Heey guys,

Prepaire for a really long blog. I did a lot of fun stuff the last weeks!!!!! People who are friends with me on facebook probably already know: I WENT TO SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH!! 😀

On Wednesday March 4th I went in the morning to school for 4 periods. After that my hmom picked me up from school and we went home to pack the last stuff. Then around 1pm Jed brought us (my hdad, hmom and Hannah) to the airport. Here we found out our flight left around 6.45pm instead of 3.35pm. So we waited for a really long time. Hannah and just walked around a little, got a pizza for dinner (somewhere far from our gate) and then we walked back. The plane got delayed a little more and at 7.35pm we finally left. We arrived late in SLC, I tried to make some pictures from the plane. Well… The people (I didn’t know) tried to make a picture for me. But it didn’t work out because it was too dark. My hdad was getting the rental car when my hmom, Hannah and I got our checked bags. After that we went to the hotel, Hannah and I ate real quick something and then we went to sleep.

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Walking around in O’Hare while we were waiting for our plane

 

During that night I was really cold. I didn’t have a good blanket on my sofa sleeper. So I didn’t sleep really  well. The hotel we were had the best hotel breakfast ever. We ate so much. (Right now I’m in a hotel in Madison, Wisconsin and there is a huge difference in breakfast, Salt Lake breakfast was a lot better. I will tell later about Madison.) After breakfast we went ‘Goodwill shopping’, Goodwill sells stuff second hand or stuff that didn’t sell at a normal store and here you can get sometimes really nice stuff which is not too expensive. A the first goodwill we were I bought 3 shirts and at the second one a bought a (Duck Dynasty) pajama pants so I had a little warmer clothes for the next night. We also got a better blanket for me. I slept a lot better the other nights. When we came back from Goodwill shopping Hannah and I got hungry. So then we looked up a place where we could eat. We ended up by Costa Vida, this is a Mexican Grill restaurant. The food was so good there!! And it was a lot! When we came back to the hotel we got our skating stuff and left to the Olympic Oval. Here we had a short practice and of course I made some pictures. After practice we went with some of the team to an Italian restaurant. Here we got pasta. We could choose if we wanted a half plate of pasta (which they recommended) or a full one. We chose the full one, thinking we were hungry and could finish it. Otherwise we could always take our leftovers. Thinking now I think it might have been better to get the half one. The full one was huge. The plate of pasta was enough for 3 dinners and it included 2 big sausages and 4 meatballs. We had a lot of leftovers. At the hotel we were tired and we went to sleep. A few minutes later Brandon knocked on our door thinking another skater was in room 429. After texting him we went to sleep he was still knocking. So I opened the door to tell him. The person he expected me to be was in another hotel with the same room number. This was kind of funny haha.

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First practice on the ice in Salt Lake City

 

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Utah Olympic Oval

 

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Our mega bowls with pasta

 

Friday was the first racing day. We woke up early and ate good breakfast. After that we went to the Oval for the races. This day I had to skate the 500 meters and the mass start. On the 500 meters I broke my personal best to 44.40. The mass start wasn’t that good. After the halfway sprint I couldn’t keep up with the group. So I skated like 5 laps alone. When we came back to the hotel we ate some of our leftover pasta as lunch. After that we went to Antelope Island. It was really pretty here and I made a lot of pictures. We saw bison, antelopes and amazing sights. We went there with the family, Coach Carl, Ethan, Brandon, Colleen and her mom, Austin and his mom, Coach Melissa and Michael (Hope I didn’t forget someone..). It was a lot of fun and I have made AMAZING pictures there.

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Salt Lake City with the team

 

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Salt Lake City with the team

 

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Salt Lake City, it was so pretty!!!!!

