another flight so I got yelled at by the police as I tried getting through customs without a visa. Not understanding what she meant or even where to go, I walked cluelessly around the airport trying to figure it out. Finally I found a nice worker who explained everything and found my way to the visa counter. Just my luck, the party in front of me had about 30+ passports to get approved with only one worker. I think I waited in that line for about 45 minutes, during which a fight was about to break out between other travelers also waiting in line. Once I got the visa situation figured out, I got back in line and was able to successfully get through customs. It wasn't until then, at around 7:25pm, that I realized my boarding was at 6:30pm and flight was scheduled to fly out at 7:30pm. So I booked it through the airport, through security again where I was stopped because they thought my flight had already left and had to call a bunch of different people to figure it out. Ran like a maniac through the airport and got to the gate at 7:45pm and thank the lord our flight hadn't even boarded yet. 

Sleepless in The Hague Airport: Since our flight was delayed we didn't land until midnight (scheduled time was at 10pm) and didn't get our bags until around 1pm. At this point, it was too late to get to my apartment since we couldn't get ahold of the RA to pick up the keys. I knew beforehand that this would happen so decided to spend the night at the airport and get to campus on the shuttle that the school provided. I thought it would be smart to wait at the right terminal beforehand and when we asked someone where Terminal 3 was, she said that they only had one, the one I was in. It turns out, I was at the WRONG airport. -___- The shuttle was only picking up students from Amsterdam and I flew into Rotterdam. I don't know how I did not see it before because it clearly states it in the email. Anyhow, stayed at the airport but the benches were extremely uncomfortable and could only fit one person at a time so Kenneth and I took turns laying down on the bench. 

Finally time to get to my apartment: I had my first official meal in Rotterdam, a breakfast at the W Hotel, and it was very subpar. I was extremely unsatisfied. I hitched a taxi and was now finally on my way to my apartment at around 9:45am on 1/3/2016. Since I didn't know exactly where it was, I got dropped off at the other end of campus and had to trek with 2 large suitcases and a backpacking backpack. Since half the campus is under construction, the normal route was blocked off. I could have chosen from two routes to take and of course picked the wrong one. I think it took about 40 minutes just to walk to my apartment. To make matters worse, it started raining too. The only good ray of sunshine was that the apartment is pretty nice, really clean and minimalistic. 

Errands, Errands, Errands, it never ends...: I have not been able to enjoy any time I've been here. Everyday has been dedicated to finishing up my long list of errands. I come home exhausted, physically, from walking to countless places and carrying ginormous bags. And everyday I come back with still more to do. In a nutshell, our days are filled with rain, lots of it, cold, going on the wrong metro, and lugging heavy ass shit back to the apartment. The worse part is that I feel like I'm in the dark with everything. There isn't concrete information or instructions of what I'm supposed to do. I do things as I'm told or find out from other people. Hopefully by the end of the week or next week, things will get more settled and I can finally start enjoying it. 

Shopping/Groceries: Their "Target" is a mix between Target and The Dollar Store. They have everything you need but at low quality. I guess I can't complain since I'm only going to be using them for a short period of time but the options are not that great. The only blanket they had was a small fleece one that doesn't even cover my entire body or keep me warm. We went to another store that was a mix between The Dollar Store and K-Mart so even worse. They didn't have any toiletry products I'm used to and everything is in Dutch so I can't tell what the products are for. I also think I'm going to starve here. There isn't ant grocery stores near by nor have I seen a grocery store. The campus is surrounded by empty land and big buildings. 

Lastly, I know I've complained a lot in this post but I think this same frustration happens to everyone who moves to a new city. Getting adjusted is always hard but once I'm settled, I know it's going to be a blast. I needed to rant in this post so hopefully the ones following will be more light and fun. 

A Tragedy...

Bittersweet Farewell