This morning the overcast weather looks quite charming. Either I have gained an appreciation for bleak grey clouds over night, or I am feeling the positive effect of getting to the end of a particularly busy week.
The end of this week marks the end of block two and the official halfway point of my LLM. The thought of the latter gives me a bubbly excited feeling mixed with the mental mantra that if I keep focused I will really make the most of this program. Let’s call it so far so good for now. To top it off, the end of the week also signals a week off of classes to relax and recoup. Since there was no break between blocks one and two, this newfound holiday feels like a special treat.
The week started with a coffee-infused blur of paper deadlines (the only upside to big final papers being that there are no exams) followed by grade reviews, tying up the loose ends of final projects and having final meetings. Of course, some work continues over to the next block, but nobody is thinking of that work when there are assignments to finish up.
The week ended on a high note. Friday marked the halfway point of my six-month clinical program with the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM). Our research internship with SIM is split into two three-month sections during which I, along with three colleagues, do research for two different clients. The first project proved to be challenging but very interesting work and we travelled to the Hague (Den Haag) bright and early Friday morning to give the final presentation of our work.
As a very generous thank you, we received one research book and picked one mystery Dutch-related book each at the end of our presentation. For my Dutch-related book, I unwrapped it to find I had chosen the Diary of Anne Frank, a book that I haven’t read in many years. I flipped to the first page on the train ride home and found myself looking at a small passage from the original diary of Anne Frank written in Dutch. I was amazed to see I could actually understand it. It’s times like that you really feel you’re making progress. Who knows, maybe one day I will have the pleasure of reading the whole book in its original language.
After a long week, I spent Saturday afternoon strolling through the streets of Amsterdam with a friend before grabbing a quick celebratory dinner in a cute restaurant in the city center and hopping on the train back. It’s nice to get out of Utrecht and explore the unknown city streets of bustling Amsterdam, but it always feels good at the end of the day to come home.
Today is a day of tea, minor amounts of housework and taking it easy. I should probably be thinking about making a final choice on my thesis topic, but I think I can happily leave that until the start of the new week.
Until the next time/Tot de volgende keer!