17 september 1997
Dear Mother and Daddy,
Well, I have been here three months, but it will take the same number of years to really be part of everything here. I think Americans really appreciate the U.S. when they stay away for a few months. Life is relatively simple and uncomplicated for me, and I'm thankful I'm taking the Michigan State course. I travel and am with other Americans, so Mondays and Thursdays are special.
Today I will go early to The Hague to meet with my teacher. I have to discuss an independent study project with him. So I'll leave here around 1:00 p.m. It takes me 1 1/2 hours to go from my apartment to the school (2 bus rides + 1 train). It gives me a chance to "people" watch.
I will begin Dutch lessons on Thursday-Sept. 27. (7:15 pm-8:45 pm-- one day a week for 24 weeks). So my Thursdays will be full of lessons. I had to take a Dutch test last Thursday to determine my class placement. I choked when I saw it, but at least I was admitted.
Last Wednesday I waited for 4 hours in a line at the Police Station to register as a new resident. I will have to go back in December to show work papers or marriage certificate.
The weather is sunny but getting cooler. We have low 50's at night and low 70's in the day. As long as the sun shines, I love it. We walked to town last Saturday afternoon to search for an English dictionary (I forgot to bring one). The weather was nice, and after 5:00 the streets were about empty. All stores close at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Friday night we went to a wedding party (not the wedding). The people drank coffee, sherry, whiskey, wine, beer, and still were going strong when we left at 10:30 p.m. The wedding cake was different, but delicious. The crowd sang to the new couple, and everyone danced in a chain-like dance. Very interesting, but not for me! I like quiet receptions.
Well, take care and write when you can.
(Note: A great example of the Dutch Polonaise dance is @ http://youtu.be/5a7bDq_kX6U.)