Monday, July 11, 2011

Until Next Time.........

So this is my goodbye blog to Brussels, Rotterdam and Amsti (Amsterdam), but not to Europe. I am so thankful to have been given the chance to study abroad. Not many people in my life have left the United States besides those who were in the army. This trip has taught me so much academically and about life in general. The main thing I'm going to miss being able to sit down in the lobby and literally meet people from all hemispheres of the world. I met people from Germany to Australia to California to India and the list goes on. In some senses we are all the same and in some other senses we all are so different, but that is what makes the world spin. Through all the ups and downs and believe me  we had plenty, I would not change on part of this trip. My favorite city was Rotterdam. The staff at the StayOk there were so friendly. They really treated us as their guest and not just another person checking in. They were willing to help us out with any and everything. I loved Rotterdam because it was homey and just the right size. The people there for the most part were so friendly.I can definitely see myself returning. In my opinion the city with the best food was Brussels. Brussels gave me the European experience I came for as well. Rotterdam and Amsterdam were more Americanized than I preferred; Amsti more so than Rotterdam. Overall I more than enjoyed my time over here and I am inspired to see more of this beautiful world in the near future. I'm going to miss Europe but I will be back. I'll also miss the people who accompanied me throughout this journey. We all grabbed the bull by its horns and experienced all the cities had to offer us.
Until next time Europe...........

Farewell Europe

I woke up this morning around 8:59 a.m. but I did not get out of the bed until around 9:30 a.m. to get ready for the "farewell" breakfast that Dr. V had invited us to the previous day. . I really did enjoy the scrambled eggs and bacon until a sweat bee decided to attack my food and drink which made me not want to eat the food even more but I did anyways and it was similiar to the breakfast I've had in my grannys kitchen in the U.S. . After eating breakfast, me and a couple of the other students decided to go to a few souvernir shops and do some last minute shopping, of course, I did plenty of shopping earlier on in the weeks so I was just going just to be going honestly. . When we got back to the Hostel, I decided to lay down for a minute until I got ready to finish off the rest of my Final, I was still determined even after my cat nap. . So after my nap, I got up and came into the lobby to use Courtney's computer to finish up a few more questions that I hadn't done which were only 3, it wasn't really a lot to me. . But it was getting close to dinner and I only had 1 question left which I would finish after I got done eating and the food was really good this evening, I think I actually cleaned my plate this time ha ha ha. . After eating, we had a brief meeting about departing in the a.m. which will be 7:00 a.m. and will not be in Nashville until 6:20 p.m. that evening. . . I guess you can say that I am as ready as I can get. . I really don't want to leave because I've enjoyed my stay in every city so much and it has been quite the experience. . I ended up sending my Final in 2 hours early prior to the time that Dr. V had recommended and I feel so good yet so accomplished about it. . I am in the best mood that anybody could ever be, still have packed yet but there really isn't much I do got to pack but I'll get right to it soon. . . I just want to thank TnCIS, Dr. V, and also, the students for making this trip happen, I also want to think my university for offering me a scholarship to come all this way. . I've learned so much over these past few weeks, actually something that I wouldn't mind taking back home with me. . It was nice meeting you EUROPE. . . Farewell. . .

And it comes to an end.....

Today is our last day in Amsterdam and of our European journey. The study abroad program has been great and I will be a little sad to see it go. I have learned so much in such a short time and jumping from city to city has been such an exciting and very memorable experience. Great laughs have gone on during this trip and this is most definitely an experience I will always remember. It's so funny how when your thrown into another country the learning seems to soak in so much deeper, your actually able to put your studies into action and see how they play out among a whole different culture of people. As a marketing major I have found this trip to be a major contributing factor to my overall college experience. Marketing is something that is universally used, and by just picking up on customer attractions and the different techniques businesses use I have learned a lot. It has really forced me to relate back to the way things are done in the states and recognize the differences and similarities between the two. I have really appreciated this experience and plan to make future trips out of the country again.

Yesterday we were able to get some video footage done about us speaking on the overall TnCIS program and how the experience has been. From various museums and speakers we have had some very full days along the way. Today we enjoyed our farewell breakfast which was really good; a so called English breakfast is what it was and I took full advantage. I don't think I've ever had so much hot chocolate in my life, so getting back to more of a variety of foods and drinks will be good. I have learned to cherish our portion size's and how much we can get out of our single dollar back in the states, so I don't think I'll have a problem jumping back into the swing of the American way. I am actually looking forward to the plane ride back to the states, it's been fun.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Museum Day and MORE!!!!!!!!!

