Sunday, December 25, 2011

The White (and red) Rider

Hello again everyone,

Once again I have taken much longer than the originally planned week to update this blog thing, mostly because I have been having an incredibly great time and things have been as always fairly busy. I am currently spending my Christmas in Luxembourg, but I think it will be easiest writing wise if I break the last month up into more than one post. So, starting where I left off...

December fifth was Sinterklaas in the Netherlands, which you may notice resembles Santa Claus a little bit. In fact, the name Santa Claus is derived from the Dutch Sinterklaas, despite the different dates of celebration. While Santa has a miniature slay, tiny reindeer, and lives at the North Pole, Sinterklaas rides around on a horse (which you are encouraged to leave a carrot out for), has a slave helper Zwarte Piet (black Pete), and lives in Turkey Spain. He is also a Bishop. Differences aside, they do both wear white and red (see blog title).

What happens on Sinterklaas is in most ways fairly similar to what happens on Christmas for us Americans, though some of the details are different; for the week or so before Sinterklaas you get small chocolates or marzipan in your shoes, delivered by Black Pete (politically correct, his face is black from coming down the chimney). On Sinterklaas itself people exchange gifts which are said to be from "de Sint." In a sort of Secret Santa fashion, everyone gets a small, inexpensive gift (around 5 to 10 euros normally) for one other person, and writes a rhyming poem (rhyme scheme AABBCCDD etc. for those who care) describing their last year and which is signed by Sinterklaas. You eat pepernoten, which are rather like ginger bread but very small and round, chocolate letters, and speculaas (also like gingerbread).

My host family ended up celebrating Sinterklaas (which is on a Monday) the weekend before, so that everyone could be home for it, Saturday night we exchanged gifts in a long process; you go around in a circle and roll dice, whoever rolls an six can pick out a gift from the bag, and gives it to whoever it is for. Sunday we went to their grandparents house where the same process was repeated except only between the grand children. I myself received a great deal of chocolate and some beautiful dutch clog shaped slippers (that was sarcastic, they are incredibly dorky but I was in need of slippers, and certainly are funny). The only downside to the celebrations was that on Sunday I was quite ill, so after getting back from their grandparents (around 4pm) went promptly asleep until late the next morning, and seem to have gotten a long lasting cold which has by now mostly gone away.

So that was my first weekend in december, the first of four very busy ones.

More to follow, hopefully soon!



Monday, December 5, 2011


Well then, it would appear that I haven't updated in more than a month. Yes, there is a reason for this. Even a sort of good one. Looking back at one of my first entries, I believe I mentioned how I wanted this rollercoaster of a year to be kiddy, non rickety, and certainly without any upsidedown parts sort of ride.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

What happened, pray tell? Very long story short, I moved host families two weeks ago. Perhaps this warrants some explication. I guess the best way to say it is that we didn't click as people- I was very different than them, and very different than what they expected as a host family. Communication could have been better, on my end and theirs, but what's done is done. To be frank, my first three and a half months here weren't that good, in fact they kind of sucked, which I didn't tell you all because I didn't realize it myself. I didn't have anything else to compare it with, so I chalked it up to culture shock and homesickness. It was only when I went to the homes of some of the other students that I saw how much better it could be, and now looking back that I see the whole picture, or at least a wider view than before.

Those months, and most especially the last week I was there were as a general rule not that great, and definitely not something that I'd choose to repeat. But they're also not something I'd choose to delete. I learned a lot about myself that I wouldn't have in better situations, and was forced to reexamine a lot of things I had taken for granted, and appreciate others, certainly to mature as a person. And now that I'm out of it, and I see what I had been missing, how caged I was, and how the lines of communication were broken, I'm that much more appreciative of it all now.

