I’m depressed. It’s been almost a week since my arrival here in Apeldoorn, Netherlands but it feels like a year already.
I cry every day, not that kind of sappy tears though. I’m just deeply infected with a strange vision of no future, no hope. But it’s even weirder that I’m typing down depressed shit at 5 in the morning. I’ve never written a journal before, probably because I haven’t seen enough interesting things, or I’m just too lazy to try writing about same old universal experiences with a personal, authentic voice.
I terribly miss my family and my friends. And yeah, definitely my boyfriend, he’s the best. He makes me believe in the concept of soulmates. Love built on strong beliefs and support.
Let’s cut through the lengthy synopsis. 😀
I decided to study abroad out of a fit of elated self-esteem and boiling curiosity. “There must be something great out there waiting for me.” MBA was just an excuse, I don’t believe in schools. But hey, everybody needs a leverage, and an academic one rarely fails to win the investment of Asian parents (sorry mom dad, I feel like a scam). So, here I am, sitting in front of the laptop screen with teary eyes and trembling fingers. Obviously not a very comfortable experience.
Apeldoorn is a municipality situated in the middle of the flat country. Approximately 160,000 residents, half of whom I’ve seen are seniles. I love old people. But I’m not sure if their calm energy can help me scope with the cold, unfamiliar vibe.
I know a German expat living and working in Da Nang, a city in southern central Viet Nam. For an uptown kid born and raised in the bustling, traffic-congested Sai Gon, Da Nang’s serenity is already a cultural shock. I kept asking how the hell someone from one of the world’s largest super nations gave up their developed life to settle down in this boring small town. Now that I reversed their journey, it turns out to be quite understandable: the Western lifestyle has reached its peak improvement, there’s no need to run heels over head anymore.
I know it’s nothing new what I’m telling you, but it’s really, really new for me and I’m trying to digest it. So, please be patient, friends.
Enough of whining, here’s a list of things in Apeldoorn that I like and I dislike (I prefer “do not like yet” but “like” needs an adjective antonym, meh):
- Amazing weather, it’s a tad chilly during this season but I heard that the Dutch coldness is most tolerable. Right now it’s 11 degree outside, lovely!
- Super cheap food (Yay, I eat a lot!) Dutch grocery bills are cheapest in Western Europe (link). A friend of mine who used to live 4 years in the Nordics also made a complimentary remark when I showed him my bills. I’ve only visited Albert Heijn, the largest Dutch supermarket, I love it. Oh, we also have Vietnamese grocery store right here in Apeldoorn, how cool!
- Cool and calm. People literally give no shit about your antics so you have full agency (still doesn’t mean you should streak in the city center for no good reasons, there are manners to follow, I’ll update later).
- Bikes, bikes everywhere! Here you can easily find a second-hand bike at 50, 60 euro. Or even better, visit Facebook pages or groups of people living in Apeldoorn, they usually post things for sale, much cheaper. My flatmate bought a like-new bike for just 35 euro.
- It’s very festive during weekends. Apeldoorn residents gather at the town hall every Saturday and Sunday for fun activities: merry-go-round, independent musical performance, weekend sales, etc.
- Expensive mobile data. I’m not sure if this information is accurate since I haven’t lived here or any other European countries long enough to make a comparison. But the other day I paid 15 euro for 1.2 Gb of 4G data, next day it was down to 600 Mb and I was like WTF (I swear I was Facetiming for a few minutes with my family and my boyfriend).
- Kids smoke a lot. They’re like, all students, but you’ll see they exhale nicotinic clouds all over the place.
- Everything closes at 5 in the afternoon. Sai Gon never sleeps, and Saigonese love wandering around aimlessly during late night. It’s different here in Apeldoorn. But I’ll discover cool places that got life going on after 5, soon.
I’m going to visit Amsterdam next week (read about my Amsterdam trip), maybe Tuesday, after picking my BSN number and opening my Dutch bank account ( ING I guess). That’s it, I’m done for now. Ttyl, friends.