From the monthly archives:

August 2010

Belated Daily Diary: Monday, August 16th

by benj2919 on 27 August 2010

Like the city felt sad we were leaving it, the weather was rainy – a light mist really – during the early morning hours of our last official day in Amsterdam. Accustomed to running in the rain, like any good Seattleite, I still took to the streets for one last final run before the final presentation ceremony!

Everyone gathered in the courtyard punctually at 9 a.m. However, as any day with important presentations scheduled, we had a run-in with Murphy’s Law. Waiting for the bus to take us to the VKS with a combination of nervousness and excitement, we neglected to flag down the bus driver. It sped right past us. Standing in the cloud of exhaust, everyone was a little dazed and confused, but as the expert travelers and navigators we have come to be during our stay here, we regrouped and started on foot to our destination. On the bright side, walking is a much more gezellig form of transportation than public buses.

After a combination of walking and hopping on an alternative bus, everyone arrived at the VKS with a spring in their step, alert, awake, and ready to present his or her research. Some final remarks of wisdom from our professors led right into the student research presentations. The next several hours were a grand academic and intellectual adventure through the city of Amsterdam.  The journey began with a deep analysis of the Indische Buurt neighborhood, continued with a plunge into the inner workings of the Aya Sofya mosque, and then took a whirl through the streets of Amsterdam on a bicycle. We discovered that ferries can be gezellig. Although in the case of buses and trams – not so much. Next was a jaunt through the illicit, licit, and tolerated activities in Vondelpark, and finally, we were left with visions of urban screens playing in our heads.

A fantastic success everyone! Congrats! Celebrations began with a lively reception in the VKS lobby.  A portion of the group carried them on at the brewery underneath the windmill just a short walk from the VKS. It was my first visit, and I would highly recommend it – a fine establishment. Although being in the company of good friends and having the burden of presentations, research, and deadlines alleviated contributed much more to the convivial atmosphere.

This evening, we held the final group dinner at a wonderful Iranian restaurant. Traveling to the restaurant, Clifford led one last procession through the streets of Amsterdam by bike. Once there we relaxed in a small inner courtyard as the food was being prepared. Dinner was fantastic, and soon it came time for some final words from Rob and Clifford. After which each of us had the honor of receiving a certificate of completion.

Rob put in words perfectly what I feel created the best experiences of this program: entrepreneurial learning opportunities.  Getting out of your comfort zone, taking chances, and putting yourself in new situations helps us grow, keeps our minds sharp, and enriches life. Thanks to everyone for making this program a fantastic experience!

(P.S. More photos and videos are on their way when I’m at a decent internet connection back in civilization)


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Belated Daily Diary: Monday, August 16th

by benj2919 on 27 August 2010

Like the city felt sad we were leaving it, the weather was rainy – a light mist really – during the early morning hours of our last official day in Amsterdam. Accustomed to running in the rain, like any good Seattleite, I still took to the streets for one last final run before the final presentation ceremony!

Everyone gathered in the courtyard punctually at 9 a.m. However, as any day with important presentations scheduled, we had a run-in with Murphy’s Law. Waiting for the bus to take us to the VKS with a combination of nervousness and excitement, we neglected to flag down the bus driver. It sped right past us. Standing in the cloud of exhaust, everyone was a little dazed and confused, but as the expert travelers and navigators we have come to be during our stay here, we regrouped and started on foot to our destination. On the bright side, walking is a much more gezellig form of transportation than public buses.

After a combination of walking and hopping on an alternative bus, everyone arrived at the VKS with a spring in their step, alert, awake, and ready to present his or her research. Some final remarks of wisdom from our professors led right into the student research presentations. The next several hours were a grand academic and intellectual adventure through the city of Amsterdam.  The journey began with a deep analysis of the Indische Buurt neighborhood, continued with a plunge into the inner workings of the Aya Sofya mosque, and then took a whirl through the streets of Amsterdam on a bicycle. We discovered that ferries can be gezellig. Although in the case of buses and trams – not so much. Next was a jaunt through the illicit, licit, and tolerated activities in Vondelpark, and finally, we were left with visions of urban screens playing in our heads.