So I moved families. Then what, you may ask? Basically, two fridays ago, I left, spent one night at one volunteer's place, then Saturday came back to grab my stuff, then through monday stayed with another volunteer, which we thought was going to be for a few weeks. However, monday AFS had contact with a family in the same town I stayed in first (the AFS volunteers are a train ride away), who had a foreign exchange student in September (planned for three months) who had to go home due to family issues home. They said I could stay temporarily with them, which would be better since then I wouldn't have to take the train to school and such.

Emotional roller coaster still rickety, I packed back up my stuff and came back and settled down here, temporarily in theory, while AFS tried to find me a long term one. And they did, just not the way that was expected, as last week Wednesday my temporary host family decided I could stay for the year, if I wanted to. Which I did of course, because they're awesome

And that's where I am now, a billion times happier. I'm currently sick (not that surprising given the chaos of the last few weeks), but getting better, much much better. I'm in a host family of nine including me, five daughters, one son, and two parental units. Four of the daughters are still home, two are my age. Almost everyone plays instruments, so Mackenzie and co. has dubbed them the Von Trapps. I told them this, and now they're calling themselves as such. They feel like family, more so already than my first one ever could have, and I'm immensely happy.

In other news, I've finally started taking circus lessons in Amsterdam! Tomorrow's my second class. I've lost a lot, but less than anticipated.

More to follow this,


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Berlin and Back Again

Well hello there!

It's been what, five years since I last posted anything? Hopefully you haven't all forgotten about me while I was absent, but I'm going to go ahead and write this regardless. Just as soon as I dust off the spider webs from the keyboard, that is. Well, not really, but hey, it's almost Halloween! Speaking of which, people in Europe don't celebrate pagan holidays, so I'm a bit sad. I'll survive though, and my dear family even sent me some chocolate to tide me over.

Trick-or-treating aside, what to say, what to say? The last time I posted was a month ago, so it goes without saying that about a months worth of stuff has happened since then. Life's continued, my Dutch has gotten better though is nowhere near perfect, I auditioned for an orchestra, got in, and my second rehearsal's Sunday. I need to practice for it as I have 40 pages of music to learn.

I had autumn vacation last week, like spring break but in the autumn. It was nice to be off school but at the same time it seems like a kind of stupid concept since you've really only been in school for a few weeks when you have it- I'd prefer a longer winter break or something. That would be a difference between Dutch and American cultures though. Anyways, I got a week off, and I went to Berlin with AFS for the second half.

Berlin was.. so many things. Amazing, exhausting, busy, exhausting, fun, tiring, and exhausting. We bused there Thursday night, got there Friday morning, and immediately started touring the city. It was quite a bit colder than here, so that wasn't so great, but not raining, which was an upside. Friday we saw so much it would be hard to summarize within the time I have now, but we went to literally every single touristy thing in the center of the city: the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Parliament, Pariser Platz, the list goes on and on. The Holocaust Memorial was really interesting, from the outside it looks like tons of low stone rectangular prisms of varying heights, but if you walk in it it slopes down  so the stones end up towering above you and you can't really tell where you are or what's around the corner.

Some time around nine o'clock at night we got to our hostel after having walked for thirteen plus hours, so you'd think that everyone would have wanted to crawl into our (bunk)beds and fall asleep. Instead everyone went to the bar area and hung out, which was fun but I was still exhausted (and yes, I drank ginger ale, don't worry). Anyways, it ended up being a pretty late night especially given that it was six people per room, and everyone wanted to take showers after having slept on a bus and then walked around all day, but this was after everything else, mind you.

Saturday started early, and we got to stand outside in the cold waiting for everyone so we could get on our bus (which was double decker, I'll have you know). So after freezing our butts off once more (this was a common occurrence as we were in a big group), we went to Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp outside of Berlin. While this was by no means a pleasant affair, it was nonetheless interesting and certainly an important thing to see. Walking around inside it it was really difficult to grasp how much death the ground you stood on had seen, how much cruelty and inhumanity. Walking down the path to the gate, with sun shining in the cold, to realize that you were walking in the footsteps of people who most likely were walking to their deaths was something I couldn't really grasp despite the continuous reminders. We stayed at the camp, which is also a museum of sorts, for the whole morning, and in the afternoon went back into Berlin.