Today has been a pretty laid back day so far, and I really am enjoying it. The past couple of days have been filled with museums, site seeing and a little shopping. I finally got all my souvenirs today; big accomplishment! Yesterday was Museum Day, we went to the Vincent Van Gogh Museum and Jasmine and I went to the NEMO Museum. I'm not a huge art guru so at first I was thinking the Van Gogh Museum was going to be like any other museum. While I was walking through I started seeing pieces that I fell in love with. If I go to more museums like that I may end being the person that stands in from of a painting for hours analyzing every brush stroke. I have a while before I become that person! I bought a couple postcards to act as the pictures I wanted to take, even though I was tempted to sneak a picture or two. I followed the rules and respected the art and Van Gogh. After Van Gogh we headed to NEMO ( after a brief nap of course). NEMO is a scientific museum, it was full of different interactive exhibits on every corner. Later that day we finally got to go on the long awaited Canal Cruise. It was so nice and peaceful. I loved watching the local people sailing by on their boats or relaxing on the side the canal. Thursday we visited the U. S. Consulate. The Consulate provides visas to the U. S. for those who choose to live there permanently or visit. The also are the people who contact your family if you get into a strange situation while abroad, at your request of course. 
For class Dr. V asked us to find three different products, the brand name and their generic counter partner. I photographed yogurt, candy and cheese. I noticed that all of the generic brands look identical to the brand name versions.                                                            
Another part of our assignment was that we photograph ads from different sources. My first ad is from a magazine I found at the library. When i saw this I knew I had to share it because it is advertising finger nail polish for men. The ad states " Be a man and wear MAN". They are trying to change the preconceived notion that finger nail polish is for just women. I think it will take a while for this to catch on in the U. S. but it probably will work over here in Europe because they are more open.
This next ad is a poster posted outside of the library advertising this authors book.
This ad was inside Etos which reminds me of a Walgreens type store.

ThE C0uNtD0wN BeGiNs (3 dAYs LeFT)

Yesterday I had a blast going on the boat canal tour with the rest of our group not to mention going to the Van Gogh Museum and also the Nemo Museum and even though I didn't go to visit Anne Frank's house, I got to view it from the boat canal tour and it was amazing. . . And I also loved meeting the program director, Mrs. Tracey, she is such a sweet woman. . . My day today started off around 10:30 a.m., skipped out on breakfast and went and got a packed lunch instead. . I actually slept good last night, I can't complain. . I'm so ready to go home but I know I'm gone miss it here so much, it has been quite the experience and I have enjoyed myself to the fullest. . Every morning I wake up thanking God for waking me up and for an opportunity such as this, not a lot of people get opportunities like this and any that I do get I run at full speed with them. . I'm having a great day so far been looking over my Final trying to figure out which questions I'm going to answer. . Oh yea, we had a guest speaker, Tomas Rinkunas, quite interesting I might add, didn't really understand what he did for a living at first but when he began to tell us more about his self it gave me an explanation and it taught me a lot. . I can't till I get the opportunity to manage my own company/business. . . The future lies way ahead of me but that does not keep me from having dreams in LIFE. . . Trying my best to enjoy these last couple of days here in Amsterdam. . . I'm determined to come back again. . .


For the last few days I have been missing in action, but now I'm back to the blogs. A lot of little activities and site seeing have went on in the past couple of days. Today is now Saturday and we only have two more full days left upon our European journey. This morning I think we all woke up pretty well rested, sleeping in is always a nice luxury.

Our speaker Thomas, who happens to be a good friend of Dr. V's, came over from London to speak with us and tell us a little about what he does for a living. With his background in economics I enjoyed being able to relate to his conversations from a marketing point of view. Also today, myself and the other girls visited The 9 Streets district, filled with Dutch designer's it was very popular among the people here. I was able to speak with some of the boutique employees and get a great sense of the style and the views on fashion here in Amsterdam. Another spontaneous day of weather we had today; I woke up to it being very overcast and rainy, and when we first got out it was very chilly. But on our way back to the Hostel it warmed up and welcomed us with a little nice weather. We made our way to Bagels and Beans once again, a bagel and coffee chain that they have here in Europe. If you like bagels this is the place for you, the food is really good and the service as well.

Throughout the past few days our group has done a canal ride, took a journey through the red light district, and taken a trip to the U.S consulate and the Van Gogh museum. And I can't forget the Flower Market, Thursday the marketing students took a trip to FloraHolland. I huge flower market where people come and place their bid on flowers to buy. The venue is huge and it seems like serious business goes down when it comes to bidding on flowers. All the flowers were beautiful and the place was filled with any type of flower you could think of. All of these places provided the perfect setting for pictures, and i made sure to get lots of them. Well.....until the next blog, enjoy!

Friday, July 8, 2011


On Thursday we went to meet and hear from Zoe D'Amaro @ Godmother Films Amsterdam. To me, it was a highlight of the week. Students got to watch few of her documentaries and talk about the creative and technical aspects of the documentary making process. I think that it was equally interesting for the marketing students to see how 'anti-marketing' campaigns are created. One thing that struck me is that she called herself 'media refuge'. I do understand her since I am also a sort of a 'refuge' from my own land.

