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Monday, October 19, 2015

In which I go to a children's shoes store

Homecoming!

Firstly, for those of you who don't know, let me explain homecoming. Homecoming is the 'coming home' of earlier graduates. Supposedly they come back to the school, but most students just go to the big football game and the dance!

The week before homecoming is spirit week. This means that every day there is a new theme people can dress up in. Some go crazy, some don't. My favorite day was outer space day, because everyone either wore their space-hoodies, went as an alien or did some Star Wars thing. You can probably guess which one I did. 


Princess Leia and the Doctor :)


Friday we had the big football game, we played Tucker High School. It was great! I was in the student section with some of the theatre kids, and we had lots of fun! Also, we won: 45-7. Go Freeman Rebels!!

And of course, Saturday we had the dance! Now, I had a little problem, because appearently Americans don't make a lot of fancy shoes my tiny little feet can handle. Eventually Karen and I were so done that we walked into a children's shoe store. Seriously. I was pretty embarrassed, but to be fair they did have a lot of shoes that fit me. Unfortunately they weren't fancy enough for homecoming, because they were targeted at 10 year olds. 

This year was 'Sadie Hawkins'. That means that instead of the boys asking the girls, the girls have to ask the boys. Just my luck. My date was Hayden, who is in the play with me. Luckily he agreed to go with me, because we had a great time! 


Of course, Hayden and I couldn't escape from Andrew and his camera. First, we went out to dinner with Marte, the other foreign exchange student at Freeman. Luckily, the restaurant was right next to Freeman, so we didn't have to walk that far.


And then we went to the dance! Yes, homecoming princes and princesses are a real thing! Every grade and club gets to elect a princess, and then there's a queen and a king. Another thing you always see in the movies that turns out to be real! 
The dance itself wasn't that good, but we still had a good time with all the theatre kids. Trust the theatre kids to dance weirdly. 



 After the dance we took some pictures at Freeman's...sign-thingy. This was mostly because Marte and I were like omg those are real!! And yes, yes they are.

So homecoming! It was great. I had an amazing time and a lovely date. :)

See you next time, when I hopefully talk about a nice Halloween!!

Marga

(p.s: a couple of days ago I forgot the Dutch word for peanut. I even had to use Google Translate to eventually find it out. Andrew and Karen started chanting "one of us, one of us, one of us....")

Sunday, September 27, 2015

In which I'm slowly becoming American...

Hiya!

I know, I know! I've been gone! But hey, I'm back, so quit complaining and enjoy the update.

Tomorrow I start my fourth week at Freeman High School. It's crazy to think I've already been walking around there for three weeks! Freeman is a great high school, with a lot nice and diverse people in it. It's also a lot bigger than what I'm used to, which is great!

Of course there are a lot of differences between my school in Holland and Freeman, so here's a little list:

- You have classes with people from lots of different grades! In Holland, you only have classes from people from your own grade, but here in America all the grades are mixed. To me it's still a little strange to be making friends with people from different grades, but so far I like it so I'll keep it up!

- Graded homework. In some classes in America, you get graded for completing your homework. This is entirely new to me! In Amrerica, if you don't do your homework, you get a bad grade instead of just an angry look from your teacher. Luckily, the homework isn't that hard (yet) so I'm good!

- We have the same schedule every day! There are parts of the school I've never been to, just because it's not on the route to my classes every day. In one way, it's kinda boring, but on the other hand you don't really have to think about where to go, which is nice.

- So many classes that I could never have in Holland! For example, I take chorus and theatre, and you can also do ceramics, band, stagecraft, child development and so many others. All of these are electives, so you can't do more than two of them each year, but hey, you can do them!

- School spirit! In Holland we barely have school spirit, so I was very excited when I could buy Freeman sweaters and shirts! They are surprisingly comfortable too, the sweater is the best sweater I've ever had.

- The FLAGS! Every single classroom has one (well, at least one) American flag in it. In the morning, as part of the morning announcments, we say the Pledge of Allegiance. Everyone in the classroom stands up and turns to the flag, puts their hand over their heart and pledges allegiance. Now, because I'm not American I don't have to say it. Sometimes I do say it, but most of the time I just stand up and listen. But the American flag is everywhere! At the football game last week, my friends asked me if we have Dutch flags everywhere. I just kinda laughed, because I honestly see our flag maybe three times a year? Four if I'm lucky? Americans have flag-everything. Now, it's kinda weird that I'm saying this, with my American-flag backpack and my American-flag travel cup, but shush. I'm buying American-flag everything while I still can.

