aryanhwy: (Default)
Tuesday evening I noticed Gwen was coughing a bit, and then when she slept for 12 hours straight I figured she was getting a bit ill. Wednesday morning she was coughing more, a rather watery cough, but wasn't congested and didn't seem to be feeling badly, so I took her off to daycare. When I handed her over to Sabine and she asked how Gwen was doing, I said she had a bit of a cough but didn't seem too bad. And Gwen obligingly went "cough, cough", and then grinned at Sabine. When I picked her up that evening she was getting a bit of a runny nose and was a bit more congested, but still wasn't obviously feeling badly at all. She had been eating and sleeping just fine, too, which was reassuring. Yesterday, though, when we both woke up, we were both feeling pretty miserable (no cough for me, but I'd had a sore throat since Wed. morning), and even though she'd slept through the night again (11.5 hours!), Joel said he had to go up and replace her pacifier after coughing fits more frequently. I was of two minds whether we'd make it out to campus in the afternoon; unfortunately, I was scheduled to give a talk at 14:15 and needed to get out early enough to finish my slides for it. When I first woke up, I wasn't sure I was even going to be able to give a talk, my throat hurt so badly. But as the morning progressed we both started feeling better, so off we went.

I checked my phone after the session was over (mine was the first of three talks), to find a voicemail from Laura at daycare saying that Gwen was getting sicker and I might want to consider taking her to a doctor. (Dutch people are rather hospital/dr. avoidant, so this recommendation meant something.) At this point it was only half an hour before I would've picked her up anyway, so I hurried over, and she was really pretty miserable looking; lots of sinus drainage which would cause her to cough and choke and then cough harder, and it was pretty sad. But she still hasn't run a fever at all, and is still sleeping and eating well, which is reassuring. When I picked her up she buried her face in my shoulder (and started chewing on my coat lapel), and calmed down some. It was a gorgeous, gorgeous day out (sunny and 17!) but I just didn't feel up to walking home so we headed out to the bus. Even sick, she still had plenty of smiles for me:


And then on the bus she smiled and flirted and shrieked with a young girl with Down's syndrome in a wheel chair.

It took her about half an hour to settle down to sleep because of the coughing, but once she fell asleep she slept straight through until morning again (excepting regular pacifier replacements due to coughing fits), but she was pretty bad this morning -- at one point she was coughing so hard she couldn't breathe and her face turned pink and I was getting worried. Our huisarts (GP) makes same-day appointments if you call between 8:00 and 9:00 so I figured as soon as 8:00 came around I'd call.

We'd registered with this huisarts back in early Dec., soon after we'd moved here (but not soon enough for me to get in to see a dr. when I had mastitis), so I didn't expect this to be an issue. But then I call, "My four month old daughter is sick and I'd like a doctor to look at her", and I give them Gwen's birthdate...and they have no record of her. So I give them evidence that we're registered with them. I tell them we came in and registered in Dec. Gave them my name. Spelled it twice, both with English vowels and with Dutch. Nope. No record of us at all. So I ask if it would still be possible for me to make an appointment, since I sure thought we were registered with them and my daughter is sick! I've been recommended to take her to a doctor! She's four months old! Nope, sorry, you'll have to call someone else.

Now, luckily there's another practice a block away from that one (your huisarts has to be within a certain distance of your house), so I looked them up online, and called to see if they were accepting new patients. They were, so as soon as Gwen woke up, we headed over.

Yes, they're accepting new patients. BUT what is one of the things you need to fill in when you register? Your health insurance company and client number. The health insurance which you are legally required to have in the Netherlands. The health insurance that I have been trying to get since December. The health insurance which kept writing me threatening to cancel my application if we didn't send them copies of our (at the time non-existent) residence permits. The health insurance that I sent copies of our residence permits of almost two weeks ago, and still have not yet heard from. So before I even tried to broach that issue, I asked if it would be at all possible for us to get in to see the doctor that day, because I had a sick four month old (I even took Gwen out of the stroller and picked her up so the secretary could hear her cough and sniffle). No dice. Lots of doctors only work half days (mornings) on Fridays. This practice had only one doctor that was there today, and there would be no way that I could get in to see him. She did say that perhaps I could get squeezed in and he could listen to her lungs with a stethoscope to see if she had an infection, but after she rung the doctor to ask, she said that wasn't possible, because I guess when they're so young you can't tell just from a stethoscope if there's a lung infection or not. So what am I supposed to do??? At this point, it's now late enough in the morning that it's too late to call other places to make a same day appointment, and since we're not registered with these other places I'd have to deal with the whole insurance rigmarole with them. There's an after hours number you can call when your huisarts is not on duty, and so I figured I'd just wait until the practice that I thought we were registered with closed at noon and then I'd call the after hours number.