A fantastic success everyone! Congrats! Celebrations began with a lively reception in the VKS lobby.  A portion of the group carried them on at the brewery underneath the windmill just a short walk from the VKS. It was my first visit, and I would highly recommend it – a fine establishment. Although being in the company of good friends and having the burden of presentations, research, and deadlines alleviated contributed much more to the convivial atmosphere.

This evening, we held the final group dinner at a wonderful Iranian restaurant. Traveling to the restaurant, Clifford led one last procession through the streets of Amsterdam by bike. Once there we relaxed in a small inner courtyard as the food was being prepared. Dinner was fantastic, and soon it came time for some final words from Rob and Clifford. After which each of us had the honor of receiving a certificate of completion.

Rob put in words perfectly what I feel created the best experiences of this program: entrepreneurial learning opportunities.  Getting out of your comfort zone, taking chances, and putting yourself in new situations helps us grow, keeps our minds sharp, and enriches life. Thanks to everyone for making this program a fantastic experience!

(P.S. More photos and videos are on their way when I’m at a decent internet connection back in civilization)


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Athens and a crazy little Greek island

by dreinelt on 24 August 2010

I can’t believe it, but it has already been a week since I left Amsterdam with Andrew, and damn life is good. While I loved the city, the culture, the people, pretty much everything, the last week of the program … Continue reading

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The end.

by racmccaf on 19 August 2010

The time has come, as I sit in my hotel room half-watching Dutch TV (Fraiser, ironically…) with my sister, to write a final post to wrap up this part of my trip.

The ending of the program came in a bittersweet fashion. Although I was  becoming quite ready to finish up and say goodbye to my project, I had such a fantastic month, I’m sad to see it go. Highlights from the last week were: a day trip to Utrecht, home from which I (and two others) wore a stranger’s pants after an intimate encounter with the canal during a canoe/kayak trip, several trips to a restaurant/bar around the corner from the dorms near Artis where I have become friends with the bartender, a successful final presentation of my project, and the purchase of the craziest pants I’ve ever seen at a street market near the windmill brewery by VKS.

When my sister Amanda arrived on Tuesday morning it was raining, dreary, and everyone was packing and leaving. Failure to obtain a mattress from John almost spelled disaster in the form of Amanda and I having to squeeze onto my very small bed. However, Derek had left early and Ben was still around to let me into his room where I slept away my last night at the compound before literally being kicked out of my own room at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

The hotel I found here has proven to be a gem. It’s not far from the Albert by Waterlooplein and is spacious enough that there was room for Jenny and Greg to crash (and dump the entire contents of both their suitcases) on the floor and couch last night. The all-hours breakfast/coffee/cookie/bread/cheese/sausage/fruit bar downstairs might be the best part though. I led my sister on a bike tour yesterday and today that ended up being a heavy dose of nostalgia of having been lost on certain streets over the last month. “Oh I remember this is where John led us astray on the way to Leidseplein,” or “oh yes, Jenny and I were confused around here once or twice,” and “I dropped my map here on the way to Vondelpark on the first day with my bike and wanted to cry.” I managed to maneuver the city like an expert though, which has only caused a sickening feeling to form in the pit of my stomach that I have to leave soon. I find this an interesting realization to have because I think it encompasses part of what Jenny’s and my project was attempting to convey. I’m not sure if I became attached to Amsterdam in and of itself or if it was mostly because I associate it with the good time I had with this program. Either way, meandering the streets and eating dinner with my legs dangling over the canal tonight felt like home. Being able to recognize streets, shops, and cafes I’ve dined at is something special. There’s such comfort to be found in the familiar. It saddens me to think that bicycling over flat terrain, light as a feather thanks to my wonderful saddle bags, careening over dikes and canals with the click of my bell will not be something I can take home with me. I will miss that rickety omafiets. Now that Jenny and Greg have departed, I believe I am the last one left. But knowing Clifford is roaming around somewhere with Jasper in his bike basket is reassuring.

