Saturday, November 26, 2005

Bruges and Brussels

Don't be fooled, this last trip was actually for educational purposes. We attended a lecture at the College of Europe in Bruges and then headed to Brussels for a small walking tour and nice dinner. The next day we heard from a person working in agricultural policy at the European Commission, and then had a talk at the European Parliament. Of course, we had our fun on top of this as well ;) Here are some photos from Bruges and Brussels! By the way, if you ever have a chance to visit Bruges, go, because it is a wonderfully charming town...


Two shots of the town hall in Brussels. The place (main square) was gorgeous.

Mmm...Belgian waffles...

The famous Manneken Pis - if you can't see it well, it is a boy peeing. Below is our group! If I can get a better group shot, I will post it.

Half of the group at dinner. Am I fake-smiling or what?

Beginning at front left:
Kanako(Japanese), me, Richard(Polish Canadian), Daniel(Brazilian), Julian(German); Back right: Denis (Slovakian), Anna Little(Canadian, not in our program), Alina(Romanian American), Chiara(Italian), Brian(American).

Some European Commission buildings and the European Parliament Plenary (the main plenary is in Strasbourg where I was a month or so ago with Marnix).

Monday, November 14, 2005

Random posting...

My two favorite men - Brian on the left, and my cute boyfriend on the right, Marnix :0)

What's new with me? I will be in the NL until leaving for the states on the 17th, and will be home until the 30th. Look forward to catching up with people!! Until then, I am busy with a course on international organizations/conflict resolution and a methodology course, which is basically statistics.
Our program faculty has organized a trip on Nov. 23rd-24th to go to Bruges and Brussels to meet some people, as well as visit the European Parliament and Commission. Should be an educational and exciting trip! Grades in the program are good so far too. In other news, I am looking for a place to live starting in the New Year with my friend above, Brian. Well, that's the general update. Signing off...

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Some group photos in Shanghai

Left photo > L-R: Emily, Shirley, me, and Matt

Below > Eating at a restaurant overlooking the river and buildings

Below > me and Emily eating in the expat area of Xin Tian Di.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Shanghai, China, 23-31 October 2005

After writing a 15 page paper in about 4 days time, and finishing my first block of classes, I traveled to Shanghai. The city was very intriguing. There is the rich and the glitz on one hand, and poverty and dirtiness on the other. Overall, a spectacular place to visit with the neverending skyscrapers and awesome skyline, not to mention the excellent food and, oh, just 20 million inhabitants. The city is very much "western" in the sense that it's technology is very modern, if not ahead of most of the world right now, capitalistic (despite the Communist government in place), and full of the many other western characterisitics and comforts you can imagine. There was even a Papa John's pizza place there, which you know I had to try!

The traffic was one of the craziest things I've ever witnessed--say your prayers as you walk across the
street. Somehow it works out that most people get across safely the majority of the time. The other startingly new experience (which I was aware of in advance) was using the squatting toilets located on the floor. The first time was a challenge, but then I grew accustomed to it...of course, not every place has these kind of toilets. Matt had hired a Chinese college student, Shirley, who showed me and Emily around each day. She was so sweet and great, showing us the sights and local places to eat some great food. The prices in Shanghai were unbelievably cheap as well, which is always a nice bonus :o) Anyhow, for more photos, check the following website:

This is Nanjing Road, filled with restaurants, hotels, and shops. So colorful!

gorgeous skyline of Shanghai. No photo can really capture the spectacular lights.

The Pearl Tower is a really
fancy-looking telecom tower.

Me and Emily out for a little

This is the view from the Bund (a walkway along the Hangpu river) opposite the skyline which consists of some older buildings of Shanghai. The Peace Hotel and some government offices are there.

The contrast
- not-so-great apartment buildings lacking sufficient indoor lighting and perhaps even hot-water, stand next to skyscrapers; and a man pulls a cart of wood in the street next to motor-operated vehicles.

Strasbourg 14-17 October 2005

Despite having driven through 5 countries, Marnix and I never came close to making it to Rome, Italy where we were supposed to be meeting my friends. So, what do we do? Head to Strasbourg, France, of course! It ended up being a lovely, relaxing weekend in a really quaint and beautiful city.

cathedral was really beautiful. The detail of the sculpture below was very nice.

My favorite building in Strasbourg!

Me and Marnix

View from a distance

Some youths playing with fire in front of the cathedral. Using the night settings on the camera makes for a cool effect.

Heading back to the NL. Photo to left is in northern France, near Ger

The new and improved windmills outside
of Leiden. Home by nightfall!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Photos from Strasbourg and Shanghai trips are forthcoming...