Sunday, December 18, 2011

What distracted blogging leads to

So I just noticed that the times on my blog posts are really off. It is not 4 in the morning here, or at home, so I don't know why my blog thinks that is the correct time... maybe I can fix that. Yeah okay fixed that! Problem solved. So like I just said, I really enjoy reading other exchange students post's and I found a really funny one from a girl who was in Norway last year. It's about "You know you're an exchange student when..." and has some really funny ones, so I'm gonna put the ones that I completely have done and add some that are also true, but not on her list. so ready, set, go!

You know you're an exchange student when...

you spend a lot of time smiling, nodding, and pretending you understand what's going on.

you've called every person who says "hi" to you your friend... because you don't really have any yet.

you've said something like 'oh yes' or 'not thanks' only to have everyone laugh because your answer made no sense compared to the question.

You got out of a punishment of being yelled at, or gotten out of school work because you didn't understand the language or pretended that you didn't.

you have gone in to greet someone with a shake of hands and find yourself being pulled into an awkward hug/double kiss on the cheek/handshake or the other way around.

It becomes habit to introduce yourself by saying 'I am from (country) and my name is (name)

You 'talk' to your pets when you phone home.

You can't imagine what life will be like without all the wonderful things you have experienced and friends you have made in your new country.

You can't remember the words for things so you make them up, and everyone understands exactly what you mean, or thinks that your word is cooler than the real word.

you try to speak in the native language and everyone immediately knows "You're not from around here". (edit, or then speaks English to you)

you are always counting the time difference between where you are and home.

You've got friends on more than two continents

You have trouble explaining to your host family why you celebrate certain holidays in your country.

'Good job! I understood you!' is a compliment.

Then these are mine that aren't on that list.

you understand everything when someone is talking or is asking any of the following to you, or to someone about you: Where is she from? Is she English? How long have you been here?

you can now answer the above questions in the native language.

you sometimes forget your own language, and are starting to forget words or spell English words wrong.

everyday is a new adventure, but sometimes nothing that would be of significance to other people happens

people mistake you for a local, until you speak

doing homework is classified as translating it. Doing it is another assignment that you don't want to do.

you read everything just to try to understand, including food labels.

Well, that's all I can think of for right now.. I have no idea if any of you will find this funny, but I know that the other exchange students would all completely agree with this.

oh! This is for Mr. Eckerson if he reads this soon. I gave my project on Confederations and Federations, and it went really well, and everyone learned at least one thing, but it ended up being too much information for all of them! haha so thanks for your help!


So like I said in my last post, I'm kind of sick right now so I'm just gonna sit in bed and blog for a while. So I've now seen Rotterdam also, because the Sunday I posted about the November weekend was the day before Sinterklaas, and my Mom and I went shopping in Rotterdam for some Christmas presents. Yesterday Brian and I went to Amsterdam to meet up with some of the other exchange students for a museum day. The plan originally was (this was all planned out by me, because otherwise we would have spent time arguing over which museum to go to, and spending all day navigating trying to get to one museum.) to go to NEMO, the Maritime Museum and then the Rijksmuseum last before Brian and I had to leave. But people were late and had missed trains, so instead of getting started at ten like we had planned, we ended up getting started about ten thirty or eleven. We only ended up seeing NEMO (which is a science museum for children mostly and the one in the picture here) and the National Maritime Museum because we spent a long time in NEMO. But first I have to thank someone from AFS.

Dear AFS Returnee from the Departure Camp in New York, Thank you so much for telling me about the Museum Kaart they sell in the Netherlands. Without you, I would have never discovered this exists, as they hardly advertise how important this card is. I also would not have been able to tell all my other exchange student friends how for Twenty euros, you can buy a card that works in over 400 museums all throughout the Netherlands, saving them all future money that they would have spent going to Museums that cost any where from 7 to 15 euros to enter one single museum. So thank you. I thank you, and my friends who came with me to the museum indirectly thank you too.

So now to the museums. NEMO is a really interesting science center that we all had far too much fun inside, but I'm glad we went there. The National Maritime Museum is supposed to be one of the greatest museums in Amsterdam right now, and I'm also glad we went there. After NEMO, no one wanted to go there because they didn't think it would be good and didn't believe me that it's one of the best in Amsterdam but everyone enjoyed that one also. This picture is of my friend Romina from Turkey inside of NEMO. After NEMO we went to the National Maritime Museum which is right across the water from NEMO. So, very close. I think the Maritime Museum is one that has things constantly changing because it is so big. Below is a picture of it.

This is the middle of the museum, and it has three wings. We only had time to fully see one, and partly see another, because by that time everyone was just starving and tired. This museum had some exhibits that were really interesting, like one all about the old globes they used to make which were very beautiful. But it also had some really fun ones, like this one about whales. Which had a whale tail you could play on and stuff... haha I plan on going back to this museum, because there was a lot more we could have seen that day, but it doesn't matter, I have my museum kaart!

This is my host brother Brian and I, sitting on a whale's fin in the whale exhibit I talked about above. I always get really distracted when I'm blogging, and the same thing happens everytime. I always want to see if AFS has put up our blogs from this year on their website. (They still have not) I always check this because I want to read other kids blogs and see how they are doing now, and what they are up to. Then I see that they are not up yet, so then I want to read other kids blogs from last year and see what they were thinking about at this time. And let me tell you, even in other countries, it is a lot of the same. Some complain more than others, or have more trouble adjusting, but a lot of them change families! I have no idea why it is such a normal part of being an exchange student, but it happens, and usually works out for the best. So the next blog (or blogs, we'll see if I run out of things to say) is going to be probably only writing, because I don't have any more things I've done recently with pictures. It's almost Christmas!! I don't know if I am going to get home sick or not during it, but so far I have not. It did feel really weird to send presents in the mail home to my parents and to send cards to family, but I don't know how it will feel to wake up on Christmas Day here with my new family. I think it will be nice, but we will have to see I guess!


