Lanigraphie – exchange student sharing her experiences in pictures

About me

My name is Lani, I’m 20 years old and from Berlin, Germany. I’m in my third year of study in Business Administration at Humboldt University of Berlin and am excited to be doing my Erasmus semester here at VU Amsterdam. In my free time I love photography and I share all my artwork on my blog, “Lanigraphie“. Since I’ve been here, I’ve hardly put my camera down! If you see a little crazy asian girl with a camera snapping away around Uilenstede, it’s probably me.

You can check out all my photos on my blog:

or on my Facebook:

I love having new readers. Enjoy my blog posts and pictures!

The adventure begins

It’s 4:30am and I can already see foreign language street signs. I slowly wake and notice that I’ve got some lovely “morning breath,“ so I must have finally snoozed for a bit in the bus. Taking a bus for 10 hours sounds horrible but with just 29€, it was the cheapest way to get from Berlin to Amsterdam and you can take as much luggage as you want. With promises of free Wi-Fi on the website, the trip shouldn’t be too bad – but of course it was too good to be true, it didn’t work. But never mind, I can’t stare at a screen or read a book whilst driving due to a bad case of carsickness. The radio played the whole time, which was really annoying but I was too shy to ask the driver if he could switch it off. And of course, someone behind me snored loudly the whole time. My nose was a little cold, and a small blanket would have been a great idea – seems like summer was already ending.

In the bus there were a lot of the stereotypical stoners heading to Amsterdam to take advantage of all the weed there. And then, amongst al these people there is me: the crazy Asian girl crying the whole time and with way too much baggage. I was probably the only person on the bus travelling to Amsterdam to study and not just for a drug-taking holiday.

Before the bus left, my parents were constantly running on to the bus to check whether everything is fine. My dad hung up my jacket while my mum kept reminding me to take care of my valuables. I wanted to say: “Mom, Dad – I’m old enough to do it by myself!“ But, thinking about going to live in a different country by myself, I wasn’t sure if it was true. I definitely don’t feel mature enough. So I told myself, “You can cry on the bus, no one cares. But once your arrive, no more!”

My blue bike

I’m so annoyed. Since I’ve arrived, it’s been raining everyday. And today it’s raining even harder. And as I write these sentences, I think I can even hear thunder – one could definitely say it’s raining cats and dogs. The kitchen and living room are empty. The weather has kept all my other housemates tucked away in their rooms. I’m thinking about what I would do in Berlin if the weather was as bad as it is now. Probably just the same – sitting in my bed with my laptop and hanging around. I really enjoy these kinds of rainy days when I’m in Berlin. But here in Amsterdam, I’m just feeling lonely. For me, it’s really hard to move out from home and to leave all my friends and family. I’m still very homesick, I think. But sometimes, maybe just for a few minutes, I’m lucky and the sun is shining. I always have to use these moments! I’m gonna run downstairs to my blue bike and start cycling. Directionless. Wherever I go, it doesn’t matter, because there are enough new things to explore. At these moments I finally feel happy and free. To me, this blue bike stands for independence and freedom.

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