Also, I got into the fall play! We started rehearsals last week, and so far I'm loving it. I'm really surprised by the fact that students do so many things. The people in stagecraft make the entire set, and I think it's gonna look really awesome!

So far, my favorite store is America is, by far, Target. Target is a store where you can get most things. Lots of things. Karen and I have been there a couple of times to flee the house while Andrew yells at his football games. It's fun.



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                                              As you can see they have a lot of nice hats.

And, of course, the food. Yes, the food is good. Very good, in fact. I sent some of my Dutch friends some Oreos, and they told me that now they can't eat Dutch Oreos anymore. Because compared to American Oreos, they're terrible.

So I'm having loads and loads of fun here. The Kantors are still treating me nice, the pets still like me and I'm making friends at school! In 2 weeks we'll have homecoming (a fancy dance) and then soon after it's HALLOWEEN!
Here are a couple of pictures, to keep you entertained:

A giant unicorn Karen found in the supermarket (also me)

Marte (other EF exchange student, from Norway) and I on the skating ring!
Aaand I think that's it! Of course I'll write a new blog as soon as I have more (relatively interesting) news!

-Marga

The most American picture I've taken so far.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

In Which I Go To High School

After having slept for a mere 5 hours (because excitement, also Monty Python), downing my breakfast in 10 minutes, and practically bouncing off the wall, it was time to go to my first day of High School!

Andrew took me a little early, to change my choir class into 'select girls ensemble', possibly the fanciest course name ever. Once I had my new schedule, I was ready to go to homeroom. First though, the other exchange student (Marte from Norway) and I hung out in the library for a while.
We discussed our schedules and we were generally being very nervous about our first day of school!

Then we went our own ways to homeroom. We only go to homeroom for the first week, and it's where we get important information. Well, some of it is. We got about 100 forms, some of which have to filled out and others are just info about how to possibly get free lunch.

After homeroom, I went to English class. Our English teacher told us we're going to do a lot of reading this year, so yay! Reading!
She also had us answer questions about our goals, which seems reasonable, until you see the question: "what are your goals and dreams you want to achieve before you die?"

Next, there was Spanish I. Now, I've been very excited about Spanish! I can't take it as a class in Holland, so I'm looking forward to be able to learn a little Spanish. A girl quite close to me started talking to me, and after telling her I was an exchange student she said: "okay, this is gonna sound very stupid, but do you speak like a dialect of English in The Netherlands, like the British?", to which I responded: "Uhm, no, we speak Dutch, our own language. It's a lot like German." She also asked me if Sweden and The Netherlands were close, and I answered: hmm...yeah I guess? Partly because I am terrible at geography and can't remember how far away Sweden is exactly, and partly because an American's definition of 'close' is a lot different from mine.

-geek side-note here: okay so it turns out the south tip of Sweden is stuck to Denmark, so from The Netherlands you can get there in 9 hours (according to Google Maps), which isn't close no matter what you think close is, and then you're only in the deep deep south of Sweden-

After Spanish I had Virginia and US History. I was pretty scared, because even though I'm supposed to know more about US History, I don't know a lot. I know they gained independence in 1776, and they had a civil war like 100 years later? Anyways, I was pretty concerned that I'd have to ask every little thing. But the people sitting behind me convinced me that they didn't know much more either. So I was both happy and kinda confused that you can go 16 years without knowing much about your own Civil War.

And then there was lunch! My neighbor Anne is a sophomore at Freeman, so I could sit with her and her friends. They were really nice, and we only had 22 minutes to eat lunch, so you had to eat fast! I had a sandwhich and some grape tomatoes. Andrew told me the lunch in the cafeteria is terrible, and I think I'm going to believe him because that risk is just too big to take.

My next class was math. I half-expected it to be really easy, but boy was I wrong! Not that the things they learn are so hard, but the way they learned how to do it is just so different from what I learned! Luckily, after math class we have 20 minutes of study hall. Study hall is when you stay in your last classroom and get to do whatever you like, so lots of people just watch movies or something on their school laptops.

After math, I had Physics. My Physics teacher is pretty awesome. He explained a bit about himself using a powerpoint with a picture of a dog eating a bubble ('it doesn't really have anything to do with me, I just liked the picture') He also had us standing in a line in order of: how much we liked video games, how much we liked sports and how tall we were. I am proud to say I am taller than 3 people in my Physics class! He also promised lots of lab work, which will probably be amazing!

