Hey everyone! I’m pretty bad on keeping up with my blog…. I’m starting my new adventure to Bali tomorrow, but I didn’t even write about my summer yet. So hereby I’ll upload two blogs today. One of my AMAZING summer, and one about the adventure I’m about to start.
So the week after my last blog I helped with the AFS OP End camp. This is the camp for all the students who stayed a year in the Netherlands and who had to leave soon. It was a really great and fun weekend, despite we had to rub the waterproof marker off the floor..
The next week I went to the goodbye BBQ of the southern Netherlands AFS chapter and later I also went to the northern AFS chapter potluck. So in this way I could see many students before they left. It was really good to be able to see and to say goodbye to these students.
When summer break officially started for me I went with some people of my study to the amusement park ‘Efteling’. This is a park that is themed with fairytales. It was really fun. There were also some teachers who joined. The next day I went out with some friends. It is always hard to set a date with us. So we were really surprised that it worked out! We went glow golfing, and afterwards we went to a pizzeria.
Then there were some really international weeks. Kati from the USA was back in the Netherlands. She spent her exchange year in my town while I was in the USA. I still had the chance to meet her when I just got back from Illinois in 2015. But now she was back and we went kayaking.
A couple of days after that I met up with Agustina. She’s from Argentina and is currently studying in Spain. I met her during my Hawaii trip that I did with Belo Travel in 2015. She was flying from Spain to Argentina and had a 10 hour layover in Amsterdam. And why wouldn’t I go there to meet up with her! J
And then again a couple of days later Misa from Japan came to visit me. She was also in the Greater Chicago Area chapter with AFS during my exchange year. She was doing a Europe trip. From Seraina (Switserland) she would come to me, she took the flixbus to Arnhem where I would meet up with her to travel the last part home. Unfortunately it didn’t really worked out how we planned. Her bus was delayed and I freaked out because I couldn’t find Misa. Haha It took me like 1 hour till I finally found her and then we just missed the train to go home… Then we just waited for half an hour and then we could finally go home.
The first thing Misa noticed is that the Netherlands is flat. I I’m used to it so it is not that weird to me, but she was really surprised. Guess that people from other countries have other views on a ‘flat’ landscape.
Me being super excited Misa being here wanted to take her like everywhere. But unfortunately that wasn’t possible. Because she would only stay for 3 days. We still managed to see the area where I live, Amsterdam, the Zaanse Schans and Havelte. It was really fun that Misa visited. She was my roommate in the USA the first AND the last night I was there. I hope I can visit her someday too in the future!
That following week I felt that I’d been busy and I was kinda feeling sick. But I still worked as much as I could in my free days (also between the busy days that I mentioned above this part), because I need to get money with all my travel plans. Because I would already leave 1,5 week after Misa visited to my hostfamily in Illinois.
On July 26th I left to my hostfamily again. I did last year too, but I never had time to write about that.. My flight left around 9.30pm, so I still had the whole day at home. My parents had visitors and decided to go by boat. I already packed all my stuff so I went with them. It was really nice weather. After (early) dinner I could drive with the friends of my parents to the airport. I was a little early, so I just checked in when I could and sat down at the gate.
My first flight was to Iceland. Here I had a 16 hour layover. Unfortunately I couldn’t find someone to stay at there and like everything was really expensive. So I stayed for 16 (long) hours at the airport where I watched like 5 movies and bought a $8 sandwich. My next flight took about 7 hours and then I was finally back in the USA. During this flight I also met this really fun person. She is from Wisconsin. I didn’t see her during my time there anymore. But we are still in touch.
Customs went surprisingly fast at O’Hare, the airport in Chicago, and I got my bags in notime. My hmom and Brandon picked me up from the airport. They were still on their way when I came out. So I let them know where I stood, so they could pick me up there. On the way home we went by Portillo’s. This is kinda a tradition. We did that all 3 times when I came.
So I don’t remember all things exactly that I did, I’m just following my Instagram pictures which help me to remember. I’m already sorry if I forget something, and I’m also sorry for this very long blog.
One of the first days we went to Kenosha, this is on the border with Illinois and Wisconsin. I think before this I went with my hparents to Milwaukee to bring some baby stuff to Leah and Eric. Leah was almost 8 months pregnant by that time, so the baby would come soon! Hannah biked to Kenosha where we met up with her. Hannah and I went for a real quick swim in the lake and afterward we went out to eat. The ordering at this place was really funny. They had the menu and you had to check your choice, afterwards you had to hand in the menu.
