Sorry it's taken so long to update this!
Let me start by explaining the places I've been this week. At this time, 7 days ago, I was walking into the Calgary Airport, crazy nervous about starting my exchange year. Yikes! A whole year? So far away? What am I thinking? Why did I apply for this again!? But then I remembered all the reasons I wanted to go, and all the good stories former exchangies had told me, and everything was Ok.
I made it through 8 or 9 hours ( I can't remember exactly) of fairly uneventful plane ride, then tackled the Frankfurt airport. Long story short, I eventually made it to my gate. Then, just a quick flight over Germany and into Amsterdam, where my host family and rotary councillor were waiting to greet me! I drove with my hosts down to Cadier en Keer, which is where I am living.
Monday, we went into Maastricht to tour around a little. It was amazing! I can't get over how beautiful and old and European everything is. I tried bitterballen (lekker!) and had some Italian food at a restaurant with my hosts ( also lekker!).
I am trying to remember Tuesday... I think we picked up groceries at the "Jumbo" and went to a pet store and I got a very nice pair of rubber boots, but that may not have been Tuesday... oh well, that happened on one of the days. It was fun.
Then on Wednesday, my host father needed eye surgery in Utrecht, so we all drove up there. He had his surgery, and we all waited in the clinic's waiting room, and I read (tried to read) comics. Donald Duck in Dutch is hilarious! I believe I actually came across the word "Zeebonk". hmm...?
Later that day we went on a canal tour through Utrecht. It was really pretty, some of my photos on my earlier post are from that tour. We had really really good food again at the hotel we stayed at, I tried some more typical dutch things. One was a Bitterballen with a rice and truffle filling, and another was very dark bread with some cheese on it. Yum!
Thursday, we drove back to Maastricht after driving around "The Green Heart" of Holland, and seeing all the mansions and the castle that belonged to the previous queen. That is the white building in my pictures. Then I got my bank account set up and my host mother and I went on a 2 hour walk through some woods that are very close to the house. There is a giant potato field on one side of the path, and woods on the other, and we walked down into the woods and saw some caves and a beautiful view of Maastricht, and all kinds of slugs and snails and frogs and other creepy crawlies. That walk is very beautiful, I'll have to do it a lot this year!
Then, Friday was just kind of a relaxed day. My host parents had to drive back up to Utrecht for another eye appointment, and my host brother was working at his school, so I had the house to myself, and just kind of slept in, read, and was lazy until they came home. I came with my host mother when she went to pick up my host bro at the school, so I got to take a little tour of it. It's bigger than my school at home, and has lots of windows! But the lockers are smaller (way smaller!) and there are some INSANE tiny spiral stairs that lead up the levels. Bandies : read scottish-castle-level stairs. They're terrifying. I'll try to get a picture of them sometime!
Then, today, I drove to Arnhem ( I probably spelled that wrong, but give me a break, I'm sleepy ) with my host parents to meet all the other exchange students and attend Dutch Orientation Camp , which will last all this week. From the look of things, this is gonna be an incredible year with some incredible people. Well, I'm off to bed!