[GreenPeace link coming soon]

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Today's Assignment

This morning I woke up on time to get ready for breakfast, the usual routine I guess you can say ha. . . After breakfast, I headed back to my room to start getting ready for class and I also laid out my clothes for the visit to the U.S Consulate General later on that day. . We headed to class around the same time, caught a tram and were on our way walking to the library. . . We covered two chapters today, pretty fast, go Dr. V, can't wait to see what our Final Exam got in store for us, I'm ready. . After class, we headed back to the Hostel to get our business casual attire on and left out around 1:30 p.m. headed to the U.S. Consulate General, which wasn't too bad of a walk but we did get rained on for a minute. . . Finally, we were welcomed by Mrs. Stephanie Fields, who led us to a conference room where her colleague, Mr. Juan Gamboa, introduced his self and also told us more about the U.S. Consulate General. . And it was extremely interesting learning more about the VISA process in this country. . After that visit, I headed back to the Hostel to relax and catch up on some more work. . . Dinner was good again tonight, thumbs up to the chefs here. . .

In today's assignment, we were to go to any store and pick 3 store brands compared to 3 national brands. I chose water, soup and coffee. And also, listed below is a magazine ad, an outdoor ad, and a newspaper ad. Not really understanding why we're doing such assignments but there's a meaning behind everything, I might have to use some of this knowledge and techniques in the near future. 


So yesterday I went to the market in Amsterdam and found out how different they package item verse how we package items in the states. Check out a couple of item I found

Time is winding down

Today we have the U.S Embassy tour and unlike the European Parliment that we had to walk miles to, I have learned to enjoy a good tram ride when you get one. But don't get me wrong my legs have become very accustomed to a good 5 mile walk or more on the daily.Yesterday a couple of us made it to the Anne Frank house, while it was a nice experience it wasn't as great as I thought it was going to be. But at the same time I am still glad I went because if not I would have been mad at myslef that I came all the way to Amsterdam and didn't even go. Overall decent museum but wasn't worth 8.50 I feel, and definitely could have been put on our I love Amsterdam card as a free tour.

So to back track a little bit, I can't believe I forgot to blog about the accident we saw in Rotterdam. Take my word for it the bikes here are DANGEROUS, they will run you over and pedesirtions do not have the righter way! And cars here drive so fast, there can't be a speed limit because nobody in Europe abides by it.In Rotterdam kristin and I actually saw a bike get hit by a car; while it is really not funny, at the same time it was. That is of course when your not the person that it is happening to. They really just hit you and keep going, they might throw a sorry out the window...maybe not because nobody believes in manners, or they might help you up if they really feel bad. But at the end of the day its just like a little bump in the road, you get hit and you keep going lol. The European way.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


So the highlight of today is when we went to the Anne Frank house. First off the line was crazy long when we got there, which was about 3:30/3:45. It moved fairly quickly to be so long. When we got in they were switching shits. One thing about America is that they rush to be sure not to keep the customers waiting. Not the same train of thought here in Europe. They take their time doing everything. Whether you are getting checked out at a clothing store or at the front desk at the hostel, no one is in a hurry a to get to you. I digress, Anne Frank's museum is eye opening. Once you see how much space eight people had to live in it makes you realize that your dorm room isn't so bad. It really hit me that I was in her house when we went past the bookcase and when we had to go up the stairs. The stairs were very steep and one set was so steep and slender that we had to walk side ways to get up the stairs. I tried to imagine doing that everyday and trying to remain unheard at the same time; I realize that I am blessed beyond measure. I think that's a good note to end this blog. Be thankful for all you have and don't have, there is always someone who wishes they had what you have.

DaY 3: AmStErDaM

This morning when I rose around 8:00 a.m., I did not want to get up right at the moment just because I was up most of the night twisting my hair but I forced myself to get up and out the bed at 8:15 a.m. and preceded in getting ready for breakfast at 8:30. . . After I got done eating, I left heading back to my room to get dressed and ready for class at 10:00 a.m... We were all going to meet up at 9:30 a.m. to head out altogether which some are hardly ever on time ha, took a tram to Central Station and walked the rest of the way to the library. . And let me tell you, it is very nice and welcoming when you first walk in the doors of the library; I really liked how it's all set up. . We immediately went up to the 6th floor to begin our lecture on Pricing; it kind of took me back a semester or two when I was in my Accounting and Economics classes. . .
When class was over, we headed back to the Hostel and this time, neither me nor Courtney got lost on our way there ha luckily we got a tram that took us right to it. . . As soon as I made it there to the Hostel, I decided to lay down for a quick nap for a couple of hours still drained from yesterday’s adventure if you know what it feels like to be lost in another country than you know how I feel than. . . Not too long ago just got done eating dinner which was good of course, I think the fruit was the best part though. . Now I'm relaxing for the remainder of the day and also, going to catch up on some homework. .


By now most of us have adjusted to the routine here in Amsterdam. Early breakfast (830), packed lunches, superb dinners (1800). Our classes take place in the Rotterdam Library in the mornings (1030). We have two more days to go and then we will wrap up with the final exam. My marketing students still have to prepare a 'study abroad' folder which is due at the end of our summer session.

Earlier today I went for a cup of coffee at Coffee Company, the largest chain in Holland, and observed rather peculiar accident. A brand new Mercedes rammed a tram with significant and very visible damage. Of course, it had to be removed immediately from the scene because of very busy tram traffic. The cops on the scene were more amused than inquisitive. Gotta love Dutch.