 

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With Hannah

 

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Salt Lake City with the team

 

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Salt Lake City with the team

 

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Artistic picture of the road

 

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Bison at Antelope Island

 

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Bison at Antelope Island

 

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Antelope Island, Utah

 

After Antelope Island we went to Buffalo Wild Wings to eat. Here I got a wrap which was kind of spicy. In the evening I took a icebath (11 minutes) and I put all the pictures on my laptop to sort them out. Then we went to sleep again.

On Saturday I had to race the 1000 meters and the 3k. On the 1000 meters I got a personal best of 2 seconds. For me it was the first time to skate the 3k so I had a personal best here too. The rest of the day we did easy. In the hotel Hannah and I took an icebath again (this time 14 minutes for me) and after that we went outside in the sun, it was really nice weather). Outside Brandon introduced Hannah, Michael and me to a card game which we played. In the evening we ate at Crown Burger with the team. That night we lost one hour because of the time change, so we didn’t go to sleep too late.

Sunday we had 3 races left. The second 500 meters, the 1500 meter and the teamsprint. On the 500 meters I broke my personal best that I skated the Friday to 44.24. I beat my 1500 meter time with 14 seconds. So in all my races for times I beat my personal best. 🙂 In the teamsprint I skated with Emma and Ilsa. We skated pretty good, I don’t know what the results are. Later that day we went with the family, coach Melissa, Michael and Brandon downtown. Here we visited the capital building. First we parked and got kinda lost. But later we found our way to the building. After the building we went up a mountain. The sight from here was amazing. We were there around sunset time, it was really pretty!

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Capital building Utah

 

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In the capital building with (from back to front) Brandon, Michael, Hannah and me

 

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Amazing sight on Salt Lake City

 

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Enjoying the amazing sight on Salt Lake City

 

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Amazing sight on Salt Lake City

 

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Sunset

 

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Salt Lake City when it is (getting) dark

 

Back at the hotel we ordered a pizza, this one came after a 1,5 hour wait. It was an 26 inch pizza, that is really big!!!! We ate from it with 6 persons and we didn’t finish it. After eating Hannah, Brandon and I went to the hotel pool. It was fun, but when it was almost 11pm we were tired and went to bed. There was a fun day coming! 🙂

On Monday morning we packed all our stuff and left to snowbird. This is a park for skiing and snowboarding. It was fun to go here. We were with a group of people from skating (Hannah, Brandon, Michael, Luke and coach Steve). It was a really sunny day. After going a few times down we went to a restaurant to eat burgers. After that I went with coach Steve, Michael and Luke to a bigger hill. Up there we had an amazing sight. When we came down again Michael and Brandon had to leave. Hannah, Luke and I went one more time up before we left to the airport. I made a lot of pictures this day. Some were even wondering how I could make pictures during snowboarding haha.

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Snowboarding/Skiing with the team (left to right) Hannah, Brandon, Luke, Michael and Me

 

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Snowboarding/skiing with the team

 

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Amazing sight

 

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Snowbird

 

So after a fun/sunny day we left to the airport to go back to Chicago. At the airport we went through security without any problems (they only let me know I was the smallest 18 year old they’ve seen) and we went to our Gate where Brandon was. He took the same flight. There he and Hannah made fun of my face because I got a bad sunburn that day, even after I put sunscreen on. It was really red… My hdad, hmom, Hannah and I got some food and after that we went into the plane. I was sitting next to Hannah and Brandon changed his seat so he could sit with us. My hparents were across the aisle. In the plane I sort all the pictures out of the day before and of that day.

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Flying back to Chicago

 

It was almost midnight when we came back in Chicago and we still had to wait for our checked luggage. That took a while so I just laid down. Hannah and Brandon tried to take pictures of my face… I looked like ‘a red panda’. When we finally got our bags we went outside where Jed picked us up. At home I found out my camera that I ordered for Hawaii arrived. With this one I’ll be able to make videos and pictures under water. I checked it really quick, unpacked a little and went to sleep. I was really tired and I only had a short night of sleep because I had to go to school the next day again.

