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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/