Finally, a free moment to give a complete update on how things are here in Leiden. This past week has been very busy, as I’ve mentioned.
Today was my first concrete day back at work, and it feels nice to delve back into the UNAWE material. I’m currently working on a few projects including writing this “how-to” pamphlet for starting a UNAWE program. My section is specifically on how to start a program at the local level, and after meeting with Pedro today, I have a better idea of the direction I need to take it. Also, I’m working with a draft for a grant proposal written by Stephanie that could potentially get UNAWE funding to start a US program. Writing grant proposals is great, because you have to present all of the most interesting and important ideals of the program. This is a big project, and I anticipate working with it for some time…
Unrelated to work, I have had a very hectic (but wonderful!) past 5 days. Lists are always nicer:
Last week, I changed housing from the lovely and huge Dutch house in the center of Leiden to a small student apartment a 10-15 minute bike ride from the center, but only a 2 minute bike ride from work. While it was great living in the middle of town, in that huge blue room, it was rather expensive. Sarah, who was here at UNAWE when I arrived, is spending July in Leiden as our “Science Communication Journalist in Residence,” (my title for her, not UNAWE’s). She doesn’t have a bike, so it made sense for her to be closer to the center. We essentially swapped housing, and now I live here:
I know what you’re thinking. Quote from Pedro as we drove past on our way to ESA last week: “Wow. Maybe we need to bring Astronomy to children there!” Some people call it “The Swamp,” as it is located directly in a swamp. But, I like my apartment. I have a little kitchen and a little living room, and while I’m constantly told to lock my door and shut my windows, (several incidents of laptop thefts have happened this past year), I’m happy with it. I will miss this guy though:
A Great Weekend With A Great Friend:
When I visited Ruben Land, ’12 in Cambridge at the beginning of my European adventure, he was in the middle of his exam period, and so I barely saw him. Mostly, I spent the week with his friends exploring Cambridge, but barely with him at all. While it was great to see Cambridge and catch up over meals and after exams, I’m really glad that he decided to visit Leiden so we could have a real vacation together. First stop, Hargen Beach Ultimate tournament. Here’s the team:
This is the team from Leiden, called “PANIC.” It was a bit of a challenge to play as a group of people who had barely played together, but by the end of the weekend, we had a great flow and a good level of intensity. Having Ruben there was also extremely beneficial to our team. He provided not just great Ultimate skill, but good advice for the players and stepped up as a leader of the team almost right away.
A Fantastic Independence Day:
After a long weekend of Ultimate, we took Monday as a day of relaxation, and met up in the afternoon with Ilja Hermans (Bryn Mawr ’12). With my new kayaking membership, I was able to take them out on the water!
It was a perfect day on the water — Sunny and warm! I couldn’t have asked for a more peaceful way to enjoy the company of good friends who I’ve been missing for far too long! Ruben had a bit of trouble with balance, what with his higher center of gravity, but Ilja was a natural! The picture of her above is in one of the most challenging boats to keep from tipping. She managed to stay upright the entire time, but both Ruben and I tipped a LOT when we tried:
A great deal of fun, all in all! Fabian and Justin, our instructors (seen holding the back of our boats, above), were very encouraging, as always.
To celebrate my new home/friends in town/great weather/FOURTH OF JULY I had a potluck Monday night. It was great to have friends from work, Ultimate, and Haverford all in one place at once. Food, games, and most importantly, festive sparklers:
(I’m the 4!)
So with that, Happy Independence Day! And thanks for reading, as always.