Monday, October 31, 2011
This past week I was off of school and had vacation. The vacation was a lot more busy than I anticipated, but I am glad it was because it sure was fun. On Saturday (the Saturday before last Saturday) I met up with one of my good friends who is an exchange student in Amsterdam. Getting to Amsterdam was quite an adventure to start off. I went by train, but they working on some tracks so I had to take a bus from one train station to another. Normally it takes about 2 and a half hours to get to Amsterdam and on Saturday it took about 4. At least 500 people were waiting for the busses to come by and take us to the Hertogenbosch train station. So for about an hour I was standing outside in 40 degree weather and of course me being me I was not dressed to appropriate for that weather. And to make matters worse that day, before I took the bus I was on the train and my mp3 player broke. Now it works again, but I pretty much had nothing to do for 4 hours except look out the window of the train which I find quite nice especially being in such a beautiful country. When I finally arrived in Amsterdam I met up with my friend and his sister who was visiting from Germany. I was in Amsterdam for about 6 hours before coming back. We spent about an hour in Amsterdam looking for a Turkish restaraunt which was definitely worth it after the search. After the long search and a great lunch we decided to go to a bakery. I try to make it a tradition for myself to go to a bakery every time I travel just because the food is so good. After that we went to the red light district. I don't think it is as bad as what people make it out to be. What goes on there isn't necessarily good, but I think seeing and experiencing it is a good thing. Then the next day, my counselor and his family took me to Cologne, Germany. My goodness that city is absolutely beautiful. Cologne has the oldest cathedral in Germany. It started being built about 600 years ago and since it is so old it is still being worked on constantly. I think it is so awesome that such a beautiful city in another country is only an hour away by car. I am so thankful that I have people that do these kind of things for me because it is all a great experience. Then Monday through Friday, my host family took me to Duinrell which is a holiday park near Den Haag (The Hague). Duinrell has a small but exciting amusement park and a really great indoor water park called the Tiki Bad. I am pretty sure that I went on every ride in the amusement park while I was there and almost every water slide in the waterpark. On Wednesday we went to Madurodam which is Holland in miniature size. I found it to be quite exciting and I am so glad we went because it was on my to-do list for while I am here. Now that I went there, I can add more things to my to-do list because most of the stuff that was there, I did not know of. Thursday we went to the sea and had some snacks and drinks by the sea as well. After the sea we went back to Duinrell for a few hours and then went out to eat where I had the best spare ribs I have ever had. On Friday we went to Corpus which is a really nice interactive musuem of the human body. Unfortunately I was not able to take any pictures during the tour of the human body, but it was really cool. On Saturday I was back from Duinrell, but the fun did not stop there. On Saturday I had a baskteball game. We didn't win but I still thought we played well as a team. Later that day I went to a party that I was invited to. It was really fun and I am glad that I have the friends that I do. Sunday was more of a rest day which I needed desperately. I will update again soon.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Well last week was just another normal busy week, but I like those kind of weeks. On Saturday my friends and I went to Maastricht. I had to get up at 8 in the morning on a weekend. The only exception to waking up that early in the morning on the weekend, is going to a place like Maastricht. We litterally spent almost the entire day there. From 10 am to 5 pm we were in Maastricht. My friend told me that even in that amount of time we did not get to see everything. Maastricht has about 125,000 people. Talk about European cities being compact, we were able to walk from one end of the city to the other end in 15 minutes. It takes 15 minutes by bus to get to my school in Arizona, and here, if you walk for 15 minutes you could even end up in Germany. Anyway, Maastricht is probably one of the most beautiful cities I have seen so far in Europe. Part of the city is modern, and the other part still has it's early century look to it. We did so much on Saturday that I don't even know if a book would cover anything. At about 11:30 we went to a bakery and bought a few things. I got a brownie and a chocolate croissant (I hope I spelled that right, but I doubt it). My goodness, it was some of the best food I have ever had. In the Netherlands most of the people buy their food at the bakery, (not all of it, just bread and pie and that kind of stuff) so it is always fresh. Maybe that is why everything is so good. I am lucky that I have to ride a bike almost everywhere, because if I didn't have to, I probably would have easily put on 15 pounds by now. After the bakery we walked around a bit more, and went to a book store. Books here are quite expensive. The cheapest I saw was 10 euro and that was for a book with like 100 pages in it. After that, we went to go get some fries. My friend recommended we go to this place so we did. The fries were so good I almost had to go back for seconds but the portion they give you here is huge. Then we went to go get some ice cream. Me being me I decided to order a chocolate milkshake. Once again, it was great. I think I need to cut back on this love of food and start talking about some other stuff. Like I said, Maastricht is beautiful. The architecture there is absolutely incredible. No matter what kind of architecture, old to modern it was all amazing. Parts of Maastricht is seperated by the Maas (a river). I know there is some history to it but I can't remember. Saturday was an awesome day to say the least and I am glad to have the friends that I do. Sunday was another great day. It started off with going to Church. I am not sure what the mass was about because it was in Dutch. All I know is that the Priest blessed some animals on Sunday celebrating St. Hubert who was the Saint of the hunt. I thought it was pretty neat to experience considering I have never heard of something like that. The evening was also great. My host family and I went to a Greek restaraunt and the food was awesome. I personally have never had actual Greek food so it was an experience and my taste buds and I will probably never forget it. The dinner was also nice because the whole family was there and it is always nice to just sit down and chat with the awesome host family that I have been given. Well, I might not update for a few weeks because my host family is taking me on vacation next week, but when I get back I will inform everyone how it went.