Saturday afternoon and night was mostly free time- we went to a big shopping street based off of the Champs-Élysées in Paris, which was fun but I didn't buy anything except a lint brush and food. (I'm such an exciting shopper!). They had five H&Ms though. Five. It was like the number of coffee shops in Seattle or something. And when I say coffee shops I mean the sort that sells actual coffee, not the sort here (hint, it involves burning the dried flowers and leaves of a particular plant).

Anyways, there were a lot of H&Ms. And after all of that, we went back to the hotel after some point, and were told to find food. One of the other Americans, Kelsey, who is highly awesome and from Montana, and I found an Italian place and got pizza, which was tasty. We hung out there for an hour or so, then returned to the hostel, where everyone else was partying in the aforementioned bar area. Then went to bed, or at least attempted to.

Sunday morning dawned far to early for my sleep deprived mind, but I somehow woke up and did hygienic things such as brushing my teeth blah blah blah, then we all went to the Berlin Jewish Museum. I originally was too tired to really look forward to this, but we ended up having an amazing tour, which I think lasted a few hours but I can't really tell you because a) it was really interesting so I didn't notice and b) I was very, very tired. The museum, which you should wikipedia, has really interesting architecture that reflects the German Jewish history. The tour guide did a very good job of explaining it in only a few minutes whereas I would end up taking an hour, but wikipedia does an okay job I think, so you should do that. Or at least I think it does, I glanced at the page and saw lots of pictures but was too lazy to read all the text.

Where were we? Ah yes, the museum. Which was interesting, and after there (and waiting forever to find everyone in our group), we had free time in another touristy area. Because it was Sunday none of the shops were open, which wasn't so fun, but Kelsey and I wandered around, located a Starbucks where I got tea because it was freezing out, and utilized their toilets because Berlin/Germany/The Netherlands has no public toilets, and most of the time you have to pay to pee everywhere, à la Urinetown, but minus the singing. This also means no rest stops on the highways. This kind of confuses me given the amount of taxes people pay here, but moving on.

We were at Starbucks, yes? Which is as always overpriced, hence the tea. After some more wandering we (Kelsey and I) ran into the AFS volunteers, bless their souls, and we wandered with them, got some food for the bus ride back, and went to a hotel which had a viewing deck on the 45th floor (well, we took the elevator up to the 37th then climbed more stairs, so I'm not sure how high it was, but high). So we went to the viewing deck, where you could see the entire city, which was cool. They also had something like bungy jumping but slower you could do from there, but it was 70 euros so I refrained, and instead planked on the railing, as demonstrated in my profile picture on facebook. You can't tell in the picture, but there was actually another platform out beyond the one I was on, so it wasn't just that net holding me in place, I'm not that stupid!

Free time over, we walked back to the bus in the cold, got on the bus, at which point I pretty much promptly fell asleep despite the uncomfortable accommodation. I got to Amersfoort at five in the morning, then took the train to where I am, which took until 8ish, then got to walk home. Then fell asleep until 5 pm, woke up, ate, took a shower, then went to bed at 8 something, then woke up the next morning and went to school.

Two days of school later I'm here, and am looking forward to the weekend. I should go do things like homework and violin now, as this has taken far too long. Not even going to bother proofreading this!

Love to you all!


Monday, October 3, 2011

And I'm back!

Another week has come and gone, and here I am trying to figure out what to write, and failing to a certain degree. Life is being life, school school, and that's about it really. Saturday I went to Amsterdam with AFS, which was a lot of walking but a lot of fun and a good deal of socializing with the other students. Next weekend I'm auditioning for a regional orchestra, so on top of the homework and Dutch I have that to work towards- I'm nervous but will try my best and see what comes of it.