This week was a spirit week (The Brook Olympics) on school. Every day there was another theme. I missed Monday (neon colors) and I wasn’t sure what was on Tuesday (Truckers). So I didn’t wear anything special. The Tuesday I was really tired and I had a hard time staying awake on school. So then I decided to go home right after school so I could sleep a little more instead of going to track practice. I think this was a good decision because I really needed my rest after a long week(end) in Salt Lake City. On Wednesday it was generations day (Freshmen: Baby, Sophomores: Toddler, Juniors: Adult, Seniors: Old people and Staff members: Teenagers). I had to dress as an adult. I didn’t know exactly how to do that so I wasn’t wearing anything special. I think it is fun to see the school spirit. A lot of freshman were wearing onesies and had stuff for babies with them, Sophomores looked young, a lot of juniors where dressed up and some put something under their shirt so they looked pregnant and some seniors looked really old. Thursday was Hawaiian day. I had a Hawaiian shirt like a lot of other people. You also saw a lot of sunglasses and the Hawaiian flowers. Friday was class color day and the assembly. Unfortunately I wasn’t here, I went to Madison, Wisconsin for the shorttrack nationals. My school has the spirit week called the Brook Olympics once a year around March. Here classes try to get as much as points as possible. In lunches there are games where classes go against each other and with the assembly there are games too (I think). If I can believe social media the Seniors won this year.

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Hawaiian day with Michelle

 

Thursday after school my hmom and Hannah picked me up from school and we left to Madison, Wisconsin for Shorttrack Nationals. We had that evening a short ‘practice’ where we could get used to the ice. My legs felt really bad. Probably because the 2,5 hour car ride before we went on the ice. We didn’t have that much time for warm up either. After the practice we went to the hotel where we ate dinner. In the hotel Hannah and I watched the movie ‘The Book Thief’, we only watched half because we were sharpening our skates too.

Friday we could sleep in. The only thing we had to go in the morning was breakfast before 9am. After breakfast we did easy and I started writing this blog. Around 10.30am we left the hotel to go to a sports store so I could buy new shin guards. I forgot mine at home. I was tired when I packed my stuff and I didn’t have them in my bag because I washed some stuff. After buying new shin guards we went to the rink. Here we had warm up around 1pm. We had the 1500 meters that day. In the semi-finals I got 3rd and that was good enough to get to the A-final. In the A-final I skated good. But my legs got tired at the end of the race and I finished 6th. Hannah unfortunately got disqualified in her semi-finals. We also had the relay, I was in a team with Hannah, Mia and Stefanie. There was one bad change where Mia fell, and I thought she didn’t touch Stefanie. So I went in. Later she yelled at me they touched. This was kind of confusing. Because of this we had exchanges on wrong places. At the end Hannah finished instead of me. We didn’t make it to the final. That evening Hannah and I went to Ethan’s room to take an icebath. Our room didn’t have a bathtub, after our icebath I ran around in the hotel because my legs felt funny haha. Then I took a warm shower and we went to sleep.

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Picture by Edna M Kunkel

 

Saturday we could sleep in again. The warm up started at 10.10am. Which they moved to 10.20am. After the warm up I had to wait for a long time. My group only had semi-finals and finals. So we had to wait until the other groups finished the heats and the quarter finals. Of course there was also a lunch break. So we could wait even longer. I think it would’ve been better to have our warm up during the lunch break. This day I had the 500 meters. The heat was really good. I had a nice pass and blocked the rest of the race really good. They bumped every time in to me behind me. I finished first this race. In the final I finished 3rd. Here I had a really close finish with Betsy for the 3rd place. Now I have a pin as memory of this race. 🙂 I didn’t have more races that day. Hannah got 1st on the 500 meters for Juniors B. Noah, Leah (hostsiblings), Nicole and Anna (friends of Hannah) were at the rink to watch that day. It was nice they were there :). In the evening we walked around and we went to Ethan’s room again for an icebath. Nicole and Leah slept at our hotel room. We didn’t go to sleep too late. Because we had to wake up early.