Ooh sorry, It's been a while since I've last blogged! Well It's almost Christmas, and last weekend I went to a Christmas Market in Germany with my school! It was a really cool thing to do, and I'm glad I signed up for it. In my family we have also already decorated our house for Christmas and gotten our tree. This is the first time I've gotten to have a real Christmas tree, because my mom is allergic, but I think fake ones are better! They don't make as much of a mess, and they look pretty full. Christmas trees here are also different than the ones most people get in America, but yeah. Sorry to anyone who is reading this and isn't friends with me on Facebook, because I put more pictures there recently than on my blog. But I think as teachers you aren't allowed to friend me until I graduate or something like that.. but I don't know. If you're allowed to, you can find me because I have lots of nice pictures up on there. :)

Before I was in Dusseldorf last weekend, on Thursday we got our Christmas tree! We got it from this place called Intratuin. This is a nice decoration set up in the place, which is the garden place we got our Christmas Tree from. It's a huge, huge place, and this one is the biggest one in the Netherlands they told me. There are plants and flowers to buy, but also fake plants and flowers. They sell lots of things to make arrangements and a lot of things that I never really have seen before. They sell pots and little things to make nice decorations out of. But it's a really interesting store, and they sell other things too, like a few strange pets like Prairie dogs, and also clothes and sports things too. Below is basically what the Christmas market looks like.
It's very very crowded, and hard to walk around. There are different sections of the market, but they all contain little booths that sell food, or Christmas decorations or things they have made. They also sell scarfs and wallets, but really a lot of different things. They also sell Gluhwein which is a warm spiced wine, and everyone drinks it and unfortunately just stands in one place while they drink it, causing many traffic problems to the other people trying to walk around the market.
This is one of the shops selling those cookie things and nuts for presents. So this is what the inside of one of the little buildings looks like. Some of the buildings are very nice looking though, but they are set up in the middle of squares around the city. So it's really cool to see the normal shops you can go to, but also see the specifically Christmas ones. Such as the nice looking building below. The building below sold Christmas ornaments only I think. We couldn't go inside because it was far too crowded.
But I spent the day walking around with my friend Lonneke, and shopping and trying all of the delicious German food. It's really cool to be learning Dutch because as we walk around talking, I can now hear the other Dutch people that are visiting the market speaking to each other, and hear the difference between the German. There are all kinds of people visiting Germany's Christmas Markets because they are very famous for them.
You hear English in addition to the German and Dutch, but it's nice not to be speaking English in a place like this. It makes you feel a lot less like a foreigner because you are speaking a language of Europe, rather than with your American accent, clearly giving away that you are a tourist. Mostly I try to speak Dutch now with people at school and it's going really well. I've noticed that a lot of the kids in my class who haven't spoken to me, are now speaking to me more because I'm trying to speak only Dutch and that is more comfortable for them. It goes pretty well talking with them all, although my dutch is broken and my grammar is what they refer to as "Turkish Dutch", they all understand me and seem to be excited that I'm learning their language and trying. It's almost at the four month mark now, and I can't believe how fast its going. My language test is the 28th of January, so it's important that I keep up with the speaking Dutch and studying for the exam. I've been a little bit sick this week, so today I'm going to blog some more and catch up, since Dusseldorf was last weekend.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

November Weekend!

So Right before I came to my new host family, I had a November/Sinterklaas Weekend with AFS. This was a very nice time to see all of the other exchange students living in the South, in Limburg and Brabant and I believe South Holland were the kids that were at this meeting. There were about 15 of us, but that shows how few kids there are in the South of Holland, because there is about 60 or so of us all over the Netherlands.

So we stayed at an AFS Volunteer's house this weekend. She and her husband had a farm that they bought and turned one of the animal stall buildings into a house. This was the first house they finished on this land, and they then finished the other building which is where they live now. So we had a little house with a living room, kitchen and a sleeping room for all of us. We had volunteers some who stayed, some who would only come during the day. There were also lots of people who came to visit us, and see what it would be like to be a foreign exchange student because they are thinking about going abroad too.

So some of the things we did were of course, talk about how we have been doing so far with our host families, and how everything has been. It's really interesting to hear how the other foreign exchange students are doing, and see how their dutch is going as well. You would be suprised at how many of the kids have changed host families already, or are about to. It's very common in the first few months, but it's good for everyone to have other exchange students to support them and be reassured about things they are feeling.

The other highlights included going to this very beautiful park, where they built a strange looking tower in the middle of this area where you can bike, walk or ride your horse. We later went to the pub of that nature area, that is a very old historic pub, with many buildings and places to sit outside. We all sat and drank hot chocolate outside, and looked inside one of the oldest buildings there.

We also had a language test that weekend, to see how our dutch is coming along. The test was hard in parts, but very easy in some. I'd say my Dutch is coming along really well so far. Although it will never be as good as the people who studied it before they left, mine is getting good. Objectively, as compared to some of the other kids my dutch is really good. But I think that is partly because my english is very good, but also because I have started speaking dutch with people.

So the last night, which was Saturday (it was from Friday night to Sunday afternoon) Sinterklaas came! It was really fun, the man was dressed up as Sinterklaas and his wife was a Zwarte Piet. Sinterklaas brought us all chocolate letters and pens that had wooden shoes and a windmill on it. After Sinterklaas left we had a little talent show, which is typical AFS.

I always have so much fun with the exchange students, and I love making future plans with them. On Sunday the host parents came to pick up people, and I went with one of my liaisons to my new family's house. Since then, things have been really nice and I like it a lot there. I can't believe it's almost December already!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hij Komt, Hij Komt, De lieve goede Sint

Sinterklaas!! So things have been busy lately, I will explain more later but a few weekends ago, Sinterklaas came! (to Bergen Op Zoom and lot's of other places all over Holland) And he came over from Spain, and he brought all of his little Helpers with him. They are called Zwarte Piets in Dutch (zwarte means black and Piet is just a name) And it was really really nice to see. All kinds of people are dressed up as zwarte piets. There are acrobatic zwarte piets, bike riding ones, newspaper ones, mail collecting ones, all kinds of people with makeup on their faces helping Sinterklaas. It is a very cool tradition for little kids, and they are all so excited to get candy and things from the zwarte piets as they are walking into the city center.

It's a really big parade in the city, he walks from the docks into the city center, because he arrives on a Steamboat. He walks with all of the people that came from Spain with him, but also with people who are welcoming him into the city. There are many bands playing Sinterklaas music (the title of this blog is a song). It's also really cute to see all of the little kids who are dressed up in Zwarte Piet clothes. So he arrived the 12th and he will stay until December 5th in Holland. It's really a big holiday, on TV there is even news about Sinterklaas and TV Shows about Zwarte Piets. I don't know really why, but every year, something happens to Sinterklaas. Such as they turned right instead of left, or that they forgot all the presents or silly things like that. This year he forgot all of his Zwarte Piets and had to turn around and go get them.

