Archive for November, 2009

The Flavours of the World Reception

November 19th, 2009

Yesterday, we had the annual ambassadors dinner. This dinner is titled the same as this post. For this dinner, the local restaurant the Wooster Inn prepares quality food from all the countries that are represented by an ambassador. Loyal readers of this blog and most students on campus know that these countries are: The Netherlands, Botswana, Ecuador, India, and Pakistan.

The dinner went really well. People loved the food and also enjoyed the short presentations that the ambassadors gave about food in their respective countries. Unfortunately, there was some miscommunication between the ambassadors and the chefs. Not all the food turned out as traditional and authentic as it was supposed to be. For example, my traditional Dutch main course called Stamppot was vegetarian.  I had never eaten a vegetarian version of this meal before, but it was still not bad at all.

Today, there was an international bazaar in our main student center. My sister decorated a table full of stuff from the Netherlands. For me, it was almost overkill. I represented my country yesterday during the ambassadors dinner.  It was a little too much to do it again the next day. Fortunately, my sister did most of the representing and I only had to be there for 45 minutes. However, this week is international education week on campus, so I can’t really complain. After all, I am an ambassador and the vice-president of the International Student Association this year.

Saturday at 6:00 am, I will be departing to Chicago for the American Model United Nations Conference. We have twenty delegates from the college of Wooster and hopefully we will be able to perform well. After this conference, it will be Thanksgiving break. That means I won’t have classes for a full week. There is still a lot of work to do this semester and at this point I have no clue how I will get everything done. However, I know that by the end of the semester, it will be done.

Bastiaan

Kalahari

November 18th, 2009

I skipped a Saturday of blogging. I was balancing the responsibilities that I have and then a person issue came up. It was a little bit too much to handle everything at the same time, so I dropped writing a post. A famous Dutch saying is “every disadvantage has its advantage”. The world famous Dutch soccer star Johan Cruijf came up with it on a good day and today it applies to this blogging situation. Because I skipped blogging on Saturday (disadvantage), I have plenty of things to share with you (advantage). So, here we go:

  • The ending of last week was hectic again. I had a linear algebra exam on Friday and an ambassadors presentation directly following the test. The ambassadors presentation went very well. I shared information about the Dutch Health Care system with American nurses in training. They were very interested and asked some of the best questions possible. How the exam went is to be awaited. Although I definitely wrote some things down that should be right, linear algebra and me don’t seem to be the best friends. Fortunately, this was the last exam of the semester not counting finals.
  • Saturday was an unbelievably beautiful day. It was the kind of day that makes you want to wear T-shirts and shorts and throw a frisbee on the quad. Many people gave in to this feeling. It felt like an early September day even though it is mid November.
  • Sunday, I took a bus of students to the largest indoor water park in the USA: Kalahari. It was the perfect day for a trip like this because not many other people had come up with the same idea for this day. There were practically no lines. We could bodyboard on the artificial wave, go in the rafts, and in the slides. It was a great day full of water fun.
  • Monday, I gave a workshop on public speaking for a group on campus named the Wooster Emerging Scholars. I only had an hour to cover the complex topic of public speaking, but it went well. The students seemed interested. Hopefully, I was able to relieve some of the public speaking anxiety the students might have had. For me, it was a great opportunity to do something that I might want to for a living later in life. Usually, Dr. Wick does this workshop. I am the TA for her public speaking class and because she couldn’t make it this time she had asked me to do it instead.
  • Yesterday, the public speaking class had dinner with the president. We are working on a project for which the students create short videos that might be put on Youtube. These videos are supposed to promote Wooster to prospective students. We filmed our dinner with the president and had a good conversation about what is good at our college and what we can improve upon.
  • Today, we have the ambassadors dinner. There will be great food from the five countries the ambassadors represent. I have to go to that right now, so that will be the last thing I share in this post.

Bastiaan

Success to Stress ratio

November 11th, 2009

This past Saturday night, The College of Wooster hosted Kent State’s basketball team. Wooster is a division III team and Kent State is a division I team. As you can guess, this was not a conference game. It was a fund raiser for the Corey John Cline Fund. This fund was set up in memory of Assistant Coach Doug Cline’s son who died at the age of three in a tragic car accident this past February. The beginning of the game was a very moving moment. Coach Cline thanked all the players and the coach of Kent Sate’s team and they received an overwhelming applause. There were many hugs and some tears. The Fighting Scots eventually lost to the Golden Flashes, but that was not the most important thing of the night. The game raised more than 5,000 dollars for the Corey John Cline Fund.