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1st (junB) and 3rd (junA), showing our pins 🙂

 

Sunday morning our warm up started at 7am. So we had to wake up really early. The warm up felt really good. I had to wait for a long time again. I had to skate the 1000 meters. I had a good race. There was only one pass that was just good (I thought) and I finished 2nd that race, the referees saw the pass different and disqualified me. Because I didn’t qualify for the final I didn’t have to skate, there were only A-finals. Later I still had to do the 3K super final. This one started off pretty good. I stayed good in the group and skated good to. When it speeded up with 4 laps to go someone fell and took me with her. My legs didn’t want to go anymore after that so I just finished easy. The referees probably saw (I don’t know how) that she fell because of a fault of me. So I got disqualified… I just stayed in my lane and speeded up to keep up with the group. I asked other people what they thought and everyone said it wasn’t my fault and they didn’t get why I got disqualified.  So this wasn’t really a good day for me. I skated really good, but I just had a lot of bad luck.

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Picture by Edna M Kunkel

 

There was also a raffle. I put in 5 tickets. But unfortunately I didn’t win anything.. (More bad luck? A lot of times I win something haha.) Overall I think I finished 6th. Hannah finished 3rd overall in her age group. I didn’t really make pictures this weekend. So that’s why I didn’t add many. Of course this will be different when I’m in Hawaii!

My brother skated this weekend in Moscow, Russia the relay on the World Championships. He finished with Sjinkie Knegt, Daan Breewsma and Freek van der Wart 3rd. I’m proud of him! A medal on his first World Championships!!! 😀 Congrats Mark!!

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Mark got 3rd at the World Championships with the relay team

 

I had these weeks a lot of fun and I’m getting exited for the coming weeks knowing I will be in Hawaii in 2 weeks exactly. Time goes so fast here. I found out I don’t have any more shorttrack practices, not sure about longtrack. And I don’t have any more skating meets. That makes me kind of sad.. But I am sure I will hang out with the people from skating a lot of times before I leave. Can’t image I won’t be here with them next year… (If you ask them I’ll still be here next year). Now the skating is over I will still practice a lot for track (like 6 times a week). I think my next blog will be in about 3 or 4 weeks after Hawaii. I try to put short updates and pictures on facebook!

Have a great time everyone!!!

Hello everyone!

I have some time again to write my blog. Today I’m not at school because I’m not feeling well. So all stuff I will do today is resting, writing my blog and I might start cleaning my room (which is necessary). This night I slept for like 9,5 hours and after breakfast and getting ready for school I still didn’t feel better, so I went back to bed. Here I slept for 3 or 4 more hours. So I really needed the rest. Some fun news is that I’ve already been here for 6 months. Time goes way too fast!! Thinking I only have 4,5 months left with a lot of fun stuff. I don’t want to leave yet… For the people in the Netherlands: It doesn’t mean I don’t miss you! I just have a lot of fun here and I can’t imagine I have to leave all those people for a long time or maybe forever. I don’t know when I will see again after I leave…. 🙁

So my last blog ended with me thinking about making a video blog. And now I can tell I made one. I went the weekend of February 7 and 8 to Minnesota for long track Nationals. I tried to film here and I think the blog came out pretty good. I only forgot to film the second day and windows movie maker didn’t do everything I wanted it to do. Here is the video:

We left on Friday February 6 to Minnesota. That morning my selfie stick arrived so I took it and made a lot of fun pictures with it. I went there with Hannah and some others of my skating team. The first thing we did when we arrived was skating. Just doing a short practice to get used to the ice. The rink we had nationals at was in Roseville, Minnesota. This is an outside rink, you can also see this in the video. The races this weekend were in pack race style. This is fun to do, it is kind of shorttrack at a long track rink. I got overall 4th of the Juniors A at Nationals. I skated good and we were all really close to each other at the finish. Hannah finished 1st of the Juniors B and my club finished 1st! I also won the team pursuit with Hannah, Kaitlin and Colleen. Thanks to the Naess family and the Molenda family to provide Hannah and me with food! 🙂

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On our way to Minnesota!

