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!!

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