So that's basically Sinterklaas summed up.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Another New Home

So recently I have changed host families. I don't really want to spend too much time talking about it though. So to everyone out there who's reading my blog, you should know that I'm okay now haha. So last week I was living at my liaison's house, and now I'm in a new family. I still get to go to the same school, and my bike ride is still the same amount of time, just to the north of the city instead of the south.

But things are good now, I have two new brothers that I really like, and I enjoy the parents too. We live in a city called Steenbergen, which is really funny because that is also the last name of the family. We have a dog, which is really nice because I had missed having a dog around the house. I have a really nice room, and I still haven't gotten around to unpacking yet... But that's a good sign that I'm busy, rather than having more than enough time to write marathon blog posts that take a good half hour or more. And it's too hard to try and write small posts every now and then, because there are so many little things that happen that it is very hard to document them all.

So that is why I haven't been blogging in so longg! I have to make a post about Sinterklaas, and an AFS Novemeber weekend that was last weekend. My dutch is coming along pretty good now, I can have little conversations and understand really a lot.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Friday, November 4, 2011


In the last post I didn't really talk about Efteling, but we went there with the German family that came. Efteling is the largest theme park in the Netherlands, and it really is bigg! It is also one of the oldest theme parks in the world. (It opened in 1952!! so that's older than Disneyland Resort in California!) But the coolest part about it, is that it's fairy tale themed!! It is one of the most beautiful theme parks I have ever been to, because there are trees and woods and gardens everywhere. It's very much a nature park, even though it is also a theme park. But even all of the buildings and walls fit with the theme. It's not just only roller coasters or places trying to get you to buy things from them. This is the entrance to the park, and Anne-Claire and Stiina walking together.

So since we were with little kids we mostly spent our time in the areas that are for their ages. So, this was a day for Stiina, the four year old little girl. So we spent our time in Laaf Land, the Fairy Tale Forest and the Carnival area. So Laaf land is a made up "land" of these little people who live in this Village called "Laveleer" and you can walk through their village. There is a ride going over the entire village so you can see the different buildings, and then on the ground you can walk through them and see them working and doing daily things. Like here are the bakers making dough. It's all animated, but they're really beautiful designs and music. All of the music in Efteling is written for Efteling. I don't know who writes the music, but it's all personal to the rides and areas and the park.

Then there are carousel rides and swing rides and all kinds of fun rides for the children in the Carnival area. There is also a ride that is similar to it's a small world after all, but it's not in a boat. There are also playgrounds throughout the park. So this is just a building where you can buy food or things, but see the architecture of it? You are allowed to bring food into the park though, so that is different than American Theme parks.

And now the Fairy Tale Forest! Or Sprookjesbos in Dutch. So wikipedia explains it best, so I'm paraphrasing from that. The Fairy Tale Forest has 25 scenes. And there are three different types of scenes. Indoor with a commentary telling the tale; buildings too small to enter, but can be viewed by visitors through the windows; and open-air attractions such as the fountain for the Frog Prince.

Sometimes the tale is presented via electronic voice-over; and in other cases the tale can be read from a book provided nearby that has the story in Dutch, German, English and French. Some scenes are specific events, like Little Red Riding Hood at the Door of her Grandmother's house, while others are more general like the Dwarf Village. But all of them move or talk or do something. In this one, the witch climbs up Rapunzel's hair, not all the way, but then she also climbs back down. Almost all of the scenes have origins. And I will list them for you so you know what came from where. There are ten scenes based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tales: The Wolf and the Seven Young kids, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, Mother Hulda's Well, The Six Servants, Rapunzel, The Frog King (we say Prince in our tale), The Wishing Table, and Sleeping Beauty.

Then there are three scenes from Mother Goose's Fairy Tales by Charles Perrault: Tom Thumb, Little Red Riding Hood, and Cinderella. Four scenes are from Hans Christian Anderson tales: The Red Shoes, The Little Mermaid, The Nightingale, and The Little Match Girl. Then the rest of the scenes do not have a matching tale, such as the Dwarf Village or the Sprookjesbom which is based on a character from it's tv series. Or a tale was created afterwards, such as the Magic Clock. This is a picture of a knight sleeping outside of Sleeping Beauty's palace. There are even sound effects of him snoring, and this one really looks like a real person!! The other really cool thing is how the designers developed a way to keep the park clean. These are called the Paper Gobblers! There are apparently 11 talking waste disposals and they are all throughout the park. Children take trash and put it in the disposals to hear them talk. They call out to you saying that they need to trash because they're hungry, or can't sleep before they eat and things like that. So it encourages the kids to put trash away. The most popular one is Hollow Bulging Gijs, and he makes a gobbling sound when he "eats" garbage and thanks the donor, while Captain Gijs fires a canon to illustrate "his enthusiasm for the guest's tidiness".

And this picture is of the Pagoda and the gondolettas. So that was Efteling!! Anne-Claire, Andrea and I went on a few rollercoasters, an inside one and then the Flying Dutchman which is inside and outside. The Flying Dutchman, everyone knows that name, not necessarily the story, but did you ever make the connection, oh right that's a story about a man from the Netherlands? Well I didn't... but that is similar to pirates of the Caribbean in Disney, because you're walking through the same sort of thing with the barrels and the rooms you are in. AFS goes back there in the Spring, so I will probably go again so we can ride more roller coasters, and see more of the park since we only stayed in one section! But if you want to read more about the fairy tale forest (it's really interestinggg!!) you can look at this wikipedia article.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


That means autumn holiday in Dutch. So we were in Mallorca for a few days, and it was soo nice! I don't think I'm going to write a long post about it, because that's not well, about the Netherlands. But it was wonderful and beautiful and I had a great time. Yay :)

Now some more German family is visiting, and they have two kids, a four year old and a baby, and they're really sweet. And I'm able to tell the differences between German and Dutch now, so that's good. I can understand some German words too now.

Tomorrow is Jelle's birthday, and so today we had all of the family over to celebrate his birthday. I've been to enough birthday's that I now know the song that they sing, so I sang it too for the first time today which was pretty cool. But everything is going really well, and I should probably try to blog more instead of writing massive posts once in a while. But it's hard! All of the exchange students have trouble blogging constantly.

So, now for something I've felt recently. I feel like I need to be here this year. I don't know how to explain it, but other exchange students feel the same way. One other exchange student that I talk to a lot about what's going on, has started to feel the same way as me. And she's the reason I'm writing this blog right now.