 

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With a mouse

 

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With the orange Moose

 

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With the orange moose

 

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Ready to get on the ice

 

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My team pursuit team. (Left to right: Colleen, Kaitlin, Hannah, Me)

 

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Our club got 1st!! Go Glen Ellyn!!

 

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Selfie with the club

 

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Selfie!!

 

I didn’t do any special things at school that week. Or I can’t remember it… I try to write stuff I do in a small notebook. But I forgot it the last weeks… I do remember that I gave some stuff to Brandon which he took to Poland where he will skate world juniors this weekend. He gave my stuff to Sanneke (team NL) and she will give it to my brother in the Netherlands. In this way I already got some stuff home and I don’t have to worry about this when I will come back later. I’m sure I have way too much stuff here.. I might see if I can book another suitcase for my way back (where I don’t want to think about yet).
Goodluck at the World Juniors team USA and team NL!! 🙂

On Friday the 13th  I had my first Track & Field meet. I don’t know if I really had bad luck today but I liked to say it this way. I ran with my first meet the 55m, 200m, 300m and the 4×200 meters. I think it was a lot of fun to race. A lot of people from my team say I run really good! And my Track coach even said I should start doing track in NL. I will see what I will do next year. My second meet will be tomorrow (Saturday Febuary 21st) at my own school. Because I’m not feeling awesome I don’t know how I will run. But I will see 😉

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On our way to the track meet! This is only part of the team.

 

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Team selfie, my fisheye lense arrived so everyone fit in! 🙂

 

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Willowbrook warriors!!

 

To make it a full planned weekend I left Saturday morning to Champaign Illinois for a shorttrack meet. This meet was at the University of Illinois. It was a really wide track, normally there fit like 5 or 6 people on the starting line. Now we could start with 9 people at the line. I got in all distances in the A final. I got 6th on the 1500meter, I still think I could’ve done this race better. They left with 9 laps to go and keeping up with them was hard knowing my endurance isn’t really good right now. I got 3rd on the 1000 meter. This was a better race. I was for a long time in 4th position and I was having a hard time with passing. At the finish I could press my skate just in front of the other person so I got third. In the 500 meter I finished 2nd, this was a good race with a good pass on my hostsister Hannah :). Then there was one race left, the 3K. I wasn’t really looking forward to it because it is a long distance. Luckily no one wanted to lead so we didn’t skate fast. I tried to stay on position 2, this worked out until approximately 5 laps before the end. I finished 4th in this race. A lot better than I expected. 🙂 I finished overall also 4th. Hannah got 3rd.

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Ice rink in Champaign, Illinois

 

Monday was like a ‘resting day’. I’m not sure if I really did something in the morning. Later that day I went to Ana to eat Brazilian and to watch the carnival parade in Rio on tv. Alexia was here too and some other friends of Ana. It was a lot of fun and the food was really good! I can’t wait to go later to Brazil to visit people there! I only need money to get there.. We ate Empadão, queijadinha and kind of cheese bread. It was all so good and Ana had too much. So I ate a lot that night haha. We also made a video in the hope the Brazilian tv would broadcast it. But they didn’t.
Ana her hostmom still had some quarters that I could get. So now I only need 9 more quarters to complete my collection. And I got my collectors map 2,5 weeks ago. So I did that really fast.

I still need:

  • North Dakota
  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Puerto Rico
  • Guam
  • American Samoa
  • S. Virgin Islands
  • Northern Mariana Islands

This week I didn’t feel that good but I still went to school. I still went to practices but it isn’t nice to practice when you don’t feel good. This morning I felt worse than other days and decided to stay home. I already feel better than this morning, which is good. I hope it stays good because I have tomorrow my second track meet. I don’t know what events I will do. Today we would get information about the meet of tomorrow. I will see what I do when I get at school.