Amsterdam adjustments

This morning we are starting this off again with class, as we took the trolly like metro back to Central Station, we took our morning walk to the library. The weather here seems to be just my speed. Nice and sunny with a cool breeze, nothing like the heat we get at home from the Georgia sun. After class today we are going to have the opportunity to visit the Anne Frank Museum, which I am really excited about. I know it is going to be really sad and maybe even a little emotional. Throughout my history classes back in the day, this happened to be a story that really intrigued me. Remembering dates and certain events on a timline, was never the thing that I was best at. But this experience should go down as one that I'll never forget, nevertheless a story like Anne Franks is unforgettable. Wouldn't you say?
Well the July 4th came and went, and though we did not do much celebrating over here, I'll always give remembrance to the day that continues to recognize those individuals that work hard to serve our country of the U.S. Europe is still continuing to be good to us, so as of now I have no major complaints. A little less bread to eat and a little more variety would be nice; but hey, "when in rome do as the romans do".

Monday, July 4, 2011


We had another great day and an interesting assignment in a new city. We toured Amsterdam. When I first got here, they said we were going on a three hour walking tour and I really didn’t know how I would make it! Three hours?? I psyched myself up and said, oh well, here I go. Dr. V told us to take five pictures of things that I enjoyed the most. The one I really enjoyed was visiting the Red Light District. It’s a long street with that’s distinguishes itself with either a Red or Blue light. It’s where people go to buy SEX from women or transvestites. Which by the way you're not allowed to take pictures of the working women or their clients. Our tour guide Jo took us on a street that’s more like an alley with windows without curtains. At one time the prostitutes would stand in the windows to advertise their business. But today, there are no prostitutes visibly seen in the alley. They don’t walk the streets like they do here in the states. When I asked about the vacant windows, Jo told us that the city bought the windows and the plan now is to put student art work on display through the district by 2010. She says they hope by changing the scenery it would cut down on the sex buying business. The prostitutes are fighting it because they say they’ll be forced to take their business to the streets which means they won’t have police or private security protecting them. I think I need to go back during the evening to see what the Red Light district is like at night.

Reply by chat to Pamela

Amsterdam-1 Me-0

Well today was quite an adventure. First we went to the library where we have class and it is gorgeous. After class Dr. V had a '"surprise" for us. Now usually when he says this, it's code for an assignment. Today it was actually a good surprise. He took us to the top floor of the library and outside on the balcony so we could really see Amsterdam. It was amazing. Then we were off to take a 3 hour walking tour. Our tour-guide's name was Jo, she is originally from New Zeland. She was really nice and had a nice sense of sarcastic humor. We started the tour at the National Monument. The National Monument was built  in the Dam Square in remeberance of the lives lost in World War 2.
Next we headed toward the Red Light District. The first stop on this portion of the tour was at the Old Church; which is very ironic. The Old Church is 700 years old and 100 years older than the New Church. The Old Church was in the business of saving souls which resulted in it becoming very wealthy. Jo told us that churches often turn into different things such as hostels or clubs even. I thought that was crazy initially but then I figured it was just another culture difference. Nearby to the Old Church we saw Gable Stones. Gable Stones were the old way of finding where someone lived and their last name. The next site that stuck out to me was in the Red Light District. Then we came across what was the Jews Square. A lot of the houses were very cubic. This was architects attempt at bringing the cubic movement to  architecture.
The last thing that made my top five list was the crest of Amsterdam. It symbolizes the three struggles that had to be overcome: Fire, Flood and Disease.
The rest of the tour was very informative and beautiful. The real adventure began after the tour when Jasmine and I were lost for about two hours. To make a long story short, on the quest for food one wrong turn can turn into 30 wrong turns. You should always keep your map on you in case of these kind of emergencies. Overall today was tiring but good at the same time. I am looking forward to the Anne Frank Museum and exploring some more.

July 4th, Amsterdam Style

Happy 4th of July, today's assignment called for us to go on a tour of the city of Amsterdam. Our tour guide Jo was from New Zealand and she really helped get our tour on it's way to a great start. Energetic and enthusiastic, she made sure to take us through the definite hot spots and common area's that everyone wants to visit when they come to Amsterdam; but she also was very good about pointing out little historic pieces throughout the city that we bypass everyday just walking.

Throughout our tour Jo told us about this church, that is actually called the "Old Church". In Dam square lies the church named the "New Church", even though it was built roughly around the 1400's the name holds on. I really took interest to some of the history within the Old Church. About 700 years ago the Old church was actually built, years ago, back when Amsterdam was first on its rise the Catholic religion held control. Many things went on within the church and all was not necessarily in the best interest of everyone. Throughout the Catholic religion, they have what she described to us called a Contest pot. The people would go into the contest pot before or after they did something wrong and confess their sins to the priest. They would brag to the priest about how the enjoyed whatever the deed was they did and in the same sentence ask for forgiveness. After asking for forgiveness most times the people would go and perform a good deed, and supposedly the action of sin was erased. They were back in good terms and everything was ok again, until the next time....