I came here not really knowing what to expect, which was good. I also came here with no expectations about what it would be like, because I didn't want to be disappointed, which was also good. Yes I thought it'd help me get into a better college, and yes I thought it would teach me to be more independent. But being an exchange student is about a lot more than that, a lot more personal and a real learning experience. This is the first time I've really been pushed out of my comfort zone, and I think it's doing me a lot of good. Being an exchange student mostly comes down to one thing. Being willing to accept and deal with change. You have to accept it, adapt to it, try to understand it, and at the same time respect it, and finally embrace it.

Now, something that AFS posted that really affected me, and truly truly sums it up in the best way for someone that isn't going through this to understand.

I am an exchange student.
How do you know what is a dream if you never accomplished one.
How do you know what is an adventure if you never took part in one.
How do you know what is anguish if you never said goodbye to your family and friends with your eyes full of tears.
How do you know what is being desperate, if you never arrived in a place alone and could not understand a word of what everyone ...else was saying.
How do you know what is diversity if you never lived under the same roof with people from all over the world?
How do you know what is tolerance, if you never had to get used to something different even if you didn’t like it.
How do you know what is autonomy, if you never had the chance to decide something by yourself?
How do you know what it means to grow up, if you never stopped being a child to start a new course?
How do you know what is to be helpless, if you never wanted to hug someone and had a computer screen to prevent you from doing it.
How do you know what is distance, if you never, looking at a map, said “ I am so far away”.
How do you know what is a language, if you never had to learn one to make friends.
How do you know what is patriotism, if you never shouted “ I love my country” holding a flag in your hands.
How do you know what is the true reality, if you never had the chance to see a lot of them to make one.
How do you know what is an opportunity, if you never caught one.
How do you know what is pride, if you never experienced it for yourself at realizing how much you have accomplished.
How do you know what is to seize the day, if you never saw the time running so fast.
How do you know what is a friend, if the circumstances never showed you the true ones.
How do you know what is a family, if you never had one that supported you unconditionally .
How do you know what are borders, if you never crossed yours , to see what there was on the other side.
How do you know what is imagination, if you never thought about the moment when you would go back home.
How do you know the world, if you have never been an exchange student?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

oh my blogg

Wow, So I really have not posted in a long time on my blog. This is because, well, its actually quite hard to make the time to blog! Twice a week we have hockey, and we always bike there so we have to be ready to leave by 7, and when we leave then we are barely on time. And on Wednesday's I get out of school at 4:40, and have to bike home. This is because we have gym until then, so it's pretty late and really annoying because I get home and then its almost dinner time. Also because when I want to blog, I want to sit down and write lots of things down, rather than just a quick today was good post blah blah. But I don't actually have time to blogg today.

Ah, so I never put pictures of Amsterdam up, so I'm going to write this first, save it as a draft and then post the pictures before this. That way the pictures and blog are there, but you read this post first so you can see you need to scroll and look at the blog about Amsterdam!!

But soo tomorrow we all go to Mallorcaaaaaa!! Yayyy! Warm weatherr! So I'll be back in a bit, and hopefully make a blog about that and maybe another one or something.
Soo be back laterr!

Friday, October 21, 2011


Took me long enough to write this post... But here we goo!! Amsterdam!!
This is such a beautiful city, the buildings are absolutely beautiful, and the weather was perfect this day! So I took a ton of pictures, so now when I go back I don't have to take pictures of everything like a tourist. In Amsterdam, basically we spent the whole day getting a walking tour of the city. We really walked everyyywhere. Each tour ended up being different though. Although I'm glad we had the guide we did, because she was the one who made the tour, so we got all the history of Amsterdam and saw everything there was to see for a tourist, while some of the other groups didn't have as much of that, they had sillier tours. So I'm happy it worked out the way it did. So Elizabeth (our AFS guide) started off by telling us to look out for two things, bikes, and trams. As a pedestrian, you are basically the equivalent of a bug,
so you have to watch out you don't get smushed by yourself. No one is going to stop for you. Pedestrians < Bikes < Cars < Busses < Trams. So trams always have the right of way, and their rails are right where people walk so... You really have to keep an eye out. So this building is.. nice. I don't remember what it is, all I remember is that its in the Chinese area of Amsterdam, and that it is now a restaurant and the place we were standing used to be underwater.