My 6th period is Girls Select Ensemble. This is basically a choir of girls, and this year there are 31 of us. They all seemed very nice! Marte and I have this class together, so we can chat about how terrible our host families are and how much we want to go back to our home countries, which will be nice.

Lastly, I have Theatre Arts II! Now, this is on the other side of the building from Chorus, and it is a big building. I came in a little late, and everyone was looking at me and the teacher said: "Ah, this will be her!" I probably looked very confused, because she added: "The foreign exchange student?" And I answered: "Oh, yeah! That's me!"
Theatre seems like a very nice class! I have my first actual homework for this class, since everyone was supposed to prepare two monologues over the summer. Whoops.

And like that, the day was over! The school busses back home were very late, so I didn't come home until about 5! Andrew signed all the forms, I covered my calculus book with a newspaper, translated a monologue I performed once into English, and now I'm going to go to sleep! Let's do it all again tomorrow!



-Marga



p.s I would like to comment on my cheese-paragraph of a blog gone by. Karen and Andrew insist that I tell you it is also possible to get an entire array of good cheeses at the supermarket. I didn't write about that because that didn't have enough comedic value. So here you go, it was an exaggeration. Now stop spamming facebook about it :)

p.p.s: Thanks so much for my High School in Holland for putting me on the front page! Honored!!!
Wanna see my face all huge on a webpage? (who doesn't want that!) Go to: http://www.maerlant-lyceum.nl/

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Commercials, Cheese and Costco

So, today marks the first two weeks with the Kantors! I'm happy to say I still like them. For now.

This last week has been great! (again! Sorry I don't have something terrible to tell you, it would be much more exciting to read)
We went to the beach, which was great! It was a two hour drive, which is far more than I'm used to. I'm used to cycling to the beach in 10 minutes! This was an entire operation, involving a cabana, a cart, two beach chairs and, oh, four people. Luckily everything fit, and we had a great day at the beach!



Ah, Americans in their cabanas.


Poor Sam.

Oh, I haven't told you about Costco yet!! We went to Costco about a week ago, and it was great. Costco is a store that sells a lot of different things. But, instead of selling the cheapest, they sell really good brands. Most products have a little discount because Costco only sells one or two brands of that particular product, so the brands let them buy it for less. Anyways, they also sell BIG quantities of things. I'm talking like, 20 pounds (around 10 kilos) of flour. The store is so big that sometimes you'll encounter a taste station, where you can taste a particular product they sell. Karen told me that on some days there'll be so many stations you can practically have lunch there. They also have clothes, couches, vegetables, meat, snacks, bedsheets, chocolate chips, and giant huggable bears.


If only it would fit in my suitcase...Oh, and that's the shot of the backback for you!

On Monday, school started again back in Holland! My school doesn't start until the 8th of september, so I can spend these days quietly laughing at my friends. They've been very nice to let me stay in the groupchats, because basically all I do is read about their misery and make sarcastic remarks from time to time. It's great.

Now, I thought this was a good time to make a little list of things that I've noticed so far.
(these are not marked in order of how different or important they are, but this is just how my brain works. On that note, my brain tends to exaggerate things)

1. Commercials. American commercials are both more funny, and more annoying. The annoying part is mostly because you see the same commercial about 20 times a day. I am not kidding. Although the commercial blocks are a lot shorter than what I'm used to, there are a lot more of them. Result: loud sighs whenever the car insurance woman pops up for the 100th time that day. There are also a lot of food related commercials. Especially during sports games. And, there is an alarming amount of celebrities in commercials! Kinda makes you wonder what connection Mila Kunis has to Jim Beam whiskey.

2. Cheese. Now, as a Dutch person (land of water, tall people, stroopwafels, and cheese) I feel quite personally insulted whenever I walk into the 'cheese' section of an American supermarket. First of all, there are several stages of 'processed-ness': cheese, cheese food, and cheese product. See?! They admit most of their cheese isn't even real cheese! So, the 'cheese' you get when you buy this is pre-sliced into these perfectly square pieces of cheese, with the totally wrong texture, color, and taste. Ielgh. Luckily, you can also get Gouda cheese, so I'll survive.

