Saturday, June 26, 2010

20 New Things: Over(view)!

FINALLY I am finishing 20 New Things. Only two months late, which is about typical for me.

1. Try Indonesian cuisine - I wish I had tried it more than once to get a better grasp of the cuisine, but I did it once so it made the list!

Buy and learn to use a dip pen - Well, the "learn to use" part didn't pan out because I couldn't find any ink... but at least I now have a dip pen without a fake feather attached to it so I can learn calligraphy without looking like a nerd. Did I just put "calligraphy" and "not... a nerd" in the same sentence? This altitude must be getting to me.

3. Attend a concert in Glasgow, Scotland -
No go. As it was going to take so much time, money and effort to nip up to Scotland during my six day trip to England, I told myself I would only go if a really awesome band had a show on the exact night I could be there. It turned out that the Dropkick Murphys would be playing! I was beyond stoked. Then, a few weeks later, they changed the date of the Glasgow show. In keeping with the rule I set for myself, I scrapped the trip to Scotland and replaced it with a trip to Stonehenge, which worked out rather well for the header, no?

Spend time at a café in Montmartre, France - Admittedly, this wasn't as cool as I thought it would be. Most of my trip to France was kind of a bust (lack of time, company of strangers, etc. etc.). However, now I at least have a mental map of the location of various arrondisements in Paris, which makes visualizing the city easier when I read stories set in Paris.

5. Go to Electric Ladyland - AGH! I am SO upset I did not do this. About four different times, I invited people to go with me and they bailed. I meant to go during my last week in Amsterdam, but completing my final papers took longer than expected and, before I knew it, I was back in Texas. So not ok. I was really looking forward to it.

6. Create a model of an Amsterdam neighborhood using food - So, after buying my first loaf of bread in Amsterdam, I realized that the loaves were more narrow than typical American loaves and it reminded me of the narrow houses that line the canals. I had this elaborate plan laid out that included making bridges out of stroopwafels and canals out of beer. Then I realized my grocery budget hardly allowed me to eat three meals a day, let alone construct edible versions of the city. 

7. Climb to the top of Dom Tower in Utrecht - Why are all of the things I didn't do lumped together in this list? It's making me feel like such a fetusfailcake. Even though this would have been completely plausible to accomplish, I axed it after climbing the Belfry Tower, Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. That was more than enough climbing for me, thank you very much.

8. Eat at the Sea Palace Floating Restaurant - I kind of didn't foresee how expensive this place would be. Until I'm earning an income, I refuse to eat anywhere with fixed meals.

9. See the cages at St. Lambert’s Church in Münster, Germany - this is tied with Electric Ladyland for how upset I am I didn't do this. I didn't even make it out to Germany! Further reason I need to go back to Europe and soon.

Too many words.... Here's me with a pirate ship!

10. Ride my bike through the Dutch countryside - technically this isn't my fault. The program I was studying with had planned an excursion of epic proportions in which we were going to ride our bikes all day, stopping off for a traditional Dutch lunch and some swimming in the ocean. I was looking forward to it all semester and then it was cancelled due to weather. I tried to rally support for a reschedule, but no one else was as enthused as me.

11. Go to a football (soccer) game - FINALLY! Something I actually did! I went to the US v. Netherlands game and have been a soccer fan ever since. I completely have World Cup fever and spend my time in between matches playing FIFA10 on my iPhone. 

Eat only gluten-free foods for a day - I ended up giving up gluten for a full forty eight hours and miraculously lost weight during that short period of time! Prior to that weekend, I was a total breadhead. I averaged four pieces of toast for breakfast, one or two sandwiches a day and maybe some more toast with dinner. Since taking the Gluten-Free Challenge, I haven't had a single sandwich or piece of toast. I even cut back on crackers. I don't recommend a gluten-free diet for everyone, but it makes my body much happier.

13. Have an extended conversation with a local - Alright, technically I did do this. Plenty of times, in fact. The only problem is that when I wrote this goal, I intended for those conversations to be in Dutch and they totally weren't. I had countless conversations in English with locals, but my Dutch exchanges were limited to alstublieft and dankuwel.

14. Read the entire Percy Jackson and the Olympians series - I didn't feel this one really needed a full blog entry devoted to it. I also thought it was actually going to be a difficult task to accomplish. Little did I know that I would spend my first two weeks in Amsterdam powering through the entire five-book series. Ok, yeah, it's a kid's book, but I didn't expect it to be so intriguing!

15. Send a postcard to no one in particular - Logistically, I wasn't sure how to do this. I thought about generating a random address number and random zip code, but I couldn't figure out how to not make it creepy. So, yeah, I didn't do this.

Attend a film festival - I inadvertently accomplished this one. See the link for the full story.

17. Spend a day only speaking Dutch (or else not speaking) - HAHAHA! Yeah right. Maybe if any of the Dutch had let me actually speak in Dutch this could've happened. Otherwise that whole day would've been spent asking for coffees and refusing plastic bags. 

Eat a true croissant in France - Success! I never liked croissants until this past semester, but being in Europe totally turned me into a croissant maniac. I didn't experience TOO much of a difference between Dutch and French croissants (the French will murder me for that statement), but I had a croissant in a cafe here in Santa Fe the other day and immediately remembered why I've never liked them. I guess Americans just haven't figured out the mystery of the croissant yet.

19. Have a no-tech day (with the exception of keeping my required emergency phone on) - Totally disappointed in myself for not doing this one. It's being rolled over to my 21 New Things list. Ideally, I'd like to go tech-free once a month, but I'll see if I can even manage it once a year first.

 Leave behind some sort of time capsule for the future inhabitants of my apartment - Ah, I'm so glad I get to end this list with an accomplishment. Almost makes me feel successful.

STATS: 8.5/20

Not so hot. But, if you think about it, I began the project eight months late. So, taking into account I only had a third of the time to achieve all of the goals, I actually did pretty well. 

That's what I'm telling myself anyways.

I think the moral of my failures is to not put things off until the end of the semester, especially if you're studying abroad. My friends and I kept saying "when the weather is better, when the weather is better." But the weather wasn't better until mid-May when we were frantically writing research papers, our bikes had broken down and no one had any money left to travel or do anything besides scope out free food.

Despite how this may look like a failed project, some of the things I accomplished ended up being mildly life-changing. I never would've had the motivation to go a whole weekend without gluten if it hadn't been for the Gluten-Free Challenge and then I never would've realized how amazing I feel when my body is cleared of gluten. I also highly doubt I would've gone to that soccer game and now I can't believe I've lived without soccer since 2000 (I spent ages three to ten as left defender for the Sharks and the Scorpions, total baller). 

I'm determined to beat my 8.5 in the coming year! I've almost finished my list for 21 New Things and it's my hope that with an entire year to complete them, I'll be a bit more successful. 

1 comment:

La Historiadora de Moda said...

I'm impressed with the list and what you managed to do in just a few short months.

And yes, #3 did work out to the advantage of your blog banner!