an easter stroll

[at the intersection of Weg tot de Wetenschap and Weg naar Rhijnauwen, the main turn before reaching the university campus].

I was biking towards the city center when I bumped into Rob from Germany. Rob repaired the rear brakes on my bike about a month ago. Before that, I had let my roommate Brian borrow the busted bike for brief trips. Just use your feet! I told him.


Rob was in a sticky situation. Someone stole his bike — only it wasn’t Rob’s bike in the first place. His friend was in Paris, and she let him borrow it for the weekend. So not only would he have to walk all the way back home in Zeist (quite far away), but he would also have to explain to his friend what just happened.

“And it’s her birthday tomorrow, too!”


Rob tells me that this is just a minor problem in the grand scheme of things. He has good friends. He lives in a lively, gorgeous city. He has a great life by all accounts. His friend won’t be too thrilled about losing her main form of transportation, but they’ll probably laugh about it within a week or two.

[But still, for a student this kinda sucks.]


Rob needs to run if he wants to get back home while it is still bright.

He takes off his sandals and continues barefoot, but not before giving me a chocolate Easter egg.

open at 4, or easter break

Easter holidays are here in Utrecht — this includes the two days after Easter itself.  And while the Netherlands isn’t a religious country, the cities and people still take advantage of the extra rest.

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The Dutch are punctual people. It’s 3:58 PM. The doors open once again at 4:00 PM.

Still, it’s nice to have the grocery store open, even if it’s later during the day.

“You’re still here!”

This guy looked as though he had seen a ghost. He wasn’t expecting me to stay in the Netherlands for more than a semester.

photo credit: Tabsinthe via photopin cc
A visual representation. photo credit: Tabsinthe via photopin cc

Long ago he was assigned to be my student mentor. I imagined we would chat about our life at home, share food, and go on adventures together — all in the interest of “cultural exchange”.

We met each other once and then became occasional one minute “how’s the weather” conversation buddies instead.


Back in December he wrote me on Facebook.

“for one of my courses me and my projectgroup have to make a short promotion video for a website we are making. In this video we want to put someone that doesn’t look Dutch…Do you want to help us?”

Huh? What do you mean, doesn’t look Dutch?! Grrrr! I remember asking myself what that meant.

But I already knew the answer to the question.