3. The oreo section. There is an unofficial oreo section in every supermarket, and there are about a million different kinds of oreos. Andrew actually tried making a rainbow with the different colours of oreo, but we didn't get  blue and purple. We need blueberry and grape oreos! Other flavors are; mint, peanut butter and birthday cake. Also, Americans like stacking different oreos on eachother, so you get names like: double triple chocolate mint oreo. (google it, it's a real thing)

4. Americans are chatty! They will just start a conversation with you, and they're mostly super friendly and nice. I'm not used to that at all, but I think it's amazing!

So, that would be all! Next week, I'll start school. I don't think I've ever been this excited to go back to school! But first, I have one week left before I have to start learning again!

Greetings from my hammock!

-Marga

Oh, and: thanks to Andrew for answering my ridiculous questions while blog-writing, like: "do you know a purple food?" and "what came before 'cheese-product'?" and "what commercial was Mila Kunis in again?" Also, he makes me laugh ("it's a touchscreen! I can use my toes!")

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Butterflies, School and Pets

Hiya! Nope, not dead!

Actually, I'm very much alive, and the Kantors are definitely feeding me well. So far, I'm having a great time here. The past four days have been a big blur of great times, so let me run you through some of the things we did.

On Monday, we kind of stayed at home. I organised my room a little further and generally got settled in a little more.
We went out for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. They had a guy, Juan the Guacamole Man (if you read it in a specific way it rhymes), who would make awesome guacamole right at your table. Seriously, Laura, this guy could give you a run for your money. Anyways, Andrew liked the food.


After dinner, we went to the mall. It would stay open until 9, so we had some time to get me a backpack and a new pair of shoes. And, may I just say I bought the most awesome backpack ever?! I haven't got a good picture now (at least, not one where I don't look like a complete dork), but I'm sure you'll see it plenty later. It is the American flag, very fancy and big, making up the entire backpack. It's amazing.

Then, on Tuesday, Karen, Sam and I went to the botanical garden, to look at the pretty butterflies. Because it wasn't that sunny, the butterfly-area was actually a pretty comfy temperature, so I got some nice butterfly shots.



Then we went outside to look at the garden, which was very pretty. Sam was also very amusing, since he had scratched open a musquito bite, and it had started bleeding. He was convinced he was bleeding to death. Yay siblings! In Holland, I didn't have any siblings (or pets that were bigger than rats, and yes I had two rats), so this is all very new! I'm liking it so far!

Yesterday, Wednesday, we had a nice day inside. It is incredibly hot and humid outside, so the airconditioning is always on and you're stupid if you go outside. It's a great opportunity to explore the American Netlfix in detail. Karen made chocolate chip cookies, and I helped her with the first batch, although I made the cookies way too big, and I ate about 3 spoonfuls of the dough. They were still super delicious. Long live homemade cookies!

Today, we went to my High School! I got enrolled, and I was able to choose my classes. Now, EF (the organisation I do my exchange year with) requires me to do English and American History, so those were already chosen. I could choose 5 other subjects, but I didn't have to decide right there so the counsellor gave me a paper with all the subjects I could choose, and a book with little descriptions of all of them. I think everyone who knows me understands how difficult I think this is. I wanna do ALL the things!!!
Anyways, I think I came up with a pretty good selection, though I won't tell you until it's all been figured out.

The school is BIG. There are about 1000 students there, and I only saw one hallway, but I'm thinking it's pretty big. There was no one there today though, but I'm sure that will change soon. When we go back to tell them which classes I'll take, we'll hopefully get a little tour. Knowing me and my great skills at remembering things, I'll probably still get lost all the time. We did see a bit of the marching band practice though! When we arrived, they weren't marching yet, because someone put the sprinklers on. After our appointment, they were marching though, and playing the Star Trek theme! Or at least, trying to play the Star Trek theme. I don't think I'll do marching band.

The rest of the day I spent playing the ukulele on my bed. Sam liked the music that was coming down the stairs, so he decided to join me by playing Farmville 2 on my bed. He was very helpful, because everytime I played something out of tune he would physically jump off the bed in fright, sometimes accompanied by a scream: "What was THAT?!" Which is quite funny if you're practicing some hard chords.

Now, the pets still love me. As I'm writing this, Lucy is taking up about 1/5 of my bed, and I don't think she'd like to move. She follows me around everywhere, and it's the cutest thing ever. Phred kinda hated me yesterday. That means he followed me around the  house, and whenever I sat somewhere he would kinda sit near me, watching me, and sometimes he scratched me a little. I ignored him though, and this morning I gave him a paper box to play with so we're best of friends again.