None of these pictures are in order, but that's okay, it doesn't matter the order. So these buildings, as you can see are crooked. I first thought that this was because they are starting to sink from old age, but it's actually how the buildings were built. They were built this way so that you could bring furniture into your upper levels. Houses in Amsterdam have very small staircases, so it's hard to move furniture in and out. So if you look closely you can see (for lack of a better word) pieces of white wood sticking off of them, just, the things sticking straight out on the top!! These are the pulleys that are used to pull the furniture up. so, these buildings are built so that when the furniture is being pulled up, it wouldn't hit the house, so they're built a little bit unusual, but for a smart reason
And this is the narrowest house in Amsterdam. It is only 2.02 meter wide, and I'm not really sure how one would live in it, but somehow they did! (or still do..?) But it's a very typical tourist attraction now, so living in it would be pretty annoying. I can't remember if I've mentioned this, but the Dutch do not have curtains on their windows. If you do, it signifies you have something to hide from your neighbors, so if you were to live in a place like this now, it would be really annoying to have tourists looking into your windows all day long. So most houses do not have curtains, and sometimes you see a house with half curtains, but you can still clearly see into the house. That's me in the picture by the way, I don't know which countries the kids that are standing near me are from, because they weren't in my group. Oh and that's also
my school bag that I bought here. Which is typically dutch. Most girls use bags or small (key word SMALL) backpacks at school, and well, everywhere else. They take this bag to hockey with their hockey things in it, to school with their books, and to the city or anywhere. They seem to be pretty durable bags though, since most of their life is spent on the back of a bike in the rain. I really like it a lot.
So the picture above is Anne-Claire, Linda and I. Linda is another foreign exchange student, but she is from Argentina. This picture is of the old city hall on the Central Dam Square. It is now a palace, and has been since 1806. But Dam Square is located in the center of Amsterdam and is apparently one of the largest in Europe. This square is named after the National Monument located in the Dam, which is a marble obelisk that is 22 meters high. This monument is dedicated to soldiers killed during World War II. Here is the monument.
So this is a really important square in the Netherlands, because every year on May 4th they celebrate "Nationale Dodenherkenking", which is a remembrance of the dead. This day commemorates all civilians and members of the armed forces of the "Kingdom of the Netherlands" who have died in wars or peacekeeping missions since the outbreak World War II. So, this includes the other peacekeeping and military missions that have happened since this war. The Queen comes here to this square with the rest of the royal family and cabinet members, etc. At 8p.m. on this day, there is two minutes of silence through out the Netherlands. Everything stops. Public transport is stopped (or isn't running at this time), as well as other traffic. Radio and TV only broadcast the ceremonies from 19.00 to 20.30.
This is a building that is a massive shopping center, and its near the square. But the buildings are really so beautiful here. (And if you're reading this Mr. Eckerson I know why!) This is because of the trade with the East by the Dutch East India company. They were one of the richest nations in the world during the 1700's, and this really framed the architecture of the city. Many of the canal houses were built in the 17th Century during the boom time of the Golden Age. Each of them has a gabled roof facade in a shape that is unique to the Netherlands, and they are just beautiful. So the Netherlands has these beautiful buildings that are under-appreciated because of the label Amsterdam has throughout Europe, and everywhere else. I think it's because people don't really think of going to the Netherlands to
see the cities, even though Amsterdam is if not, one of the more beautiful European Cities I have seen in my travels. So go visit the Netherlands! It was more established and secure in its economy a longer time ago, so the buildings are old and nice and not falling apart like in Athens! The Holy Roman empire lasted a long time remember.. the Dutch were already trading in the East before Germany was even a solidified country. But my point is the Netherlands is really a beautiful country that is under appreciated, and it's a nice country to go visit. SO GO VISIT!! There is just as much history as anywhere else, just, Dutch History. Yeah, a rant, I guess I feel some attachment to this country.
So the picture above is the back of the flower markett, and this is one of the insides! They really all look the same, and seem to all be selling the same things. Lots of seeds, all kinds of seeds, of course tulips and then some places sell already grown flowers too. Okay sooo I forgot to upload a few pictures. But I will just tell you about them. One other place we went was the Begijnhof, which is one of the oldest inner courts in Amsterdam. It is a really beautiful and quiet place in the city, and it is a really nice place to see or just to relax from walking in the city all day.
The oldest house is also here, It's an old wooden house that they have restored and it's from the Middle Ages. We also saw the outside of the Anne-Frank Museum which is SO unimpressive I didn't want to put a picture up. It's been modernized on the outside, but apparently a lot of the inside is still the same, but it's not very nice looking on the outside... So this is where we ended our tour, in front of the Rijksmuseum, where this lovely sign I AMsterdam is located. So we of course had to take a picture with all of the foreign exchange students. There might be a few random people that aren't an exchange student, like the guy walking at the end of the picture, but this is all of us. And there is a lott. So it was hard to take this picture because everyone wants to climb all over this art piece. In the picture below of Anne-Claire and I, some random people have already climbed onto the sign, but me and her are below the M arches.
So after this we went shopping in the city with some other AFS kids. It was really fun with Anne-Claire and I'm glad she got to meet all the other students and see what everyone is like and well, why they choose Holland! We navigated the city, me with my map and Anne-Claire by knowing where the shopping street was, leading all of the kids that came with us around. It was a really fun day, and then we all ate and got back on the train to go home. I'm sure I will go back to Amsterdam many times, and see many of the museums there during this year. But that was our day in Amsterdam!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Some Birthday Pictures

Some pictures from the tea we had and the girls that came over to celebrate

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First, some culture.

Wow! So things are finally starting to get busy. I find myself not having as much time to sit around as I did in the beginning. But luckily I have notebooks so I can write things down here or there so I wont forget. I think I'm finally used to how things are here, because I've gotten used to the biking to and from school, and going to class and everything. It no longer seems strange. It's still exciting, but now its getting nicer. I also have found a girl to bike to and from school on some days, which will be really nice because being alone isn't as fun on a bike.

So this post is going to be about some culture differences. First off I have to start by saying that this post is inspired by the other day when talking to my host mom. I was talking about the senior exhibit process at FA (if you don't know what that is there is an older post about it) And she suggested that cultural differences would be a really interesting area for my learning activity.

Now, when you think of the Netherlands and the United States, at first you wouldn't think that there would be really THAT many differences right? I mean yeah okay they bike everywhere, but table manners are universal right? Uhh, no. wrong. wrong wrongy wrong. Table manners are one of the things where we have found the most differences. Now, it's not that I have bad table manners or anything, American's just have these typical manners that the Dutch (and most of Europe) do not have.

This is not off topic, its part of the story. The other day Hans and Andrea went for a walk and saw some friends of theirs. Now these friends have an American daughter in law. And they got to talking and mentioned how they have an American living in their house for a year, etc. And Andrea asked if they could tell them about some cultural differences they had noticed. The humor here will be lost, but only because you all back home won't realize you do these "habits" without noticing... But Hans and Andrea found it hilarious that these people were listing things I do.
Number 1. Eating without a knife. When we eat, we use our knife to cut things, and then set it back down. The Dutch use their knife to move food onto their fork, and it remains in their hands at all times and is never set down.
2. Keeping hands on the table when eating. In America, generally when we eat we tend to leave one hand on our lap. This is usually the hand that is holding the napkin (the Dutch also do not put their napkins on their laps, and it is not considered rude if you leave it on the table). So when we're eating, our knife is on the plate and we are using one hand.
Weird to think that you do that isn't it? And those were the two main things that the friends with the American daughter in law said. The other day in a movie, Andrea even noticed that a shrink was eating EXACTLY LIKE THAT!! With his hand on his lap and only with the fork.

Then there's one other thing we do. Closing the door when people leave. Now, this is different for every household in America I think, but in my family we do it on occasion, unless the dog goes outside, then everybody goes outside. So, in America, when people leave your house you most likely say your goodbyes in the house, they walk out the door and you close it. MOST TIMES!! not always, I will admit. BUT in the Netherlands, when people leave, you walk with them to their car, and wave until you absolutely can not even see their car anymore. I do like this method a lot better though, I find it very sweet.

So now this blog post is going to get a bit unorganized because I don't know how to organize these thoughts. But Anne-Claire and I went to Amsterdam on Saturday with AFS, and we had a wonderful day with all of the exchange students. I will try to upload some pictures and do a nice blog soon. But I think it was really nice for her to have the same experience with all of the kids that I did when I came back from the Orientation camp a few weeks ago. So look for that soon.

