Starbucks at the train station - they sell.... STROOPWAFELS!  Why in the world do we not have this at our locations in the states?!?!?!

They also have cups 'for here' at the Starbucks - something I think we should have back home too.  No one is in a hurry here.

When eating at dinner, you literally have to flag down/signal or bluntly tell the waiter or waitress that you want your check and are ready to pay - aka leave.  In no sense do they rush you.  When we ate at the indian restaurant the other night, we took 3 hours to eat.  It's not a bad thing, but it is odd when you are so used to being rushed or when the waiter/ress puts the check on the table for, "whenever you're ready."  Little tip - no pun intended - for if you plan to travel here, you do not need to tip the waiter or waitress.  You can round up to the nearest dollar/euro, but you do not need to leave 15 or 20% or anything.  I just feel so guilty every time we leave, but it is not expected.

When sitting in the Starbucks, it is in the entrance to the central train station in Leiden.  As I am sitting here writing this, a bunch of people ran by (adults) dressed like elephants.  They even had gray underwear stuffed with things.  They had their faces painted gray and construction paper flappy ears.  I asked Pedro, "Do you see this?!"  His response was that it must be before a wedding when a group of people (the wedding party) does such a ridiculous and crazy thing.  Apparently this is meaning to be a bachelorette party.  I guess they call them hen and stag parties instead too and the new trend is the "hag" party - a combination of them both.  Apparently it is not uncommon for them to have themes as such (explaining why they were all dressed up like elephants).  I am going to put this is as the most random and peculiar thing I have encountered since coming here.

For a heads up too, my mom has informed me that Trader Joe's sells stroopwafels.  I am sure they do not compare to the fresh ones at the market, but I'm sure they will do just fine to sustain my future cravings - and something I highly recommend you go and purchase.
I also learned where not to park my bike!  In the Netherlands in general, they literally have 'parking ramps' for bikes - not for cars.  You must have a spot for your bike, particularly at the train station, and if there isn't a spot on one of the racks and you park it along a tree for example, it's as if they 'tow' it like a car and you have to go very far away to retrieve it and pay a lot to get it back.  Thank goodness I was told to move my bike!

Today we worked again too (and it's supposed to be a public holiday... psh).  Nonetheless it was definitely needed.  There is much to be done and it is just time consuming, but it is still very fun and I love being part of the project and new developments for Universe Awareness (UNAWE).

After work, we had a BBQ.  When I had mentioned before that the Dutch typically have only one hot meal a day, going along with this concept, the kitchens definitely reflect on it because there are no ovens - they have stove burners and microwave ovens.  So odd.  Anyhow, we all went to Pedro's for dinner: myself, Sarah, Sara (a PhD student), and Carla (a PhD student) (and all part of the UNAWE group).  Sarah, Pedro and I met beforehand to go grocery shopping.  I just cannot get over the fact that there is a whole aisle devoted to sprinkles (to put on bread; don't ask, it's a Dutch thing), peanut butter and nutella and all of its generic kinds.  I want to eat them all!!!

Dinner was delicious and tomorrow we are going to meet at the market for a fresh stroopwafel :).  For the night I think we are headed to Amsterdam which should be loads of fun.

Today I also had fun learning just how much I really speak "American," differing from "English".  With Sarah being from the UK it's been interesting to see all the different words we have for things.  I'll turn Pedro into speaking American English so that way we can spell "organize" instead of "organise" and "program" instead of "programme" before I leave!  Did you know that a zucchini is called a courgette?  Weird, I know, and they have some other funny word for eggplant.  Oh the list goes on!  In response to my chuckles and newly learned phrases and words I make a note for my blog and I'm responded with, "Here we go writing about the weirdos again!"  :)