Hawaii 2015

Aloooha!!

Believe it or not, but I’ve been in Hawaii for a week! It was one of the best weeks in my life! I met a lot of new amazing people and we did a lot of things. When I found out I could do a trip with Belo travel I was really excited. AFS allows their exchange students to do a trip with this organization. I could choose between a couple of different destinations, I chose for Hawaii.

Hawaii 2015

Hawaii 2015

 

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Hawaii 2015

 

Saturday March 28th I finally left to Hawaii, where I would stay at the island O’ahu. First I flew to Dallas together with Diane (Switzerland), Ivanka (Chile) and Ilka (Belgium). From here we said a quick goodbye to Ilka who would fly with another flight to Honolulu. Diana, Ivanka and I got some food and we went to our gate where we met Ruth (Norway) and Celina (Germany). We flew together with them to Honolulu, Hawaii. The flight from Dallas to Honolulu was about 8 hours. Diane was sitting in front of me and Ivanka was in front of her. We all had a window seat. Arrived in Honolulu we found out that Benji (Norway) was in our plane too. We went all together to the baggage pick up and got our bags. After this we all walked to baggage pick up H where we had to meet up. Here someone from Belo was waiting together with some others who did the trip. We all walked together to the bus. Here we had to wait for a while before we left to our hotel. When we arrived there we had to choose a color group (I was in Orange) and we had to fill out some papers. Then we got our roomkey. I was together on the room with Patricia (Switzerland), Tomasine (Norway) and Tina (Argentina). At 9pm we had a quick orientation where Belo explained some things about the rules, what we would do and that sunscreen was really important here. That night I didn’t sleep really good. I think it was because of a jetlag.

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Almost there!!

 

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O’ahu from the air

 

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Aloha!!

 

The next morning we had to leave at 8am. We walked with the whole group (99 people from all around the world) to Waikiki beach. Here my group (Orange) started with some free time. I went into the ocean and got a subway sandwich for lunch. At 11am we started with a catamaran tour. Here we had an amazing sight on Honolulu and the Diamond head. From the boat we saw a sea turtle and dolphins. Our group was the only group who saw this.

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Catamaran tour

 

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Catamaran tour. Diamond head in the background

 

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Catamaran tour

 

When we came back at the beach I went together with Ellie (Switzerland) and Paul (Austria) to a man who had parrots where you could take pictures with. These pictures where really cool! It took longer than we expected so after we took all the pictures we had to run back to our group to go to our surf lesson. It was a lot of fun to try this. We had to paddle every time back and an instructor helped us to get enough speed. I think I did pretty good. I stood the first time and only fell 1 or 2 times. After surfing we had some free time again. I went to Denny’s together with Patricia, Ellie, Bas (Thailand) and JJ (Thailand) to Denny’s to get some food and a refill for my water bottle. At night we went into Waikiki again with the whole group, we went to a pizza  place to eat. After dinner we had free time in Waikiki. We saw a show of street artists and went to a super cute market where you could buy all small souvenirs. At night we had a meeting again where we got information about the next day.

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With my Hawaiian parrot friends

 

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Shaka!! Hang loose!

 

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With Ellie (Switzerland)

 

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With Paul (Austria) and Ellie (Switzerland)

 

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Surfing

 

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In front of the Duke Paoa Kahanamoku statue with JJ, Ellie, Patricia and Bas

 

Monday morning we left from our hotel at 9am. We went first to a kind of Pineapple garden. Here I got a change to crack open an oyster to get a pearl. My pearl was black, which means wisdom. At that place they also had the best pineapple whip. This was really good, normally I don’t really like pineapple. But the pineapple at Hawaii tasted different I think, it was sweeter. After we went there we went to North Shore. They have the biggest waves here and people from all around the world come there for surfing. We went to the town there to eat some lunch. I ate together with Ellie, Patricia, Bas, JJ, Ploi (Thailand) and Baitong (Thailand) at Kua’aina, this is a Hawaiian burger place. I also bought a surfing shirt in North Shore. After lunch at North Shore we drove further and we drove by a lot of beaches where our amazing busdriver Rwanda explained things. We stopped at Sunset beach. Here we could make some pictures. It was a really pretty beach. We just stayed there for like 30 minutes. After that we went to the Polynesian culture center.