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Hey everyone. Well yesterday I got back from the Rotary weekend that I mentioned in my last update. Seeing all the inbounds again was great considering I haven't seen them in 2 months. We were supposed to go sailing, but unfortunately we didn't get a chance to do so because of the weather. I did post some pictures on facebook of Neeltje Jans (I think that is how you spell it) and the weekend if you want to take a look. I am pretty close to all of the exchange students because I try my best to talk to everyone. Everyone calls me Baby Patty because they thought I was the youngest. I am not the youngest but the other person who is younger then me looks older then me, so that nickname is definitely going to stick for the rest of the year. Anyway, no one really got any sleep during the weekend either. The first night, I was lucky enought to get into bed at midnight but didn't fall asleep until like 1 in the morning. Saturday night was the night pretty much no one got any sleep. It was our last night together for the next month or so, so we all talked the night away. I thought the weekend was great and the weekends in the future are going to be just as fun. Zeeland (the province where the weekend was) is beautiful. When they say the Netherlands is flat, they aren't kidding. I think last weekend was the only time in my life where I was actually below sea level unless I was actually in the ocean. The train ride back yesterday was an adventure. Going to Zeeland took about 2 and a half hours but it sure didn't seem that long, but coming back was really long. It took about 4 hours to get back and it seemed like an entire day (probably because I was so tired). We stopped at the Eindhoven train station and from there we had to take about a 45 minute bus ride to Weert where we took the train back to where I am staying. Besides the train ride (which was also pretty fun) everything was pretty fun and I am glad I got to see everyone again. I think in another month or 2 we are all going to see each other again, but after that the inbounds that came in January are leaving to go back home. They are all awesome too and I am going to miss them, but they still have about 2 months here so I am going to try and together with them. Well I am sure that this coming week is going to be busy again so I will try and update again soon.
Monday, October 3, 2011
Hey everyone, so like I said in my last post my weekend was booked. On Saturday, my friends and I went to Brunssum for a few hours. Our first stop was an ice cream place. There are 2 famous ice cream places in Brunssum, but I think we went to the one that is a little more famous to the locals, but I am not sure. After we had our ice cream, we walked over to the carnival. We could not figure out what to do at first so we went to the park. The parks here are so nice and I really enjoy going to them. My friends and I then decided to go back to the carnival to ride a ride that we had been looking at when we first got there. The carnivals here are so much different, well not in the sense of the things there, but you have to pay for every ride seperately.The ride that we went on cost 4 euro! When I heard that one ride cost about 7 USD I nearly fainted haha. Yes well, that was the only ride we went on, and although it was so expensive, it was worth the 4 euro. Then we went on the shopping street after our adrenaline calmed down. Shopping streets here are quite interesting. I don't particulary like shopping, but walking around the shopping street is pretty interesting. As usual I didn't get anything. That was the end of the Saturday journey, but hopefully my friends and I are going to do something in a few weeks again. Yesterday was an absolute blast! I went to go meet a family that my Youth Minister back in Sierra Vista knows. You know that it is a small world when your youth minister knows a family that lives 15 minutes away from where I am when he is 5,500 miles away. Anyway, they were awesome. They were so welcoming and friendly, but one thing that I will make sure not to do is play them in soccer because I would do terrible against them. We spent a few hours at there house, and had a late lunch. Before we had that late lunch I watched one of their kids play soccer and that is why I know that I should watch out if I am ever to play them. Later that night, we had XLT which is a Catholic church event held once a month. I have not been to one since June so I am so glad that they invited me. Whoops, sorry I forgot to say that I went inside my first windmill that was 200 years old. I thought it was pretty awesome. Okay so back on track. They said I was welcome anytime so I am definitely going back to see them since they are only a 15 minute train ride away. That was my other adventure on Sunday. I have been in Europe for 2 months now and yesterday was the first time I traveled alone by train and by bus. It was not hard, just a little wierd since I am not used to that sort of thing, but it all worked out. So, yea my weekend was amazing and I have another great weekend coming up. All the inbounds in the Netherlands are going to Zeeland to learn how to sail! I will let everyone know how it went when I get back. I might not be able to update right away, because I will have a monthly report to send, but I will update again soon.