Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pursuit of Happiness

So I figured I'd keep strong with this idea that I'm going to update on or around Sundays of each week. First thing first - I want to know what people think about this blog / how I could spice it up. I want to do new things on here or show off what people want to see. Obviously since I'm writing this I include what I can but I don't know what I'm leaving out of my experience! I would think a key component would be pictures (I'm sorry about this, really. I am not that big of a picture person sometimes, especially of late. I'll try and change this). So got it? Suggestions, please!

My life has sort of normalized, or is, at least, well on it's way to becoming normal. I feel as though I have found friends who I think are pretty cool and whom I feel comfortable around, I feel ok with the host family and within the house. I'm starting to understand what they're thinking and where they're coming from. Another thing I'm realizing is why I came here. I'm reading this really great book, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, where this rich, little Parisian girl is considering killing herself and setting fire to her expensive apartment unless she finds something meaningful in life before that point. It's really getting me to look past little, silly things in life and focus on people and sort of the motion of the world (I use that word because it's something she talks about a lot, and I understand it sounds relatively silly to write this all in here and attempt to sound so profound but I've really been looking at stuff differently lately). What I'm saying boils down to this: I am beginning to understand why I put off college. I wasn't ready to sit with a bunch of American students for another year and go through the typical motions. I needed something I would remember, something that I couldn't hold onto but would still be there with me. I hope the experiences that come as a result of this year really help me learn about what's going on around us. That when you get rid of the pressure of school, grades, the social circle you've known for years, you can take notice of the little things that make us operate in such unique fashions. (I really hope this all didn't sound like a silly mess, I've been thinking it just unsure how to pronounce it).

Since last week I've just had another week of school - the difference, you ask? Friends. You don't notice how crucial a role it plays in everyday life until it's pulled out from under you - then you miss it like crazy. Fortunately I feel this issue has been resolved for me, and for that, I am grateful. Class, however, is still class (except in Dutch). Dutch is coming I suppose, though I wouldn't say quickly (yet I wouldn't say slowly either). I finally ordered textbooks and they came, something I surely could've done weeks ago, but who cares. Everyone in AFS is getting all worked up because Berlin is only 2.5 weeks away and Lord knows what an episode that will be.

I'm also excited to say I'm planning some other travel! This week we had our buitlander reis (something along the lines of trip abroad) meeting in the evening. In VWO5 or HAVO4 you take a trip towards the end of April with the class. At Van Maerlant (my school) we can choose from trips to Barcelona, Rome, London, Southern Spain, Berlin, and a trip of the Outdoor variation (on bikes, somewhere not so far - pass). Hopefully I will be able to get on the trip to Rome because the Latin students get priority and the rest must compete for the remaining spots (luckily my contact/mentor/go-to-woman Mevrouw Henry says she will work her tushy off (not that exact phrase, she's German, so we don't mince words, although she is a very nice lady) to get me on the Rome trip, thanks bud). Other possible plans for the future is a trip with Ivy to Dublin in December (this is highly in the works, but hopefully it'll all be fine) and something after Berlin with my host parents (they said "well I'd say max somewhere 5 hours away, so have your choice from that"...seriously!?).

Jesus I get so worked up into little things I forget myself on here (just working my fingers to the bone)! Friday after school I jumped on this little invention seldom used in America known as the train. It took me to Alkmaar, a mid-sized city not too far from the Atlantic to spend some time with my good friend Francesco (Italia que BELLO!). It was a great time. Right when I arrived at his house we started cooking! Raphael (Venezuela) and I were his assistants in the kitchen, which was no laughing matter ("I love cook because in kitchen is like orchestra and I am conductor"). So we made Carbonada and fried eggplant (try not to pee yourselves readers, I actually enjoyed it) and well, it was just dandy. Then Rafael said doei doei and Francesco and I took a walk around Alkmaar, a nice, old, pretty city. Not much was open and I don't think there was much initiative on either side to party or anything of the like so we just returned to his house. We played some games and relaxed and by 12 I was out like a light.

Yesterday, Saturday, we went back into Alkmaar (after a relaxing morning) with Andria (Indonesia) to do some shopping and general exploration. We had lunch on the windy streets in the city and just enjoyed ourselves. Around 4:45 Francesco and I hopped a train going towards Eindhoven except he got out in Amsterdam to get to a far away town to visit another Italian here. I biked home and like a lame-o got in bed and just chilled. Today has been relatively quiet, except there was a kite festival right by the house so I walked over there to check it out and takes a few pictures (returned with camera after most of the kites were down). So now I'm just still in the process of relaxing before school. I'll include some pictures from today. Until later - oh and don't forget, what should I write in here next?


Marie said...

I'm jealous! I wanna be in The Netherlands too! Haha :P

Hmm .. more photos could spice it up :P

carol bell said...

I am enjoying your honesty and lack of pretense. I think that your blog is a good combination of your thoughts and feelings about this experience and your actual activities too. Yes, photos are nice. But photos without your thoughts and feelings as you currently write would be worthless.

peter.amtsberg said...

omg, i just love reading ur blog. when do you come and visit me duuuudddeeee???