Luckily, by that time, Gwen seemed to be feeling better; she'd had a number of good naps, a couple of bottles, and hadn't had any bad coughing spells. I drew a hot bath and we sat for awhile in the bathroom with the steam, and then after another nap we went and took a slow walk around outside because it was really sunny and nice out. She's still pretty sick but she hasn't gotten any worse, and since there's no fever, she's still sleeping well, and still eating well, and she hasn't had another spell where she couldn't breathe, I guess we're back to just waiting it out.

It's been four months and this is the first time either of us have gotten sick, for which I should be (and am) very grateful. But it's frustrating that for as well designed as the Dutch healthcare system is, it only really works if you're already in it. If you're not, good luck trying to find anyone who will take a look at your sick! four month old! baby!
aryanhwy: (Default)
Since moving to Tilburg, I've had to bring out and exercise my meager conversational Dutch a lot more than previously. There are two causes; first, English is not as prevalent here as in Amsterdam (for example, I don't think I've interacted with a single non-Dutch person outside of the university), second, Tilburgers are much more inclined to make casual conversation with strangers than Amsterdamers are. I'm getting more comfortable with making this sort of small talk -- it helps that most of the questions are going to be about Gwen and those I can all recognize and answer appropriately -- in part because of the big book of children's rhymes and poems that I've been reading to her. I'm finding that what I'm taking away from reading these rhymes is not a wider vocabulary or a better sense of syntax, but rather something more ephemeral, the rhythm of the language. I'm starting to soak in when all the weird little enclitic particles get used, which often isn't covered by syntax or grammar, and it feels more natural to insert them into my speech. A lot of my baby talk with Gwen is in my halting Dutch, I figure she won't care if I make a mistake!

But anyway, I had an experience this weekend that made me quite proud (prouder, perhaps, than I should be given that I've lived in this country for 6.5 years, and I should know the language better than I do). I'd found a lot of size 62-68-74 clothes on marktplaats and bid 15EUR on it. The lot had more than 40 pieces of clothing, so this was cheaper than I could even get things from the Juttersdok. It's not like Gwen needs a lot more clothing, but she is beginning to outgrow the onesies that we have, and so this was a cheap and convenient way of getting more without having to pay full price for them. A few hours after I bid, my bid was accepted and I made arrangements to come by today between 11 and 12 to pick them up. Gwen had a two hour nap this morning and woke up around 10:40 which was just perfect timing in terms of getting her diaper changed, getting her bundled up and to head out. The exchange of money for clothes didn't take long, nor did it take that much explanation/conversation, but I was able to do the entire process -- from bidding, to arranging pick-up, to actually doing the pick-up -- without, I think, betraying that I'm not a Dutch speaker. It's not just that I relied on a lot of smiling and nodding (a technique which gets you further than you might think), but I knew the right polite-isms to intersperse. So, whoo! In a sense, I'm glad we moved here because it's finally forcing me to get better with Dutch. Even if we move in another year, the practice of having to speak a foreign language in order to get by is good for me.


Sep. 22nd, 2011 12:54 pm
aryanhwy: (Default)
I'm taking a sick day today. Yesterday I woke up with the beginnings of a sore throat and drippy nose, and while it didn't get much worse over the course of the day, this morning I woke up and decided not to try to head down to Tilburg; even if I went, the chances that I'd get any work done were low and the chances that I'd infect others were high. And it's not like I don't have sick/holiday leave to spare, though I feel bad taking it today since it's the first colloquium of the semester, and the one thing I was told about my actual presence in Tilburg was "it'd be nice if you were here when we had seminar". But since that I'm sure comes with the caveat of "so long as you don't make all of us sick in doing so", I don't feel too bad. I finally hauled myself out of bed about half an hour ago, and now we're all lounging in the livingroom in the sun.


Last Thursday I took the train over to Berlin for the final conference of the ESF LogiCCC scheme, through which my project in Amsterdam was coordinated. Quite a few of us from NL ended up on the same train, and Daniele had a seat reserved in the same car as me so he ended up sitting next to me since the train wasn't full and that seat wasn't reserved. When we arrived four of us were then together to find the hotel; we'd all printed the "directions by public transport" from the hotel's website, and even had a native speaker (Ulle) with us, so I at least figured we'd have no trouble. Turns out in fact that it is not the 240 -- in either direction -- that goes from the east train station to the hotel; it was something completely different. But we made it there eventually.

