Monday, April 30, 2012

April

Hello everyone,

It's strange how time has flown and dragged the past few months. If I look at how my percept until today, with one unit of time being what last year felt like, it would probably look something like this:

August 16th-19th: 1 month

August 19th-September 9thish:3 months

September 9th-November 18th: 5 months

November 19th-November 25th: 1 month and three seconds at the same time

November 26th-January 1st: 1 month and a few days 

January 2nd-31st: three weeks

February-March: three weeks

April: one week

I'm not sure why this is true, but I have confirmations from other foreign exchange students that this is the case with them too, so either the stress and awesomeness of an exchange has made us all completely bonkers, or our all experiencing it indicates that I'm not insane. Hopefully the latter is true, as I think I'm already at a level of insanity that I'm happy with! 

My mental status aside, I think that I'm supposed to be telling you about what I have been up to this last month-week. 

As already stated, it feels like the past month has gone by really quickly. Mostly everything has been good, certainly with my host family. Due to some things going on with my family back home, it was sometimes kind of stressfull, but now that everything's settled down with them mostly, it's going well. On my side of the pond, I have been somewhat busy I suppose. 

I'm fairly certain that Easter happened this month, which I didn't particularly celebrate. But we did get Friday and Monday off of school, because everyone is Christian here, and that was nice. Yona, who is one of my sisters friends and who I do circus with, was in Amsterdam visiting a cousin, so I got to see him on Easter, which was very nice. It was rather strange to be in Amsterdam with him, which is somewhere completely separate from Eugene in my head, with someone who I associate very strongly with Eugene. So it was somewhat surreal, but I had a good time. 

Two weekends ago, I think, I went to Texel, which is the biggest island in the Netherlands, above Den Helder, with a group of foreign exchange students also in Noord Holland. We saw the island, and went on a shrimping boat which was interesting. They had new nets that roll across the ocean floor instead of digging into everything, which is much better for the environment, so that's good! One of the foreign exchange students lives on Texel, so we stayed at her house. Sunday we went to a seal rescue center, which was interesting. I barely got any sleep though, so was pretty exhausted by the end though. It didn't help really that I was reading The Hunger Games series in Dutch that week, so kept staying up late to finish them. (I read Mockingjay in Dutch in one day!) 

I had orchestra last weekend for the first time since our concert, which was a lot of fun. We're playing Le Sacre du Printemps right now, which is an incredibly difficult piece, so we worked on that most of the time. Because it's the rhythms that are the biggest challenge, everyone in the orchestra has spoken ├ętudes to practice the rhythms. It's pretty funny, because it's a group of eighty people maybe, with half saying Papapapaaatrrrriiiiil and the other jigidigijigidigyPa pa pa at the top of their lungs simultaneous. 

Now I have May Vacation for the week, which is great! Dutch people have lots of vacations. Yesterday I went with my host parents and one of my host sisters to a sort of walk in the tulip fields. It was a lot of fun, though the weather wasn't too great. We walked for 7,5 km, though it was also possible to walk 15, 20, and 30 km, but I didn't have the right shoes on, so we only did the 7,5. 

Today was Queen's Day, which is a national holiday. Essentially, everyone wears orange and lots of people go to the bigger cities and party and get very drunk. I hung out at home and had a fairly generic, nice day. 

That's about it for now, I need to go to bed now, it's getting very late. 

Hugs to all,

Irene

P.S. I'm fairly certain that my English is really disjointed in this post, sorry! It's partially that I can't check my spelling since the spell check is in Dutch, but mostly it's because I almost never speak English, except while skyping and emailing. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

March Revisited

According to the calander, it's already April, and to be honest I'm not totally sure how that can be true since it feels like March just started. But as Easter is tomorrow, and calenders don't normally lie, I've had to conclude that it is indeed April, which means that I haven't updated this blog in quite a while.

I have to say, updating is getting harder and harder to do, not only because I am simply lazy, but also because everything that I do feels very normal. At first I could talk about all the cultural differences, and the new things that that I've been doing, but at this point it just feels like normal life, or at least as normal as it can get given who I am...

So, what have I been up to then? I've been somewhat busy I guess; at the beginning of March I had a giant orchestra rehearsal Friday through Sunday, and played something like 28 hours of violin those three days. The next weekend I had a general rehearsal for orchestra, and then Sunday we went to Germany for a concert, which was tons of fun. Two weeks ago we had another two concerts in Hoorn and Amsterdam, and now the season's over. It starts back up towards the end of April, but I'll only be able to go to a handfull of rehearsals before I have to leave which is too bad since we're playing the Sacre du Printemps.

Other than that, life hasn't been too eventful. I've continued going to circus in Amsterdam weekly, and am very slowly improving at tumbling and ground acro (not my strong points). On a similar note, we finally climbed ropes in gym last week, which would have to make it my most succesful gym class, ever. Most of the time we play dodgeball, and I hide in a corner covering my face or something- it's not my best subject frankly, so it was nice to be actually good at something for once. I've never climbed on braided ropes before, and though it's logical to think that they'll be a lot more painful, I did manage to forget to tuck in my shirt before doing anything, and as a result I have a lovely giant burn on my side, and one on my ankle too. Oh well, it was still lots of fun, I've really missed climbing (in Amsterdam the circus doesn't really have much aerial).

Other than that, not much exciting has happened. I turned sixteen finally, and my host family gave me a dutch cook book which was great! And the day after my birthday was a sort of holiday/ binge drinking festival in my town, so I didn't have school the second half of the day. Since my host family and I aren't too in to binge drinking, my host sisters and I went to Den Haag with my host mom to a sort of giant swimming pool amusement park, which was incredibly awesome!

That's about it! Hope you're all well.

Irene