In 1,5 week I will leave to Salt Lake City to do the AM-cup long track. It will be a lot of fun I think. I will go snowboarding there too and I’m planning to do more fun stuff there. Not sure what exactly yet. Then the week after I will go to Madison, Wisconsin for shorttrack nationals. And 2 weeks later on March 28th I will leave to HAWAII!!!! 😀 I know people who are there right now and I see amazing pictures. I really can’t wait to go there! March will be a busy but really fun month. I don’t know when I will have time to write my blog again. I might try to make another video blog.

Ohhh just remembered something. I did dissect a pig with anatomy. I won’t post a picture of it. It was sad cutting in a pig, but interesting to see all the organs.
And we are making something out of glass with 3D art. I am making something with a Dutch theme. So I made the shape of the Netherlands with wire. I’m not done yet. But here is a picture from my work in process:

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Work in process

 

Hope you liked reading this! Byeee!!!!

Heeyy everyone!!

I’m here already for 4 months. I have a lot of things to tell. So be ready for a long story. I wanted to update my blog earlier, but I didn’t have time to update it…

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‘Think Happy’ at Mall of America

The USA is preparing for Christmas right now. The houses gets lights and a Christmas tree, and the radio stations start to have Christmas music, or they even change into a Christmas station. We didn’t have a lot of time so our Christmas tree is half done and we don’t have lights outside yet. Right now I’m on my way to St. Louis, Missouri so I have finally time to write my blog. One more week of school and then the winter break starts. Then I will have some more time I think! 🙂

So let’s start with this blog at Wednesday November 26th. Hannah and I went with Nicole and her sister to Mockingjay! 🙂 Hannah and I went right after practice to the cinema where we meet up with Nicole and her sister. Unfortunately I lost my hat at the cinema 🙁 (I don’t know why I took it..). I enjoyed the movie a lot. Now we have to wait for the next one again. Haha
Since I’ve been here I’ve been more times to the movie theater than I’ve been last year in the Netherlands. I went to three movies until now (in 4 months) and we’re still planning on going to the third Hobbit movie and probably Unbroken.

Then Thursday it was Thanksgiving day! This day we went to the parents of my hostmom to come together with some family. We ate turkey (of course), smashed potato, corn, stuffing and more. I don’t remember all the food exactly anymore. After we ate we just walked around in the neighborhood with some of the family. We ended up at a playground. Luke, Noah, Leah, Hannah, Micah and I stayed there and the others walked further. After a while at the playground we went back. (It was a fun playground haha)
My hostgrandparents were a few years ago in the Netherlands and showed me pictures of their visit. Here I recognized the church of the (small) town where I live. They were like 1 mile (1,6 km) from my house. I didn’t expect that, so it was fun to know they were in my town.

Friday was BLACK Friday. This means a lot of stores have big sales. At some stores it already started at Thursday so we went after our visit at the family to a store to get yarn. My hostmom will make slippers for me with that. 🙂 When we got home I was tired and I was ready to go to bed. But Leah and a friend went black Friday shopping and they asked if Hannah and I wanted to come. Of course I wanted to come. It is a new experience. So we went shopping. I didn’t buy much. Only one movie with Hannah because I said she had to see that movie (Pitch perfect, now we can go to the movie theater for the second one too :)) After getting late home we went fast to bed.
*fun fact: If you ask for slippers in The Netherlands you will get flip-flops. The translation is different. I first thought about flip-flops too instead of the slippers they mean here (pantoffels/sloffen).

