Meggie And (The Not So Ferocious) Shu-Ren In Hol-land!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqjXK533ork (so you understand my latest title)

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Hello Everyone!

It’s now been a few weeks since my post on exams, and funny enough exam time for semester 2 is approaching! So I have been busy trying to finish assignments and seeing friends before we depart, and I know that is a poor excuse for not writing in my blog, so my apologies!

In the middle of march my lovely Australian friend Shu-Ren (who in no way looks like the creature in the video, but is a great companion just like the character in the show) suggested we go away during the week after exams since we had no classes! I was excited to her suggestion, but the only question was…where to go!?

Shu told me she had a friend named Laura who was working in Amsterdam for a few months, and said Laura had invited her and me to visit! Laura was only staying in Amsterdam for a couple more weeks before traveling the rest of Europe and Canada, so we thought it would be a good time to go!

With that we booked our flights, and headed to Holland the 17th of March! We caught the train to Copenhagen and got our flight no problem.

Laura had directed us to her apartment which in a city on the outskirts of Amsterdam, Amstelveen. She got the opportunity to work in Amsterdam because KPMG (the company she works for) offers to send people from other locations to work in other countries to help with busy periods. So her and another co worker (along with the co-workers boyfriend) went together to work in Amsterdam for three months! KPMG helps pay for their fights, accommodation and even gives them an allowance during their stay! Their apartment was a very nice flat with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, dining room, living room, and kitchen, and it was fully furnished! They had two comfy large couches for us to sleep on which was nice!

We arrived late in the afternoon to their house and waited for Laura to come home from work before heading out with her friends to an Australian restaurant called Coco’s Outback! It was 50% off night which was awesome, and we all got some delicious food and drinks! I tried Kangaroo!!! (very different taste, but good!)

We went back to Amstelveen and chatted for awhile before turning in (we were so tired)

The next day was when the extensive sightseeing began! We took the tram into the city and walked around for a bit before getting some breakfast!

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We ate at a nice cafe that had an awesome breakfast! Coffee, orange juice, yogourt and granola with a croissant…delish!

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We stayed for an hour or so before going to Anne Frank House. I always had wanted to see the house as Shu-Ren did as well, and we only waited in line for 15 minutes!

Anne Frank House is the house where Anne and her family went into hiding during WWII. The Frank’s also shared living quarters with another family and a dentist. They were able to hide in the attic of factory and Anne’s Father, Otto Frank’s friends provided them with food and other supplies. They stayed there for a few years before unfortunately being discovered and were shipped to extermination camps.

The house is now open to the public for viewing, however the furniture has been removed as requested by Otto Frank (who is the only one who had survived).

The museum displays were very well done, and sometimes it was quite emotional. I managed to keep it together until the room where Otto Frank speaks about returning to the house and seeing Anne’s Diary. He said he and Anne were close, but he had never knew or discussed anything that she had written in her Diary with her. He said at the end of one video “Parents never truly know their children”, which I found very emotional.

At one point in the museum, there is a display where you can see the original diary, which I thought was amazing. I have great respect for Anne Frank and I was always moved by her story, and even more so now. I highly recommend anyone to go to this museum. It will open your eyes to what life was like during that time, and show you how strong these people were.

Moving away from the sadness…towards the end of the museum Shu and I got separated which was a bit funny. When I was little they always said “If you’re are lost, always stay in one place!” So that’s what I did, however it seemed to not be working because I stayed in one place for 45 minutes. I decided to go down to the gift shop in case Shu -Ren had left the building and couldn’t get inside. Sure enough, she was tapping on the glass window outside the shop!

I quickly browsed the gift shop before meeting her and bought some postcards and a replica diary.

Afterwards we walked around the city and saw some amazing squares, the red light district (no comment) and then met Laura back in Amstelveen to go out for a traditional Dutch supper!

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We went to a restaurant called Pantry and had awesome food! I got a meatball with three different kinds of mashed potatoes. One had sauerkraut, one had kale and one had beef and carrots in it. For dessert we had poffertjes which are small pancakes and they were nice also.

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(Shu -Ren and Laura!)

We went to a bar after supper and watched some Karaoke. Those people were amazing! We had so much variety of songs sung. Bob Marley, Beyonce, Queen…it was fantastic. One girl sang Drunk in Love and I swear it was as good as Beyonce.

We went back to Amstelveen on the tram and had a nice chatting time before going to bed.

The next day was our last full day in Amsterdam. We decided to go to the Van Gogh museum (he is one of my favourite artists) and then head to the Heineken Museuem! The Van Gogh paintings were amazing…I bought so many postcards!! There were only a few floors of his paintings and then the next two were of another artist. We were so hungry that we left a little early to find some lunch.

We found a Kiwi breakfast and lunch place down the road which Shu-Ren was quite happy about! We both got breakfast, and it was amazing. I love the food every time! Mine was a tortilla wrap with sunny side eggs, avocado, beans, salsa, sour cream, tomatoes with potato hash on the side. It was the best!

After our bellies were full we went to find the Heineken museum which was really close to the place we eat at!

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We did not know what to expect on the brew ride…and by the looks on the faces on the people behind us, they felt the same. But it was fun! They just showed you how the beer was made with some simulations that made you feel like you were actually in the machines!