Now onto random observations:

1 The Weather
So yes, Dutch people love to complain about the weather, but for some strange reason we just went through an entire week that it was hot!! We're talking high 70's here. And that doesn't make any sense to me at all! It didn't rain at all that week, and here I was expecting to be wearing sweaters and all of these WARM clothes by now. That's a no... It is a lot cooler this week, but still no rain yet.. It's coming though...

2 Bikes and Biking
Obviously biking is a very important part of most everyone's life, unless you own a Vespa. But when you bike all the time, you get quite good at it. So good, its almost graceful. This applies to getting off of a bike, starting a bike, and riding on the back of someone's bike.

When dutch people get off of their bike, they don't brake to get off of it. They simply swing one leg over, keep the other one on the pedal and step onto the ground, bike still going. This has taken me a LONG time to learn, but I'm a lot better at it now, while I couldn't do it at all the first month. Starting a bike is the same process as getting off of it, except in reverse. They can ride their bikes on only one foot, and then go from standing to sitting while still moving. The final graceful thing is riding on the back of a bike. When girls ride on the back of a bike (usually it is behind a guy, but sometimes behind a girl too) the bike starts moving before they sit on it. I have no idea how this works at all, but I have yet to see this process fail. And then they sit peacefully on the back of the bike, either sideways or forwards sitting like it is not a big deal at all that two people are on one bike.

Now the next part of biking applies to temperature and biking. I don't know how kids and adults bike to school in many layers in the morning. Every morning biking to school I always get really really hot! Almost to the point that I feel sweaty, so usually I don't wear a jacket, or take it off. And I go by these ladies on their bikes wearing warm coats or scarves or whatever warm thing it is, and they don't look even a bit warm! But I almost always have to push up the sleeves on my jacket or take it off.

This brings me to another point. They can ride their bikes without hands. I have only also just recently managed to do this. And even then, I can't do it all the time. Although taking off a jacket causes lots of swerving on the road. And that's yet another point about biking. The dutch can bike in perfectly straight, perfect lines. This I can not do at all. And it makes me look like a horrible bike rider because I'm always swerving a little bit, especially when going up hill.

So those are just some little things going on. Also that I signed up for a school trip to go to Berlin, Dresden and Prague in the spring and I'm really excited for that! I don't know anybody else who is going yet, but by that time I will speak dutch and can get to know other people on the trip. I'm also going to Dusseldorf, which is a very famous Christmas city in Germany. We're going to go there with school one Saturday in December. I'm also very excited for this. Soo I think that's it for now. So just keep reading my blogg!! :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Birthday Pictures!

Anne-Claire's first hockey stick for her birthday! And Oma Renate
Opening the presents from Oma Renate and Opa Gunter
Opening the present from Anne-Claire and Jelle
A dark picture, but all of the presents and Anne-Claire and I talking about her baking book that she's so excited about.
And all of the family, Minus Andrea.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Birthday's, Birthday's and more birthday's!

So this past weekend, starting on Thursday was all about birthdays!! My birthday was this past Thursday, and I could not have wished for a better time for my birthday. On Thursday Andrea's parents came and when they arrived we had tea and cake (typical way to celebrate) and I opened all of my presents and cards from my family back home.

Friday was a celebration with my friends from school. I invited 5 girls over for a high tea that Andrea made for us. It was absolutely wonderful. Andrea is such a good cook, and I'm so grateful that she did all this work for my birthday. She made scones with the cream and jam, brownies and really good tea sandwiches. There were egg salad, chicken salad, cheese and ones with brie and jam that were too good. I had a really good time with all of my friends and I think they really enjoyed coming over too. They all gave me a really beautiful scarf and bracelet for my birthday, and a little gift card to H&M so I can go shopping soon! But it was a really nice afternoon spent.

All weekend we had lots of different kinds of cakes, which was really fun to try too. Then on Sunday all of the family came over! We celebrated Anne-Claire and I's birthdays together. That morning we opened our presents and the rest of the family came over later that afternoon. There were 17 of us in total, and we moved the table from inside, to outside so we could all have room to sit. That was really nice too. But, this birthday was really fun because even though I have been to two birthdays here, I now got to learn about the inside traditions behind birthdays.

Every birthday you have a birthday table, which is a table that you can display all of the presents on. This seemed like a strange idea to me at the time, but when the family arrived they wanted to see my presents! This surprised me, but it was nice to be able to show the presents to. Andrea teaches me a lot about Dutch people everyday, so I need to share something with you all. Dutch people are genuinely interested in you. This explains why they wanted to see what birthday presents I had received. They ask you questions and are actually wondering how you are doing and really care to hear. This is not just true for the family, because it's true with people at school. It's not as noticeable with kids at school, but everyone always asks how your weekend or day is going. And its normal for you to be interested as well, which I feel is very different than home, because when someone asks you how you are doing, you say good, and they say they're good too, and that's about it. To find out how they are actually doing you have to dig a bit deeper.

There are also some table manner differences... little things. For example, it is considered rude to not eat everything on your plate. And the other day I learned that you are supposed to keep both hands on the table at all times when eating, even if you are only using one utensil like a spoon or something. This I feel is different than America because when I am eating at a restaurant at home, generally I keep one hand on my napkin also, since I use it a lot. I am not sure if the hands above the table rule is a etiquette rule in America, but if it is I have never heard it. Also in the Netherlands, it is not considered rude to keep your napkin on the table. We don't use napkins a lot, but the other night we did and I noticed I was the only one who put my napkin on my lap. This was when I learned about the both hands rule, and then I asked about the napkins. They said that it is perfectly normal to have a napkin on the table, even if you are eating out. This was interesting to me since it's considered very rude not to put your napkin on your lap, and sometimes waiters will put it on your lap if you haven't at a nice restaurant. We always find it very interesting the differences we have in manners because you wouldn't imagine how many differences there are.

