but it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
22.11.2008 - 22.11.2008 3 °C
So I have not written much lately because 1) I am keeping a personal handwritten journal more, and 2) although I was never good about writing here in the first place, I don't think anyone is actually reading this, so I don't feel like I am disappointing anyone. But that being said, I have less than one month left and last night I had a dream that it was my last night here, and that was really sad. So because I have recently reached this point where I am really starting to realize lots of things about myself and to kind of freak out since I am realizing what a limited time and opportunities I have left, I want to try to write something small everyday. But, again, don't hold me to that...
But yesterday I went to this town called Delft, which is famous for the hand-painted blue and white pottery. And after a small tour of one of the factories, Paul, my friend Jessica, and I made our way to the town center by following lots of children and then a boat that carried Santa's (in Dutch he is called Sinterklaas) helpers. We found a town square with a little Sinterklaas festival with lots of people collected to watch Santa's helpers, and his main helper, Black Pete, sing with the kids and get ready for Sinterklaas to arrive (their myth has him arriving by boat from Spain). After the kids, and adults had sang a few songs, none of which I understood, they were to yell "Sinterklaas" three times and then he would appear. I know it sounds made up, but when everyone yelled Sinterklaas the third time and turned arround to see his parade coming into the Square, it started snowing. It was amazing an by far the most stereotypically festive thing I have ever experienced.
Although the Santa story is mostly the same, there are some interesting differences. One is that Black Pete and his other helpers are black (this either comes from their skin color of from coming down the chimney, which Santa doesn't do, I have read both) so all of the people portraying Sinterklaas' helpers and many children who were dressed up like them were in black face. A very surprising thing to see coming from the States, but a very common thing here. The also passed out "kruidnoten" which are little cinnamon cookie/candy things.
After the festival, a nice cup of hot chocolate and making a 1 foot tall snowman, we explored the town some more. We found a windmill which allowed people to walk around in the inside, which I have done before, but this was much better. The other windmill I have been in is a museum; this one is still being used to grind grain into flour. We got to see everything turning, though no grinding, and talk to the guy who volunteered there. We learned all about it from him, which was much more interesting than the plaques at the Molen De Valk Museum.
Today I will be doing homework and trying to finish everything that I am behind on and finish my two assignments for the rest of my time here. Then all I will have left is one final paper and two finals. Wish me luck.
Also, if anyone actually is reading this, please let me know, I would love some reassurance that this is not just for me.