The conference officially started Friday morning, with just a reception and dinner on Thursday. Friday was mostly a day of each of the 8 projects reporting on what they'd done in the last three years; some of it was new to me, some of it I'd seen/heard before at previous workshops. But the schedule was relaxed enough that I was able to get in a nap after lunch, one during the afternoon coffee break, and another before supper -- which felt nice at the time but ended up backfiring on me when I tried to fall asleep Friday night. I was leaving early Saturday morning for the airport to fly to Stockholm, and I both had trouble falling asleep and woke up like 5 times over the course of the night. Ugh. So I was pretty beat by the time I got into Stockholm around 10:00am on Saturday.

I was in Stockholm for a two-day workshop looking at two recently edited late 12th C Aristotelian commentaries (on the Sophistical Refutations and the Prior Analytics) that I'd been invited to by Sten Ebbesen. It was a pretty intimate affair, with only 10 participants -- of which 4 were women, and of those 4, two were 7+ months pregnant, which is not the sort of demographic I've been used to! It was a fascinating weekend. Every time I get to do something indepth and medieval, I come away thinking "I wish I could spend all my time doing this", until of course I get home and I start doing logicy stuff again and think "wow, this is really fun". What I really need is the time and mental headspace to have two academic lives, but since this isn't possible I just have to continue splitting my time between both pursuits and enjoying them as I can.


I find it fascinating the reactions I get from various people; almost uniformly, men think that I'm big for the stage I'm at, and women think I'm small (and further find it astonishing that I've already gained 10+ kg). Jesse, for example, commented along the lines of "it's not like you're going to get much bigger", and I had to say that there's a good chance I'll gain another 4-5kg before the end, and I could tell he didn't believe me. But the fact that I gained 1.2kg between Tuesday last week and Tuesday this week (I blame the really quite well done 3-course meals we were served in Berlin!) indicates I'm not far off! This past week or so has been pretty uncomfortable; if I'm not sitting just right, or lying flat, then I keep pulling on that strained muscle and if I'm in an uncomfortable chair for more than a few hours, the pain can get so bad that it makes me somewhat nauseated. Naproxin (the only pain reliever I'm willing to take) doesn't seem to do much good, even as a placebo, but luckily bags of ice cubes do help. I usually fall asleep at night on one of my sides with an ice pack wedged in place by a pillow; it's not just the cold but also the pressure that helps. It's not a terribly comfortable way to sleep (my hip and shoulder get pretty sore), but at least I can sleep. I had my first wake-me-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night leg cramp over the weekend, so bad I had to get out of bed and walk it off, but mostly I can tell which ways I need to not move to prevent them and I can do so. As of this weekend my fingers have also gotten too big to wear my rings comfortably; I'm now wearing my engagement ring on a chain around my neck, but I haven't taken my wedding ring off yet, even though I probably should. I just hate, hate, hate not having it on, it drives me distracted. It still fits loose around where it is, I just couldn't get it over the knuckle without great difficulty. I'm also waking up the morning to very painful fingers, just from the knuckles to the tips. I've realized that in my default mode of sleeping, I usually sleep with my hands curled up -- not clenched, but in claw shapes. Now I've started making an effort to flatten them out when I realize that they aren't, which helps a bit, but feels awkward.


At the end of August Joel and I started looking at the possibility of moving to Tilburg; he still thought I was crazy for considering doing the commute regularly, but more than that, it's expensive. If we moved, we could cut down on that cost, and also get a place with a room for the baby which, given that he's working from home as of Sept. 1, is something that is important for him. I started searching various websites recommended by the university and by Martijn, and it was really quite frustrating. Everyone said "Oh, Tilburg will be so much cheaper than Amsterdam", but that isn't really the case. First, our rent here includes all utilities, but most places advertised don't, and for some time I had no idea how much to estimate for gas/water/electric, depending on whether it was an apartment, a house, a part of a house, or what. I eventually figured out that budgeting 150-200EUR/month would be realistic; we strongly suspect that we would not actually spend this much, since we don't keep the house very warm and don't use that much electricity (and even though our water consumption will go up when we start washing diapers, water contributes by far the least to the total). So if we wanted to pay less than we're currently paying, we were looking in the 750-800EUR category. And frankly, there just aren't that many 2-bedroom apartments in Tilburg/Breda/den Bosch in that price range; and many that we found required you to register with a rental agency before they'd fix a viewing for you, and this registration often required (a) all sorts of paperwork that I don't even know what it is because they're naming it in Dutch and googletranslate didn't have a clue, and we also probably don't have for Joel since he's not employed by a Dutch company, (b) a ridiculous registration fee (100-600EUR!), and (c) proof of gross income either 4 or 5 times more than the monthly rent. And they would only accept a calculation based on two incomes if the partners were (a) married and (b) 35 or older, and then only half of the partner's income would be counted. Well, I'm not making too shabby an amount as a post-doc at UvT (same as I'm making at UvA actually), but 20% or 25% of that is less than 750. What's frustrating is that we've been paying 950/month for 6 years on salaries much lower than we're currently making, and the one time we were late with a payment had to do with a delay in getting a bank transfer from the US to NL, and we knew in advance we wouldn't make it and let our landlady know that it would be 2-3 days late. So it's not like we're unreliable tenants.

