- bicycles: there are SO many here--475,000 I believe, even though there are only 760,000 people. i will hopefully be purchasing one within the next week or so. they are between €50-100, but it is practically unheard of here to not have a bike. it's the most practical means of transportation, and there are separate bike paths and tons of bike parking all throughout the city. i may wait to get one til it gets a little bit nicer however, as it has been particularly cold/snowy/icy, and i have no experience biking in snow/ice.
- dutch: i guess i did not realize that, although everyone can speak english, most everyone speaks dutch to one another and all of the signs are in dutch. i wish i had learned some before i got here, and am going to try my best to get into the dutch language/culture course that is being offered, even though i did not sign up for it at first. it was a bit difficult to go grocery shopping today--me and my roommate lauren had to pretty much guess what most things were by the pictures on the box/container.
- beer: although not the biggest deal in the world, i purchased beer for the first time! i owed my roommate some money and so bought her a bottle of beer at C1000, the supermarket by our apartment complex. it was quite surreal--i was not I.D.ed, and it was surprisingly normal feeling. hopefully this will be the last beer i buy in amsterdam, unless i am treating someone to a drink :)
- euros: they are fun to use and much prettier than US money! this is my first time off the continent, and haven't used foreign currency since the last time i went to canada. unfortunately the exchange rate is crap and the bank charges me a shit ton to withdraw cash, and it is very uncommon that stores will accept credit cards/debit cards.
- architecture: it is some of the most amazing i have ever seen, unlike anything in the states. we went on a canal tour (there are 165 canals in amsterdam) with my study abroad group. i cant even explain how wonderful it is. i took some pictures which i will post soon.
i will write more later--right now i am exhausted and need to get up at 8:00 tomorrow to get to UVA(universitiet van amsterdam) for continued orientation. fun!