School is going well, or as well as one would expect. Last week I was finally switched into a better math class, so I've been spending a good deal of time catching up to them since it's the fifth week of school, and I got an A on my spelling/vocab test in Dutch today, which I'm pretty happy about. I made some small mistakes, but the teacher didn't count them, which was a relief because it was minus two points for every mistake! But we've got another one on Thursday, I should probably start studying, though I'm not actually going to be in class- because I'm in the new math class Dutch and math on Thursdays are at the same time. I'm looking into getting a time turner but the department of mysteries is still recovering from being partially destroyed, so I have to wait. Meanwhile I just go to one class or the other, this week math because I need to catch up.

This is a really boring update.. all of the big differences from at first are starting to feel a lot more normal, which makes it harder to write about. I did made banana bread for the other exchange students though, and that was pretty delicious if I do say so myself!

Anyways, I need to start my homework now as the last hour disappeared frighteningly quickly!

Love to all,


Friday, September 23, 2011

Would be late, but I'm a wizard.

I was originally going to apologize about my tardiness in updating you all on my latest forays into the Netherlands sector of the Wizarding Worlds Exchange Programs (that is what I signed up for, right?), except wizards are never late, so this is a moot point.

So, since I last updating everyone, a lot has happened, namely 14 days worth of living. School continued, I went to orientation (by train, and didn't get lost and it was a ton of fun if not very orientating), more school happened, I made chocolate chip cookies by chopping all the chocolate up, went to a meeting on Sunday in a different town by the beach with all the other exchange students in the area (also by train, and this time I accidentally took a train going in the wrong direction but got there eventually), then more school happened and it is now Friday. Today I made pancakes for dinner because Truus and Piet were out, and they were delicious, except I didn't get the butter soft enough. I won't tell you how many I ate, mostly because I didn't count. I also had a violin lesson, which was nice, and am auditioning for an orchestra next week.

That's pretty much it. In some ways I feel like I'm starting to settle into the culture, in some ways not but it'll come with time. School's hard with the language barrier, but that's going away, and the material is all really easy except Dutch class and Econ, which I don't know. I've been meeting new people too, so no worries about me being a complete loner!

With love,


Friday, September 9, 2011

Getting back to Hogwarts

Hello all,

This is going to be a very quick update because I have to leave soon for my orientation which is half way across the country, but know that I have survived my first week of school with my dignity intact, ignoring the fact that I keep thinking doors are locked when they're actually push not pull. But my general well-being is good, I haven't had any slushies thrown on me a la Glee, and if my dignity is not necessarily as shiny and new as it was a few weeks ago, I'd say it's simply lightly stressed, rather like my jeans. And this metephor is going nowhere (, so moving on.

Everyone's nice at school, hopefully I'll make some friends sometime in the next few months. The classes are hard in that there's a lot of Dutch to read, but the actual subject matter I've already covered for a good deal of them, not sure if that's good or bad in the long run. I got switched into math B (not D alas, but it's better than A), and I could do the math while sleeping, so that's less great. Overall the teachers are really nice, and I've been too busy doing things like my history homework to fret over certain material being too easy in essence, since I have the language barrier blocking me from being able to do anything with coherence and articulation.

One interesting thing about the school is that they don't have substitute teachers. So if you have a teacher sick, you don't have class. They have a giant schedule in tiny writing that they update everyday that tells you these things- unfortunately it took me a few days to figure out how to read it but I think I'm good now.

There are two other exchange students at my school, one from Belgium for three months, and one from Australia for a semester. The girl from Belgium is also with AFS, so we're going to the orientation together today.

I realize that this update is not so much carefully folded, compressed, and shrink-wrapped but more scrawled out and stuffed in a metaphorical envelope, but for now it'll have to do.

I'm doing well, still adjusting, but enjoying the experience.