The Catholic system was eventually abused, meaning that priest would use this time as a way to take money from the people. Those would come and confess their sins and the priest would charge them a fee afterwards.

The hand on breast sculpture is one that is embedded in the sidewalk right in front of the Old Church. This sculpture marks the leading way into the Red Light District. Rubbing the sculpture is said to give you good luck and the symbolism behind this, is that it represents the ladies of the Red Light District. Sort of a way of letting you know what goes on in the area you are about to journey into. The hand on breast is a hidden sculpture and most would not realize that it is there. Myself, actually being one of those persons that had walked straight over it the day before. Years ago, there was small debate about removing the bronze sculpture, but through the test of time the hand on breast lies in it's place.


Woke up around 8:15 a.m. to get ready for breakfast at 8:30 a.m. . . after eating, I went back to my room to begin getting ready for class which was at 10:00 a.m. in the library, we took a tram to the Central Station and the walked the remainder of the way to the library so that class could began on time. . . Our lecture was pretty straight forward as always dealing with Dr. V, you get a good lesson in return. . When class was over, we had an hour to waste until we got ready to explore the city well streets of AMSTERDAM on a FREE TOUR, of course, it was not what I expected but our tour guide Jo made it a lot more interesting and fun along with her New Zealand/Australian/Dutch accent. . .I was amazed the most by some of the buildings standing tall in water where people actually laid their heads down at, there was no road to get through there of course not but I'm pretty sure there was another way around the water of course ha ha. . After coming from the Red Light District, we came across a church which was kind of odd honestly, only because of the location but our tour guide, Jo, stated that this was a place to receive your blessings especially from sinning. . The picture of the red flag with the 3 x's on it symbolized FIRE, FLOOD, & DISEASE, I even noticed that it was displayed in gift shops on t-shirts, mugs, etc. . not knowing the meaning of it until now taught me a whole lot. . . The next picture is the University of Amsterdam which was founded in 1602. . . I loved how the inside of it looked couldn't believe it was that old though but it still looked good though. . . And the last picture you see are stones embedded into the building of a restaurant, basically used as an address for people to know the place better when they came across it not knowing where they were. . .

It was a 3-hour long tour but I enjoyed every bit of it and would advise any other person to take a ride well walk on a FREE TOUR of AMSTERDAM. . . 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Last Train to Amsti (Amsterdam)

So toady we left Rotterdam and went to the most anticipated city of the trip, Amsterdam. The ride over here started off pretty good, which should have been a sign because nothing on this trip has come this easy. We had to make adjustments to the traveling plans because they were making repair  to train tracks. The most important thing is that we all made it together. The first thing I learned about Amsterdam is that when walking you should be very aware of your surroundings. Just like time stops for no one, so does the traffic here. I think I'm going to like here, it's a beautiful city. The fact that we have real food for dinner now made my day. I don't think I could have taken another sandwich. The dinner we had today was delicious. I got to go out and explore today and I like what I found. I think I might be able to take on Amsterdam after all; I'm looking forward to this week.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Museums and Rituals


As we are still on the topic of rituals, today we went to the Museum Rotterdam. At the top of the museum is a level solely dedicated to rituals and this is some of the knowledge I discovered and took away from it all.... Easter, a holiday that my family and I take part in yearly was acknowledged in this exhibit. History on this holiday stated, that before the 1900's it was very difficult to preserve food which brought about starvation for many people. When spring arrived the harsh period was over and eggs symbolized the beginning of new life, along with large amounts of food to come.Bringing light to why Easter eggs, and Easter egg hunting is so popular during the holiday. Also during this time the ritual of cleansing the house and yard was done, to represent the time of spring cleaning. On Sunday people would go to church in their Sunday best, and during this Christianity ceremonies would bring remembrance to the death and life of Christ.


Today’s destination, The Museum Rotterdam and our assignment, to find more Dutch rituals. Well I found a lot more. My newest favorite is the New Life Ritual, which involves family participation. It’s a way for families to share the impending birth of a child, or in other words, spread the good news! Here’s how it works: One family member starts the process by passing around a special silver bowl filled with wine and a small figure called the Hansj. The Hansj floats around and everyone knows someone in the house is pregnant. Another part of the ritual involves the father. The father has to wait outside until the baby is born and after the birth, everyone celebrates the occasion with food and drinks. The new parents warm a combination of egg whites, white wine and sugar. They believe if a child is born on a Sunday during Christmas, the child is believed to be a child of fortune and could see into the future.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Well we only have a couple more days left in Rotterdam and I must say that even though I am ready to go, I will miss Rotterdam. In my opinion the people are more friendly here, even though they tend to stare. They are not as bad as the people in Brussels. Today was Museum Day; we went to the Museum of Rotterdam and the Wereld (World) Museum. I enjoyed them both but the Wereld Museum was my favorite of the two. It had different displays from the around the world. I wish I could have taken pictures of the displays, they were amazing. It was a real eye opener. The Museum of Rotterdam was nice as well. Dr. V asked us to pay special attention to top floor which was about rituals from different cultures. I choose to check out the Chinese rituals. Chinese New Year is well known for their dragons, lion dancers, and fireworks. The lion dancers try to eat lettuce suspended over the entrance of shops. This is supposed to block evil and bring good luck to owner of the shop. The crane and deer symbolize a long prosperous life. The Phoenix symbolizes a dawn of of better times. I like that.