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In front of Kua’aina

 

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Kua’aina

 

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Sunset beach

 

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Group picture at Sunset beach

 

We started at the Polynesian culture center with a Hula dance lesson. It was fun to do. No one could remember the dance. So when we had to do it alone we just started laughing because we didn’t know how the dance would go further. After that we split up in 3 groups to do another activity. I couldn’t find the group I wanted so I went with another group. Here we didn’t stay that long. I just walked around with Ellie, JJ and Baitong. We first found a boat where we could do a quick ‘tour’ we did this. After that we walked around a little longer and we decided to go to a theater to see a 15 minutes movie about Hawaii. When it ended we had to meet up with our group again. At the place where we had to meet up was a show. Here a man showed us how to make fire, how to get coconut milk out of a coconut only with your hands and someone climbed in a palm tree. When the show ended we went to dinner. Here we could try out some Hawaiian foods. I got everything. It was a lot of food and I couldn’t finish it. We had some free time after dinner. In this time I met up with Jerica. She is a skater who lives in Hawaii and works at the Polynesian culture center. Brandon knew her and told her I would be there and that’s how I met up with her. In the evening we had a show there with all kinds of Polynesian dance styles. It was a lot of fun to see! I think I lost my camera bag here. But l luckily had my camera in my hands. It’s only the bag that’s gone. On our way back in the bus we watched the movie 51 first dates. This movie was recorded in the area we saw that day. That was pretty cool to know! 🙂

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Polynesian culture center

 

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Polynesian culture center

 

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Polynesian culture center, meeting up with Jerica

 

We had a beachday on Tuesday. We went with the whole group to Waimanalo beach. They say this is one of the nicest and cleanest beaches in Hawaii. On our way there we made two stops. The first one was at a place where you had an amazing sight. Here everyone made a lot of pictures and we also made a group picture. I think a fun fact from Hawaii is there are chickens walking around on a lot of places. These chickens blew away once with a storm and made the place where they landed their new home.

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The chickens walked everywhere!

 

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Amazing view!

 

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With Patricia (Switzerland), Mateus (Brazil), JJ and Bas (Thailand)

 

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Enjoying the view

 

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Group picture!

 

After we enjoyed our view for a while we went to a place where we could buy our lunches. We couldn’t buy food at the beach where we were going. Ellie and I bought together a normal bread and nutella, also some grapes, a pineapple (which we couldn’t open) and some animal cookies. We shared our food with others and we could get their food too at the beach. So we had a lot of food total. We knew it wouldn’t be possible to open a pineapple with a plastic knife. But we used our pineapple for some pictures. At the beach we went swimming, eating, playing football and volleyball and later Ellie and I made sand angels. It was a fun day at the beach. The waves in the ocean took me a few times down and one time was painful for my back. After that I didn’t go into the water anymore. But it was still a lot of fun and I don’t feel my back anymore! 🙂

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Doing groceries with Ellie for our beachday

 

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Bus selfie!!

 

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With the pineapple at Waimanalo beach

 

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Doing ‘The lion king’ with Ellie and the pineapple

 

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Chicago girls at Waimanalo beach

 

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Look!! A Hawaiian pineapple!!

 

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Picnic at the beach

 

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AFS in Hawaii!

 

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Making sand angels with Ellie

 

After a long day at the beach we went back to our hotel. We stopped by a place where you can sometimes see whales on our way back. We saw a few times water going up into the air far away. It could’ve been a whale, but I’m not sure. At night we ate at the Hard Rock Café. Here I bought 2 shirts and that night in the city I went to the nice market again where I probably bought some more small souvenirs.

