Reflection week part 2: Cheese & Delftware

Hello everyone.  So as I told you last week, I spent the first part of my reflection week in Berlin with one of my Sorority sisters.  We had a nice few days and it was really hard to say goodbye and get on separate planes.  I don’t think I realized just how much I missed my friends and family until I had to say goodbye in the airport.  After parting ways I went back home to Maastricht to relax for a few days and mentally prepare for period 5 (the second part of the semester and my new classes).  The day after I got home a friend asked me if I wanted to go to Alkmaar and Delft with her for a day trip.  I said “why not”, so we got up early and headed up north (still in The Netherlands) to Alkmaar.  Alkmaar is known for its traditional cheese markets.  They open in April and we were going on the first day they were open to see the cheese markets in action.  People were dressed in what seemed to be traditional clothes.  Two men ran back and forth across the market carrying cheese on what looked like a sled (see picture below).

It’s funny because before I left to come to The Netherlands, I stumbled across a TV show that was about traveling around The Netherlands (specifically Holland, which is a province in the north).  One of the places they went was Alkmaar.  These TV shows were a little dated, but the cheese market looked the same.  It was kind of cool visiting a place you’d seen on TV since that doesn’t happen very often; at least not for me.

After tasting a variety of some of the best cheese I’ve had in my entire life we got back on the train and headed to Delft.  On the way to Delft my friend and I literally jumped out of our seats and moved to the seats across from us because saw tulips!  So many colors and there fields of them everywhere!  It was so pretty.  Since the weather was just starting to warm up, most plants hadn’t bloomed yet so it was nice seeing all the colors.

After the fields of tulips, we made it to Delft, is known for its blue and white Delftware.  It’s pretty funny because during orientation at UCM, one of the speakers told us how the majority of the things The Netherlands are known for don’t actually come from here.  One of the examples was tulips which are apparently Turkish.  Another example was the Delftware pottery which he said is from China.  I figured since I can’t go to China, I’ll go to Delft.  They have several museums dedicated to showcasing the Delftware and of course just about all of the souvenir shops claim to have “The Best Delftware” or to be “The original Delftware”.  I took a picture of a variety of it so you have an idea of what it looks like and what types of things are made.

My favorite place was probably Alkmaar for the simple fact that you could taste cheese (for those of you who don’t know me very well, I absolutely love cheese).  After a very long trip, we made it home.  For the next two days I relaxed and started preparing for the next period’s classes.  This period I’m taking Theorizing Terrorism: A Philosophical Approach, Rights of the Child, and Strategy and Negotiation Skills.  So far, and it feels really weird saying this, but I really like my Theorizing Terrorism course; I think it may be my favorite.  Although we have deep discussions and terrorism isn’t a light, fluffy subject to talk about I’m learning a lot from this course.  For example, as an American, my idea of what/who is a terrorist is heavily defined by 9/11, but this course is causing me to think outside of that isolated incident and look at terrorism from different angles in order to shape my personal definition of terrorism.

Ok well I guess I should end on a lighter note than terrorism so with that being said, I recommend a trip to Alkmaar; cheese and music everywhere!

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