I sign off by offering the wiki link to my final project. Or might I suggest you Google my name and “gezellig” and see what you find a few links down. Thank you to everyone for a great month in a great city doing great things.

Amsterdam, I will be back.


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The end.

by racmccaf on 19 August 2010

The time has come, as I sit in my hotel room half-watching Dutch TV (Fraiser, ironically…) with my sister, to write a final post to wrap up this part of my trip.

The ending of the program came in a bittersweet fashion. Although I was  becoming quite ready to finish up and say goodbye to my project, I had such a fantastic month, I’m sad to see it go. Highlights from the last week were: a day trip to Utrecht, home from which I (and two others) wore a stranger’s pants after an intimate encounter with the canal during a canoe/kayak trip, several trips to a restaurant/bar around the corner from the dorms near Artis where I have become friends with the bartender, a successful final presentation of my project, and the purchase of the craziest pants I’ve ever seen at a street market near the windmill brewery by VKS.

When my sister Amanda arrived on Tuesday morning it was raining, dreary, and everyone was packing and leaving. Failure to obtain a mattress from John almost spelled disaster in the form of Amanda and I having to squeeze onto my very small bed. However, Derek had left early and Ben was still around to let me into his room where I slept away my last night at the compound before literally being kicked out of my own room at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

The hotel I found here has proven to be a gem. It’s not far from the Albert by Waterlooplein and is spacious enough that there was room for Jenny and Greg to crash (and dump the entire contents of both their suitcases) on the floor and couch last night. The all-hours breakfast/coffee/cookie/bread/cheese/sausage/fruit bar downstairs might be the best part though. I led my sister on a bike tour yesterday and today that ended up being a heavy dose of nostalgia of having been lost on certain streets over the last month. “Oh I remember this is where John led us astray on the way to Leidseplein,” or “oh yes, Jenny and I were confused around here once or twice,” and “I dropped my map here on the way to Vondelpark on the first day with my bike and wanted to cry.” I managed to maneuver the city like an expert though, which has only caused a sickening feeling to form in the pit of my stomach that I have to leave soon. I find this an interesting realization to have because I think it encompasses part of what Jenny’s and my project was attempting to convey. I’m not sure if I became attached to Amsterdam in and of itself or if it was mostly because I associate it with the good time I had with this program. Either way, meandering the streets and eating dinner with my legs dangling over the canal tonight felt like home. Being able to recognize streets, shops, and cafes I’ve dined at is something special. There’s such comfort to be found in the familiar. It saddens me to think that bicycling over flat terrain, light as a feather thanks to my wonderful saddle bags, careening over dikes and canals with the click of my bell will not be something I can take home with me. I will miss that rickety omafiets. Now that Jenny and Greg have departed, I believe I am the last one left. But knowing Clifford is roaming around somewhere with Jasper in his bike basket is reassuring.

I sign off by offering the wiki link to my final project. Or might I suggest you Google my name and “gezellig” and see what you find a few links down. Thank you to everyone for a great month in a great city doing great things.

Amsterdam, I will be back.