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Hard Rock Cafe

 

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With some random tourists from California

 

On Wednesday we broke our big group up in two groups. My group went hiking on Diamond Head and the other group went snorkeling. It was really pretty on Diamond head. From up there you had an amazing sight on Honolulu, the island and the ocean. Of course we made a lot of pictures up here. A lot of us took the flag (I brought mine too) and this was really nice for the pictures. After we were up there for a while we went down again to the bus. The bus dropped us off on Waikiki beach. Here I went stand-up paddling with my Belgium friends Marlies and Celine. This was one of the extra activities that we could do. We went on the ocean. This was harder than in Giethoorn on the lakes, where I did it before. I also had my camera in my hand so it was sometimes hard to balance. I fell twice of my board. During standup paddling we saw a sea turtle which was really close. That was so cool!! I wanted to make a video of it. But my camera decided to die just before we saw the turtle. Luckily Marlies was able to make a picture of the turtle. After standup paddling we walked to a soccerfield. Here we did a game. We arrived a little later, so I only played the second half. I think my team lost.. But it was still a lot of fun. In the evening we went to Ala Moana Mall. This is the largest open air shopping mall in Hawaii (maybe even in the world). I didn’t buy stuff here, I was kinda proud of myself! 🙂 Well didn’t buy stuff…. I bought some stuff at Bubba Gump, the place where we ate. But I didn’t buy that much there. 😉

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Being international at Diamond Head

 

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Amazing view on Honolulu from Diamond Head

 

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Diamond Head

 

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It was just a perfect tree to climb in….

 

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Stand-up paddling with Celine and Marlies

 

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We played soccer on this field

 

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Ala Moana Mall

 

Thursday was a day to learn something about the history. We went to Pearl Harbor. This is a memorial center for the ships that sunk on December 7th 1941 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona ship is still there in the water. We could see this. This ship is also the resting place for people who died on the ship during the attack. There were so many names on the wall, it was sad.. There was also a survivor from the attack there, he will turn 98 in June. He was really nice and we took pictures with him. We also got a sign. I bought his book that he wrote himself with a sign. 🙂 Some survivors want to be buried with their mates from the ship when they die. So there will be special funerals there where they put the body into the ship, this is impressive I think. The attack killed a lot of people and changed a lot of lives. This was also the day that the US came into the World War II.

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With the Pearl Harbor attack survivor

 

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I bought his book!

 

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Pearl Harbor

 

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Memorial place USS Arizona

 

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USS Arizona

 

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So many people who lost their lives during the attack…

 

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USS Arizona memorial

 

After Pearl Harbor we did a city tour. We drove around on a cemetery which was I think to remember special people like a memorial. After that we went to the Capital building, this one had a different form than the normal capital buildings have. This one had like a volcano in it which stands for the volcanos that made the island. It also had like palm trees in it. Here the group made a picture of all the girls. Unfortunately I missed this picture because I had to go to the bathroom. I found out 10 minutes later that they made the picture.. 🙁 We walked further to the palace of the queen that Hawaii had a long time ago. We also went to the palace of king Kamehameha, the guys made here their guys picture and we made some more pictures here. This was our city tour.

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Capital building

 

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In front of King Kamehameha

 

When we came back in the hotel we had some free time. I went together with Bas, JJ, Ellie, Ploi and Baitong into Waikiki. We made pictures in a photo booth, it was a lot of fun but it was hard to fit all of us in the picture. We didn’t really fit all together in the photo booth. Then we went into some shops, we didn’t buy stuff but at one shop we started talking to the person who worked there. About being exchange students and doing this trip and about Hawaii. He (the person who worked there) also learned us some more sentences in Hawaiian. The pronunciation is pretty hard.. After our Hawaiian lessons we went further to a place where we could buy shaved ice. This is really popular in Hawaii, I had it once or twice before. Those times the taste was really sweet. The one I had now had really the taste of the strawberry and the mango. It was really good and so much better than the times I had it before! We also went again the super cute market, which I really loved. The people there really want to sell and were sometimes a little pushing until you bought something. All the souvenirs they had were nice. And luckily they didn’t do that with me. When we walked back to our hotel we saw a really nice sunset. I made an awesome picture here! In the evening we went eating at Mac 24-7, it was good food but I’ve had better that week. In the evening we had a beach party with the group. It was fun to go into the water at night and to see the City at night. Also to hang out with the people ofcourse! 🙂

