I am officially in Leiden!  
To recap my events so far, let's just say I am extremely fortunate to have the family I do - my mom, dad, Jeni and Al all trekked to Kenosha to pack up all of my stuff to prepare to haul back to Minnesota.  Thank goodness I had my mom to get all of my stuff to fit inside of two suitcases too.  

 This leads to my final task of the last weekend - traveling to get here.  In my style of packing, I ended up being slightly overweight with my luggage.  After re-situating my bags while the TSA went on laughing, we successfully got my bags to weigh between 22.5-23 kg (23 kg is the weight limit = 50 lbs).  After eating lunch with my family, I trekked through security and on to the gate.  My flight was one of the best flights I've ever been on, even though it was a full 6 1/2 hours.  The stewards were wonderful and I sat next to a very nice German couple that were returning from visiting their daughter who now lives in Chicago.  The woman was nervous about her English but asked many questions and was not shy to lean over and tell me, "Zat wuz very funny," (in a most heavy German accent) as I attempted to stand up once when my earbuds were still plugged into the arm rest but didn't get very far.  

On the plane, during the flight safety video when discussing emergency exits, it said that you are not allowed to take your luggage with you... it also said that no high heels are allowed.  This gave me a laugh as I have never seen that before.  There were of course movies and games to play during the flight, but they also had basic language lessons so I tried my best to start learning Dutch numbers, phrases, and simple words. 

 One of the stewards was from Amsterdam so I asked how easy it was to get on the train to get to Leiden and he was very helpful as well.  After getting off the plane, everything went smoothly and I got both my suitcases without a problem.  Then I went to the train ticket kiosk to buy my ticket - just so you know, it's really easy to follow the signs and get to the train, but the matter of getting on the right train or purchasing the right ticket is another story.  Yikes!  I then got down to the track and fortunately there was a kind older man who helped me be sure that I was getting on the right train and knew when to get off.  Remember that during all of this, I've been schlepping two 50 pound suitcases, my purse and backpack.  (and I just wanted to be able to use that word - true schlepping at it's best!)  On the 15 minute train ride, the land was beautiful and we passed many farms.  There was also a small field of tulips.  Mr. Crul picked me up from the train station in Leiden which was very kind of him so I didn't have to fear a taxi, although I panicked when I saw that we were going 78 and then I remembered it was in km and not miles...

Mr. Crul helped me get settled into my room as his wife, Mrs. Kramer is currently in Egypt.  Fortunately he helped me haul my suitcases up the FOUR flights of stairs.  They rent rooms out of their house and besides myself, there are currently two Polish students that he said do not speak much English but are very kind.  I have yet to meet them but look forward to it.  Their house is very cute and quaint, as is the rest of the town from what I've seen so far.  I have a nice view looking over a canal where many boat tours have gone by throughout the day.  When he gave me a tour of the house and we went outside, in Dutch style, he slipped on a pair of wooden clogs - it was awesome.  They also lent me a bike until I can find one but I think that I will start by walking until I learn the 'bike etiquette'.  It is amazing to watch people on bikes here.  I have seen just as many individual riders as I have parents with one child if not two - it's insane!

As for the rest of today, I think that I am going to take the time to rest and unpack all of my stuff as the time change is a bit of a mixup.  Tomorrow I will be meeting with Pedro and in the evening we will be off to Brussels, Beligum where I know new stories will unfold to be told!
I promise photos to come soon too!