Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Hey everyone! Well not too much has happened since vacation, but I still did a little bit to keep myself busy. As usual the school week was normal with a few basketball practices in between. It's hard to believe that I only have a few practices left here in the Netherlands. I think they may be the last actual basketball practices of my life because I don't actually play in the States. As I say on every update it has been a great year to be a part of our team here. Yesterday we actually had a game. I thought our games were over but I was wrong. I guess it wasn't really a game though just more like a fun competition. Tracks Parkstad is the club that I am with, but there are several teams within the club so they got all teams together and picked people randomly. So now we all play against each other. It was quite fun yesterday and I met some new people as well. Yesterday was also my first host brothers birthday so I was invited to go over there for dinner. It was just like old times, and I really enjoyed it. Okay, so this past weekend we had a another weekend with the exchange students. This time it was a shorter weekend (literally less than 24 hours) but it was extremely fun. We went wadlopen. Now before you get all confused let me explain to you what it is. This type of walking takes place in the Wadden sea which stretches from the north of the Netherlands all the way up to Denmark. The prerequisite for Wadlopen is a shallow sea. This means that for a few hours of the day, you are able to walk on the sea. In some places there is only a few inches of water and in some places there is just mud. I enjoyed it more when there was a little bit of water because when you were just stepping in pure mud and sinking down half a foot it felt kind of weird but either way it was really fun. We walked for about 3 hours, but it is a little harder to be walking on mud the whole time. It was a good work out to say the least. Not all the exchange students were there because it is getting close to the end of the year and a lot of them are busy. If I can remember correctly I think 8 of us were missing. It's okay though because I will be seeing them again in less than two weeks on the Euro Tour!!!! I know that this is a rather short update and I hope to update again before I go on the Euro Tour, but if I don't I will let you guys know all about it after the trip. Thanks again.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Well as I said on the last post, I was going to an amusement park the next day with a couple of the other exchange students. It was a blast! The only thing that was bad was the weather, but now that I have been living here for about 10 months, I have kind of gotten used to that. Anyway, the place wasn't that busy. I think the longest we ever had to wait was 30 minutes and people here tend to think that 30 minutes is such a long time to wait. Sometimes I can't help but laugh because most places in the USA you normally have to wait at least an hour. Anyway, last Friday was an awesome day with some of my good friends. Our group is like a family and it is always great when I am able to hang out with other exchange students. Last Saturday, I finally had a relax day after that hectic vacation. Then I was at it again on Sunday. I went to a small town called Horn which is about 30 minutes from where I am. While I was there I visited a family that has been so great to me since I have been here. I have seen them several times. I only know them because my youth minister back at home met them before (I don't know if I had mentioned that before). They are such a great family and have helped me out so much this year. They are truly a blessing. I was there for XLT which is a worship night (I am sure I have mentioned this before). It was absolutely amazing. Sunday was definitely the "Highlight" of my vacation. I got to spend time with a great family and I got to go to Church. That to me is an awesome day! The next day I was back at school. I keep telling myself that time is just going to keep flying by and it is. Every week seems so short, but that is probably because I have been so busy lately. The week at school was just another normal week filled with everyday exchange student stuff. Tuesday I made it back to my host club after close to a month so it was definitely nice to see everyone again. Thursday I had basketball practice and I made sure I was extra loud this time. The season is over now but we are still practicing. I know I have said this before but the basketball team that I am part of is a great team. We are all friends and they have helped me out so much this year too. If I am having a down day, I show up at practice and I just can't stop smiling and laughing. All of them are such great friends and I am going to miss them a lot when I leave, but one day I will show up and surprise all of them. I now have only ten days of school left. The Europe Tour begins three weeks from today and next week I have off from school Thursday and Friday and then the week after that I have Monday off as well. It really makes me realize how little time I have left here. Tomorrow my host sister and her boyfriend are taking me to a city up north called Den Bosch. I have been there before but we only walked around for about an hour but I absolutely loved it so I can't wait! These next few weeks I am going to be really busy and then soon enough I will be going on the Europe Tour! I am so excited for these last few weeks that I have here! I will try and update again and thanks for reading!