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So, usually they don't look this scared, but these dogs are Lucy and Maggie. Lucy is the big one and Maggie is the fat, little one. Maggie generally likes me, but sometimes she forgets who I am and she just starts barking like STRANGER DANGER!!! And then she remembers I've been here for about 5 days now, and we're fine again.

Something that's still very weird, is my closet. I packed clothes for 10 days, to live through camp, but if you see all those clothes assembled in one closet it's just so...little. Well, I'll have to do something about that tomorrow.

Basically, everything's going just fine here! Tomorrow, I'm going to meet the other Exchange Student that will be at my high school. Together, we'll plunder the local Forever 21. And, I'm going to Skype with my dad for the first time since I've been in the States!


For now, goodbye from the Kantors and I!

-Marga

p.s. I guess I just wanna say thank you to everyone who has been reading my blog so far! According to Blogger, my blog has been seen about 1600 times now! I'm assuming that's not just one person refreshing the page about 1500 times. So thanks for that huge huge number, and I'm glad that I'm entertaining enough to read!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

I'm here!

Now, before I tell you what it's like here in Richmond (teaser: it's AWESOME), I'll write about yesterday. 

The last days of camp were great! We went to a baseball game on Thursday, which was lots of fun!
 

Then on Friday, we had a talent show, and I played the ukulele. We also 'graduated' from camp, and we had a nice barbeque outside! And then it was time for the dance, and time to say goodbye!

Saying goodbye was awful! There were lots of tears everywhere, and because everyone left in a different bus at a different time you were constantly saying goodbye. Eventually, it was time for my bus to leave, so around 4:30 am I arrived at JFK. There were 4 other EF exchange students on my flight, so we could all wait together! Now, my flight was supposed to leave at 9:05 am, but it kept getting delayed, and eventually we left at 2:25 pm. 

It was one of those little planes, with three seats on each row. I had the lonely window seat, and I was so excited! The people next to me must have wondered why that girl next to them was making such weird noises and pushing her face against the window. 

Anyways, we landed and walked to the baggage claim, and there I finally met my host family, the Kantors! For those of you who don't know, my host family consists of my host dad, Andrew, my host mom, Karen, and my host brother Sam. They had made me a nice sign, and after a couple of hugs and hello's we quickly moved to the baggage carousel, and literally within a minute my bag turned up! So we could move to the car, and drive home.

When we arrived home, I got greeted by two hyperactive dogs, Lucy and Maggie. The Kantors also have four cats, (Phred, Charlie, Peanut and Simon) but I didn't see them because they were hiding! We moved my bag to my room, they showed me around the house, and then they gave me time to just lie on the bed and unpack a little. 
But, it was impossible to sleep! Though I'd been awake for over 30 hours, I just couldn't fall asleep. So after half an hour I came downstairs, and Karen and I went to Target to get me some things. 

Target is a pretty cool store! They have lots of awesome stuff, and it was a lot of fun to walk through it with Karen. Then we drove home and had dinner, hamburgers and corn, and then everyone was so tired that at 9 pm we went to sleep!

I absolutely love my room! I'll post some more pictures later, but for now just assume it's really really cool. 
Lucy, the biggest dog, is pretty much in love with me so she follows me around everywhere. She slept on my bed last night, and there were at least two other animals in the room too. 

This morning we had bagels for breakfast (they were good), and then me, Andrew and Sam went biking. But, after about 10 minutes my tire exploded! Whoops. 
So, we had to walk back home, and Andrew and I went to the bike store to buy a new tire. 

And now, I'm sitting on the couch. Karen is entertaining the dogs by throwing random toys all over the room. Phred (big red cat) sometimes just comes over and licks my legs, which I'm guessing means he likes me. 
It's super hot outside, 32 Celsius, (though I should probably start saying 88 F) so today I'll probably unpack some more and explore the house! 

That's all for now! I'll post some more later this week, hopefully with some more pictures!

-Marga

Monday, August 10, 2015

Camp Life and NYC

We're halfway through camp already! In 5 days, I'll fly to Richmond to finally meet the Kantors, I can't wait!

But, the past 5 days at camp have been amazing. I met lots of people from over the world, and I made a couple of really nice friends!


From left to right: Ammy from Norway, (the always charming) Beata/Caroline from Sweden, Frederikke from Norway and me from The Netherlands!