Museum Rotterdam: Rituelen (Ritual)

So I woke up this morning feeling good and rejuvenated from a good night’s rest, didn’t make breakfast this morning but I did get up just in time to start getting ready to go to the museums. The first museum that we did visit was Museum Rotterdam which was some kind of experience learning about all the different kind of rituals and things.
In some well-situated families pregnancies were announced in a veiled manner, for instance, Hansje (“Johnny”), would then float in the wine and that’s how the people would know that the lady of the house was pregnant; most of the times pregnancies were welcome. Up to the 1950’s, the presence of the future father at birth was taboo. I also learned that children born on Sundays or at Christmas were said to be children of fortune and it also said that they could see into the future, when I think of that, I wish I was born on one of the two days so that I could actually see into my future so I could make changes right at hand before I made any more mistakes. But most ritual festivals and celebrations are held annually, and they are events that people look forward to. Special moments required appropriate attire such as for Summer carnivals, regular groups make new costumes every year as for the costumes of the Chinese, they were used year after year. A typical family festival was Christmas, which is celebrated at home with a decorated Christmas tree, a German novelty from the nineteenth century, at the centre of the activities. Among the four elements, fire played a role in many rituals, mostly done in the winter and for the purpose of routing evil spirits, to welcome good spirits, to commemorate, to make a wish or just for the sake of cosiness.
These are just a few examples of some of the rituals that I learnt of and there are plenty more where they came from. And I got to admit that it was amazing to learn of such rituals sometimes I wish I was born back in time but then again I don’t because I feel like my generation has it easier than they did back in the day. But I’m still grateful regardless. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 29, 2011

Today I had a really good day. . . Woke up this morning to a great breakfast, had a great lecture on today also about Consumer Behavior by Dr. V, such a great instructor and professor. . . After class, of course we had the usual LUNCH which was different from the days before and very good I might add. . . After finishing lunch, I relaxed for a little while until we decided to make a visit to the museum which was quite interesting. . . But overall I had a good day and that just seems like everyday Im not sure why but Im just trying to make the best of everyday while Im here because I know when I go back home everything is going back to the norms and I gotta get back used to it. . .I GUESS. . . I will now be discussing what I've learned from talking to someone of Dutch nationality. . .

Today's assignment was to explore outside of the norms and to find out about the rituals/traditions of any nationality of our choosing. . . Also, to compare to the U.S. . I decided to approach a male, who works here at the Hostel. . . One of the traditions that he spoke to me about was getting acquainted with others by shaking hands or rather giving each a kiss on the cheeks. . In the U.S., we don't do too much kissing on the cheeks rather giving a hand shake or two. . He also mentioned to me that during breakfast in the mornings, they either eat breads or potatoes in the a.m. which is odd to me because in the U.S., we have scrambled eggs, bacon, fried bologna, etc. . . There's always going to be a difference in certain cultures. . . We do celebrate birthdays the same by having a cake I might add. . . But another thing thats different is when we're presented a gift, we might wait to open it but for the Dutch culture, presents are unwrapped straightaway. . . But one thing that's crazy to me is they celebrate Christmas on a Saturday actually December the 6th to be exact. . Lastly, they also eat pancakes like a deep fried one but I'm guessing it's a tradition that's been around for a while or so. . .

The Dutch culture is very unique. . . This can, of course, be said of each culture BUT they physically set their selves apart from any other cultures. .

Queen's Day

Talk about rituals. Today’s assignment was one of the best we’ve had. Our Mission-- go out and talk to a Dutch person and find out about one of their rituals.

Meet Gebbe De Vet. He works at our Hostel and I must say he’s one awesome guy. De Vet told me about one particular ritual they have in celebration of the Queen’s birthday, April 31, which by the way really isn’t her birthday, but her mother’s birthday. They celebrate by going to Amsterdam. The event normally brings about one million people from everywhere, and it’s a must for everyone to wear orange.

During the day, kids and their families have a “second hand” sale day on the street and everything sells for one Euro. In Dutch, they call it Vrij Mart. DE Vet told me you can get almost anything for a Euro, along w/ drinks and entry into the Kermis, which is carnival. When I finished talking to him I felt as if I had been right along with him celebrating the Queen’s birthday!


