Friday, October 10, 2008


I have not, as I had planned and promised to, yet started writing regularly about the Netherlands. This has put me in the difficult position of finding a time to start. When I've come back from trips, I've felt stuck between the immensity of what I've seen and how little time I have to write as I get my life back together for the coming week. Also, some of my best travel stories involve people peeing themselves or getting thrown up on, and this, as tempting as it is, is not where my story here should start. On the other hand, when I come home from class, I can't think of any particular thing of interest to talk about. and don't have the time to think of something. Anyway, I have now found my starting point. It is not fascinating or significant, but, thankfully, it's a start.

My student housing used to be filled with kids fresh out of Dutch juvenile hall. This is according to the forty-something Surinamese guy in our building's laundry room I had to defuse the awkwardness with after finding him moving my stuff from the washer to the the dryer. I asked him if it's weird for him being one of the few holdovers from before they turned this place into student housing, if living here annoys him. He said there were just regular studio apartments here for decades. Eventually, the city got a hold of most of the rooms in the building and moved in the junior parolees, who lived among all the remaining residents. That is, until the kids knocked out the security guard in the front of the building and broke all the lobby windows. Then they left, and the international students came in. So, no, says the Surinamese guy, we don't annoy him. Let this be a lesson to those annoyed by nearby college students the world over. Do not force us to earn your tolerance by having other people break your windows.