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Some Hawaiian words/sentences

 

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Eating shaved ice with Bas, Ploi, Baitong, Ellie and JJ

 

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Sunset

 

Then it was Friday already. Time went so fast.. On Friday we had to get up early because I would go snorkeling!! 😀 We left the hotel at 7am to Hanauma bay to go snorkeling. This bay was really pretty! For snorkeling we had ‘buddies’, my buddy was Haya (Yemen). I took pictures and videos with my HD SJ4000 during snorkeling and I took pictures with an underwater camera that a friend from NL gave before I came to the US. I don’t know yet if those pictures  turned out. But I will see if it did soon I hope. Haya and I went once up the hill of the bay to get some food. There was like a car who drove people up and down. We got a daypass for it, that wasn’t that expensive. After we came down again there wasn’t much time left. We stayed a little longer and then we went up to go back to our bus. Snorkeling was really fun! We saw a lot of different kinds of fishes. Those fishes weren’t afraid, so you could swim really close to them. It was beautiful!! When we walked back to the bus I also made a really nice picture of a white heron where I’m really proud of! 🙂

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Hanauma bay

 

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Snorkeling with Haya (Yemen)

 

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Snorkeling with Haya (Yemen)

 

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The Hawaiian state fish: Humuhumu Nukunuku Apua’a

 

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Another fish

 

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Amazing picture of a white heron

 

When we came back at the hotel we walked a little towards the city. I bought Spam Musubi to try to eat, some friends back home (Illinois) said I had to try it, this was pretty good. I heard some people don’t like it at all. But I thought it wasn’t bad. We didn’t go that far into the city and not too long. Back at the hotel we could make a fresh flower necklace, like the ones where you think of when you think of Hawaii. On our last evening in Hawaii we went to a Luau on the West side of the island. With being here we’ve seen all sides of O’ahu. Here they had some Hawaiian activities to do. You could get a temporary tattoo (which was really easy to wash of) and I got like a ‘crown’ with flowers. Don’t know this quick a better way to explain that. From here you should be able to see the sunset really good, I thought I had seen better the night before. The sun wasn’t all the way on the ocean like it was the night before. At the Luau we also ate dinner, and during dinner we saw a hula show. We got a card which was $8 worth at the shops there, so during the show I went to the souvenir shop to get a souvenir. I got an Hawaiian license plate which says ‘ALOHA’. After the show we could make some pictures with the dancers and then we had to go back with the bus for our last night.

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With our amazing busdriver Rhonda

 

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Flower rain

 

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Getting a Hawaiian tattoo (With a kind of pencil. You ruined it easily)

 

 

 

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Hula

 

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At Luau with amazing people

 

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With Ploi and Nona (Finland)

 

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Picture with some of the dancers in the Luau show

 

We had a meeting when we came back at our hotel where we looked back on things we did and with information for the next day where we had to fly back. After that we had free time in a room. Here the most of us let others sign our trip shirt or flags. I also looked over some pictures during this night and I said goodbye to some people that I wouldn’t see anymore. It was sad to say goodbye. 🙁

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Signing shirts/flags.

 

