Elliot and I finished the first draft of the oligarchy paper this week. We spent the entire week working on it, work that culminated in a 30,000 word paper (that will eventually have to be reduced to 10,000 words). Although I only contributed one section (of six) to the paper, it feels great to see the culmination of the last two months of work. Reading through so many constitutions has really opened my eyes to the ways in which different cultures attempt to address important issues, whether those issues are to do with civil rights, the economy, or natural resources. I have a new perspective on American law for having seen the ways in which the law can be molded and shaped in different places. I can't wait to see what else I learn in the next few weeks before I return home.
This weekend, I also visited Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Holland. Kinderdijk is unique for its 19 windmills, which were built in the 18th century to help with water drainage in the area. The windmills are still kept in pristine shape today and can be visited by foot or by boat. I have wanted to see Kinderdijk since I arrived in the Netherlands, so I'm very glad I had the opportunity to go, even if I got on the wrong bus on the way there (oops). That small mishap was no problem in the end because a very patient bus driver directed me to the correct bus stop after I asked him why I ended up at a metro station instead of surrounded by tulips. Once I found my way to the correct bus, it was easy-going from there. I spent a relaxing hour or two walking through the windmills, taking pictures, and eating cheap ice cream, which all made for a wonderful afternoon. I would highly suggest that anyone planning on visiting the Netherlands consider a trip to Kinderdijk. After all, the windmills cost 15,000 euro a year (each) to maintain, so any and all visitors are encouraged to spend some souvenir money there!
I can't believe I only have two and a half weeks left in the Netherlands. I am planning on seeing a few more sites before I go though. My friend is flying in to visit me this coming weekend and we're going to spend time in Amsterdam, Brussels, Geneva, Zurich, and Frankfurt over the next two weekends. I am looking forward to all of our adventures and to the last few weeks of working in this incredible country.