Another Day, Another Visit to the Library...
The first day here in Delft is always a little awkward. Since my Dutch is pretty pathetic, I always feel a bit timid about wandering through stores. It's always an uncomfortable feeling when someone rattles off a sentence in a language that you know you really should understand -- but you don't, really. Sure, I can get by when necessary. I can order a mean pizza, and I can make it through a basic sales transaction. But if someone asks me a question, I go all deer-in-headlights. It happened to me in the market yesterday when I was trying to buy myself some fresh stroopwafels (food of the gods, as far as I'm concerned). It happened just a few minutes ago, when a man stopped to ask me how to get a code for the computers here at the library. It happened yesterday when I came back to the hotel and ran into the maid, who didn't speak English -- so we ended up communicating in Spanish instead (taking the count up to four languages that I used to communicate within a 24-hour period -- not bad considering the jetlag, though I have found myself occasionally speaking in the wrong language since then, like when I answered the waitress in the restaurant last night with "Si").
I did, however, do a lot of wandering around yesterday. I'm in Delft, after all, and it was market day. There was no way I could sit in my room all day. I walked through the market a couple of times. I wandered through the streets. I stopped to watch the kids ice-skating. And I even stopped at the yarn shop for a few minutes. I saw that there were quite a few people in the store, so I knew there wasn't much of a chance that I'd be called on to admit ignorance when it comes to the Dutch language. So I got to wander for a few minutes and scope out the sale bins and other very reasonably-priced yarn that I may have to take home in the extra duffel bag that I packed inside my suitcase.
In the morning, I was a little worried about the weather. I looked out of my window to see that everyone was wearing big, bulky coats and heavy scarves, and I was worried that I'd freeze to death. I didn't even bring my heavy winter coat. But, as it turns out, it's gorgeous here. It's a bit chilly, but I have no problem wandering the streets for an hour or more. As it turns out, the scarves are pretty much a fashion thing. Everyone wears scarves here. Big, bright-colored fleece scarves. Long, flowing woven scarves. Dainty lacy knit scarves. Big, bulky-knit scarves. Walking the streets here is a knitter's dream. So many scarves to admire!
I also got some time yesterday afternoon to do a little more work on Birch. I've finished my second repeat now, and it's actually starting to look like something -- something that I'm really happy with. Despite that sneaky little decreasing-on-both-sides trick that throws off my markers, I must commend the designer. It really is a gorgeous piece that's deceptively easy to knit.