On Saturday April 4th we had to fly back to our host states again. I had to leave the hotel at 10.30, so in the morning I had time to say goodbye to other people.  I also sort some pictures to see which ones I would put on facebook. At 10.15 I had to go to the bus. Saying goodbye to the last people who were there and then we really had to leave. Arrived at the airport we had to check in, go through security and wait until our flight would leave. The security here was different than other airports. They took random people out of the line and checked their hands if there are no illegal chemicals on, I think that was the reason. They like went with a paper over your hands and then they put it in a machine which would check it. And with the scan you didn’t have to take of your shoes or put your laptop apart from your other stuff. Normally at airports they always say that you have to take your laptop out. But I had to put it back in my bag. Everything was good so we could go further to the gate. I flew my first flight to Los Angeles, California with Diane, Ivanka, Ilka, Suvi (Finland) and Hana (Slovenia). Diane made a sign with ‘Belo Travel USA’ when we were waiting in our gate in the hope someone who would arrive for the next week would see us and then we could meet them. Unfortunately no one came to us. Our flight was good and we arrived in time for our next flight. In LA we had to say goodbye to Hana and Ilka and we were with four of us left. Diane, Ivanka, Suvi and I went to a burger place to eat at 1am, it was really early but we needed to eat and this was one of the cheaper places. It was really expensive there…. After eating and waiting we finally could board to our plane. We had to say goodbye to Suvi who had to wait for a couple more hours..  In the plane they announced that the flight was delayed for at least 40 minutes. Luckily it was one of the best planes I’ve ever been in and I could watch a movie and charge my phone and laptop. The flight was good and I arrived around 8am in the morning at O’hare. I picked up my bag and said bye to Diane and Ivanka, who I will see for sure again because they live close to me.

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Back at the airport

 

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Hanauma bay, the place were we went snorkeling from the air

 

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Bye Hawaii

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I will miss you!!

 

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Back in Chicago

 

My hdad and Hannah picked me up from O’hare. That day I just tried to stay awake. I went to church with the family and in the noon to my hgrandparents for an Easter dinner.  Monday I had to go to school again, I was really tired. Tuesday I felt horrible and sick and today (Wednesday) I stayed home because I’m still not feeling good. I hope I will feel better soon. I’ve had an amazing week looking back on this week. I’ve had a lot of fun and I met so many amazing people! I miss all of them and I miss Hawaii of course. If someone would offer me a ticket back right now I would go!! I hope I can meet up with a lot of people who were there later and I hope I will get back to Hawaii once. It is amazing there!!

Mahalo nui loa (thank you very much) for reading this blog! I hope you enjoyed it!!

Aloha from Illinois!! 🙂

For people who were on the trip:
Mahalo nui loa for being such amazing people!! I had an amazing week and I hope I will see you guys again in the future!!!! Love you!!
Right now I’m ‘homesick’ to Hawaii with you guys!
Mahalo again!!!!
Alohaa!! 🙂

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Aloha!!

 

Salt Lake City, Brook Olympics and Madison

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!!!

My first video blog, Minnesota and Champaign

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!!!!

Halfway my exchange year and winter wonder land!

Heeyy Everybody!!

It is February 2nd and I have a snow day!!! It is like Winter-wonderland outside. It is really pretty and we have a lot of snow. I’m also over the half of my exchange year and I did a lot of fun stuff the last weeks!! I have now some time to update my blog. Enjoy reading!! 🙂

Let’s start Friday January 16th. I was done with all my finals and I didn’t have school. My hdad got called that his company had Hockey Jerseys. My hdad has a company named ‘Bosman Disposal’, this is a garbage company. They found a couple of Jerseys from the Blackhawks and the Bears. Those jerseys are normally really expensive. So I’m happy I could get one 🙂

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With my new blackhawks jersey! #9

 

On Saturday I went with Seraina (from Switzerland) to Chicago. We met up with Britt here. She is also with AFS from the Netherlands to the US. She lives near Kansas City, but she was a weekend in Chicago. We met up at the bean and made right at that place some pictures. After that we went to Subway to eat something. We just sat there and talked when a random dude walked into the window right in front of us. We were in shock and the dude ran away. After that we started laughing. We thought it could maybe be like an TV show where they’re filming people’s reactions. Like the Belgium TV show Benidorm Bastards but then with younger people who do it. It looked really like that haha.
We just walked around in Chicago after our subway adventure. We walked to the Chicago river, a mall and got some free Chocolate at Chiradelli (they give chocolate when you walk into the store). After that Seraina and I had to go to the train. We brought Britt to the place her hfamily was and said goodbye. Seraina and I went to the train. It was amazing to see Britt again, it was around a year ago that we met in the Netherlands during preparations for our exchange year. And now we saw each other here in the USA! I will see her again in a half year when our exchange year is unfortunately over.. 🙁