All of them are in my homeroom, so I see them about 50 hours a day, but I still haven't gotten sick of them!

The camp is divided into four high schools: the Madison Eagles, the Polk Penguins, the Washington Wolves and, my high school, the GRANT GATORS! Each evening, we have an activity with the entire camp, and usually it's a competition. There is an entire point system I won't get into now, but the bottom line is that the homeroom with the most points gets to go on a secret trip outside campus. The Gators won all of the activities so far! And tonight, we had a mock volleyball tournament, which we also won! The real one is tomorrow, and of course we're gonna win that too.

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Here's a little footage of the volleyball tournament! Notice all the cheering, GO Gators!
Creds to Frederikke for filming!

So most days we have four classes, where we learn things like: a) how to not speak terrible English b) how to not be terrible to your host family c) how to do the wobble (google it!) and, finally, d) how to not set a microwave on fire (to learn that we watched YouTube videos of exploding microwaves).

Then we have two activites a day, and we can choose from an entire list of things to do! Think of stuff like softball, football, soccer, talent show, board games, etc. etc.  There is so much I can't even begin to describe all of them, so I'll just tell you my favorite one: Commando Hike. Commando Hike is like hide and seek for professionals in the park. There are a couple of rules: 1. the leader decides how many seconds you have to hide, usually somewhere between 3 and 8 2. you always stay behind the leader and on the path 3. when the leader yells GO you hide, and when he's done counting he turns around and if he sees you, you're out.
So all of this results in a group of 25 teenagers behind an adult, having 3 seconds to dive into the bushes. I think you can imagine how great it gets.

The college we're staying at is called Muhlenberg College. It's quite a big campus, and it's seriously like you stepped right into the movies. They have lots of sporting areas, and lots of grass, and a store, and dormrooms and everything! (except for an all-female acapella group I believe)

I think the highlight was yesterday, when everyone went to New York City. Well, it's way too much to write down here, because we spent 11 hours in NYC, so here are some pictures to summarize it:








Now, that last pic deserves some explanation. We were walking past Rockefeller Centre, and stopped to talk to a leader from a different group, when this woman suddenly comes up to us. She starts talking to us and soon she finds out we're from Europe, and this whole monologue starts about how she's been to all of our countries and she really liked it and it soon became clear she couldn't keep the countries apart at all, but I think we seriously spent 15 minutes just listening to her and nodding our heads whenever she stopped for breath.

We left for NYC at 6:45 am, and we got back around 10 pm so everyone was extremely tired. But then again, I think everyone here is constantly tired.
You're constantly busy and talking to new people, all in English, so I barely even have time to write this blog! Anyways, I can't imagine leaving this place to live with the Kantors in Virginia, but it's drawing closer every hour!

-Marga

Thursday, August 6, 2015

And, we're off!

-Part One, 1:01 AM, somewhere above the Atlantic-

About 11 hours ago, around 2 pm, I closed my room’s door for the last time for the next 10 months. Saying goodbye to my family and friends these last two weeks was harder than I expected, and I’m going to miss all of their good company, jokes, laughs and all of the other stuff I love so much! During the drive to the airport, I said imaginary goodbye’s to things like cows, Dutch number plates, terrible Dutch music, and my favorite radio ads. (Dutchies: Proooofiel, de fietsspecialist *TRING TRING*)
On the airport, my lovely aunt, uncle and cousin came to say goodbye, which was a nice surpise! There were 9 other Dutch EF students going to New York, and before we left we took a group picture.



After everyone had said their goodbye’s, we moved through check-in, waved at the family and friends one last time, and moved through security! And before we knew it, we were in the plane to Heathrow. While the plane was taking off, I slowly started realizing that I was really going to be gone. It was the thought of meeting my host family, people I will live with for 10 months, that made me realize I was…am, actually doing it.

Anyways, I spent most of the first flight staring out of the window, listening to music and chatting to Sasja, another Exchange Student who sat behind me. Some of the things we found out: 1. Clouds are basically moving water 2. Windmills in the middle of the sea are weird 3. Seeing other airplanes when you’re in an airplane is very weird 4. Those small boats are probably huge but they just seem so tiny! 5. Flying with British Airways does not necessarily mean they have good tea, it was terrible 6. England is much less green than we expected.


