Friday, July 26, 2013

If we had blogs in 1998: Diary of An Awakening Student

In this installment of the 1997-1998 European journal, we do what tourists do in Amsterdam. I finally get to go to the Van Gogh museum.

As always, spelling, grammatical, and factual errors have been preserved.

25 Janvier 1998 - AMSTERDAM

Left directly after EDP (Education psychology. I chose this as a core course because I did not want to take another class taught by Tony Steinhoff.) for sin city on Friday. Couldn't find our hostel again. We arrived around 10pm and then went out for Indonesian food. I still remember this meal. It was terrible. I wonder if I'd hate it today as an experienced spicy food eater. I'd been brought up on bland Ohio food - spicy was new to me. Now I can't get enough of it. Caught my mouth on fire and four pitchers of water were no match for the heat. Poor Andrea woke up with heartburn from hell. Me, it did nothing to my digestive system, much to my suprise and relief. Maybe my days of stomach aches are finally over. Knock on wood. I had two beers on the train up here. I felt like I needed a drink. Until I dumped the pisswater beer out onto a plate at the Indonesian restaurant. Then I needed water. I was disappointed about the train ride up here. Matt monopolized Andrea to the point of turning stomachs. And Hans was being his usual baby-whine self. Brad was in a bad mood too. I was in a horrible mood myself but managed to keep from being a baby. The train ride was not that fun. Andrea even said something about not talking to us for a long time after we got off the train. I don't understand the whole situation. I don't understand what any of this was about. We were probably just tired.

Anyway, we went to bed as soon as we got back from the restaurant. I hopped into bed and the mattress went flying up and I landed on the other side of the bed. Andrea watched the whole thing happen. Steph & Lucy could not stop laughing, so I couldn't stop. Two, actually less than two hours later I was awake, freezing, and the guy above me was snoring. (Just passed the Rotterdam station.) Guess I was writing this on the train home. So I got my walkman and was awake until 5:30am approximately. I carried that CD player with me everywhere. That year I remember listening to U2, Radiohead, The Verve, Dave Matthews Band, REM, Sarah McLaughlin, Francis Cabrel, Irish music. Poor Andrea was up all night.

Saturday morning finally arrived. Matt & Andrea barely made the 10:30 ending breakfast. We went first to the Rijksmuseum (minus Stephanie) then to the Van Gogh (minus Matt) which was cool. I really like impressionism much more than I ever thought. Impressionists views of the world are warped, which is probably closer to reality than realistic paintings! Then we ate at Burger King. Was I ever in a pissy mood! I'm sick of eating at Burger King wherever I go. That or McDonald's. I hate American fast food.

Then we walked around. I think we were looking for the red light district. I don't know. But Andrea is blaming herself. Under all that friendly energy is something not unlike myself - full of insecurities and frustrations. I hope I can help during the next four months. Anyway, this guy who said he was American started following us around. We went to buy dinner at a grocery store and he followed us there. We got shitty wine, and I'm so glad I bought Sprite. I remember this wine as well as the Indonesian food. It was AWFUL. I mixed a concoction of Red wine, Sprite, Fanta, & Tropicana Pure Premium OJ (was I ever loving it!), which everyone but me thought was disgusting. That sounds disgusting. We had a picnic in the hostel room, then the Aussie guys, Ryan & Jared, came back. Andrea tried to smoke a joint with Ryan (pictures taken). Apparently I don't have these pictures anymore. They aren't in the album! It was great. We decided to go to a coffeeshop. We went to two, the second of which had MUDECers, including Roach, so we left. We went to a place called the Dauphins, and that's where we remained. Me & Andrea played a game of pool. Then we got huge beers. Then Andrea started smoking a cigarette. Oh, it was hilarious. Then she continued to smoke for the rest of the night. I think the total came to six cigarettes and three or four hits off a joint. That was the strangest thing - going up to the bar and ordering a joint. And I thought ordering alcohol from a bar was strange. So I sat there, got high, and watched Steph and Jared, Lucy and Ryan, and Andrea & Matt converse. And I wanted to go home. Ugh. I hate that stuff. There goes my security clearance.

Anne Frank House
Finally we went home and I slept the whole night under a warm blanket until 9am. We went to the Anne Frank Huis. SPOILER ALERT: 21 year old college student tries to put deep thoughts into weak words! As I stared out the window, I could see the German soldiers walking the streets of Amsterdam, and I could feel the air of the Jews who once lived there rush into my lungs and tear at my soul. My comprehension fails to succeed (fails to succeed? Really? What else is failure but a lack of success?!?) when thoughts of the torture & the horror form a puzzle in my mind. As opposed to puzzling the body? Ugh. How could a thing like this happen? 50 years and no traces left of the rape of the world innocense except a few museums & monuments. Will we always remember, or will the pictures become myth and fade form our logical existance? Pondering this, I don' t think enough is done to force us to remember. My generation knows no war, yet peace still seems to elude us. I wonder how much longer we can continue with our dirty looks and our impatience and misunderstanding. Dirty looks? I don't get it. Even those who carry no weapons shoot us down with a look, or a word, or an action. The world fights in Operation Self and I'm ready to quit. I've got the white flag up, but people don't notice. It's as if international law does not exist, which, in reality, it can't, because there is no way to enforce punishment on someone who imposes on my level of comfort. Someday, maybe feelings of numbness to society will disappear, but I doubt it. I think I was starting to get it...

After Anne Frank, we briefly walked through the red light district after a stop at a sandwich shop. I can't condemn the women in those windows. We are all objects in this world, depending on friends and family for survival, but mere statistics to those who don't know us. I live in the ocean. We're nothing but protons of water. They just... And that's how it ended. It would be three weeks before the next entry.

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