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My hostmom is making slippers for me 🙂

Friday morning we had our alarm early and we went to world market. The first 100 visitors got a free Downtown Abby mug and we were one of the 10 first visitors so we got a mug too. I did buy 2 scarves at world market. I still needed a scarf because I didn’t take it with me from The Netherlands. The second scarf was for free. So now I have two! 🙂
After we came home Hannah and I watched the movie we just bought. Some friends of skating would come over but they came later than we expected. When they were there we played some games on the Wii and we went to Oak Brook Mall. I didn’t buy anything (even they had the awesome sales). After that we went to a pet store to get a mouse to feed to the snake (which was still at my room). The pet store didn’t have the mice I needed so we had to go to another store. Brandon and Ethan already went back to our house and Hannah, Michael, Jan-Eric and I went to the other pet store. Here they also had Christmas dog cookies which smelled like ginger cookies. So we bought them to give to Brandon and Ethan. Then we went to the store to get other cookies and then we went back. We put the Christmas dog cookies in the cookie box and got a lot of the real cookies out. Brandon picked a real cookie but Ethan picked the dog treat. We laughed a lot. Haha

Saturday we got out of bed early again because we had time trials for skating in Milwaukee. I skated 2 personal bests. On the 500 meter and on the 1000 meter. I didn’t skate long track meets in 3 years so it wasn’t really a surprise. After the time trials we went to a mall somewhere in Wisconsin. Jan-Eric drove with us so he came with us to the mall. Again, I didn’t buy a lot. I think I don’t need a lot of stuff now and I prefer save money then.
We bought our Christmas tree on Sunday. On Sunday we didn’t do much besides buying the tree I think. I have a little notebook which I use to write stuff in that I do so I can put it in my blog. But I forgot to take it. So I can’t check now.. I probably made some homework that day because school started Monday again after my week off.

This will be really long.. I didn’t tell about Minnesota and Sinterklaas yet. 😉 I hope you (still) enjoy reading this. 🙂

The school week was pretty normal. The only new thing is that I started doing track after school. So now I go after school to track practice and then I go home to do skating practice (one of the reasons why I don’t have a lot of time).  I only went to track practice twice that week. Wednesday I went up to Milwaukee for skating practice and Thursday we left to Minnesota! 🙂 We did also bring the snake back on Thursday. I watched him during Thanksgiving break, I wrote more about the snake in my last blog.

So Thursday after school we left to Minnesota. I came home and I had like 45 minutes time to pack all my stuff. We left a little later than planned. But the trip to Minnesota was good. We went to Minnesota to do a skating meet (AM-cup longtrack). It was on an outside track and it was really nice. The first racing day was on Friday. We could sleep in because it started later. My hostmom woke Hannah and me up with a Sinterklaas song. Because it was December 5th. My family here knows the song ‘Sinterklaas kapoentje’. They learned at school when they were younger. On our first racing day we did the 500 meters and a 10 lap mass start. My 500 meters was pretty good. I wasn’t close to my personal best. But it is on an outside track, times are normally slower there. I started the mass start pretty good. But after 6 laps I got behind and my legs felt really bad. I only speed up with 2 laps to go so the others won’t pass me again. If I was a lap behind I wasn’t allowed to finish, and I wanted to finish. So with one lap to go I slowed down a little again and I did the last lap easy. After the racing day we went to Dano her house for a pasta party. Here was also someone who went with AFS to Switserland a while ago. It was pretty cool to meet him. I wore my AFS sweater, that’s why we started talking about AFS. 🙂 The world is small!!
Saturday was the second race day out of three. We had the 1000m and the 3k. The first 600 meters went really good with the 1000 meter. The last lap was really bad. I decided not to do the 3k because my legs were tired and I also had the 1500 meters the next day. I just made some pictures of races. After Hannah was done with the 3k we went to the hotel to change and shower real quick and then we went to Mall of America. The Mall was huge!! I think I only saw like 20% of the mall and it looked like a big part. In the middle of the Mall is an amusement park with rollercoasters. I didn’t go in a rollercoaster because I tough it could be bad for the next racing day. I also meet up with Mikey. He went last year with AFS to the Netherlands. He was the same weekend in Minnesota (really close to me) with school. We were at the same time at the mall! We were already planning on meeting up this weekend. This was a good time to meet up. I gave him some stuff that he will bring for me to my parents. He will go to the Netherlands in winter break.  It was really nice to see him again! 🙂

