Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I was in the newspaper! Here's a photo of the article, and if you feel so inclined to attempt to read the actual thing (bear in mind..it's dutch!) then click on the photo and it will take you to a bigger, more readable version. Last week a journalist from my town's local newspaper called up to ask if I would be interested in an interview. I know most of you are wondering what it says, so just for you guys I'm going to try and translate it for you.
"I feel right at home"
Host family loves Caitlin and vise versa.
Oregon and Alphen. A world of differences for exchange student Caitlin Stacy. Already studying at Ashram College she explores the Netherlands.
Caitlin (16) is now 5 months in the Netherlands and is greatly enjoying herself. "We think it's really great!"
The American sits on her bed in her host family's house on Marketenster and feels visibly at home.
"I've only been here a few months, but I feel right at home. José and Pater take very good care of me. I'm so happy to be here. It is the chance of a lifetime", she tells me in excellent Dutch. Of course the language was a big problem in the beginning. "I understood absolutely nothing for the first few days. That was very difficult, but you start picking up words pretty quickly. Now I try to speak as much Dutch as possible."
Whats so striking to her is how small the Netherlands actually is. "You can hop on a train and in just a short amount of time you can be seeing things on the other side of the country. It's great! I've even made a list with places that I still want to see before I go. It is really my intentions to make the most out of my time here", says Caitlin.
Caitlin has been affected very little from homesickness. "I expected to be extremely sad. Especially since I was warned, but its not as bad as they told me it would be." That is mainly because of her host parents, she says as she looks to her door that is covered in photos and souvenirs. "Look! I even got to dress up as a Swarte Piet three times. That was so fun! Sinterklaas was great. I felt right at home for those two weeks."
Caitlin is happy with her adopted family and so are José and Peter with Caitlin. "It is always waiting to see what will happen", says José. "Our friends all say to us that we have again picked the prize!" José and Peter earlier had another American girl, Lauren. They had a wonderful experience with her and they still keep in contact. That is why they decided to try again with Caitlin. "We are were involved by chance", says Peter. "We knew someone from the softball association was still looking for host parents for a girl from America. He couldn't find anyone. When he thought he had a loss, I spoke with José who immediately said: 'Why don't we do it?' We couldn't think of an argument."
Through this experience they have noticed that many other host parents have really high expectations. "Nowadays teenagers will like to have some time to relax in their rooms. You can not expect them to do what you want. Caitlin happens to enjoy doing and seeing almost everything, but others may not be so enthusiastic. And if you put pressure on them, sometimes things can go wrong. As a host parent, you must learn to be flexible", José tells me. She thinks that they have been very lucky to have Caitlin. "She's just lovely", beams José. Saying goodbye to Peter and José is something that Caitlin does not want to think about. "I don't want to go home yet. This is my new home", says Caitlin.
José is almost in tears as the subject is discussed. "That will come with sadness and tears. We'll need some time to adjust when she goes home."