Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Carnaval! (And Vacation, Again)

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.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The New Inbounds

Hey all. I guess I told a little lie because I said that I would update again soon on my last post, but as you can see almost a month has gone buy since my last update. Anyway, I was able to meet the other exchange students that just arrived several weeks ago. They are from Brazil, Argentina, Chile and New Zealand. From what I could tell, they are a good group and I know that we are all going to have a lot of fun together. I think most of the fun, however, will be on the Europe tour in June. My exchange has officially passed the halfway point and I still can't believe it. I don't want to leave this place, but I have to. I am falling in love with this place more and more everyday. The Netherlands is one of the most beautiful places on earth in my eyes. The people are outgoing, it is rich in history, and the country is beautiful. I am sure you have all heard this before, but I feel like I can't say it enough. I really hope I don't forget this experience in the future. All I have been doing is blogging, and as you can see I don't really blog that often. I think I either need to start blogging more or begin writing in my journal again. This experience has changed me in ways that I never even thought would be possible, but I guess I was wrong. I used to be really shy and not very outgoing and now I am still shy but not too much and I think I am a much more outgoing person. I act crazy around our basketball team. If you were there at the practices you would probably notice right away. I am always smiling and messing around, but I am serious at the same time. We all get along really well, just like the rest of my friends and I. Anyway, I will get back to the weekend where I met the other exchange students. I arrived in Twello at about 8 o clock. I thought I would be on time, but than a few of us got lost. I think at the end of it all, we didn't arrive until ten. I can say one thing about exchange students (but not all). We are not very good when it comes to directions. That may be an instinct of ours. Maybe we always get lost so we can explore what is around, or maybe we do it on purpose. The world may never know, and neither will I. The get together was at a Rotarian's house. When I say house, I mean a castle (not literally). This place was absolutely huge. It was by far the biggest house I have ever been in. I would say that the house was probably around 12,000 square feet (don't know how big that is here in Europe). But hopefully that gives you all a picture of the size of the house. Anyway, I went up to every exchange and introduced myself. I kind of spoke to them in Dutch just to see how much they learned during the DOC and they were pretty good. I think they all speak Dutch pretty well for the month that they have been here. The next day was the closing ceremony. It was already time to say goodbye to the exchange students we had just met. And with my luck, the nearest one lives in Eindhoven which is about an hour away by train. But that's okay because Limburg is the best! We received a little bit more information on the Europe tour as well as far as who was going and where. We will know most of the information at the end of March. I can't wait for that trip! I know that I probably left out a lot more, but I will update again next week since I am on vacation.