September – when people threatened to break into my room and take my stuff | Rotterdam Diaries

Prague Airport - last pic of me before leaving my home country!
Prague Airport – last pic of me before leaving my home country!

On August 17th I flew to the Netherlands as a part of my exchange programme within CEMS – International Management. We could pick 8 schools we would like to do our exchange at – of course Rotterdam was my first choice. I was quite lucky to get the spot, one of my friends ended up in a school he did not list at all.

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Of course, first thing I got myself was a bike. I got it even before I found my room, which is a bit crazy. There is a huge demand for bikes, but even bigger for rooms. I love my bike! It really is the most convenient way of transporting yourself in Holland. I’m thinking of getting myself a bike in Prague too… my butt is getting extra firm, haha!

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Many people told me Rotterdam is an ugly city… and it is true. But what really drives me crazy is the weather here. Since I arrived, there is no week without rain. Sometimes it would rain for 5 minutes and then get sunny for 5 minutes, on repeat. Once it caught me when I started biking to school and because I live 4 kms away, I had little pools in my converse shoes and my sweater was dripping. Worst day ever!

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On the other hand, when it gets sunny, it has some charm to it. I love watching/walking/biking the Erasmus Bridge. Although there is a little hill and I always get ridiculously exhausted and I breath like an asthmatic there. There’s just something awesome about bridges – Golden Gate Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, Charles Bridge..

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When in Holland – visit Belgium! I can’t stress that enough. I have visited The Netherlands many times – Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam, The Hague, Breda. And probably my favorite place is the city lying at the border with the Netherlands – Antwerp. We went there one sunny weekend with my boyfriend and his papa en mama. They think it’s gezellig and I love shopping. My favorite shops there are definitely Brandy Melville, Jutka&Riska and a second-hand called Think Twice.

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Also, they have the best waffles in the world.

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Back to Rotterdam, eventually, I found myself a room. I was really lucky, found a great roommate and the location of the place was perfect. What was my surprise when 3rd day, after I moved in, someone put a letter underneath my door. It was addressed to a previous tenant. Apparently, this woman owed someone 2000 euros and they wanted it back. On the letter it stated: “We’ll come with police and a lock-man and we’ll take your stuff.” Signed by those Hollywood-like gorillas. It scared the crap out of me. Especially because the previous tenant was a Chinese woman and you know, if they come and see me, another Asian, they will just assume it’s her! I was really worried.

I ordered my boyfriend (who doesn’t like bothering people even though it’s their job to be bothered) to call those gorillas. The woman on the phone was pretty pissed. Apparently, this debt goes back to 2012 and she has been sending the letters for at least a year. However, the people who lived here before me, just kept ignoring them and were throwing them away because at that time, there were no threats written on the envelopes. They told me to call my rental agency. So my BF called them. They told me it’s not their job and to sort it out myself (in case you are wondering, it’s Stadswonen). They kindly told me to go to a city hall of Rotterdam and announce there that miss Xu no longer lives at my apartment. So my boyfriend had to call the city hall. There they said: “You have to get a BSN number first to get an appointment to start an investigation. BSN’s a citizen number. But we are full for those appointments, sorry.”  So we decided to go to Breda (1 hour away by train), where we knew officers in city hall basically have all the time to think of meaning of the life and whatsoever. The woman there was really nice. She calmed me down and told me to send back the letters I have received with “return to the sender” written on it. Also she gave me my BSN number.

So with a BSN number, we set up an appointment in Rotterdam city hall. I had to wait for a week. And every single day I was worried that when I come home from school, there might not be anything in my room anymore. I mean, I know there wasn’t much but there was my pineapple lamp I was emotionally attached to and also my awesome Jeffrey Campbell shoes. Do they take such stuff? Anyway, on the day D, I finally arrived to the city hall of Rotterdam to start the address investigation. I was happy that finally we’re getting somewhere. The woman at the desk looked superbored. She stared at me, at my BF, at my BSN number and then slowly whispered: “Where’s your registration?” MY WHAT????!!!! “She’s here only for four months, she doesn’t need it.” Thanks, Spike! “Ja, but without registration, we cannot start the investigation.” I was THIS close to exploding. Then we decided to fuck this shit.

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Eventually, the city hall started the investigation itself so now I’m safe. But man, those few days  of stress and errands were challenging.

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To balance this a bit – I witnessed an awesome fireworks by the Erasmusbrug. It was part of Port World Days festival in Rotterdam and it was beautiful! Also, there was a live orchestra playing from a boat. I love how there is always something happening in The Netherlands. I’m afraid I’m missing out so much because of school, haha!

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Speaking of missing out, this place is a must! I have been 5 times to De Ijssalon: probably the best ice cream store in Holland. It’s crazy good and relatively cheap! About 2euro per scoop. My personal favourites are “grandma’s apple pie” and “white chocolate”. Yum!