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With Britt in front of the Bean in Chicago

 

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Chicago river

 

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With Britt and Seraina in front of the Chicago River

 

At the train station Seraina and I split up. I went to Alexia (from Brazil) that night, Ana and her hsister Carlee were here too. It was really fun! We ate pizza, played Just Dance and watched 2 movies. Ferris Bueller’s day off, which is filmed in Chicago and Mean girls. I think the first movie was fun because I recognized parts in Chicago. I like it when I can say like: ‘I know where that is!!’ or ‘I’ve been there!’. I can do that also with Divergent. 🙂
The next day I went again to Chicago. But now with Alexia. The weather was really good this day and I made awesome skyline pictures. We went to the Shed Aquarium where we met up with Bruno (also from Brazil), they had free entrance that day. Other people knew that probably too.. So after 2,5 hours and a hotdog we were finally inside. There we found out that the free tickets where only for a small area in the Aquarium. We looked around there and after that we bought tickets to a 4D movie (Ice Age). After this we left the aquarium and made some more (skyline) pictures, it was getting darker so it was really pretty with all the lights. When we got to the station again we said goodbye and I went home.

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Skyline Chicago

 

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With Alexia in front of the skyline

 

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With Alexia in front of the skyline, doing crazy

 

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In the line for the Shed Aquarium with Bruno and Alexia

 

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Skyline in the evening with Bruno and Alexia

 

Monday January 19th was Martin Luther King Day. So another day off. I slept in pretty long when Hannah came knocking on my door to tell me that some skating friends would come over in +-30 minutes. So I got out of bed to be ready in 30 minutes. Brandon, Ethan and Colleen came over, we made cake balls and we went snowboarding in front of our house. There wasn’t a lot of snow, but it was exactly enough to glide. After that we went to Portillo’s to eat something. I really think we need Portillo’s in the Netherlands. I will miss it when I’m back home… When we came back Hannah, Ethan, Colleen and I went rollerblading (in the snow…. -> it wasn’t my idea!!). It was something new for me, I don’t think it was really good for the wheels.. But it was fun to do! When we came home Brandon and Jan-Erik where waiting with a lot of snowballs ready. After a short snowball fight we went inside. I tried all my hockey supplies on because I had a game that night (Yes, I joined a hockey). We watched the movie White Chicks after I was sure I had all the stuff I needed. In the evening I had my first hockey game. I’m number 14, just like my shorttrack number on the KNSB-cups in the Netherlands. We won this game with 6-4, I went to bed pretty late and I had to wake up early again because of school.

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Rollerblading in the snow

 

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My first hockey game

 

So.. The weekend was over and school started again. This was my first schoolday after finals and second semester started. This was exciting but also sad.. It was exciting because I have some new classes now. 3D-art and Government. With 3D-art we make stuff out of clay, glass and other stuff. We already made a Kiln guardian out of clay in the first week and now we’re making jewelry out of glass. I don’t know what kind of stuff we will make more. But it is a fun class. In Government we talk about the Government in the US (this wasn’t hard to guess I think). We watched here how Obama was speaking and we ‘learned’ how to make a paper for the class. I had to make once a paper like that before for my Dutch class back home. So I know how to do it. I think it was weird to learn this in a Government class and not in an English class. I will see what this class will bring me, I’m sure I will learn more about the Government in the US. And maybe I will even learn about the Netherlands here when I compare things. 🙂 The sad thing was that the first half of my school and exchange year is over.. Hope that I can make the best out of the rest of my year. I’m sure that will be fine! I still have a weekend Minnesota, a week Salt Lake City and a week Hawaii in the planning. And I’m sure I will do a lot more fun stuff!!
What also started on Tuesday was Track season. I have 6 times a week practice with Track. Next to that I do shorttrack practice (2 or 3 times a week), longtrack (1 time a week, I will skip a track practice for this on Wednesday) and one time a week a hockey game. So I do a lot of sports here. Some people think that I’m crazy because I joined the track team while I already did a lot. I saw it as an opportunity to meet new people. And I did! The team is really nice!! A lot of people of cross country are also in the team. But I do sprint here, so I practice with other people. I was tired this week, I think because I did a lot and had new things. It will probably get better when I get used to do this much. I hope… haha The rest of the week was pretty normal.

