Saturday, May 8, 2010

you can learn many things from the flowers


So, here we are. After enduring a VERY long flight we finally landed in Amsterdam on Thursday morning. Dragging luggage from the airport to Delft was very interesting and my feet were not very grateful for the treat come Thursday night, but I'm glad that I packed light and wore sneakers. Upon arrival at Delft central train station, I was surprised at the amount of bikes that were parked around the building. I definitely had been told that bike is a major form of transportation in the Netherlands, but I was no were near anticipating what I saw. I see now the value of getting a bike to ride around, and look forward to finding one in the near future. After we arrived at UNESCO-IHE, we met many people who will be involved with our time at the research facility and received some much needed coffee. 
 (2010 IRES students in front of UNESCO-IHE with luggage)

Thursday is somewhat of a blur now due to all of the excitement, travel time and jetlag, but I am happy that we stayed up all day so that I could sleep on Thursday night Netherland time to wake up early on Friday. Thursday we also went to the market and picked up some food for our first week and tried the herring. Although it wasn't bad, I do not believe that I will be indulging again...

Friday morning we had the opportunity to go to Deltares and hear several presentations regarding what the company is concerned with as well as a presentation from a recent Ph.D. graduate about his project which involved using bacteria to form CaCO3 deposits from sand to make a more stable and safe foundation for buildings in places like the Netherlands where a majority of the land is below sea level. I found it all to be very interesting and really enjoyed seeing the testing facilities (image to the left) where they do large scale water simulations to test models they have developed to predict different scenarios and building plans. I was also very impressed with how generous they seemed to be with their knowledge and how their ideal situation would be a world where everyone shared all knowledge and worked together. 

Today was a free day so we were able to travel to Keukenhof to see the Tulips  (Right image) before they were gone. They were beautiful. Far more kinds, colors and amounts than I had expected. So many in fact, that we got tired of taking pictures of them and thought that the garden went on forever. After visiting the tulips we made a trip to Delft Ikea to get towels and a few other things that we needed.

Tomorrow is a brand new day, which will most likely be spent doing school/research related work. I am very excited to be in the Netherlands and to have such a wonderful opportunity available. I feel that this experience will impact my life both professionally and personally in very serious ways. I'm excited for what the next three months will hold and to start working in the labs.

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