So we were coming back from the shopping strip today and saw these three guys walked by. Hours later we leave the hostel and run into them again, I took it as a sign that I was supposed to interview them. Dr. V asked us to talk to a native about their traditions. I talked to two young men by the name of Elco he's Dutch. I asked them about their traditions on different special occasions such as birthdays and holidays. When they celebrate birthdays they celebrate it one day with their friends and one day with their family and usually drink beer. I asked his friend Anish from India about their weddings. They celebrate someone getting married tree times. The women  celebrate together, the men celebrate together then they come together and celebrate together. The women wear saahris, which are the long gorgeous colorful WRAPS. They celebrate the New Years like us. They pop fireworks, drink champagne, and party. The Dutch Independence day is on May 5, when they gained freedom from Germany. They usually have parades, the only people who usually celebrate it are veterans or the elderly people. The last holiday I asked about was Christmas. Their Christmas is basically like ours. They have Christmas trees as well, they just now started putting their presents under the trees. Before they just gave the gifts to each other after dinner. I enjoyed conversing about our different traditions and found that some occasions are celebrated the same way.

Holidays and Special Occasions

Today i met two girls from Moscow that introduced me to a some of their countries popular traditions and holidays. As for us in the U.S we heavily advertise our yearly holidays such as Christmas, Fourth of July, New Years along with a few other popular days like Halloween and St. Patricks day. To highlight these days we often times make them memorable by having a parade, being around a lot family, enjoying a feast of food, giving and receiving gifts and dwelling on the meaning behind the actually day itself and what it represents.
Sasha and Katzin from Moscow said that a very popular holiday in their country is New Years, similar to the U.S in the name, but very different. New Years for the people of Moscow is a holiday that is enjoyed for two weeks!Below are some of the traditions and things they do:

  • Like us they also go buy fireworks

  • At 12 midnight they write a wish on a piece of paper and light it, as the paper burns they put it into their glass of Champagne and drink it. By doing this it is supposedly said that the wish will come true.

  • A very common dish that is prepared throughout this time as well is the Russian salad which is called oliv'e, which is the name of the man who fist prepared the dish.

  • Depending on what type of year it is, being the year of a horse or rabbit for example the people usually eat vegetables representing the animal.

  • Christmas for this country is celebrated on the 6th of January and it starts at night on the 6th and goes through the 7th. On this holiday families often prepare a duck, like we would a ham or turkey.

Brazilian Holidays

Today after class I met an individual named Rapheal. WhileI was speaking to him I asked him about his culture. The questions that I specifally asked him were about his countries holidays which was Brazil. When I asked him what his favorite holiday was he told me it was called Carnivale. I then asked him what rituals does he use to celebrate this holiday. He told me that what he likes to do is get alot of his friends and walk down the street and drink cold beverages. He also told me that sometimes the people like to build giant coolers and walk them down the street and pass out drinks to the people. There is also alot of dancing on this holiday and the favorite thing to do is go to electronic music clubs.

Spido Tour

Today we took a tour of the Port of Rotterdam on a boat called the Spido. While beautiful and very relaxing this trip was also very educational. I find it really neat that multiple languages are nothing here, most individuals speak at least 2 to 3 languages on average, and the fact that the whole city caters to that is amazing. While on the boat we had an audio tour guide that would give us back ground knowledge and history of the boats and buildings we were passing in the in most common languages. Starting with dutch, then german, then english. With Rotterdam known as the second largest city in The Netherlands it makes since that the Rotterdam ports are a major international exporting city that holds such rich history. I learned that the area where the exporting is done is also a shipment repair area as well. The ship yard fam brick is the maintence and repair dock, there are tons of TEU which stands for twenty foot equlivant unit that are held in Rotterdams shipment area; and there are more than 16 million freight ferry services that transport cargo though various places throughout Europe. The SCA transforest is the subsidiary that owns the Interforest terminal Rotterdam, being established in 1967, the Interforest terminal Rotterdam handles forest products and other specialzed cargo from bulk carriers.Covering three major business area's the Interforest terminal Rotterdam breaksdown its orgainzation throughout: Interforest Terminals, Transforest Shipping, and Transforest IT and Logistics. To sum everything up we also learned about the surrounding building we were passing such as the STC group building. The STC is known as a global leader throughout a number of industries and also plays a major role in the shipping port and logistics. The building has a uniques shape that has been formed into a piece of Rotterdams chess set that you can see people playing throughout the city. And lastly we discovered the city of windmills that travels all the way through Switzerland, known for its old distillery and they also say that it is older than the city of Rotterdam it self. Very imformative right.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The port

Today after we were all instructed to go and meet our proffessor at the ports in Rotterdam. As we all decided to walk all the way there we go lost but on our way their we saw this giant green statue that is made of barrels. We finally made it to the ports and after we made it to the ports we met our teacher and go onboard the ship. After we got situated on the boat we all took a tour of the ports of Rotterdam. As we rode the boat we saw nothing but open water and were surrounded by giant cranes and vessels carrying tons of cargo. We learned about how many major companies decide to utilize this port to transport their cargo back and forth. Another thing that was discovered was how every company uses the same size storage units just so they can all fit and stack on top of each other perfectly. My experience today was something that was very different and I will never forget it.

Mundane things

Tuesday started off with a very loud thunder and a promise of rain. The plan was to double up the class if it rained. Contrary to what the weatherman said, the sun peeked at 1300 and we were off to the Port of Rotterdam. It was a 90 minute tour of the port with interesting, but rather basic commentary. The 180 minute tours start only in July, so we may have to time the trip differently next year.