But for my birthday I got some really nice presents. I also gave Anne-Claire her present which was really wonderful. I gave her a baking book from America, and measuring spoons to go along with it so she doesn't have to convert them. She was looking at the book all morning, and it's so nice to see how much she likes it. She just can't wait to start baking. It's a really nice book too because there are pictures that show "what went wrong". So if the cake doesn't look like it is supposed to, you can see, oh I didn't do this right, so it matches the incorrect cake picture here. Anne-Claire and I both got a rain poncho, which will be good for those rainy school mornings, but it's also good because you don't sweat in it. From Hans and Andrea I got a pair of Birkenstock! I am so excited they found them because it was the off season for them. They're a really nice color, and they're very unique but they will go with so many things. We both got a handmade card from the German Oma and Opa, and a bike bell and candy from another family member in Germany that I will meet at Christmas. From the Dutch family I got a nice sweater and some shirts and a board game called I love Holland, which I think is also a game show on TV. I also got a little gift card to a jewelry store so that will be nice to shop for. But it was a very nice birthday, and it was really wonderful of all the family to give me presents as well. They've really welcomed me into the family, and not just my host family, the entire family has.

But it was such a nice weekend, and things are going well. The routine is still not really there yet, but I think that is because my school schedule is so strange, and since last week we had a 40 minute roster. That means that each period was only 40 minutes instead of fifty, so all the times were off. But it has been nice having the German grandparents stay here. Oma Renate is a gymnast, and her and her partner were on a German quiz show (i think it was a quiz show) performing their routine on tv, which aired on Friday. It's amazing to think she's 73 and can still stand on her head and do the splits... very good performance. And Opa Gunter reminds me of my Dad's father a lot. He seems a lot older to me than my grandfather does, even though he is younger. But he is very sweet and likes to talk too much like my grandfather. We have all spent a lot of time together playing games (including one that I always lose). The language barrier is definitely hard though. Oma does not speak much English, so mostly she speaks in German and sometimes a little bit of English, but not much at all. Opa speaks english however, but he only talks if you sit next to him and listen to him. But I feel like I'm in my first week of being here again. German is a lot different than Dutch, even though many people think they are similar. German is not a guttural language like Dutch is. They do share some of the same words, but it's not close at all... So this has been a challenge, but it was nice to spend time with them, since I will be seeing them again at Christmas. So soon we will be back into the Dutch. I will post pictures from this weekend soon!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

AFS orientation weekend!!!

Wow, even though I haven't been doing much of anything to blog about I feel like I've been very busy. School takes up a lot of time since I have to try and do homework and sometimes I'm just exhausted and don't have anything to say. But school is getting better... sometimes... History and Economics are just far too hard for me to even try, but the rest of them are going pretty well, other than Dutch, which I just listen to. I have friends which is very nice, and that helps a lot just with everything that goes on. My birthday is coming up soon, so I'm going to have them over to the house and we're going to have a high tea and it should be very fun. Other than that I'm working on getting a routine going, but it's hard since everyday starts at a different time... Anne-Claire went to train with a hockey team today, and now we just have to hope that I can play with her. But she loves my stick and says it's really nice, so that's cool. But other than that things are great! This weekend deserves a post though, so I'm going to blog about that.

So I'm finally back home from an amazing AFS orientation. This was our orientation camp, and it was the first time we got to meet all of our fellow Netherland AFSers. It's so so amazing to be here. This camp was just absolutely amazing. To think that I can be in the same room with so many people from so many different countries is something really special. I just can't describe the feeling of sitting and eating with people you just met, having conversations about anything you could imagine. This is such a wonderful way for other countries to connect and meet each other, because everyone is so curious about other countries and what its really like, or your opinions about their country or their people. It's just the most unique feeling I've ever felt.

So now about the camp. This camp was basically a way to get to know all the other kids in this country, and to learn some dutch and learn about some other AFS things. It was a three day orientation, from Friday to Sunday, and there were 5 work shops. The first day there was 1, Saturday there was 3 and the final one was on Sunday. Every work shop had a different group of people in it so you were with different kids every time.

The first workshop was called the "Afs Experience" and we had to talk about what we were expecting from the year, and we all made charts with things we are expecting from this year. A lot of people's ideas seem to be the same, to become more independent, make new friends, learn dutch, those were the main things that people said. Friday we had a lot of free time too, because some kids had just arrived to the Netherlands and they were all really tired. A lot of the kids that arrived that day were from Thailand or Hong Kong so they had a really long flight.

The next morning, we had a workshop called "Typically Dutch". This was a game that we played were we had to choose A,B,C,or D for answers to the question. This was all Dutch trivia, some we knew and some we did not. Some of the questions included, How much milk does a dutch dairy cow produce per day (20 Liters) or Which animal are there more of than people in the Netherlands (the answer is pigs...) and then easy things like what is the capital of the Netherlands and what countries border the Netherlands. We also listened to a song from a Dutch man that he wrote about the Netherlands and we looked and talked about the lyrics in the song.

Then also we had two other ones called Dutch for Dummies and How to Survive in Dutch. Neither of the groups found these particularly helpful, because all of the people in the group had already been here a while, so we all thought it would have been more helpful at the beginning rather than now. We also talked about how people are doing with the Delfse Methode (which is the method that AFS gave us to learn dutch) And I think my family is one of the few that was able to figure it out so I could work on it.

After those we had a really fun competition. We played all of these games in teams. One of the games was a typical dutch game called "koekenhappen" which is played with Onbijtkoek, which is a breakfast cake (thats what it means literally translated). So the onbijtkoek was strung on a piece of string, and you had to try and get the cake off the string as fast as possible. You were competing with another team to try and do it as fast as possible. The string is held high in the air so that you have to stretch and try to get it. Another one was we had to eat a "beschuit" and then try and whistle. Now these are very very dry pieces of round bread, so they're hard to eat fast. This is also what you put the "muisjes" to eat when a baby is born. There were other games like musical chairs and not typical dutch games as well.

That night there was also a talent show, and people put on a lot of different acts. A lot of people had traditional costumes from their country (the people at left are all from Thailand) and a lot of people did funny things, and some did serious things.

The next day we had one more workshop, and this was called "wegwijs in Nederland" which means navigating in the Netherlands. This was with our country specific groups, so I was with all the other Americans. This was just talking about common sense things like who has the right of way. Luckily a few of us have already taken drivers ed so we knew who had the right of way.

But over all it was a really fun weekend and I met some amazing people. These two girls are from Belgium and the one in the middle is from Turkey. We just really connected from the first time we met, and it's just really amazing to me how little time we spent together and how close we got, but also just how much we all have in common since we're going through this experience.

So I start hockey next week, and I'm really excited! School has its ups and downs but soon the language will click. bye-bye for now!!

