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.