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Skating in Minnesota – picture by Ethan (Thankyou!)
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Skyline Minneapolis
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Amusement park in Mall of America
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With Mikey! 🙂

Sunday was the last racing day. We had the 1500m and a team sprint. My 1500 meters went really good. The wind was blowing hard and I came really close to my personal best of a few years ago. Others skated like 10 seconds above their personal best. So I think I will do the 1500 meters on time trials soon. So I can set a new personal best. With the team sprint we had a team with 3 persons. Everyone is starting off and after 1 lap the first one stops and the second one (which was me) takes the lead and the 3rd lap the last person finishes. I made a little gap with the 3rd person and I found that out a little late. But we still did a good job. After that I took my camera again. Ethan had it to take pictures of my races and now I could start taking pictures again. I stayed on the ice for taking pictures. I think I have some pretty good ones. 🙂 I also made pictures of the rink from the ice.

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Roseville Minnesota outside rink
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Roseville Minnesota outside rink

After we were done and got all our stuff we left to Hayward, where the lake house of my hostfamily is. It is really pretty there. We didn’t stay there long.. We walked on the lake which was all frozen and we went out to eat pizza (BBQ chicken). In the evening we watched the movie ‘Elf’. I didn’t see it before, or I just don’t remember I saw it before, but it is a popular Christmas movie here. People where staring at me with open mouth when I said I didn’t see it before haha. So now I saw it! 🙂 The next morning Hannah and I made homework and we walked on the lake again. We left that day to go back to home. In the car we made some homework too. We didn’t have practice that day.

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Frozen lake at the Lake house

We did ‘pakjesavond’ on Tuesday. This is an evening where Sinterklaas brings presents. Sinterklaas did send the presents by mail and we had now time to open it. Luke and Noah came over too. Leah wasn’t able to come and Tessa is still in California (she will come home with Christmas. So then I can finally meet her! :)). Everyone was happy with the presents! I got the chocolate letter A, a disc with sinterklaas music, the book ‘The fault in our stars’, mix to make ‘kruitnoten’ and ‘amandelspijs’. It was a  really nice evening. The dogs got a present too.

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Sinterklaas

The next day (December 10th) was not fun for a couple of reasons. The first one is that my uncle past away exactly a year ago. So it is a sad memory on that day. Second I twisted my thumb during track practice. I still feel it and I hope it will get better soon. Then there is one more reason. One of the dogs of the hostfamily got killed by a coyote that night. My hostmom told it to me when she picked me up from school. I couldn’t image that it was true. When we came home it was really quiet.. (the dog always barked). So now it is quiet in house when we come home. I’m happy Tiara had an awesome last night (with her own Sinterklaas present). It is only really sad that it happened. I probably took one of her last pictures that night.. We will miss her.

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We will miss you Tiara!

Right now I’m in a hotel room in St. Louis with my hostmom. I paused writing the blog. We left this morning (Saturday December 13th) to St. Louis to see the place and to do the Hot Chocolate run (and get an awesome jacket).  After we arrived Becky and I walked  into St. Louis to pick up our goodiebag for tomorrow. After that we went to the City Museum. We knew there would be some playing areas. But later we found out it is a big playing area. Not really a museum. So we walked around and went of some slides. After we left there we went to the hotel. And there I started writing my blog further. So now I’m up to date. We can see the Arch from our hotel room. So that is pretty cool. 🙂

Tomorrow we will run the Hot Chocolate run and we will go into the Arch. I will tell about that in my next update. I hope that will be soon. I have winter break soon. So I will have some time I think. 🙂

Have a nice day everyone and Hi from St. Louis!! 🙂