“No man is an island, entire of itself” as John Donne once wrote…nah ok this won’t be one of those pretentious articles with poets’ lines, but it is a fact that we are social beings, we entertain ourselves with the company of the others, and to keep the fil-rouge I started with my not-so-random quotation, I think there’s no better place to go with your friends/fellow internationals than an island. In my humble opinion there is no stronger feeling of intimacy, togetherness and of being really part of something such as when you are on a land entirely surrounded by the sea.
Now, the problem in Utrecht and its province is that it does not really provide a huge amount of islands. Luckily though in the north of this country there’s a full archipelago, the Frisian Islands that lie in a mudflat part of the Wadden Sea, and other than offering a shield from the tides of the North Sea and a safe sanctuary for the many birds species which nest there during their migrations, are also an awesome destination for weekend trips!
And precisely such an activity has been proposed by the Cultural Committee of ESN, our beloved Annabel, Fleur, Hanne, Jolijne, MJ, Suzanne, Synthia, and Urban who organised a “Discover Holland Weekend” in Ameland, the third largest of the West Frisian Islands, for more than 50 internationals.
From Friday the 16th till Sunday 18th this group of explorers, of which I was delighted to be part, lived in the village of Nes, if not the biggest in the island surely the cosiest, with amazing cafes, arcades and even an Italian pizzeria (yep we are pretty much everywhere).
Despite the gloomy weather, the weekend was a success (and you can check some awesome pictures in this album). We witnessed marvellous panoramas, having the chance to bicycle in the beautiful landscape of the island and get an astounding view from the top of its iconic guesthouse. We rewarded ourselves with great dinners: from the first night, with some well-deserved french fries and other cafetarias delicatessen, to the second one, when our chefs surprised us with do-it-yourself tortillas! We also tested our tactic skills with a challenging game of human Stratego – well actually not that challenging, if we consider that one team simply uber-won against another, but let’s be sportsmen and forget it! Also the nightlife was a great component in the weekend: on both nights the CuCo’s entertained us with games which, with the tiny contribution of our friend alcohol, left many of our internationals in a state of…uh I’m gonna go for “happiness”!
And here’s when they forcibly deported us beyond the border
But what were the feedbacks? If the ESN Board loved “the getting to know each other feeling” – Mats’ words – Hanne, in her twofold role of Board and CuCo appreciated how the Internationals “even managed to integrate with the locals”, remarking what a “great group” the latter ones have been, but not forgetting her own committee, of which she was “really proud” – ipsa dixit.
Speaking of the Internationals, many loved the trip since the first night and the “dinner served directly on the table”, a concept much appreciated by Elena from Australia, with a farewell to cutleries and other unnecessary sophistications! Others indeed appreciated the partying nights and their drinking games: if Temo from Finland was in hiw own words “a bit…no actually so much drunk” that he took the kitchen for his bed, others like Enrico correctly remark: “the beer was spilling out from any corner of the tables, any glass in our hands and any smile on our faces…miracle of the beer or ESN?” We like to think the second one Enri!
And on this final eulogistic tone spoke also Micaela from Argentina, who noticed how other than the cool internationals, “also to get to know the ESN members was really great. That will now encourage me to participate in more activities with them”. We truly hope that this will be the same for all of you fellas!