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Homestretch Project Motivation

August 15, 2010

As we churn out our projects, I thought that now would be the best time to pass on a bit of wisdom from one of my favorite professors, Phillip Thurtle: Take the call of the bird. To explain the bird … Continue reading

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Daily Diary: Utrecht

August 14, 2010

Dear Blog, It’s finally my turn to write the Daily Diary. And I’ve had the good fortune to be assigned the day we went to Utrecht, our last scheduled day of adventuring. Hoorah! We began with the familiar 8:30 meet up and scenic route to Amsterdam Centraal, which is always a brilliant way to start […]

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Some quick thoughts from a miserably infrequent blogger…

August 14, 2010

Learning by doing… an abstract ideal that I’ve never understood more clearly than now. My time in Amsterdam has been the most entrepreneurial educational experience I’ve ever had. There is a wonderful immediacy to cold-calling professionals and experts,  biking through … Continue reading

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Aug. 11th Daily Diary: Utrecht

August 14, 2010

Meeting in the courtyard at 8:30 this morning, we prepared for our final “excursion”, that to the city of Utrecht. A few lost and mostly recovered souls later (one was not yet destined to cross paths with the rest of … Continue reading →

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Human Subjects: New Video on Bicycling

August 13, 2010

Here is a video of selected clips from interviews that I recorded. I took the advice from the professors and edited the material to make it easier to understand and visually appealing. I plan to use this in our presentation and in our wiki to help portray our analysis of the interviews. If you watch […]

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Daily Diary: Monday, August 9, 2010

August 11, 2010

Today, our activities and discussion focused on Bijlmermeer, a former ghetto in the south-east of Amsterdam.  We began our morning meeting at 8:30, as per usual, but as it had been a few days since our last scheduled early morning activity, I and many of my comrades seemed a bit out-of-sorts.  Nonetheless, we listened attentively … Read more

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Post: Project Update

August 10, 2010

Our project took huge leaps and bounds this weekend which involved several interviews, working on the Google map tagging, and a discussion about our project. On Friday, we met with our professors and illuminated a whole new area in our research project. Ever since the beginning, we were focused on the materialistic values of our […]

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Da Daily Diary

August 9, 2010

I woke up a little before my alarm, my feet stinging slightly from the cold. Some nights, my feet slide from the cozy confines of the duvet cover and sniff the twilit air. A shower would warm them up. I did my 450 sit-ups and fried a couple eggs. I thought for a moment about […]

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In the words of Daniel Powter: I had a bad day

August 9, 2010

Let this be quick, as my Monday blues don’t need to be relived in length. Let me also say, Jenny, I am doing this for you, as something in this blogging process helps me articulate what I am unable to while you patiently sit through my mumbles. Cross your fingers some wiki-worthy jargon will be [...]

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In the words of Daniel Powter: I had a bad day

August 9, 2010

Let this be quick, as my Monday blues don’t need to be relived in length. Let me also say, Jenny, I am doing this for you, as something in this blogging process helps me articulate what I am unable to … Continue reading

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Daily Dairy: Den Haag — VIDEO, part 1

August 8, 2010

The “making of” process for this video is actually much more interesting than the video itself, but, nevertheless, I’ll give you the video first: Now, the more interesting and painful details for why it’s taking me so long to get these videos out there. 1: The Beginning “Booms” In taking everyone’s picture, I had envisioned [...]

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My tipping point?

August 7, 2010

I think I hit it. I would hope it I hit it, it is almost my fourth week here… There was a point, sitting in French 103 during winter quarter of freshman year at UW, while Jillian was expressively chattering in French that a lightbulb literally could have illuminated above my head. I was understanding spoken [...]

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My tipping point?

August 7, 2010

I think I hit it. I would hope it I hit it, it is almost my fourth week here… There was a point, sitting in French 103 during winter quarter of freshman year at UW, while Jillian was expressively chattering in … Continue reading

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New Question and Possibly the Last Revision

August 6, 2010

The revision this time was relatively small and addressed the specificity and clarity of our previous question. Our new question is: What are the most important conditions that allow bicycling to be a viable form of transportation in Amsterdam? Although we decided not to included Seattle in the question, we still intend to compare Amsterdam […]

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Daily Diary: August 4th

August 6, 2010

If you don’t feel like reading the whole passage the most important facts of the day can be found in the video embedded at the bottom.  Enjoy! (specifically 1:13) Our second big group outing outside of Amsterdam was also our … Continue reading

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