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Well I guess I let time pass me by, because it has been close to a month since my last post and I was almost positive that I just updated a week or so ago. Anyway, I am on vacation again and my goodness what a vacation it has been so far. Sunday evening I had a basketball game in Maastricht. It was our last game of the season and we lost 49 to 50. When you are that close to winning, you obviously wish you would have won especially with the game being the last game of the season, but we all played well and I am glad that I was able to be a part of the basketball team on my year abroad. The guys on the team are really great friends and they have made the year a lot easier for me. The same evening, I went to Leiden which is the city where we had our Dutch Orientation Course (DOC) at the beginning of the year. I met up with another exchange student there and on Monday morning we met up with a few others in Amsterdam. Monday was a holiday here in the Netherlands. The holiday is called Queens Day and Amsterdam is the place to be. Total there were I believe 700,000 people from other countries and close to the million that live there. So in total there was almost 2 million people. Now when I think about it, it isn't really that many people but Amsterdam isn't very large in land area so 2 million people in a smaller area looks like a lot. Honestly, it was crazy, but it was a lot of fun. Pretty much everyone dresses up in orange so when you are walking down a street with a few thousand people you just see orange which is funny at times, but when you are with friends it is quite easy to get lost if everyone is wearing the same color. Queens Day is definitely a day to remember from my exchange year so far. It was a great day. Later in the evening on Monday I went back to a place near Leiden to stay with a different exchange student. I stayed there for 2 nights. On Tuesday we biked several miles to go to the beach. When I got there I couldn't help but think of the east coast in the USA and how much I miss it, but who knows, maybe it is just the water I miss. On Tuesday, we also went to my friend's host club for a Rotary meeting. It was quite nice visiting another club here in the Netherlands and seeing how the clubs are different everywhere you go. Wednesday, we both came back to where I live in Limburg. We had dinner with my host family and then later went to a movie. This morning, we took a bike ride into Germany (which I have never done) because I live about 3 miles from the border. I know I have mentioned this before, but it really is a whole different world right on the other side of the border. It's absolutely crazy. This vacation has been hectic, but I really enjoy keeping busy. Tomorrow I will be heading out again to go to an amusement park up north with a few other exchange students and then on Sunday I am meeting up with a family. I have been so busy lately and time is just flying by. I have less than 2 months here and with every day that passes by I just keep getting more and more excited. I can't wait to see my family, my friends, and I just can't wait to get back home. I love it here and it's going to be hard saying goodbye, but as soon I say goodbye to the people here and I will be saying hello to my family and friends back in Arizona.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
So for those of you who don't know, I just had my birthday on the 26th of March. That means that I am now 17. Unfortunately, I don't feel like it, but age is just a number. Personally, I thought my birthday was great. I mean it was a rough day because I am away from home and everyone wants to be home for their birthday. However, I am very happy that I was able to experience my birthday in the Netherlands. I did not throw a huge party or anything like that, but I had a great time with my new host family. I can honestly say that so far things are going quite well between us and I am definitely going to enjoy staying here for my last months here in the Netherlands. I didn't think a birthday here was too different from the birthday's in the USA. However, for dinner we cooked ourselves on the kitchen table. I have never seen nor heard of that in the USA, but I really enjoy it. The food is also amazing but as you all of you already know I really love food so of course I brought food up again. Now that I am 17 and in the Netherlands I can say that I feel more mature. I still act immature but I know that I have matured a lot. You really have no choice though when you are away from family at such a young age. I have also realized that I have faults just like everyone else. I use to think that I did nothing wrong, but honestly I think that is normal because almost every teenager thinks they are always right and they think they are invincible whether they think so or not. Another thing I have realized over the course of 8 months is that I never would have thought how different cultures were if I hadn't come here. I know that I sometimes say that the culture isn't much different, but they are totally different. The people here act different than those in the USA and everything in every day life is done a different way. I am not saying that either culture is wrong I am just saying that they are different and I am glad that I have finally realized it. It is amazing what