Two weeks ago though I managed to finagle a viewing for a nice place about 20 min. from the university by bus, so Joel came down to Tilburg with me and we went to see it. It was in a lovely quiet neighborhood, and the bus literally dropped us off in front of the house. It had three bedrooms on the first floor and a finished attic which would've made a great office for Joel. There was a fire place and a backyard, a lovely big livingroom, and a storage closet for our bikes, etc. But the kitchen let us down: no freezer (that's OK, we could buy one and hook it up in the closet); electric stove (not our preference, but we could live with it if we had to); and no full size oven. Instead, they had this tiny little combination microwave/oven that could fit a frozen pizza and that's about it. And that was the thing that really let it down. We took a good few days to talk about it, but decided that we simply couldn't live without a big enough oven to be able to do pizzas/cheesecakes/roast/etc., so we declined it.

Last week I found a gorgeous place in den Bosch, in an old merchant house just across from the train station, with a livingroom bigger than our current apartment. For that I had to send Joel down himself to view it, since I had a meeting the afternoon that they could schedule a viewing, and the rental agent said there were quite a few people interested in it that he was showing it to that day. For this one, the only drawback was no bathtub (boo), and the second bedroom was a bit small, but that's not so bad for a baby's room. Also, there would've been no separate office space for Joel, but we could've made some of the livingroom into an office. He called me after viewing it and was quite happy with it, and said we had to let them know that evening if we were interested. We talked about it and thought about it and finally said yes, even though it likely would've meant a start date of Oct. 1, whereas we were hoping either for a start date of Dec. 1, in which case we'd keep our place in Amsterdam until Dec. 31, or a start date of Oct. 15, in which case we'd keep our place here until Dec. 1. Unfortunately, he got a reply the next morning that it had been rented out to someone else. :(

Tuesday this week I managed to get appointments to view two places on the same day, so he came down with me again (let me tell you, I can handle the commute, though I don't really like it, but wow does it make him grumpy). The first I thought was about 4km away from the university -- farther than I wanted -- and the second at 900EUR was probably too expensive for us, so I wasn't too optimistic about either.

The first was half a duplex, in a brick building built in 1940. Large livingroom with fireplace, and windows on both the west and east sides (but the west, looking onto the street, overlooks a Texaco gas station/car wash -- not exactly beautiful), kitchen that was completely redone last year with a 6-burner gas stove (yay!), tons of cupboard space, and while it also has a combi oven/microwave, it's bigger than the other one, and we had measurements of some of our pots, etc., and it would work. Large bathroom with bathtub, shower, and toilet all in separate compartments, which can be convenient. A cellar (!), small, but they're basically unheard of here, and could be used for storage. Outside there isn't much of a yard (but that's OK, we don't need to have to buy a lawnmower), with one shed that we can put our bikes in and another shed already stocked with firewood. :) Upstairs on the first floor are two bedrooms, both very good size and each with a big closet, and a deck built above the bathroom, with space to sit in the sun and to have some plants. The cats would love it. The attic is finished and has a steep roof with windows on either side so it gets lots of light. There's more cupboards and closets and storage up there too. The house is definitely decorated from the 50s, with carpeting that would not be our first choice (first, we would rather have no carpeting at all, second, if we had to have carpeting, it wouldn't be those patterns), but carpeting is something you can live with. Same with the linoleum in the master bedroom; we'd just get a big floor rug. The owners (who were the ones showing us the property) said that another family, with two kids, had also been quite interested in the place, but also indicated that given the choice between a family with two kids and one with a new baby, they'd go for the one with a new baby. Also, the lady said we could box up and put into storage any of the decor/knickknacks/pictures we didn't want.

