Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Amsterdam and a Frat Party (sorta)

I am now in my fifth week in Zurich and I must say time has really flown by. Since my last blog, I started working regularly and am developing a real appreciation for the amount of work that goes into writing a paper that has hopes of being published. Right now I am in the full swing of constructing a data set to be used for the project. Thankfully, I have also had a good amount of free time to both enjoy Zurich and begin traveling around the rest of Europe.

Brett Albert and I were able to meet up for a drink a couple of weeks ago and chat a little bit about our experiences thus far. We tried meeting up with Martin as well, who is also in Zurich, but couldn't quite coordinate the logistics.

This past weekend provided the highlights of my last two weeks since blogging last. On Friday night I joined one of my friends (he also lives in the Oasis) at his fraternity. I was very curious to see how the experience would compare to fraternities in the US. Before transferring to Loyola, I was in a frat at Union College, but was not really expecting a frat here in Zurich to be too similar. The biggest difference, in my opinion, is that fraternities here have no affiliation to a university. This particular frat is called Singstudenten, which basically means the singing students. They did not fail to live up to their name, breaking into song about 5 times in the 2 hours I was there. I tried my best to sing along with the ones that were in English. Because Singstudenten has no affiliation to a university, once you become a member, you are truly a "lifelong member." On Friday night, there were plenty of members of the frat that were out of school, and even a few who looked well into their 60s.

The other thing I found kind of interesting was all the different "rules" they have while inside of the frat. Basically, if you commit any kind of party foul, you have to chug two mugs of beer. A couple examples are whistling, throwing anything more than 2 inches, and dropping anything from the table to the floor. Good thing for me I was pardoned when I broke a rule, otherwise I would have been in rough shape relatively quickly.

I did not stay at the frat for too long, as I had a 730 am flight the next day to Amsterdam to meet a friend, Jon, and his friend for the weekend. Jon will start law school in the fall and is taking a couple of weeks to travel around Europe, as he has never been. Amsterdam was a great time, and I think a few days is the perfect amount of time to visit. The city is pretty small and we walked everywhere we went, but a bike probably would have been a lot easier. We spent an afternoon at the Van Gogh museum, which I found was ok, although I'm not a big museum guy. On the left is a picture inside the museum.

This week has been nothing special, and I probably will not do too much until the weekend. On Saturday I will fly to Barcelona to meet up with Jon and his friend once again for the last leg of their trip. I am really looking forward to Barcelona, even more so than Amsterdam. From what I hear it should be a great time, and it will be nice to spend the 4th of July with some Americans.


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