Monday night at 6:00 pm, ISA had its third and last monthly dinner of the semester. The theme was Japanese culture. Thanks to some clever changes in advertising, the dinner was very well attended. I felt very happy and proud when I saw that the whole ball room was filled with people that were enjoying themselves while learning something about a different culture. We started the dinner with some Origami and then we had two speakers. The first speaker was Akane,  an international student from Japan. The second speaker was John, an American student who had spend a longer time in Japan.

Now, let me deal with the header of this post. The basketball game and the ISA dinner were big successes. After this week, there are only two weeks left in the semester if you don’t count Thanksgiving break and finals week. I would love to have some more successes this semester, but right now it looks like there is this enormous mountain of work that I have to overcome before the semester ends. My goal is to keep the success to stress ratio as high as possible during these last weeks. It will be a great challenge.

Bastiaan

PS vote for the Wooster mascot http://www.mascotfaceoff.com/wooster-fans/

We are trailing, so we need every vote! We simply cannot afford to lose to our biggest rivals.

Water

November 7th, 2009

Thursday at 11:00 am, campus council meets. Campus council consists of members from the administration, the faculty, the staff, and the students of Wooster. We talk about all the major issues on campus. For example, this winter break, our main student center will be refurbished. Campus council discusses what changed need to be made.

After the council meets, it is tradition that the members have lunch together. During the lunch of this past Thursday, I brought up that some students say that it is hard to make a change on campus. The administration always wants us to believe that we can make changes, but if we actually want change, they make it impossible for us. Dean Holmes responded to my remark by saying that many students do not really want change. They think about change, but they are not willing to work for it. Then, I brought up that I had been wanting to make a change to the water machine in Lowry. I very much dislike the water that comes out of this “filtered” water machine.
Some of the other campus council members were responding to my statements, but dean Holmes was on his cell phone. Two minutes later, a man walked up to our table. I recognized this man as Chuck Wagers, Director of Campus Dining Services. Dean Holmes introduced me to Chuck and encouraged me to explain my concern. He added that he just wanted to prove a point. Chuck and I talked about water machines for a while. I asked him what he would do if I would give him a list of two hundred people that dislike the water in the dining hall. He responded that he does not need that list. We concluded that Chuck would look into alternatives for the water machine. Chuck Wagers also told me that in the past students have come to him with concerns. Often, he said, he makes the phone calls necessary to address the concern while the student is still in his office.

After our conversation, I thanked Chuck for his time. Dean Holmes smiled at me and said: “see, it is not that hard to make a change.”

Bastiaan

Champions

November 4th, 2009

Ever since Sunday 5:33 p.m., I walk around on campus feeling like a champion. Why? Because I am. The legendary Lunds intramural soccer team has won its third consecutive intramural championship. After a long fought battle, penalty kicks decided the outcome of the final.

It was 1-0 in favor of Lunds after first half, after a powerful goal by Itai David Njanji. Unfortunately, late in the second half, 7 o’Clock scored the equalizer with a strong header. It was still tied after ninety minutes. Overtime made no difference, so the five bravest men from both teams  stepped forward to make the decision. 7 o’Clock started with the first kick. After 8 penalty kicks, the score was 4-4. Then, our fantastic goalkeeper Tyler, grabbed a poorly placed penalty kick. Jacob Haning was the remaining Lunds player. He did not hesitate, he did not choke. With the killer instinct of a white shark, he finished of the penalty kicks, the game, the season. I will not have to wait long until I can experience the nice feeling of a new intramural champion t-shirt on my skin. The losing 7 o’Clock team will have a hard time digesting this loss. Three years of finals with penalty kicks, three losses for 7 o’Clock.

After this win, I’d like to share some things that I am excited about:

  • November 15th, I will take a bus of students to the Kalahari water park. This is the largest indoor water park in the US.
  • For Thanksgiving break, I am going to New York City with my girlfriend Keri and my sister Suzanna.
  • Right before thanksgiving break, I am going to a Model United Nations conference in Chicago (I am flying from Chicago to New York).
  • I am going to apply for resident director for next year.
  • I am going home for winter break.
  • I am going to Costa Rica for winter break.
  • The Dutch cheese I ordered arrived today.
  • I will be inducted into the communication honor society, Lambda Pi Eta.
  • I did well on my transitions to advanced math exam today.
  • The college of Wooster’s basketball team has a game on Saturday.
  • I am getting better and better at planning my life (including free time)
  • I am getting better at living up to my planning.
  • I am making a video starring all the guys on my hall and my custodian.
  • I have so many things to be excited about.
  • I am not sick.

Bastiaan