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,



  1. Okay, your blog just deleted my comment. Grr. I'm so glad you're getting settled in! You are so lucky to have found a silks class near you. Here's to hoping it's totally awesome! I just made cookies and I'm really tempted to send one in the mail to you. They're almost as good as Alice's, if I do say so myself. :)

  2. I'm glad you're feeling welcomed and supported. I've been thinking about you a TON! When do you start school? My friend Gail has already started teaching, but she's in an international school, so maybe they start earlier. I'm fully in planning mode--my favorite part of going back to school--aside from meeting the new students. :) I love to imagine you zooming around the Netherlands on your bike. I picture it very cruise-y looking and not at all like the bikes here, which seem more rugged and intrepid. I hope you like the silks class. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

  3. PS Tobias Arther also equals Emily and Jeff. I poorly maintained a blog for Tobias when he was born and apparently he still has my blogger ID.

  4. Hey Irene! So glad to hear you are doing well and really glad to hear that there are aerial opportunities up there! See! I told you there would be!
    Have fun, and I'll do my best to keep up with your writings