Then, it was time to do the laundry. Since den Blaak location does not house washer and dryer, we had to find one. Of course, the nearest one was 20 minutes biking distance all across the town. I think that there are closer ones but I just didn't have time to look for one. Plus, this Waserrettee is very inexpensive - only 7 Euro for 7 kilos. It is full service, as well (meaning that they will fold it and iron it for us).

Finally, we went to the really old part of Rotterdam that survived the German bombing. The buildings were just like what you see in Amsterdam, even more beautiful. I just wonder what the city looked like before the WWII. I think that last year I saw a poster of an old Rotterdam, so I will try to find one tomorrow.


Today was absolutely a great day. It was hot and sunny, so we took a boat trip on the “Spiro” to see lots of different sites along the river and beyond. We learned that Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, and from 1962-2004, it was known as the busiest port in the world. In the first half of the Twentieth century, the port activities moved toward the North Sea and a large canal was built to connect the river to the sea to make it easier to load and unload crates onto the ships. Over the years, the seaport expanded with it, the development of a new dock. Even though this boat ride was supposed to be more educational than anything else, I was totally relaxed with the soft sway of the boat and the wind blowing a cool breeze, I could see towering windmills on the horizon.

Port of Rotterdam

Today we took a tour of the port of Rotterdam. This tour was my first time on a boat and I didn't get seasick; I loved it. We started off on the old side of the port where it was more of a residential area. The first big site i saw was the World Musem. We are supposed to visit it later on this week. I actually am looking forward to the visit so I can learn more about the differnet cultures that inhabit the earth. While sailing through the port i got to see the huge containers that I would normally see on trains. It was enlighting to see where they might have come from. I also got to see where damaged ships go to get repaired. My favorite site was the S.S. Rotterdam. It instantly reminded me of the Titanic. It actually is the largest ship built in The Netherlands. It ceased service in 1997 and has been turned into a hotel. Overall I really enjoyed the tour and I am looking forward to the rest of the week here in Rotterdam.  

Spido Tour (Jun. 28, 2011)

Today was a great day, which seems like everyday has been a GREAT for me just having the experience to live and have fun at the same time is a blessing to me honestly. But enough about me though, today started off the same way as usual except we had class this morning at 10:15, which was perfectly fine to me.  The chapter we covered today was Supply Chain Management. So after class, we ate lunch and then around 1:30 we decided to head out to the SPIDO, which is basically a bus floating in water, but it looks like a regular boat to me. But anyways, we took the tour on the Spido to learn more about the interesting features of the Port of Rotterdam.

I learned that the Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, from the years 1962 until 2004, it has been noted as the world’s busiest port. In 1985, it was home to the European Juice Terminal, which contained lots of fruit juice. One historic city that was older than Rotterdam itself was Oldest Distillery. The floating docks of the shipyard transported at least 15 million; trucks, trailers, and other vehicles. In 1934, the Quarantine Facility was opened. Since 1997, Rotterdam has been rated as the largest strip.


Today we rented bicycles, which everybody was into. After a day of class this is a great get a way and new activity for the both groups to do together. Even though it is super hot side outside it is really a pretty day and we much rather have sun shine than rain. Traveling to the lake we got to experience the rules and regulations of being on the bike roadway. It is exactly like following the rules of the road, when on a bike your basically in a car. You have your own light fixtures that guide you; red, green, and yellow, and pedestrians must watch out for you. Very different huh?. We arrived at the lake which was beautiful. It's honestly like a little beach for the surrounding neighborhoods and people of Rotterdam. I'm sure there are more but this one must have been very popular. They had a huge windmill that most of us got pictures of and a very nice outside cafe' that was lake front that we all got to enjoy. A good day I must say


Monday, June 27, 2011


An Interesting class assignment today required us to go to a Rotterdam market and pick one item and compare that item to one In the states. . I selected a pack of cigarettes, though I must say I don’t smoke. First thing I noticed was the cost. Cigarettes here start off at five dollars and up. Cigarettes in the state can cost eight dollars and up, depending on the state you live and the taxes. Advertising is the other noticeable difference. You’ll see adds in some publications in the U.S. and on billboards that show people smoking and looking “cool” because they’re holding a cigarette in their hand. At least that’s what the advertisers want you to think. Here in Rotterdam, no cigarette ads area allowed on billboards, magazines or newspapers. It’s only approved if it’s in a tobacco shop. There’s also a message on the label here in the Netherlands that’s not as scary or threatening as the warnings you find on U.S. packages. Labels in the U.S. have different messages: Can cause cancer, lung disease, death or hurt an unborn child. Now cigarette makers in the U.S. will also have to carry graphic pictures of the health effects of smoking. Variety and brand names also seem to be limited. You’ll find a greater selection in the state. In Rotterdam, sixteen years can legally smoke, but in the U.S. you have to be at least 18 or older and you have to show an I.D. Smokers here don’t seem to be treated like outcast like in the states. You’ll even find people smoking inside buildings and that’s absolutely prohibited in the states.