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!