Now I'm just being lazy, but here's a preview of the email I'm gonna send out:

Things have been going pretty darn good since my last email. I spent the weekend in Amsterdam, which can be very expensive as it is an extremely popular vacation destination year-round. Luckily, I've gotten back into the swing of being a young person in Europe, which means that I buy food in cheap grocery stores far away from the tourist hotspots and stay in youth hostels.
Doing the traveling thing this time around was exciting, because I left without the faintest idea of what I was going to do once I got there. I met 4 other travelers on the train over, each of them from a different country, and together we rented a cheap hotel room for 2 nights. We got in pretty late, but the next morning I checked my email and found out that my cousin Melanie (whom I hadn't seen in 6 or 7 years) was arriving in Amsterdam via plane an hour from that moment! So I found her and her friend James at the airport Sheradon hotel, and we had that Saturday together to hang out in the city, as well as part of Monday.
Another weird coincidence was that I ran into somebody from UW - Ashley and Andy's old roommate Peter. He and his friend from Costa Rica, Gabi, ended up staying the 2nd night with us in our hotel room. Isn't the world small?
Now, any rumors that I had heard up until this point about Amsterdam I had almost completely dismissed. Surely no one really stands around in windows, barely dressed and barely illuminated with a red light, waiting for a 'visitor' with 50 Euros cash, and there's no way they can sell marijuana in 'coffeeshops'. But both of these things are done in Amsterdam's Red Light District, and it makes for a place that has a bustling, never-ending nightlife and some very creepy people (drug dealers and such). Of course, there is more to Amsterdam than the red light district and I spent a lot of the weekend walking the canals, touring the Leidesplein and Dam Square, and visiting famous museums like the Van Gogh Museum and the Heineken Experience. My hostel the 3rd night was a friendly place near the Museumsplein called the Flying Pig, supposedly one of the most famous hostels in Europe. I'd recommend it - It certainly was a fun place, pretty cheap (21 euros for a dorm bed, better rate than the hotel room), free internet, good breakfast and lots of friendly hostelers. I met some Brits, a German, and two really cute Mexicans who are studying in Warsaw, Poland this year and swear they will make good on my offer to crash at my dorm in Tuebingen. But you offer that to lots of people you meet on the road, and I have yet to hear back on any of them, or make good on offers given to me, for that matter...

Okay, gotta go pack for OKtoberfest. :)


I think everyone who reads this knows by now, but just for the record, i got to Germany safely and got all moved in to my room. my only issue now is getting matriculated, which, as it turns out, is a fairly difficult and lengthy process. internet and phone don't come easy, either. but i'll get there.

at the moment i'm in Amsterdam at a hostel that provides free internet, so that's a plus. The downside is that there are only 3 computers, so they're almost always occupied.

amsterdam is a crazy city. this is definitely a place to visit, and not to live. Everyone should see it, though. at least once.

well, I gotta check out of my hostel by 10:30 today, and also get breakfast first. So i'm off.