Christmas

My sincere apologies for not having blogged for half a year now. I was too busy studying and too pre-occupied with fun activities such as finishing my internship at the Dutch embassy in Berlin, a trip to Belgium for a Nexus-weekend (I still owe Maastricht-Students an introduction to the Maastricht fraternity life), a visit to my sister who’s was doing an Erasmus in Paris (I got halfway writing a blog about that, but then I dropped the project), several international dinners with the fellow Public Policy students, a trip to the Christmas market in Aachen, my Bachelor graduation and the fancy Nondejuke Lustrum-gala afterwards, which I took my other sister to (think white tie in a castle, live music and open bar) and plenty of nights of the good-old getting shitfaced with either the Nexus guys or the ESN crew, to write about all these experiences. Read more

So there you told

There is that one culture I came to know here, that one culture that I will probably hold in my heart forever. They taught me that the literal translation of “aí cê falou” is ‘there you told’ and that you use it when something is very nice (therefore the title of this blog). They’re part of probably the nicest memories of my exchange period. And I’ll give you some examples 🙂

Let’s start with going to a house party where you don’t know anyone except for the one or two people that invited you. Where everyone stares at you when you come in. Where everyone is from the same country but not yours. Where everyone speaks a language you don’t understand. But losing your insecurity after seconds because people are so warm and welcoming and start talking to you straight away.

Making friends so easily and not having the feeling that it’s just superficial, but feeling a bond and getting the feeling you’ve known them for ages, because they are all so incredibly easygoing, loving, open and interested.

Listening to their sertanejo and hearing stories about their country, their culture and their people that make you feel as if you’re almost there.

Spending more than a week every night at their place while getting drunk, playing guitar, singing songs, smoking shisha and being knocked down by marihuana they had put in it without telling anyone, and enjoying and appreciating how they come up with a bet to not speak their language so you can understand them. And feeling like a superstar when you’re singing songs for them in their language because of getting the best cheering you could ever get.

Being surprised over and over again by their warmth, their kindness, their passion, their generosity, their positive energy, their friendliness, their juggling skills, their guitar skills, their enthusiasm, their ease and their hospitality.

Being a witness of when they see, touch and play with snow for the first time in their life, seeing their overexcited facebook posts and photos about it and being there when they skate on ice for the first time in their life.

Loving the typical mistakes in English they make, the literal translations, using ‘in’ as standard preposition, trying their best to improve their English while most of them only just started learning it and ending up teaching me some new English words. So so.

Loving how unfussed they are about using each other’s cutlery and glasses, taking bites of each other’s food, loving their food, loving their drinks and not being able to wait until you get to their country to try even more of their delicacies.

Learning more Portuguese than French while being in a province where French is the main language, trying to use the Portuguese swearing as appropriately and as often as possible and making everyone laugh when doing it.

Being treated as if you’re one of them while you’re the only one from another country, making you feel as if you’re a part of them even though you can only sing songs and swear in their language, that’s something only they could do, and it’s probably one of the best things that could ever happen to you.

I’m so incredibly thankful that I got to know all of you and I’m going to miss you like hell when I’m back home.
Aí cê falou. Eu amo vocês, meus Brasileiros!

Ice Skating

Hidden study places

As exams are starting all over again, the library and university buildings become more crowded then ever. Finding a quiet study spot is not possible unless you will participate with the early morning German runs. Luckily there are some secret spots in Maastricht where you can find the peace and quiet you need. Read more

Dutch traditions: Sinterklaas

Every 5th of December the heart of many Dutch children begins to beat faster at the break of dawn. It’s this day that they will be greeted by a good old jolly fellow and his helpers. They bring presents and candy, but only if the children have been  behaving good and well. Sinterklaas is in town. Read more

Christmas in North-America

Well yeah, I was slightly surprised when last week suddenly everything here was decorated in Christmas style. Light chains were put on trees, the stairway on Mont-Royal is decorated with Christmas tree decoration and in malls they play Christmas music. And when it started last week, it wasn’t even the last week of November. So yeah, it was a little weird. Read more