comes to you as you age. I wonder what it's gonna be like when I'm 40....or 80.....but I don't want to think about that now because I am still young and I have a lot to learn in life. Anyway, enough about that stuff. I will continue on the past few weeks. Last week and the week before last we had test week at school. They have 3 test weeks here in the Netherlands. However, since I can't fully understand everything in a lesson yet I only took an English and Math test. Last week we had Wednesday through Friday off and on Easter Monday so we pretty much had a another week off of school. I do have to say that this vacation was one of the best I have had so far (besides going to London and Duinrell with my first 2 host families). Thursday I was with 2 other exchange students and we went on a day trip throughout the Netherlands. We pretty much visited the entire west coast of the Netherlands. I left at 9 in the morning and I actually had to stay the night at an exchange student's house because I would not have made it back in time for the midnight bus which is the last one. So if my math is correct we were traveling for about 16 hours. I think the coolest thing we did was visit Texel which is an island in the Northwest of the Netherlands. We actually had to take a ferry to get there. Unfortunately, we didn't have much time to get back so we took a bus to tour the island. There are not many people living on the island but it sure is beautiful. That was my first time on a small island and I found it to be quite an experience. On Saturday I went to Amsterdam to meet some more exchange students. I really love going to Amsterdam because of the history and the architecture. I think it is a beautiful city to visit. Later that night I was with 3 other exchange and we stayed the night together in a town nearby The Hague. We went to a club and just hung out for a little. It was a ton of fun and the exchange students are like family to me so even if we are only together for a day it is always hard to say goodbye. As all of you know, I only have 2 and a half months left here. It has been a great year so far, but I intend to make it even better. Time has gone by so fast and I can't wait to get back to my family in AZ but I know that I am going to miss not only the Netherlands, but all of my friends and my 3 great host families that opened their homes to me and made this year possible for me. I really can't believe this year is coming to an end so quickly, but I am going to make the best of these last 2 and a half months. Thanks for reading everyone.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Hey everyone, well I just realized that I haven't update my blog in 15 days. So let me fill you in on what has been happening on the other side of the world. First of all, I just keep realizing how fast time is going by and how little time I have left in the Netherlands. It is so sad to think about, but you all probably understand. I have so much to do when I go back to the USA (I probably already talked about this). So in a way I am excited to get back to everything. My family, my friends, baseball, and the warm weather. Anyway, These past few weeks have been kind of down. I have been sick for literally almost an entire week, but today I almost feel normal again, so I am very happy. I was also sick a few weeks ago. I don't know what's going on with my immune system but most people are saying that I don't have enough Vitamin C or I don't eat enough fruit or vegetables. I can definitely see that it may be the reason, but I try to tell myself that it's not because I like eating junk food. Just because I have been sick doesn't mean that these past few weeks haven't been any fun because they have been. The past few weeks were also the last few weeks I had left with my second host family. I had a great time staying with them and I sure hope that gave them a good experience because it was their first time hosting somebody. I know I had a great experience while I was staying with them. I think I am pretty lucky to have the host families I have. Not much has happened at school the past few weeks. Most of the days were laid back because a lot of teachers were gone so I didn't have too many classes. However, I did find out that we have another test week coming up. And with my luck, of course it has to start the day of my birthday, but oh well. I am sure that it will still be a great day. Come to think of it I am turning 17. Dang, I am getting old. And mom/dad since I know you are reading this, I just thought I would let you guys know that you guys are getting pretty old too :p. So now that I got my stupid joke of the day out of the way I will talk about something else. Yesterday, I moved again to be with my third and final host family. Unfortunately, I was still a little sick so I wasn't as alive as I normally am. So far, I really like it here. The family is a big family and I am the youngest one which I am not use to so it's going to be quite an experience. I think these last 3 and half months are going to be ones to remember. I think these next 3 and a half months are going to be the best of my exchange. I will try my very best to make sure of that. I am really looking forward to getting to know my new host family better and hopefully I can make it a good first experience for them as well. I will try and update again soon!