The second place was much closer to the university -- < 2km I believe, and right above an Albert Heijn, can't get much more convenient than that! Big living/diningroom, an adequate kitchen (again, no real oven, but one that under duress would work), coat closet in the front hall, two good sized bedrooms (but nothing that would work as office space) and a nice balcony overlooking a park. It's part of an apartment complex and thus there was also a storage shed in the basement where we could put our bikes. Not a bad place at all, but it didn't really grab us, especially when we factored in utility costs in both places and found that they would either be roughly the same, or the first a slight bit more, but with the first we'd get so much more space, and a real house rather than an apartment. We'd pretty much decided by the time we left that we weren't going to take that place, but figured we'd wait at least a bit to say so out of politeness.

We had to head straight from Tilburg to the prenatal class, which made for a pretty long night, but the train ride home did give us time to do some more research on the neighborhood of the first -- I discovered that in fact it's somewhat closer to the university than I thought, with a fairly direct bike route being 3.5km, whereas currently I bike 3.4km from home to Science Park. There's an AH 850 meters away (4 times as far as our current one, I don't know how we'll handle it...), a vet just down the block, and it's also quite close -- 1.5-2km -- from the center, so Joel could go downtown to find a cafe or a library or a pub to work in on days he didn't want to work from home. By the end of the night, we'd pretty well made up our minds. Still, in the morning, I did one last comparison -- I took all the potential properties I'd found (many of which I'd been trying in vain to get viewings for), sorted them by number of rooms, and then by commute, and then by price, and in terms of all three, the place was really quite close t the top of the list, and it had the added bonus that we'd actually seen it and were in a position to say "yes", whereas the other ones that might have been higher ranked we had no idea that we'd even be able to get viewings of before they were rented to someone else. So around lunch time yesterday I replied to the rental agent saying we were interested, and asking when it was available, that we'd prefer a start date of Oct. 15 or later, but would be willing to do Oct. 1 if that was necessary to make sure we got the place instead of someone else.

When 5pm came around and I'd gotten no response, I was pretty disappointed, but figured that the agent had to relay our offer to the owners, and then the owners would have to say yes or no, etc., so I wasn't too worried. But I was pretty surprised when I got an email from the agent around 9pm, saying that the owners were very enthusiastic with us, the place was available as of Oct. 15, and he suggested we come down that day to sign the contract.

So, whoo! We have a house. (Not so much "whoo" about moving, but having a month and a half to do so will make it much less stressful, even with having a baby sometime in that period). I really had hoped we'd get a house, and not an apartment. I'm nearly 30, we're both out of school, we both have jobs, we're about to have a kid: I'm ready to start living like an adult. (This is not to say I haven't loved our apartment here in Amsterdam. It's going to be very hard to give it up; it's the longest I've lived in one place since I moved from Waukesha to Marshfield when I was 10. It just meant that any place I had to move to would have to be significantly better for me to consider it). It is this place (this is actually the sale listing, rather than the rental listing, for the property, but it has better pictures, even though the pictures don't really do it justice). The place is for sale, which means that if it is sold, we'll have 3 months to find a new place, but honestly, I'm not worried about it selling in the next 9 months. There are quite a few other properties in the neighborhood (including the same street!) that are also for sale, and have been for 6+ months; this property and one other have even already dropped their asking prices once. Judging from other sale listings I've seen, I would've guessed this place was for sale for ~120,000EUR, but it is actually 150,000EUR (from 159,500EUR), which I think is too much for a place that pretty much anyone would want to seriously redecorate upon moving in. Also, it's forecasted that Dutch housing prices will continue to fall another 10% or so in the next year, so no one in their right mind would be buying.


So that's stuff. Wow, I just spent an hour writing this post.
aryanhwy: (Default)
This weekend we (Joel, me, Martijn, and Wendy) went to Groningen, to celebrate Martijn's birthday with his family. We took an evening train up and arrived in time for typical Friday dinner -- steak or fish with fries -- and had a lazy evening (I don't remember much after dinner other than being very tired and excusing myself to go to bed as soon as was polite). Monday morning his sister, Gerdien, and a high school friend, Anouschka, came over, we had apple tart, and then we walked around downtown; saw a couple of neat old water towers, walked through some parks and gardens, and ended up at the church on the main square, where we climbed to the top of the tower, 261 steps (I counted, though the guidebook said only 251. Humph). We stopped for a tea/coffee break after that before meandering back home via the fishmarket (where Joel and I decided we were too hungry to wait for lunch and got a portion of kibbeling. Mmmmmm, kibbeling...).

