I'm aware that I've been here for over half the year but It only really hit me today. With a mere four months of my exchange year left, I literally cannot believe how the fast time has gone.
Just a short while ago a new group of exchange students from the southern hemisphere (e.g. Argentina, New Zealand, etc. And because the seasons are opposite, their school year is at a different time, therefore they came at a different time) came to the Netherlands. Today I was lucky enough to help out at their primary orientation camp with three of my exchange buddies; Lauren (USA), Patrick (USA), and Walker (CAN). The new students asked all these questions that I remember asking; about the best way to make friends, how they should act with their host families, etc. But this time I was the experienced one who told them how I dealt with things and gave them advice. Talking to them gave me such a big flashback to my first few weeks in the Netherlands when everything was so new and scary. Right now I'm in a place where I can almost believe that this is my new life, and that I'm not going to ever leave it. I have a great host family and good friends, I am so comfortable with the language that I rarely speak English anymore, and going places by train or bike is completely normal. It's going to be very hard going back home. This day was a wake up call to say the least, but it was good for me. Though I really don't want to, I have to accept that all good things come to an end and I have to do the best that I can to make the most of these last few months.
The foto is from my own orientation camp back in September!
I guess I'll end this post with a few things I'm really excited about in the future:
- My mom and her boyfriend coming to visit. NEXT WEEK!!!!!
- My birthday! Woot woot! 17!
- Getting to know the new exchange students better!
- My cousin and her friend (who both happen to be on exchange in Sweden at the moment..) coming to Holland!
- Attending many concerts with my lovely Alaskan friend Maya!
- The AFS group trip to Antwerp!
- Koninginnedag (Queen's Day - yet another crazy Dutch holiday)!
- Going to the south of France in May with my host family!
- My fantastical friend from back home, Sophie coming to visit!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
This past weekend was Carnival in the Netherlands! I went to a city called Breda, where one of the largest Carnival celebrations is held. Carnival is this huge festival celebrated widley throughout Europe, and basically (or at least in my opinion) its kind of like a combination of Mardi Gras, Halloween, and a circus convention! Everyone dresses up in costume and in most cities there is a huge parade with massive hand-made paper maché floats and constant loud oom-pa-pa dutch music. Streamers, glitter and confetti litter the streets, and there's beer everywhere you look; spilled on the ground, in large cases being pulled around, in the hand of every other person. All in all, it was quite the party.
Here are a few videos from the parade, just to give you a better sense of it all. You may want to turn down the volume a little bit because it is very very loud!
More photos here.
Hope you all had a great Valentines weekend!