Walking and War Criminals

I realize my last entry didn’t really update anyone on what I’ve been doing all week.  Well, this week’s theme is walking.  Walking to class, walking home, walking around Gouda and Amsterdam.  Yesterday, when I got back from a day trip to Amsterdam, the pedometer on my iPod read 22,030 steps; 9.3 miles.  That was a little less than on Thursday, when I crossed the 10 mile mark on my pedometer.  The good part of this is I know walking is good, I’m burning calories and all that.  The bad part is my blisters literally have blisters.  Maybe I’ll post a picture later so you can suffer with me.

Wednesday evening a group of us showed our support for Holland again by decking out in orange and watching the football game against Germany.  We ate outside at a nearby restaurant, and the wait staff reserved us front row seats to watch the football game on their TV.  They even typed up signs that said “Reserved Washington” for us.  We felt like VIPs, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t endear us to the locals who wanted those prime seats.  But I think we redeemed ourselves by getting as loud and belligerent as the Dutch as Germany kicked Holland’s butt.

After class on Thursday I went to Gouda with some classmates for a few hours.  We pretty much just walked around for a while, found a cool cheese shop (obviously), ate some samples, walked some more, ate some more, took some pictures.  It was pretty chill, but of course, a lot of walking.

Thursday night was also Shopping Night in The Hague, stores stayed open late and had big sales, there were runway shows around the city with models handing out coupons to the stores they were modeling for.  Or so I heard.  We got back late from Gouda and I missed out on the bulk of the festivities, although we all know shopping’s not really my cup of tea.  I heard from classmates the experience was comparable to Black Friday, so I’m kind of glad I missed it.  I did get back in time to join one of my roommates at a small party hosted by some of our classmates at their apartment.  It was fun, but it was also across town, and my roommate and I missed the last tram back to our apartment, meaning we walked home.  Crossing the threshold put me over the 10 mile mark for the day.

On the academic front, we had a full week this week, including non-class activities most afternoons.  We attempted to attend a hearing at the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) on Monday AND Tuesday, but both days court let out early and we missed it.  Wednesday pretty much made up for it though; we attended the final session of the Lubanga sentencing; Thomas Lubanga Dyilo is the first person ever convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), in a trial that has been going on for about seven years.  Lubanga was found guilty and Wednesday was the last day of statements regarding sentencing.  It was also the ICC prosecutor’s last day as prosecutor.  Unfortunately we missed hearing the prosecution’s statements, but we did hear statements from victims’ advocates, and the entire defense.  Lubanga made a statement himself, after not taking the stand or saying anything during the trial, so we got to hear him address the Court for the first and only time during this trial.  He also spent a lot of time watching the gallery, so I can now say I’ve made eye contact with a war criminal.

Friday we had a review session followed by a panel of former students currently working in international law in The Hague.  They shared their academic and professional experiences to give us ideas as to what paths our careers could take.  It was interesting, but unfortunately not very relevant for me.  As a part-time student, I cannot participate in one of the internships they strongly encouraged, I won’t be able to clerk for a judge during my summer break, I’m not coming straight from college with no work experience, and I’m not going to be applying to do an LLM or PhD in Europe after getting my JD.  Plus, at this point, I doubt I’ll practice law, assuming I get my invitation to join the Foreign Service.  I’m hoping that’s not too big an assumption.

Saturday we took a day trip to Amsterdam!  We all went together and took a boat tour of the canals, and then we were given undated return train ticket to The Hague so we could stay and explore on our own.  Some people spent the night, but I decided before leaving I wasn’t going to do that.  I did hang out with some of my classmates and after getting lunch we walked to the Van Gogh Museum, with some splitting off to take in the “Heineken Experience.”  After that I went to the Anne Frank House, and then did a quick lap through the Sex Museum and the Red Light District (it IS Amsterdam).  I have to say, the Museum was not all that impressive, just kind of creepy and weird.  The Red Light District seemed to be a combination of drunk frat boys and sleazy old men… and me and another girl in my class.  We didn’t stick around too long.

I think I’ve somewhat recovered from the VERY long day of walking that was yesterday, which means I’d better try to get some school work done.  Below are some pictures of Gouda and Amsterdam to entertain you.  And Happy Fathers’ Day to all the Dads and granddads out there; Dad, I miss you!


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