Monday, September 12, 2011


So this is to anyone that reads my blog on a regular basis! So I've been very busy this past week, and I had to go to an orientation camp this weekend with AFS, so I'm still tired from that and I don't have enough energy to write a long blog post!! But I will, I'm slowly working on it and I will hopefully have time tomorrow after school, so check back soon!

Everything's going well though!

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A beach day?!?

Wow, how can I even begin to describe how the weather is here! Its typically dutch to always complain about the weather, and now I can see why! So yesterday, we had a day that was 30 degrees Celsius which is 86 degrees Fahrenheit!! And then today its warm but kind of cloudy. The weather changes every single day, and you can have a day where it is nice, and then the next day it will be cold and rainy! It is very strange how the weather acts here.

So on Saturday, it was going to be so nice that we planned to go to the beach, and man was it a nice day!! Like I said, it was 86 degrees, and there were quite a few people at the beach! This is a picture of the beach. Hans said that this beach is the nicest sand in Europe. It sounds strange to say that, but it would be one of the nicest beaches if only the water was warmer, but the sand is the nicest in Europe, that's pretty cool!!

So this is a picture of where we were in the Netherlands. Its called Zeeland, and is about a 50 minute drive away from our house. While I was looking up how to spell Zeeland, I learned that this is what New Zealand is named after, because when the Dutch explorers found the area, they named it Nieuw Zeeland, or New Zealand in English. Zeeland literally means sea country (or land or state, dutch words have multiple meanings too) in dutch if you break it up into two words. It takes a while to get here because you have to drive really out west to get to this beach, since it is on the water. From this beach if you swim, you end up in England! That's a pretty long swim though...
So since most of the Netherlands is reclaimed land, there are a few things that they do to protect their land. The first of which you can see in the first picture. Those are wooden pillars stuck into the ground to break the waves and that is one method of protecting the land. The second method protecting the land is these giant dunes!!! We have to walk over them to get down to the beach, and as you can see by this picture (if you click on it, it gets a bit bigger) these are quite a hike to get up!! There's little people farther up the dunes, so that gives some perspective. And of course there are bike racks, for the people staying in the town. This place is a huge vacation spot, so a lot of the houses that are in this area are rental houses, or summer homes.
So after you hike up the dunes to get to the beach, you have to walk down stairs! This is me right before we went down the stairs. Off to the left you can see what looks like little cabanas, and they are very pretty and colorful. People can rent these for the entire summer so they can keep all of their chairs or umbrellas at the beach so they don't have to drag them to the beach every time. You can't see it in this picture, but there's a little restaurant to my right. You can see the boardwalk leading over to it though. It looked like a nice little place, but it was truly the only commercial thing on this beach, which is ALOT different from any beach in America. As you can also see, even though this was a very hot day, there is still space on the beach to sit! Everyone has lots of room to spread out, and of course if you walk further, there is no one there. But while we were there, we even saw people that Hans and Andrea knew from Hoogerheide! So it's not a very well kept secret, and everyone goes there when it is nice out, and you don't feel like people are breathing down your neck.
I thought the water was really cold though! But apparently a lot of people did not think it was cold at all, so I guess I'm just spoiled with nice temperature water. Anne-Claire also thought it was really cold, but this was because she was just in Rome, so she also had nice water to swim in. But there was a lot of people swimming in the water, including many dogs.
I thought it was so nice that dogs are allowed on this beach, because in America, there are a lot beaches that do not allow dogs to be on them. But little children, dogs and many adults thought the water was wonderful, including my host mom!! She was like, I'm going to go swimming, and I said, are you really? because if you do I have to take a picture!! And she just jumped right into the water. She got back in a few times actually.
The tide was out while we were at the beach, and it left such a long ways that was just sand. I thought the sand looked really pretty so I took a picture of it. But since there is this giant stretch of land, you can walk in the water a really long way without having to be swimming completely. So this is nice for everyone because you can walk alot. The only thing is there are little crabs in the sand, and jellyfish sometimes. We only saw a few jellyfish, but they were stuck in the sand and dead. And Anne-Claire and I also saw a lady walking with a little crab in her hand.
This beach was really cool to see, because there was also a lot of activity in the water. There were a few sailboats, and even some motorboats with people trying to water ski. There was one guy who kept falling alot, but there was another one who was very good. There were also a couple of container boats that went by, and I thought it was a little strange that they came so close to the land. But it was a little bit foggy in the distance, so I couldn't see how big this channel was. I can't imagine its too big, since England is pretty close to the Netherlands, but I don't know if you could see it on a clear day.
The little town was also really cool to see, because again, its not commercial at all. All of the buildings have the pretty "Dutch Orange" color, which I really like. You can also see the town's windmill off in the distance. Now I'm going to post a few pictures of the town, and then continue writing.

The Germans occupied the Netherlands during World War 2, so there's alot of bunkers in this area. Here's one that we got to go look at. We couldn't go inside of it though, because it's only open on certain days.

Here is also a map of the inside of the bunker. I thought it was really cool how it's built into the dunes, and there are two bunkers in this area. There was also a lot of bunkers on the way to the beach. Below is a picture of another bunker we passed on the way to the beach, and the top of the bunker we saw. I had alot of fun at the beach, but I never thought it would be so hot here! I wish I had more shorts, but soon I won't want them so it doesn't matter.
This weekend I have to go to an AFS orientation thing. I'm really not excited for it because a lot is going on here that weekend! Anne-Claire has a gymnastics show that I can't go to. And I'm really upset that I can't see it because its more like a show with stunts and flips and cool things. So I can't see that. Then also, there is this really cool play thing called Diedrick. It's an outdoor play in Bergen Op Zoom that they have every year. Every three years the play changes, and the actors are in it for three years. It's supposed to be a beautiful production, but it's also historical so everyone is dressed up in old costumes. Even though I wouldn't understand the words, I wanted to see the music and performance.
It's supposed to be a really famous production all throughout the Netherlands, and I'm so mad that this stupid orientation is making me miss that! There is also a monument day this weekend, and you can go see all of the different monuments all throughout the Netherlands (I think for free). So I'm missing that too!! It's also this festival thing this weekend too, but I'm not as disappointed to miss that. So I wish I could see Diedrick because Anne-Claire was in the play when she was 11, 12 and 13, and it was a different one but I've seen a few pictures. One day she said we can watch the DVD of it. But it's still different than being there. Soo, anyways, hope this weekend is at least kind of fun, but at least everything else I've been doing has been really fun! Don't have class till 12:05 tomorrow, so happy!