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We spent a few hours in there and learned a lot about the famous beer company. We got to read about its history, see how they make the beer, went on a ride (not kidding) and then got to sample some of the beer at the end). We even got to go on a free canal tour afterwards! We got a lot for our money! 

We went shopping for the next few hours and I bought some things at my favourite store Monki (funny because there is one right down the street from Delta house in Jonkoping….sillly me).

It was a pretty full day for us, and we were quite tired after our long day. We met Laura and her roommates back in Amstelveen for some sushi and it was nice. 

When we got home we packed up and turned in early since our flight was at 10 the next day. We were so lucky to have had a nice accommodation and friends to show us around! I am so grateful to Laura and her friends for their hospitality! I told them if they were ever in Canada to look me up and I would do the same 🙂

Amsterdam was definitely one of my favourite cities i’ve ever been to. I think everyone should go at some point in their life, especially if you’re on exchange in Europe, just do it! Check it off the list (hmm I’m sensing some Nike references…)

I hope everyone enjoyed this post and I hope to post about my trip to Prague next! Stay tuned my friends.

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Bliss of Vacation to the Torture of Exam Week…This Is My Story (Insert Law and Order Music Here)

Greetings!

So you all read that I had a very enjoyable vacation with Shane, however with the end of vacation means back to the usual routine. So after a lovely two weeks with my love, I had to return to Jonkoping with no boyfriend, and a dreadful couple weeks of final projects, presentations and exams…

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Luckily I was not alone in this, as all of my friends were experiencing the end of semester blues. However through all the stress came motivation to get our work done with the hope of good marks! So we buckled down; went to the library everyday, booked study rooms, cooked in shifts, whined to each other, and eventually got everything done with success!

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At Jonkoping University there are two separate times you can write exams. The first is at the end of S1 (spring term one), and the second is at the end of May. This allows you the chance to rewrite an exam if you did poorly the first time. Since there are two slots to write the exam, you can choose which slot you want. In the first few weeks of the term, registration for exams becomes available. You have to register in advance in order to write the exam. I know some people who choose to write the exam at the second slot (procrastination maybe? Or because they have travel plans? Not sure. It’s a preference. Personally, I like to get it done as soon as possible, so I signed up to complete the first slot.

I was all set to write my exam on the 15th of March, and I studied like mad for the whole week. We all had to write the exam in a huge room (which was not at the business school, but at the Education/Communication school). I was freaking out the morning of my exam because I had no idea where my exam was and was frantically trying to look up online where it was. I eventually found it with time to spare, but now I know, don’t assume it will be somewhere you know. Look up the room and physically go to the building and find it before the exam day. It makes for a less stressful situation.

JIBS is very accommodating for students with disabilities, and since I require a reader/recorded questions for my exams, this was set up no problem. My exchange advisor gave me the name of the coordinator for exam accommodations, and I only had to provide documentation about my learning disability and give them the dates of my exam and the particular accommodation I required. Sure enough, they came through and before I started my exam, the teachers gave me an MP3 player with my questions recorded, and I completed my exam no problem.

Actually, I completed my exam rather quickly – only 50 minutes, and I felt satisfied with my answers. We actually had five hours to complete the exam (not that we needed it), but some people do take four hours to write exams. I am always first to finish exams, even when I am back home, which is kind of awkward. I always finish, look up, and see everyone is still writing. I wait 5 or 10 minutes in case anyone else gets up so I don’t either A) look like a loser because I didn’t study hard enough and didn’t know the answers, or worse B) freak everyone else out, making them think I knew everything and having them feel inadequate. I know it’s a silly thought, but I can’t help but worry about it.

Sadly, no one was getting up, so I walked up to the teacher and handed them my exam. I got the usual response…”Do you have a question?” I awkwardly say “no, I’m finished”. Then they make me feel worse by saying “Are you sure you want to pass it in?” I freak out a little inside, but surely say “Yes”.

I walked out of the exam room feeling somewhat good about myself. I felt like the exam wasn’t hard, and that I answered everything really well. It was a mix of true/false, short answer and essay questions, and I wrote quite a bit for each answer. I was reassuring myself the whole walk home that I did fine, and I was just quick and eager to get it done and knew the material well…hopefully.

I still do not know my marks for my classes, but hopefully I did well! I feel satisfied with the effort I put in, so I should stop worrying about it, right?

My friends all got through their exams no problem. Some were less stressed than others, but I find it’s the one’s who don’t stress enough that flunk out (but they don’t seem to mind, probably because they never stress…it’s a strange cycle). I need to learn from them a bit. Sure stress can be good because it gives you that extra push, but too much is horrible. Why can’t there be a happy medium?? Hopefully I’ll get to that point someday.

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I am so glad to be done the first term! Now I’m into the second term, taking International Management and New Venture Development. They are very interesting so far! We only have a couple months until school is done, so I am ready to study hard and finish my degree!!!

It’s been a long few years, but I am finally going to graduate! I am so lucky to have had a great school back home and in Sweden where teachers and staff have helped me every step of the way! I am thankful for them, and also my friends and family who suffered through with me! Thanks to all my friends who studied with me, my parents who supported me and cooked me all the stress food I could eat, Shane for quizzing me on all the material, and my sisters who never let me give up! I think a lot of my success can be attributed to you, so thank you all! I wish I could get a diploma for you too :p

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With that I will sign off! Must get back to my studies, but I hope everyone has a good week, and to all the students back in Canada doing exams, good luck! You can do it!

xox Meg