At lunch I exercised my newfound ability to sleep for short period of times in any location (normally I can't catnap, since it takes me 15-20 min. just to fall asleep, and then I sleep for about two hours), by falling asleep in my chair at the table. But I needed the nap -- when I woke up, the four of us headed back downtown to the Martinikerk where the Groningen beer festival was being held (yeah, a beer festival in a church. I like the concept too. It was especially fun to see rows of people sitting in the choir rows, drinking their beers and talking). The church was very beautiful, and even though I split my tokens between Martijn and Joel, I allowed myself a small taste of everything they got, and thus still enjoyed myself greatly. I did have one very brief strange moment. We were standing around talking when all of a sudden I came over feeling odd, and took about two steps in the direction of the bathroom when I realized I was about to pass out. I managed to get back to Joel, and crouch down with my head between my knees, but even when I stood up after awhile I still felt a bit weak kneed, so I hopped up on a ledge and sat there for a good long while. And Joel came back from one of the brewery tables with an excellent beer (Apeldoornse's Martineus) and some cheese, which helped.

We were there about three hours, and when we got home we ordered Chinese takeout. There was a football game Martijn wanted to watch (FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid), and so we all curled up on the couches. I watched the first half, but then fell asleep during intermission and slept through all the second half too. I don't feel too bad about that.

Sunday morning the rest of Martijn's family showed up -- his grandparents, some cousins and aunts and uncles, more siblings and partners. His grandfather, who speaks way better English than we do Dutch, cornered Joel and I, and I had a grand time talking to him throughout the day. He's a real card. We spent a very pleasant morning out in the garden, enjoying the sun, eating apple tart, and playing with the neighbor cats who wandered over. (Martijn's nephew Sam is about 18 months, and my vocabulary is about good enough to be able to converse with him. "Poes!". "Ja, witte poes, met bruin spotjes." "Poes!" :)

The rest of the day was a big family outting to sight-seeing spots around Groningen. We saw two hunebeden, one of which is in almost pristine condition, the other of which has collapsed in a few places but was no less fun to climb on. From there, we went to Westerbork concentration camp. Westerbork was originally built as an asylum center for Jews fleeing Germany; when the Germans took it over, they turned it into a deportation center. Over 100,000 people were deported over the course of the war, to Auschwitz, Mauthausen, Sobibor, Bergen-Belsen, and Theresienstad. This is the camp where Anne Frank was interned before she was deported. Very little of the camp is left; the commandant's house, outside of the barbed wire fence; the fence itself; the ditch around the inside of three sides of the fence; part of the rail line; a watchtower; and raised mounds to mark where the barracks had been. There is some talk of trying to rebuild some of the barracks as part of a museum, using in as many cases as they could the original wood (they have excellent records about where the wood from the original barracks has gone, in part because when the camp was dismantled in the 1970s, many of the barracks were simply transported to nearby farms for reuse); but there is opposition to this because some people don't like the idea of having a "ready made" concentration camp on hand, even partial, in case World War Three ever happens. It's a curious dilemma.

It's about a 2km walk from the parking lot/camp museum to the actual camp, and at the start of the walk there's a sign asking you to please turn off your cell phone, because there's a row of about 11 radio telescopes along the edge of the camp, and they don't want the phone signals to interfere. It's strange to see the telescopes looming over the memorial built in the center of the camp; it was also strange to have seen, in one day, technology from 5000 years ago compared with such recent technology as radio telescopes.

It was about 4pm when we finished walking back from the camp. We were dropped off at a nearby train station and just missed a train back to Amsterdam so we stopped in a cafe for about half an hour. I slept a good hour on the way back, and Joel and I got home about 7:30. The entire weekend we had beautiful sunny weather, though Saturday was a bit cooler and windier than Sunday, and it was so nice to have to spent so much of the weekend outdoors walking around. Though my legs definitely felt climbing the tower!

Today I managed to get through the day without the desperate overwhelming need for a nap between 3pm and 5pm, and even managed to come home and do work (i.e., putting photos on FB) rather than just slumping on the couch in a stupor. Of course, it's not quite 10pm and I'm considering going to bed soon, but this still counts as a success compared to the previous week and a half where I was leaving work early every day and then doing nothing but sleep or doze or read on the couch until going to bed early. I'll take what I can get!


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