Love to all, and Jeff (or Emily) you should respond to my message! For those of you who start school in Eugene today, I wish you luck.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Settling In and Other Such Nonsense

Hello all,

This is going to be a shorter update for the combined reasons of time and the fact that this last week was a lot less crazy than my first. I had a witty introduction in my head last night, but it seems to have slipped away in the last 15 hours, so alas and alack, you'll have to bear with my monotonous thought process sans humor. Or not read at all, which would be an excusable thing to do.

I feel like my first week of life here was a lot of really great moments with small dips every once and a while. This week definitely felt more stable and normal- I'm starting to feel like I'm really living here, and though Eugene will of course always be a very big part of me, I don't feel like I'm straddling a continent and an ocean with one foot in both places. If any of you have seen my middle splits, you'd know how painful that would be.

Speaking of splits, I have managed to keep up with conditioning, at least somewhat, for silks, which is good.Not as much as I could be doing, but anything helps. Aerial-wise, I called a circus in Amsterdam on Tuesday, and after a confusing conversation where they thought I wanted to work there, it turns out they don't have any classes that I can take. But they referred me to another circus, which I'll call next week. I'm still hoping, but there are always other options if that doesn't work. On a somewhat similar note, I have a trial violin lesson tomorrow.

School starts tomorrow, or at least I pick up my text books and go talk to my mentor (who's also the English teacher). We (the mentor-group) have a meeting once a week, rather like House at RMS, for those of you who would know. I also had a meeting at the school on Friday, and I'm going to try the schedule they gave me for the week, and then make any necessary adjustments. They also took my math textbook and notebook from me, so I've been having a little bit of separation anxiety from them. But I'm not on an exchange because I thought it would be easy. That's what they mean by the challenges you face, right? Math textbook separation anxiety?

Okay, maybe not. Speaking of separation "issues," I'm making my family quesadillas tonight, which is exciting. I made the beans already, then I'll re-fry them and make salsa and guacamole too, I hope it's yummy. Soon I hope to make yumm sauce too, among other things- my parents forwarded me recipes so all I really need to do now is to locate the right ingredients (chocolate chips!), and I can't find measuring spoons as of now, which will be an issue for some things. They have a two cup measuring cup, so hopefully that will be good enough for everything else.

As school is starting next week, I'm sure I'll have an overwhelming list of interesting things to tell you all, definitely more interesting than the above gobbledigook. I have an AFS orientation all next weekend, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to post anything, but if not I'll put one up the next week for sure.

I think of everyone back home often, but am enjoying life here as well.


P.S. So maybe I lied about this being short, because it ended up being rather longish. On a scale of quantity verses quality... Let's not go there shall we? I blame the immersion experience entirely.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Many Meetings

Hello all,

As might be expected for a first week abroad, so much has happened that there's no way I'll be able to summarize all of it. I'll try, however, to capture at least some of it in words. So here's my week, compressed, shrink-wrapped, and ready to read at your convenience.

Every year, all of the small villages in the Netherlands, or at least this region, have what are called kermis-pronounced kairamiss, which is a party-festival for the entire village (which are super, super tiny, as in a single street sometimes). One of the villages surrounding the town I'm in had there´s this weekend, and on Friday night everyone plays a card game called Klaverjassen. My host brother Thomas invited me, so I spent a good portion of the week learning how to play, with Truus and Piet, and also with Thomas' friends. Friday night we went to the kermis, and managed to not get last place.

Cards aside, I did a lot of running around, seeing new things and such- Thomas and Peter both gave me tours of different parts of the town, on Tuesday Truus and I went to the beach where Siemon works, and on Thursday Thomas and I went to Amsterdam to get papers filed, then walked around the touristy part which was fun. Friday was the kermis, and then yesterday night Siemon's friends came over, so I met them. Everyone's been really welcoming and helpful, despite the fact that I can´t actually remember their names. Or pronounce them.

I've been continuing to attack my Dutch, with both my giant book thing from AFS (which is annoyingly formulated but still helpful), and of course just by listening. Peter has also been helping me learn the names of household objects- I've got most of the kitchen stuff and utensils down now, except the articles are impossible to remember- unlike french there is no rule..