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Hey everyone, it feels good to be updating more often again. I hope all of you enjoy reading my posts as well. Last Weekend, during vacation, an exchange student and I went to Delft together. He is one of the exchange students that I don't know very well, but I got to know him better last weekend when we went to Delft together. Anyway, Delft is one of the most beautiful cities I have visited in the Netherlands so far. For those of you who know about the famous blue pottery than you should know that it comes from Delft. Surprisingly, we didn't actually go in any places that actually sold the pottery. One of the reasons being that we only saw 2 places that actually sold stuff like that. Okay, so I will try and recap the day as best I can. We arrived at the Delft train station at about 11:30. From there we walked to the center of the city. That is when I actually was able to see how beautiful the city was. The population of Delft is about 95,000 people (I just thought I would throw that random fact in there). It is a decent size with a few cool shopping streets. I particularly like Delft because it is very quiet and peaceful even though it is where a lot of students attend college. It was so easy to get around because of the small crowds. Normally when you go to famous towns like Delft, it is flocked with tourists and things like that, but maybe my friend and I got lucky. Anyway after walking around for about an hour we decided to get something to eat. We went to McDonalds (why, I don't know but it sure was good). Since I can never stop talking about food I will tell you what I ordered. I ordered a stroopwafel mcflurry. I think I have tried to explain what a stroopwafel is before but it is really hard to say what it is. Let's just say that is a really good tasting cookie kind of thing. So as you may have already guessed, they put that in the mcflurry. My goodness, I am going to miss that mcflurry when I go back to the USA. After McDonalds, we walked around some more trying to decide what to do. In a really nice center square, there is a beautiful Church called the Nieuwe Kerk. When we went in, we had a choice to pay 2 euro to go inside and look at some art work, or 2 euro to climb the tower. We obviously decided to climb the tower. Personally, I have never been in a church tower before so it was quite an adventure and quite a trip climbing up the stairs. We were able to go outside and that was when the excitement/adrenaline really kicked in. First of all, it was extremely windy so it felt like we were about to blow over the railing and we must have been about 100 meters off the ground. Normally, I am not one to be scared of heights, but this time I was. I soon got over that though once I looked at Delft from a higher point of view. Delft looks amazing when you're above it. It literally took my breath away (but I also may have been out of breath because of all the stairs). I have to say that it was one of the most exciting and most memorable moments of my exchange so far. After that, we just continued walking around Delft and taking pictures like tourists do. We left delft about 5 to go to Leiden so I could visit my host family from the DOC. It was so nice seeing them again. They really made that week a lot better for me and much easier. My friend and I were invited to have dinner with them so we stayed til about 8:30 and than it was back to the train station. Fortunately for my friend it was only about a 5 minute train ride for him and for me it took about 3 and half hours to get back. I really don't mind though because the time goes by fast and I am here to enjoy as much as I possibly can. I will try and update again soon.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Hey Everyone! I guess I am getting better at this update thing again, because it's only been seven days. I have many things to talk about though so that is why I am updating all of you. I am on vacation right now (again) because of Carnaval. I hope I don't have to explain to all of you what Carnaval is because the only thing I know about it is that it is a religious holiday right before the Catholic time of Lent. But if you were here, you wouldn't think that. Carnaval however, is an absolute blast. It is also really funny to see all the people dressed up. It is kind of like Halloween with all the costumes, except everyone here wears some sort of crazy and funny outfits. Mine however, was not very funny. I wore some pink suspenders and sprayed my hair pink and white. I also wore bunny ears for a little while, but I decided to take those off. People my age normally go out and party with friends to a club or something like that so that is what I did. One thing I want to talk about is the music they play here for Carnaval. It's nothing like I have ever heard before (no it's not because it's in Dutch or German). The music is a mixture of like.......I don't know, I can't even explain. It is really fun music to dance to though (if you can dance, and I can't but it's more fun that way). I think experiencing Carnaval was one of the best experiences of my exchange so far. I got to have a true taste of culture during Carnaval. Like I said, it was an absolute blast, and being with friends makes it even better. Most of the culture that goes along with Carnaval here is drinking, but that is culture so there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I actually find it quite cool (even though I don't do it) and it makes things more interesting sometimes. On Monday there was a huge parade in Brunssum that lasted at least 2 hours. I have never seen such funny outfits and bazaar floats. It was quite an experience. The parade itself wasn't much different than those in the USA but the floats and people definitely were. A lot of the people walking had a beer in their hands which I though was quite funny. I love the people here. I don't think many people in the USA would do that, nor would people be tolerant of that, but I could be wrong. As usual, I have a busy week coming up again. I am going to a friends tomorrow, and on Friday I am going to Delft (famous for the blue pottery). On Saturday my host family and I have a meeting with my third host family which I am looking forward to and on Sunday I have another basketball game. About basketball, we won 2 straight before our last game, because we lost our last game. But like always, we played hard, but my shooting was horrible. Now back to the host family thing. I can't believe I am only 3 and a half weeks away from moving again. The thought of moving to a third and final host family is mind boggling. I have just a little over 4 months here. I still can't believe how fast time is going by. I love it here and I am actually sort of planning on moving back here when I am older (like 50). The culture is amazing, the people are amazing, and the food is amazing. Anyway, I am looking forward to moving again. I love the host family I am with right now, but the idea of change always makes me excited now. In my next posts, I think I may get into my plans for when I get back home since time is going by so fast. I will update again soon. Also, for all the Catholics out there, I want to wish you a very successful Lent. I myself am practicing the season of Lent and I am really looking forward to it. I fasted today and it was an incredible experience. Thanks again everyone for reading.