Continuing from Dutch stories in English (part I) …
The classes finally started. After a week of party and “introduction” to the Netherlands (if you know what I mean…) we had to work. And yes, here the word work becomes real. More than ever before. I had never started working on the courses as hard and from the first week until I got to the University of Twente. From the first day we already had assignments and projects to do because the quartiles (here the year is divided into 4 different exam periods called quartiles) are very short. Luckily most of them are group projects. It makes it easier to divide the tasks and to learn how to work with people from different countries. During these 2 years of master I have never worked with 2 people from the same country at the same time. That is making this experience richer. One must get used to different ways of working, cultures and ideas very fast. Otherwise you fail, and that’s something that was not in any “To Do” list of people when they come to this University.
I remember that during the first quartile (so from September to the beginning of November 2015 I believe) I was working with two more friends in a course that had 5 different assignments to do. Have you ever tried to work on 5 assignments in a period of 8-10 weeks? Well, don’t do it, it’s crazy. Not necessary to experience that. You won’t find time for anything. I remember how we always finished working all night long, just before the deadline day, to finish that shit. We “booked” different locations though. Once we were at the living room of my house. Another day we went to a friend’s living room. It was funny because that day we received the visit of some friends at 5 am (you can imagine their mental and physical state) wondering how the work was going on. Our answer was: “It’s going fine, just okay”. We cooked pasta at 6 am to celebrate the end of the report.
During the second quartile I was working with two other colleagues in a final project that had to be delivered during January 2016. Something normal you may think, right? One more project with a clear delivery. Nothing special. What if I tell you that one guy, the expert on the most important parts of the project, decided to quit that course and didn’t tell us anything? Not even through the meetings that we were having, the Whatsapp group that we had or, at least, with time enough (let’s say one month) before the deadline. That lovely person didn’t tell us anything until 1 week before the deadline. I almost kill him when I HAD to ask him about his “existence” (yes, he was not very “active” in social media). Fortunately we passed this course. The professors gave us an extra week to work on his part and the other guy and I fucked it (in the good meaning of the word).
(Okay, I make a short parenthesis here because not everything was working and I just remembered that I wanted to write this paragraph some days ago.)
– The most important point, and one of the key points of why I write this kind of stories, is the people that I met on the way. Not about the work. Even though both are kind of related. This is hard to explain here. Maybe it is easier to explain it face to face. I am always talking about it. I think that I will always mention this in my posts because I never found myself alone. Everything is shared with someone and that is why I write sometimes in plural. They are such an impressive group of people from so many different countries. I feel special. They make it feel special to have them as friends. It doesn’t mean that I started having friends when I came abroad. Of course all my friends back in my country are more than part of my family too, they also know how I always talk about them. But the surprise of coming abroad and finding THIS makes me believe on something else (and this is going to get very an Obama‘s or Al Gore‘s speech). This makes me believe in a true humanity behind us. Without hate, prejudice and envy. I didn’t really find this here. In my opinion this 3 feelings are kind of destroying our planet (If it makes it clear, I’d say that Trump & Co. are full of them, for instance). All semesters in this last 2 years have been full of things that truly meant a lot to me. How we lived them made us the people we are now. At that moment, finishing what is the 4th semester of it, I feel again how I felt on January 2015 when the first group of family left. It’s a kind of sadness and happiness. Once you get used to say “See you tomorrow!” to this guys it’s hard to say “Goodbye dude!”. But this will be part of another more detailed post because I am becoming too sentimental, again. –
So, were was I?… Oh yeah, we are now during the first two quartiles of the first year of master (or the first semester). And it is impossible to understand this period without two words, Vesting Bar (VB). This place is the “party” place of the campus. Every Tuesday (not anymore because this last semester it was only twice a month) there was a happy hour of beers for 1€. So, as you can imagine, we were always there. I strongly believe that we made this place cooler than it actually was every Tuesday. The rest of the week it was quite empty.I think that this place has nothing special though, for real. It is one of the simplest and smallest student bars that you can imagine. But we made it ours. It was our bar. This little difference made it what it was.
We liked to call ourselves the Twente Happy People (so yeah, you can imagine how the feelings of that group were). I shared two photos here, we are not all there but it is funny to have some kind of photographic material to show in this part of the post, no?…
There was a song. It is now one of the most heard of all time in Youtube (which means it has nothing special). However it defined this VB experience. The song was “Sorry” from Justin Bieber. I can’t say I am a “Belieber“, none of us were. But this song had something special that made us dance around it. The funniest moments of the night normally happened hearing this song. What’s more, this fun is still happening when one of us hear that song in our respective countries in the form of a Whatsapp audio or video. This is the big point of it, nothing finishes after 6 months of friendship, it all continues.
We didn’t travel a lot during this semester. The weather was not as friendly as it is in south (global warming is killing us there…). We enjoyed the Netherlands and Twente instead. The first place to go was Amsterdam. It was veeeery at the beginning so I didn’t really now anyone. Surprisingly I didn’t know yet, but this day I was going to meet some guys that became more than friends (they already know who they are). I have to say that I didn’t really remember a lot of the city that day. It was my first time in Amsterdam but I was more into meeting the people and talking rather than visiting and taking photos. I don’t know, I am like this, the place is sooooo secondary that you can put me anywhere, as far as I have a good company I will enjoy as a child. After that I went to Utrecht in a second dutch trip (well, if a 3h return train trip can be called “trip”… you decide here). I didn’t really know the people with whom I was going that time neither. And, again unexpectedly, I found what I had found in Amsterdam. The city? Okay yes, also the city. It is one of my favourites by far and I’ve already been there like 5 times. But fuck the city, it is just another city, it will always be there. I found again some people that became more than friends too.
I can say that the cold and rainy October 2015 was a productive time in the field of meeting people. Working was also good, we passed our courses enjoying quite a lot.
I would like to explain more here, I think that I detailed a bit too much this text. But, I am getting to my mental limit of what a short story should be in this webpage.
To be continued…