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Another favourite of the month: Ter Marsch & Co. burgers. I first heard of this place from my American teacher who said “this is the best burger I have ever eaten in my life”. And he is American, right? It must be amazing, I thought. And I can confirm as well – the meat was super juicy and real deal. What I liked about those burgers the most: you can actually see they cut it so that the bun on the bottom is thicker. That is because usually the bottom bun gets soaked and it’s not that good anymore. This is such a simple yet brilliant thing. BIG LOVE.

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And yeah, I’m enjoying it here with my CEMS schoolmates! Rotterdam is starting to grow on me.

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Wil jij mijn valentijn zijn?

The past two weeks I’ve spent in The Netherlands, the country of tulips, cheese, wooden clogs and of course space cakes. That’s what this small country usually symbolize for foreigners. To me it’s a country of good-looking tall people (of whom my boyfriend is the tallest and the handsomest!) and a country of crazy crazy crazy carnaval that happens to be around Valentine’s (only in the south; and I usually don’t use words three times in a row but I’m listening to One Direction atm, haha)!

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And of course, I couldn’t resist joining this special event myself!  It’s SO cute! Every citizen is dressed up, people you’ve never seen before offer you fries, beers, some may experience first kiss or hangover. It’s a 5-night-long party that everybody should attend at least once in their lives. What is usually considered normal is not anymore, being insane and enjoying horrible dutch music remakes is a must. I bet you’d love it just as much as I did.

Meet my sexy boyfriend and his awesome dad!

Besides carnaval, I was just stuffing myself with food I can never get in The Czech republic. I love food so much, I would give up a lot of things in my life for good food :D.

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Japanese dessert made of creamy ice-cream covered in rice flour. A very tainting obsession.
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Tony’s chocolonely’s big enough for two, don’t eat when lonely! :) It won some dutch prize but it’s up to you to decide if deservedly (I myself found it quite average but better than Hershey’s or Milka). Beef Jerky was just a try because I’m somehow attracted to the food from The US. It was super good!!
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What can I say… The worst McDonald’s burger I’ve ever tried so far… I kind of miss it.
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Limburgse vlaai is one of the fluffiest and yummiest things you can get in The Netherlands, I recommend strawberry flavours or cherry/chocolate mousse.
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I just had to get those funny peppermints because they are so large and good and with the queen’s name on it – yumm!

Not the healthiest choices indeed but noone should be on a diet when having holidays! ;) My boyfriend and I were actively sabotaging a fit lifestyle. Once we were having actually a proper dinner at his grandparent’s – a dutch meal called stamppot which is made of mashed potatoes and any vegetable I think. We couldn’t bear the idea of eating like any other person, so after a delicious dinner (mind you, we already had a soup, main dish and a pudding for dessert) we went to local’s supermarket to get starbucks drinks and bag of potato chips with a special dutch sauce called Joppiesaus (my heart thingy). I’m afraid to check my weight now!

Sometimes we made breaks between meals and did something else as well. I love buying cheap yet pretty clothes (honestly, who doesn’t?) and my dear is so dear that he always take me shopping with a smile and wait for me in front of fitting rooms patiently. So our first stop from Rotterdam’s mini airport was to Rotterdam’s big and crowded Primark store. It wasn’t as full of nice clothes as in the summer but I managed to buy myself few stuff O:). Other shops that every hipster or fashionista (god, hahaha, that word is just funny) needs to visit are Brandy&Melville (!!!!! their stores are only in very few countries in the world, mostly just the US), American Apparel, maybe Zipper and any shop located at Nine little streets. For those we had to go to Amsterdam but visiting the capital is obligatory, isn’t it?

Though the main purpose of my visit was Valentine’s day. If you haven’t figured out yet, my boyfriend is very dutch (maybe a bit spanish, lol) and lives in the Netherlands. I can’t even describe how difficult it sometimes gets, having to live over 400 miles away from the person you love so much. I believe that what we have is somewhat special and unique, so unique that it already lasted over two years. Despite all the petty fights and misunderstandings (probably everything caused by me since my boyfriend is perfect in every way) we are still together and … invincible (at least I hope, I wouldn’t wish to read this again in the future crying because of being dumped, haha).

And we had a beautiful Valentine’s day! Although the weather was so bad that I got a cold, although I made him upset when I refused to visit the city of his first date with one of his ex-girlfriends (okay, but this is understandable, isn’t it? someone support me!? :D), although we bought a surprise bag of chocolate that was full of nougat that I don’t like, although we are so different from each other.

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P. S. I do think watching Django Unchained on Valentine’s day is the most romantic thing we could have done.