That's about all, I've also been doing a good deal of math so that if they ask me to do anything at school I won't have forgotten it all, plus I can't get Calculus here (probably). I've also been playing violin, as per usual. I'm trying out two different violin teachers in a few weeks, one in town, and another that's a ways by train, so hopefully one of them will work out.

Friday I have a meeting at the school, I'm in a subject track that isn't geared for math people, so hopefully I can worm my way into the mathy-sciency one. They have all had 3 years of what they call chemistry here already, so the school says I can't, but I have a feeling I might have actually already done a lot of it- my host brother gave me some example problems and it was no issue. Of course there's the language barrier, but that will go away as the year progresses. We'll see, it's all up in the air right now.

Anyways, I´ll keep you all posted on what´s happening.

I´m doing well, hope you all are too.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Concerning Comments

Hi everyone,

Just a quick post concerning commenting, which I think people have been having issues with.

You do need either a google account or a livejournal, wordpress, typepad, or some others. If you have one of these, click on that one on the scroll down bar by the comment as' part. It will ask you to log in, then it will post your comment. If you do not have one of these, by no means are you required to get one, but if you want, I'd recommend getting a google account, since they are useful. Simply go to, click on the 'create an account' button, and fill in the required information, then you should be good to go!

I hope this helps. While I don't have time to individually respond to everyone, I appreciate your comments, and am having a good time over here. I'll have an actual post up this weekend.

And unfortunately I was a tad hasty in saying I can do silks, there are some time conflicts and such, so we'll see. I'm crossing my fingers, but worst comes to worst I'll just have to do lots and lots of conditioning at home.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Out the Door

Hello all,

I'm using a strange keyboard (meaning it's shaped weird, but the keys aren't in different spots), so you're going to have to excuse any eminent typos. I do proof, but I'm also time-limited.

So! What to say.

I left on the 16th, almost a week ago, but have only been in the Netherlands since Friday afternoon due to an orientation in NY that was more waiting than orienting, but was really fun because I got to meet everyone going to Norway, Sweden, Iceland, the Netherlands, and Belgium. There were eight of us going to the Netherlands, two more are coming later because they haven't been placed in families yet. Norway had a ton of people, but Iceland only two, they limit the number of people who can apply. But it was fun, and the flight long, especially because it was delayed. But now I'm hear, and it's amazing. 

AFS describes exchanges as roller coasters in one of their many many metaphors, so right now I would be at the very top of one. I'm hoping my ride is one of those nice kiddy ones (the non-rickety type, mind you), and so far, that's what it seems like. My host family is awesome, and very helpful. Yesterday my host brother Peter showed me around the town; how to get to school and also around the centrum, or town center. It's a beautiful, beautiful city. He also showed me the best ice cream shop, which is either a very good thing or a very bad thing. I have a giant packet of Dutch from AFS, and my host mom Truus has been working on it with me every day, which is very kind of her. Also, today, her and I biked around town and the out skirting villages, which was incredible. It is in every way European, with more bikes than cars, and I saw a bunch of swans in the canal by the road.  And a couple of foals and horses, munching on grass. It was very warm today, but in other parts of the Netherlands there are thunderstorms, so we're lucky.

As you may have surmised from above, I now have a bike. There was a drawing based on your zip code for bikes here, and my bike is a result of said drawing, so I didn't have to pay for it. It doesn't have hand brakes, just the back-pedaling sort, so that will take time to get used to.

Some other good news is that I will maybe be able to do silks while here- my host family found a town somewhat close to us that has classes, so I'll try it out, maybe next week.

Other than that, I don't have much to say except I'm having a great time, and my Dutch is progressing, if slowly.

Love to all,


Monday, August 15, 2011

Almost there!


