Independent research and a culture of encouragement

Juggling current (open) projects

Today, I was thinking of writing about tulips, which finally started blooming, or about inconveniences with toothaches, which are making me wish that I was in Slovenia and able to complain about it to my dentist. But somehow I lack the inspiration for it. Instead, I’ll write about various research projects that I’m currently juggling and having immense fun with. After all: what good is it to have your own blog if you can’t share you enthusiasm? Still, I’ll begin by sharing this picture of growing tulips that I took today (just so you know that I’m truly in the Netherlands): Continue reading…

How to find a parking spot for your bike

Or the adventures of living in the Netherlands

You know nothing, Katie Melua. There might be 9 million bicycles in Beijing, but there are 13 million of them in the Netherlands. However, Beijing has 20 million inhabitants and the Netherlands 16 millions, which basically means that nearly every person living here has a bike. If we exclude the people who are too old or too young* to cycle, it actually turns out that some have more than one bike. There, somewhere in the shed, is a spare bike just in case of a flat tire.
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Hogwarts in Utrecht

Few things marked my childhood as much as Harry Potter. And not only my childhood, also (mostly) my teenage years. This isn’t that unusual for our generation, because we grew up with the heroes of this book and film franchise. In my last year of primary school, the 7th (and last true) Harry Potter book was published, while in the last year of high school, we cried as we said goodbye to the characters once again when the last movie came out. My point is this: when I found out in December that Harry Potter: The Exhibition was coming to the Netherlands, I knew I was going to go. Even though I currently have a slightly bitter opinion towards J. K. Rowling (but about this some other time).

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And where are you from?

For the past two weeks, it seems as if that’s a question I’m constantly answering. I don’t only think that. I’m sure that this is the most popular question. Only in February, I had to talk about my country of origin:

  • in every first class lesson of the new programme,
  • in a meeting with a professor with whom I’ll be working on a project,
  • in a conversation with every new classmate,
  • at the dentist (three times!).

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