I'm not sure exactly what triggered my motivation to come study in Leiden. A need for adventure, most definitely, plus new experiences, new languages and making new friends. Having never lived or studied abroad on my own before I was a bit nervous about how things would go. Would everyone be friendly or think I'm a weirdo? (Obviously, both haha!) Luckily, I have met nice classmates here in Leiden and we have had fun adventures everyday! Both girls are coming back here to study in the fall and I'm a feel a tinge of envy because they get to stay. I wish I could just magically enroll into a new program, right now! But, then again, the other half of me is looking forward to having the rest of this year off to figure out my next step and of course, maximize travel opportunities! Summers here are seem to be perfectly lovely and cycling around town really feels like a dream compared to the awful traffic back in Orlando. But I must admit, I am a bit worried about how the winter will be, cold, snow and cycling through hail? Yikes! Growing up, we cycled often but it wasn't the sole transportation like it is here in the Netherlands. I love having a bike and the ease (and safety) of riding around in Holland. It's really such a shame that we don't have more cycling in America, especially in Florida where the weather is typically blue skies and sunny.
Today, we rode our fietsen down to the beach at Katwijk. It was a perfect summer day, apparently one of the few days a year that it doesn't rain here in the Netherlands. I haven't been to a Dutch beach in about 2 years, the last time was at Schevinengen when I visited Den Haag. The water was ice cold, but felt refreshing after cycling so long in the sun. After a quick swim and sun at the beach, we found a spot at a beach side restaurant and ordered a snack (in Dutch of course!). I tried the ice tea here, while it wasn't anything close to the home made sweet tea we drink back home, they mix it with tonic water (how funny!) adding a refreshing element.
Later today, Abi and I met up with a Leiden Couchsurfer and visited our favorite ice cream shop in the city center. This weekend we plan to explore the city more efficiently, meet new people as well and hang out with my Norwegian friend Andreas who will visit on Friday.
Here are a few pictures from our beach trip to Katwijk.