In early September 2015, I took a short trip to Stockholm. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from my trip there alone, but it turned out to be a lot more fun than expected. I did the usual walking tour, wandered around aimlessly the first hours of arriving, ate at any local dives I could find, and did a bit of research whenever I found free wi-fi at a nearby coffee shop. However, what made it really fun was being able to meet even more randoms visiting the city! This time around it was more Californians, who also happened to be Asian. The level of nostalgia was an absolute high. It’s not to say I don’t get along with anyone else, but there’s a really strong sense of familiarity when you meet fellow Overseas Born Chinese.
Saturday. Today is everyone’s day off. Woke up to the noise of screaming children and slamming doors. Ended up waking up super late again but had breakfast with the family and showered before 11. We headed out again today to the city centre. My folks had no idea what festival was going on today. I sort of had a clue from all the colourful flags but I couldn’t be sure because I couldn’t read the signs. But of course! It was the GAY PRIDE PARADE today. Full of music you’d normally associate with gay pride, and enough transgenders to fill an entire building. It’s nothing compared to Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade, but its definitely not a bad day to come out. Lots of free food, and even some places were handing out free beer!
I ended up going up this clock tower with my uncle and my cousin Dennis. Man, I didn’t realize how much vertigo I would feel going up to such a tower. Really it was those steps up to the tower. It was in that spiral shape, but it was so steep, and there’s no handles, just a rope in the middle. It was however, worth it. Went to the top and took some shots of the city. Take a look at the photos below to get an idea what the city of Groningen looks like!
After coming down, I needed to eat something. Ended up having these snackings called Tzatziki Burgers. They’re really tiny. About the size of Junior Cheese Burger at McDonalds. Also grabbed some famous fries and a sausage. So good. Earlier we dropped the two youngest cousins, Rick and Kevin at Chinese school. So once they finished we grabbed them and headed back home. Before going home though, we stopped by IKEA and picked up some hot dogs and something to drink. I ended up eating 2 IKEA dogs and got my favourite drink at IKEA, LINGONBERRY JUICE! The hot dogs weren’t much different but they do have 2 extra ingredients we don’t get in Toronto; fried onion bits and pickles.
My aunt made BBQ tonight. Smells really good. So, hanging out with my little cousins while we wait for food. Like I said before Google Translate has been such a life saver! It sounds really awkward and IT IS! But, so grateful for it. Speaking with the youngest one, Rick, is pretty funny too. I’ll talk to him Chinese but he always responds in Dutch. Even though he knows I don’t understand he keeps on yapping away. It’s fun though, I’m picking up a little bit of Dutch along the way. I think I can finally hear the difference between German and Dutch. Before I couldn’t even hear it at all. I have some basics down now too, like “Thank You”, “Excuse Me”, “Sorry”, “You’re Welcome”, “I”, “You”, “Nothing”, “Beer”. Even though I’m not doing as much sight seeing here, it’s definitely an experience I definitely love!
Ended up having a beautiful IKEA breakfast in Groningen! It’s a lot like the IKEA in Toronto but with a lot of differences. The one here is much more decked out. Like, they have PS3s everywhere for kids to play with. The cafeteria has all the classics, like meatballs, but it has a few other selections that are a bit more Dutch. You can see from the photos all the food I had. I had to make up for missing my actual breakfast. Actually, when I tried taking a photo of the food bar near the exit, the worker there started shaking his head at me. According to my aunt apparently because I’m Asian I must be taking photos to copy their business; how racist.
The As-Is section in IKEA Groningen is REALLY CHEAP! Like actually worth buying stuff from there! Like they had their glass doors they were getting rid of for only 5€! You’ll never find that in Toronto! I’d buy them but it’d cost way too much to ship them back.
After walking around IKEA for a while, went back home with aunt and uncle and waited for the kids to get off school. When they got home we headed out for the town. My uncle dropped us off downtown while he went to work. We walked around for a bit and I took some photos, as usual, of buildings around the area. The style of architecture is a lot like Paris, but on a smaller scale. Didn’t stay for too long though since it was almost time for dinner. We headed home by taking the bus. Once we were home my aunt started cooking dinner. Had my first Chinese meal in like weeks! Never seen so much white rice on my plate.
I spent the rest of the night surfing on the internet and chatting with friends back at home until like 3 in the morning. Anyway! Enjoy the photos! The first real shots of this tiny town of Groningen.