Nieuws - 18 november 2010

Dutch Masters of Integration


Maria Alekav tells about her first weeks in Wageningen.

Dutch Masters of Integration
When I first came to the Netherlands I was astonished to find so much green space in this densely populated country. Shortly after my arrival in Wageningen, on what the Dutch would call a hot summer day, I went to the river for the first time. Caravans of students were streaming in the same direction, the closer I came. Since I was not yet familiar with this kind of group relaxation and to avoid trampling on others, I decided to go further downstream.
After some time dozing in the grass and dreaming of Clint Eastwood I realized that the stamping hooves I was hearing came from a herd of real horses, who were examining my backpack. Immediately I grabbed my stuff and saved myself  by jumping over a fence. I felt safe again and decided to give recreation another shot, this time with my back to a couple of trees. Suddenly a twig cracked. Another one. Then a snuffle and a huge horned head broke out of the bushes. Scared stiff, I went quickly in the direction where I suspected my bike to be. But this time I encountered animals that were highly gezellig: on my way to the next fence I was gently accompanied by seven impressively big cows. Fortunately the queasy feeling in my stomach did not last long. When I stopped, they also stopped. If I walked faster, they walked faster. It seemed to me that here even the cows do their best to integrate foreigners. Later, passing some sheep I started wondering whether every Dutch herd has to have a certain number of black sheep. Finally, two minutes from Dijkgraaf, seeing a man going for a walk with his pig, I already felt at home.  Maria Alekav