Thursday, August 25, 2011

In the Netherlands

I am finally here!  I arrived last Friday after 3 flights and an orientation in New York.  It is beautiful here.  There is so much open area/farmland, grass everywhere.  I have never considered Gastonia an urban area but after living here, I don't know. 
On the way back to my host family's house, a 2 hour drive from the airport, we made a couple stops.  First we went to a dutch village where we walked around looking at houses, shops, and the sea.  There was one shop where you could dress up in traditional dutch clothing and take a picture which me and my host sister, Stella, did.  We were wearing big dresses, white hats, and wooden clogs. 
The second stop we made was to look at a famous dike.  With the sea on one side and a lake on the other it was a pretty site.  I got my first taste of dutch weather here too, it was really windy and slightly cold.  After we got back in the car we drove to their house.  It has so much land!  They have 3 horses, a foal, chickens, chicks, and a dog.  I have my own room which is really cute with a bed, a couch, and a desk area.
In the following days we have been pretty busy.  We went to an old dutch village where I got a demonstration on how to make dutch shoes.  The only problem was that the presentation was in dutch so I had no idea what was going on.  I had to rely on my host mom for translations which were good but to far and inbetween.  I will be a lot better off here when I can understand dutch.  I am working on the lessons that AFS provided for us and making a little progress.  Hopefully in a few months I will be able to tell a big difference.
We also went to Westerbork, an old concentration camp.  It was really interesting to see.  We biked along a trail to where all of the old barracks were and saw 2 different memorials for all of the people killed.  There was a museum with lots of blown up pictures and accounts of the prisoners.  I have always wanted to see something like this.   It was hard to imagine that we were really in the same place that the prisoners stood years ago. 
I also went into the city one afternoon with Caroline, my host mom.  I bought a phone, school supplies, and a waterproof winter jacket.  The city was really cool and I am looking forward to shopping around more.  It is really close to my school.
Overall my experience here so far has been great.  My host family is really nice and I get along well with all of them.  School starts in a week and a half.  I am a little nervous but hopefully it will go well.
Anyway I'll write more later.  Tot Ziens

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