On Heathrow, we had a stopover, and we were joined on the next plane by EF students from Denmark and Norway. Right now, I’m in the plane to New York. I’m in between two Danish exchange students, who are very nice! I showed the girl on my left how to make an origami dragon, and the guy on my right is laughing at the movies he’s watching and telling me all about Danish soccer. So here I am, typing this on my laptop which is way too bright, in the chair which is surprisingly small, behind a woman who decided her chair needs to be practically on my lap, my legs hurting because I can’t stretch them, and meanwhile eating questionable airplane food. And I’m loving every second of it.

The clock on my laptop says it’s 1:01 AM Dutch time, and I’ve decided to trust it blindly because my entire sense of time is gone. Even though I’ve been awake for 17 hours, I don’t feel very tired! Actually, no, that’s a lie. I’m dead tired.

-Part Two, 8:20 AM, Muhlenberg College-

Around 5 hours ago, we arrived at Muhlenberg College, where we’ll stay for the next 10 days. Our plane landed 22:45 local time, and after we’d gone through customs there were a couple of EF-staff members waiting for us, cheering because we made it. All of us were too tired to really react. We left the airport in a huge bus with other students around 1 AM. Luckily, our driver decided we could take the downtown Manhattan route, so we got to see Times Square and the Chrysler building. It was a LOT of fun to drive through Manhattan at midnight, and all of us managed to stay awake long enough.




At Muhlenberg, I got my room keys, and carried my luggage upstairs. I accidentally woke up my roommate, Justine from Switzerland, but she didn’t mind because it was only 2.5 more hours until she’d get up anyways. And yes, at 6:40 AM the alarm clock woke me up, and I took a quick shower before going to breakfast. After breakfast, me and a little group of students explored the campus a little, and now I’m waiting for homeroom at 9:00!

-Part Three, 11:04 AM, Muhlenberg College-

The past two hours, we had a pep rally, a parade of nations, a rule-explanation, and our first homeroom.


Parade of nations basically means that every country gets a flag and walks to the main building of the college, while making lots of noise. And the 10 Dutchies were pretty good at that, even compared to the 20 Danish people. After the parade of nations and the rule-explanation, we had homeroom. The 350 students on this camp are divided into four high schools, and the high schools are divided into north, south, east and west. In homeroom we did a little name game, so everyone could know eachother's names. A lot of people have to choose American nicknames, so people can pronounce their name. For example, I went for Marge, which is easy because everyone knows the Simpsons.

So now there's a siesta until 12:30, when there's lunch, and then more homeroom!

I'm loving camp so far, but I can't wait to meet my host family in Virginia next week!

Till next time!
-Marga

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Counting down...

Hello! And welcome to my blog!

My name is Marga, I'm 16 years old and I live in Holland. In 7 days, I'll hop aboard some plane and fly from Holland to the USA, where I'll spend the next 10 months! During that time, I'll be living in Richmond, Virgnia with my host family, the Kantors. My host family consists of my host parents, Andrew and Karen, and their 12-year old son Sam. Oh, and two dogs and four cats!
But before I go to Richmond, I'll spend 10 days on a camp, close to New York. On camp I'll have classes (I have no idea what I'm going to learn but I'll be learning something), socialize with other exchange students and I'll even go on a day trip to NYC!

Even though it's only 7 more days until I leave, I don't feel as nervous as you would expect! I guess it's gonna hit me when the plane starts to take off, and I'll sit in my chair thinking: 'what. did. I. get. myself. into.', but I hope that's NOT going to happen.
Of course I'm still very excited! The Kantors are very nice (well, they're doing a good job at hiding the fact that they're serial killers) and I think we're going to  get along great. I think the thing I'm most excited about, is my school! I have no idea what it will be like, but I'll probably love it.

Right now, I just want to pack my bag, and go to the States immediately! I've been planning this for about 2,5 years now, so it's both crazy and amazing that it's finally going to happen!
These next couple of days I'm going to say last goodbyes to friends and family members, clean up my room, watch movies while I should be cleaning my room, and start packing. The packing is going to be a problem, because there are so many things that remind me of home that I want to bring, but that's never ever going to fit! So, I made a little list of things I HAVE to bring:

1. The amazing photobook my niece gave me for my birthday
2. 157 tea bags (sorry Liz, I already used 3)
3. At least 3 books
4. Tons and tons of stroopwafels (a Dutch deliciousness)
5. My 3 favorite mugs

And then I'm not even talking about my ukulele, my big camera, clothes....
Yep, this is gonna be a problem.

Anways, I can't wait to start my adventure!



-Marga