It's the night before I leave, and I am almost finished packing- meaning I have another load of laundry drying downstairs, and all of my toiletries, and maybe to say 'almost finished' is stretching it a bit. "Will be finished by tomorrow" is a better way to put it, I suppose. Good news though: so far I'm under the abysmal weight limit, hopefully it will remain that way after I put in my winter coat. Knocks on wood.

I have had a fantastic last weekend in the US, as I was able to a good portion of the people I wanted to see before I left on Saturday. My virtual twin Mackenzie returned from her six-week sojourn in England on Sunday, so we've spent most of our waking hours together, and surprisingly haven't broken anything or maimed anyone on accident.

All in all, my stomach butterflies/elephants aside, I'm ready to leave tomorrow, and I fly in to the Netherlands in a few days after a national orientation and a good deal of waiting around that I'd rather not think about.

Tot ziens,


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Preparations and Anticipations

Hoi iedereen,

If you've ever done aerial acrobatics, especially rope or silks, you would know the pre-falling sensation before a drop that's somewhere between "Why am I doing this again?," and the realization that you're capable of doing this without dying and why wouldn't you be up fifteen feet in the air, hanging by your ankles? Add in about a gallon of excitement and anticipatory stomach butterflies, and that's about what I'm feeling right now as I prepare to leave. 

Granted, this is a terrible metaphor as (most) of my friends and family have never done aerial acrobatics, and I don't actually know of any drops that start out with you hanging by your ankles. Oh well, at least I haven't quoted Tolkien yet. 

Today being the 7th of August, I leave in approximately 9 days. My suitcase is somewhat packed, and I have some weight left- hopefully enough that I won't have to wear my heavy winter coat on the plane. I'm not all the way ready, but it's starting to feel more and more like it.  

Last week I got back from an excellent visit to my family in California, where I had a great time, though the train ride back got mixed reviews, as I was placed next to a man who reeked of cigarettes for the second half. But I survived to live the tale, so no worries!

I also said goodbye to my amazing cousin Zane (he's ten), who was going down to California directly after me to visit said relatives. I'm not sure who said that the packing is the hardest part of leaving, but I say that goodbyes are worse. I'm going to miss him a lot, but there's always email, and we spent an excellent evening running around shooting each other with imaginary guns before he left. 

Next week is, among other things, my last week of circus class before I leave, which will also be hard. But for all of the things I'm already anticipating I'll miss and will loose by being away, there's going to be so much more that I'm going to gain, I think, and that's what's really important. 

Also, my host family has a bike for me when I get there, which means I don't have to buy one. Hooray for money saved!

I hope to see many of you who are reading this in the following week, thank you to all (well, all three of you) for the comments! 

And on that note; Nitwit, Blubber, Oddment, Tweak. For those of you who don't know what I mean, I suggest reading Harry Potter approximately eight times. Or twelve if you feel like it. :-) 


Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Hello all, here's the blog I've promised.

As some of you know, and some of you don't, I'm going to the Netherlands for my sophomore year of High School. I leave on the 16th of August, approximately 2.5 weeks from now, and have to somehow pack for a year in under 44 pounds.

But packing aside, I believe that the next year will be a great experience for me personally, and not only will it be a great challenge and eye-opener, but hopefully will be equally enjoyable. I've been placed into a town pop. around 17.000 in the province of Noord-Holland, with a family of 5. I have been in contact already with my host-parents and one of my host-brothers, and they seem like wonderful people. My dutch is slowly coming along, I've been working on it for about a month and can generally understand basic phrases. It's nowhere near fluent, but I'll survive, and once I'm there it will get better as the year goes on.

So maybe I'm overly optimistic and have no idea what I'm getting myself into, but whatever happens, I should be updating this every week or so, if you want to follow along. And on that note, I leave you with some Tolkien to ponder:

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
     And whither then? I cannot say. 

What- did you think that just because I'm going to a foreign country for a year, you'd escape my nerdiness? Sorry, folks. :)

Tot ziens,