Visiting Joe College


Yesterday we brought Joe across the country (2 hours by car) to Leiden University. I hadn’t seen his room yet and of course I was dying with curiosity. We were also bringing cookware, cleaning products, and clean laundry, or the 3 C’s as I call them.

Leiden is an adorable town. There were undergraduates, some oddly dressed (I swear I we almost ran over Bertie Wooster’s twin while trying to park along the canal) swarming over the streets like friendly bees on foot or on bikes, other concerned parents like us carrying provisions and laundry to their offspring, older, bemused couples years in residence obviously popping out the door to run errands or walk the dog seemed to take it all in their stride. Including the group of students led by a youth bearing a skeletal hand like a scepter and making them do silly things. If I weren’t sure it would give Joe College a stress related aneurysm, I’d talk Vince into moving there next week.

Joe has a room in an old rowhouse on the Noordeinde. 

The street paving is red. This means pedestrians and bicyclists have right of way. Handy. There’s a pub on every corner! This is Joe’s local:

Just a few doors down, really.

I was rather astonished when I saw his room for the first time. It was as though he’d transported his old bedroom at our house to Leiden, exactly the way it was, in all ilts messy glory.

This photo was taken after I hung up the clothes that were on the floor and went at the mirror with windex. I’ve been told that I am not allowed to do that ever again. We went out to lunch at Scarlatti and after a few glases of wine, good humor was restored.

We left Joe to do his own thing after lunch and headed back east. With my mind at ease, now that I know he’s living in a semi-civilized manner, I conked out for most of the drive home. Come to think of it, that might have been down to that second glass of Thüringer riesling I had at lunch. At any rate, I was immensely relieved to know that Joe wasn’t living on cookies and Red Bull, and that he had clean sheets on his bed.

Flyers were handed out to all students during the intro week. This one suggests booking a room (with a decent bed) at the hotel instead of bunking down on an air-mattress in your kid’s room. There’s even free wifi!

Joe said we’re definitely welcome to hang out for a weekend (and of course take him to dinner), but there’s no way he’s going to let us bunk down at his place. Hey, I checked out the bathroom at his place. I wouldn’t dream of bunking down there.

I miss him already.

(Photos of Noordeinde and Joe’s Room by Joe, pic of Hilton in flyer by me, all other images found at Google).



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