Monday, September 20, 2010


My favorite book I read on this trip was Olive Kitteredge, a moving picture of what it means to love and be loved in a small community in Maine. How love of all kinds, in all forms, is a gift to be received with care.

The following excerpt from that book seemed a good one to end this blog with. I could blather on and on about how travel constantly makes you see things differently and grow and change and all that jazz, but Olive's words seem so much better.

And I should say thanks for reading this! I hope to be back in a blog space once grad school is finished - I'll keep you updated.



"And then as the little plane climbed higher and Olive saw spread out below them fields of bright and tender green in this morning sun, farther out the coastline, the ocean shiny and almost flat, tiny white wakes behind a few lobster boats - then Olive felt something she had not expected to feel again: a surging greediness for life.

She leaned forward, peering out the window: sweet pale clouds, the sky as blue as your hat, the new green of the fields, the broad expanse of water - seen from up here it all appeared wondrous, amazing.

She remembered what hope was, and this was it....that inner churning that moves you forward, plows you through life the way the boats below plowed the shiny water, the way the plane was plowing forward to a place new, and where she was needed" (168)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"I feel like a dali painting" - Maren

There are very few people I could live in a 10x10 space with and still be civil to. And not just civil, but actually still enjoy their company, this takes real talent.

Which Maren has.







Friday, September 17, 2010

should you find yourself in rotterdam

please stay at the Hotel Baan. Jan and Gabriella greeted us with champagne and hor d'oerves, gave us lots of extra shampoo, made amazing breakfast every single day, offered us full use of the lobby at all times, gave lots of good restaurant and museum suggestions, and sent us each on our way with chocolate and a ride to the train station. For each one of us. Leaving at different times.

I think it's hard to find truly hospitable people outside of benedictine monastaries (and they have to be hospitable), but this family is amazing.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

get thee to kinderdijk

Kinderdijk is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and while I know I think a lot of things are amazing, this is one of the coolest places I've ever been to in my life. It's a bit tricky to get there - you can take a bike and then a water taxi, or a waterbus to the water taxi, and then walk to the windmills. But it's so worth it - it's lovely.

The Kinderdijk windmills still move excess water out today, and the oldest mill was built in 1366. It's pretty amazing that we're still using this technology to get what needs to be done done. Isn't it? The windmills all seem to have distinct personalities. I understood a little bit how Don Quixote could have thought they were giants - they do seem like big lumbering giants waving hi in the wind.

Walking along the Kinderdijk paths, you feel like you're definitely in the typical Dutch pastoral scene - green and green and green goes on forever, with one modern orange building in the distance which looks quite out of place. You can take a tour of a windmill, but we were running out of time before our last group dinner, so we headed back to the ferry dock just as it started to rain. Typical Dutch summer weather.

Then we got onto the ferry dock and saw this perfect ending to the afternoon, a double rainbow.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

the tiny little town of delft, in which there are two of the most amazing libraries in the world

I woke up today unsure of where we were going and how it would be helpful, a little cranky, to be honest - and then I was blown away the entire day by the things I saw in Delft.

Highlights include:

Delft TU

  • Green roof you can walk up onto and sit on. For REAL. With a conical tower in the middle that allows light into the whole space.
  • They built their own search function for their ILS system since they didn't like what patrons were finding.
  • They got rid of rules like no eating, decided students were going to eat, and they might as well let them, and hired more cleaning staff.

Delft Public Library

  • Glass windows of books
  • A performance stage
  • A lab in which cool apps for all sort of things are developed, including Microsoft's touch table technology
  • A cafe in the library
  • a place for musicians to practice - there's a piano with headphones so as not to disturb anyone else
  • An art collection you can check out
  • Wheels on shelves so they can be easily moved around
  • A whole room for romances
  • and so much more
This library absolutely blew my mind and changed how I think about what a library could be. That's all I can really say about it at the moment.

"He was probably telling you he peed on the floor, but at least it's friendly pee." - Molly Riley

This is the view from the Oude Sluis, our favorite place to drink in Rotterdam. It is quite nice and there isn't anything in Seattle quite like it. For the 15th best bar in Europe, it's super un-pretentious. Love that.

The men's bathroom was out of commission, though, and so men have been using the women's bathroom. When I was waiting outside, a huge friendly Dutch guy walked out of the bathroom into the tiny stairwell and started talking to me in Dutch, gesturing at the floor. I tried to get out that I didn't understand, but he kept going on and on, and it is hard to stop a big friendly guy from talking when he keeps talking and talking.

I smiled and slid past him into the bathroom, and the toilet seat was up and the floor was wet everywhere. Molly suggested that he was trying to apologize for peeing on the floor.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


In Seattle, I like to throw a party I call coffeehouse, which is really just an open mic and fun times with friends.

Tonight we did kaffeehuis at the Hotel Baan, and it was just amazing.

The set list:

Human tricks, by a variety of folks including Myria, Nathalie, Sue, and Clare

Card tricks by Nathalie

Poetry written and performed by Karl

"Honey, Won't you Meet Me at the Last Ditch" performed by Trent and a sing-along

Dental floss tricks by Bryan, as well as a recitation of "Invictus"

Song by Cheryl

Loch Lamond
by Maggie and a sing-along

This is Just to Say
, by Jonathan

Another poem by Karl

The Doorway, Louise Gluck, by Poppy

A song by Myria

A poem by Clare

a Rilke poem by Molly

Bring Me a Boat
by Greta (without the chorus, because she forgot it)

Hitchhiker's Galaxy remix by Scott (Scott also gets credit for being the bartender)

A backflip by Marissa

Cool trip pictures by Johanna

Earrings by Pei (she needs to have an etsy store)

Boots n Pants by Stephanie (you've got to ask her to do this, it's pretty awesome)

Poem by Andrew

Blessing the Boats by Greta (Greta likes boats)