The first week I went by a Glen Ellyn practice. I didn’t really do the practice, but I wanted to see the team again. On the way back we stopped by Willowbrook, my American highschool for a picture.
I also visited Beatriz and her baby girl Victoria who was born in March the first week. It was really good to see her again! Last year we didn’t have the chance to meet up, because we were both busy. That same day I went downtown with Arianna. I just love Chicago, it is so pretty!
Then came the main reason why I came back this summer. Tessa’s wedding! I wasn’t really planning on going back this soon again. But when I heard Tessa (hsister) was getting married in August I couldn’t let it to buy tickets and got there. I just added some extra weeks so I could do other stuff too.
Tessa and Luke got married Saturday august 5th. We already went to the farm in Rock falls on Thursday. Also because we had to prepare everything. On Friday I went with Tessa and the bridesmaids to a nail spa to get ready for the wedding. I also bought another dress at Goodwill for the wedding. It was still new but not sold in the other store where it came from.
In the evening we had the rehearsal. This means that they would ‘practice’ the ceremony, so everyone would know for the next day where to sit and stand. After the rehearsal, we had the rehearsal dinner. We had some very good food there.
The next day was ‘THE DAY’, the day Tessa was getting married to Luke. In the morning everyone got ready. I was together with all of the bridesmaids. So they were getting their make-up and hair done. I am not really a type who would wear a lot of make-up and stuff. So I told them to make it look very natural. Hannah, Mary Beth and Andie curled my hair. They switched off while they were getting ready too.
It was a great and really fun day at the wedding. My ‘Thai sister’ Sarar was there too, my hfamily hosted her before me. I will always have great memories of this day.
The day after the wedding Luke and Tessa opened all the gifts. I got them big mugs from Blond Amsterdam with Bride and Groom and their names on it.
CONGRATULATIONS MR AND MRS MORENO!!!
After the wedding I still had some weeks left. In these weeks I helped Luke (hbrother) to get his property ready in Pleasant Prairie. This is really close to Kenosha. He will build his house here. Luke and Tessa will live on the property next to him in the future.
On the way back from Rock falls Hannah and I decided to do a ‘roadtrip’ to Castle Rock State park. Here we did some hike with many musquitos and a Tarzan swing rope. So after this fun hike a still had lots of musquito bites as souvenirs..
In the last week I was in in Illinois I went with Hannah, Nicole and Anna on a roadtrip to The Garden of the Gods in Illinois. It was really pretty and we did some pretty cool hikes! It didn’t even look like Illinois there. Sometimes we were a little lost because the GPS wasn’t very good. But we made it back home after a long weekend. J
A couple of days before I left I decided to visit Willowbrook. The school would start the next day again. So the teachers were busy prepairing for their classes. Here I saw a lot of the teachers I had which was really fun! I know some people might say it is not fun to see teachers, but for me they are with the memory of the amazing year I had. After speaking to the teachers I went to the Cross Country team. All the freshmen in my year are seniors already… Time is going by too fast.. But it was good seeing them and to see my coach again.
After 3 amazing weeks it was already time to go home again. Yerke was really happy to see me again. I texted my parents that I was coming. But they didn’t read it and were still talking with all AFS volunteers who were at the airport too. Because the day I came back, was also the day the new AFS group would arrive and the day I would get my new American AFS sister Sophia. She’s living with us now until July.
In the evening of the day I came back we went to the Bloemencorso (flowerparade) in Sint Jansklooster. It was very tiring, but also good to beat the jetlag. That weekend we had a celebration of the …. year anniversary of my uncle and aunt. I also went to Zwolle with the 4 AFS students in our area to get their residence permit, and we went by boat where I went waterskiing. Also we had the blues and the water parade the first weeks back. It was really fun. With the water parade Caroline from the USA visited me. She was a volunteer during my year in Chicago and is studying for a couple of months in Amsterdam. So I kinda kept busy the first weeks back.
The day of the boat parade I got a message via snapchat from my hsister Leah. She and Eric got a daughter (Eliza Jane Cepuran), born on the 26th of August 2017.
The last weekend before school started I went to Utrecht with some of the AFS volunteers. We did a city game. After the game we went out to eat at an Ethiopian restaurant. The food there was kinda spicy, which I’m not used to. But it was still a very fun day!
The following Monday my school started again. But I’ll write about this in my next blogpost which I’ll hopefully finish soon. Later today some family will come over because I’m leaving tomorrow to Bali for 4 months (more about that in the next post). So I hope I’ll have enough time to write that.