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Second Winter

Being from Texas I never thought I would ever hear myself say, “I wish it would stop snowing.”

Coming from the south where it’s hot all year round, where cold to us is when the temperature is 50 (Fahrenheit) or below and snow is extremely rare, I was almost looking forward to getting to experience an actual winter and have a little bit of fun playing in the snow. I had no idea what I was getting wishing for. Read more

Winter Vrijthof

Breakup letter

Dear Winter,

With this letter, I am going to be really honest with you.

After (almost) 5 months, I have to say, I don’t think our relationship will work out. I have several reasons for that, which I’ll explain to you, one by one. I hope you won’t be too upset.

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An ode to Glühwein

You are the Austrian/ German hot mulled wine that makes the cold cold Austrian winter much more bearable. Your delicious sweet spiced flavours cheer me up every time I drink You and the warm glow (where Your name is derived from, obviously) You leave in my body makes me forget not just the cold but all minor inconveniences bothering me, such as studying. Good thing they sell You at the entrance of the WU for just one euro and only two euros for a turbo turbo You (with the double shot of Stroh 80% rum in You), especially great since you can just finish one such a turbo turbo in a fifteen minute break from class. You make my life complete. When I drank the first hot sip of You standing under the beautifully lit trees in the park next to the Christkindlmarkt I felt pure joy, like a child I felt, and at that moment I realised that if there existed such a place called heaven You would be in it.
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Phenomenology of the weather

I will not talk about the weather through stereotipical images: we all know Dutch weather sucks, although I was told that Maastricht is the sunniest city in the Netherlands. Read more

Brrrrrrrr

So guess most of you noticed it is getting chilly outside. The roads are covered in
pretty white snow (for all you smartasses, this pleonasm has to be made to make the
contradiction with the next part of the sentence more clear), rancid brown mushy snow
and ice. A lot of people start to reminisce about their childhood whenever they see the
snow. About the times they still could do whatever they want. Friends would try to see
who could build the best snow puppet. Grabbing your sled to go down the nearest hill
(or speedbumb in case you lived in the flat part of the Netherlands) you could find.
ice skating on barely frozen lakes or ponds. Eating ‘Stamppot’ together with the entire family. Good times.

However when they step outside they start yammering about all the disadvantages the
snow brings. How the cars won’t start that good, that the roads are too slippy and above
all that it’s too cold. It always strikes me that people fuss about the temperature so much.
Whenever it is summer people want it to become winter, because it’s too hot, too humid, has too much bugs or whatever douchebag reason they can think of. In the winter people
most people always desire the summer and start planning all of their vacations to exotic
places such as Lloret de Mar, Antalya or Chersonissos (all based on the rich diversity of culture in these places, of course).

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m just the same as most people. I will complain about the cold as well. But I do realize winter has some good things to offer. People tend to make their homes and streets more cosier when it gets cold. You can see lights everywhere and people tend to be more happy whenever they come home (in the warmth). On top of this there is a shitload of stuff to do whenever winter comes around.

Here in Maastricht we have Winter Wonderland. They turn the Vrijthof into a pretty small village where you can find a lot of good food and drinks. There is a big ferris wheel and an artificial  ice skating rink. It’s not completely my thing but guess a lot of people love it. On top of this there are Christmas markets everywhere, which kind of aren’t my thing either. You can go ice skating on several locations in Limburg, amongst which is my birth town Geleen. It has the only 400 mtr ice skate track  in the south of Limburg (as far as I’m aware of). So much for the promo of my birthtown, because ice skating isn’t my thing either.

Guess this starts to look like I don’t like a lot which involves winter activities. It might be true that I’m kind of indifferent about these things, but I do realize a lot of people like it. I’ve got no clue as to why these things don’t interest me that much. Whenever winter comes I just like to curl up in my bed and sleep (whenever I’ve the time for it) or watch a good movie with or without a significant other or friends. I guess this is not that peculiar though, but I am willing to at least try some real winter thingies. My goals for the upcoming winter are:

– Go ice skating at least once
– Visit Winter Wonderland at least once
– Don’t visit a Christmas market, because I really don’t care
– Drink gluhwein even though I really don’t like it
– Build a snow puppet, just to get in touch with the little Joep inside
– Visit the ‘Elf Stedentocht’ whenever this occurs.

For the not-Dutch readers this may require some explanation. Here in the Netherlands, we have one ice-skating event which dominates the thoughts of all serious ice skaters every winter. This event involves a race on natural ice between eleven cities (elf steden) somewhere in the North of the Netherlands. Because this trip is kind of extensive and therefore involves a lot of ponds, lakes and creeks, it doesn’t take place often, because it is very hard to reach optimal ice levels across the entire tour. The past years it appeared that the tour would take place. FAIL. This year they expect the tour to get a green light for sure and even selected the lucky few ice skaters who may participate in the Elf Steden Tocht. I keep my hopes up, because I want to witness this event at least once in my life.

However, I do look for some good exiting, fun, extreme or just lame things to do this winter in case the Elf Steden Tocht doesn’t go through. So, if you have any good suggestions, I’m all ears. If you have a good suggestion I will surely give it a try. I will record it for sure, so if it involves something which requires a level of expertise you can at least have a good laugh. Let me know.