Hmmm… This blog starts to get long.. And I still have to write for one more week. Haha

That weekend I had the mid-year Orientation from AFS. I drove there with Éviny and Seraina. At the orientation we broke up in groups. I was in the group with Éviny (Brazil), Kaspar (Germany), David (Spain), John (China) and Anna (Italy). We had to talk about things we experienced and things we still want to do. Of course Éviny and I get distracted and do the ‘No *wink*’ from the Pitch Perfect 2 trailer. David saw this and started laughing. So then we started talking about Pitch Perfect. We had a couple of times that we started talking about something else. After the talking we went eating with all other exchange students. I love those people! They are amazing! Can’t imagine I won’t see them anymore next year…

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Orientation

 

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International friends!

 

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International friends!

 

That evening Éviny and Seraina slept over. We watched the movie Avatar. When it ended we found out we didn’t get an extra mattress.. So we had to improvise to sleep. After looking around in the house we found some thick blankets and a sleeping bag. So we made a bed out of that. I already had another bed in my room. So now we had place for everyone to sleep. I woke up the next morning earlier than Seraina and Éviny. I got my laptop to see if I could find a way to see the livestream from the European Championships shorttrack. I found this, later we watched with the three of us the finals in the relay. It was fun to see it with them! Later Éviny got picked up. Hannah and I brought Seraina home when we went to practice. We left a little late (like normal) and we had to bring Seraina home and we were still in time for practice because they were behind on the schedule. This happens almost every time when Hannah and I are late. So we were in time, like we always are. Haha

This week in school wasn’t that special. It was the first 5 day school week in 2015.  I had classes, track practice and skating practice. There was no hockey game this week. Something that was different than normal was that we had to go to the auditorium for assemblies during warrior time the whole week. This was to prepare for Senior year with choosing classes. I won’t be here next year. So I was there just because I had to. Not because I need it. You also got papers every day, the first day I said I didn’t need it. But they wanted to give me the paper so bad that I took it.. I would throw it away. The last day I just gave the paper back after we were done with  it. This week I decided to go another time to Minnesota for another skating meet with Hannah, which will be the weekend of February 7 and 8.

Saturday morning was my first Saturday track practice. After practice we went with the track team to Simons to eat breakfast all together. I think it was really nice and it is good to get to know other people better. When I came home I was tired so I did easy. My hdad came when I was about to start a new blog to tell he and my hbrothers would go to the movie ‘The imitation game’ and if I would like to come. Of course I would like to come. When we came at the movie theater the tickets were sold out. Then we were thinking about American Sniper. But those tickets were sold out too. So we went to Portillo’s to eat and after that we went to another movie theater. Here we watched The imitation game. I thought it was a really good movie!! I’ve been a lot of times to the movie theater here. I’ve been there more times in my half year in the USA than I’ve been there the last 2 or 3 years in The Netherlands. I still have a lot of movies on the list I want to see. So it could be that I will go more often to the movie theater. 🙂

Yesterday (Sunday) we had an snowstorm. It already started snowing Saturday evening and it snowed all day on Sunday. In the morning I started cleaning my room (which was really necessary) and I was planning to go to Éviny in the noon to see the Super Bowl game together. The road was really bad and there was like 1 ft/ 30 cm snow on the car. So I decided to stay home. Now I helped the family shoveling and I played a videogame with my hbrothers in the evening. I watched the super bowl game from half way. I cheered for the Seahawks, unfortunately they lost because of a stupid move. I also walked with Hannah around the house in the evening. The snow came to my knees, it was fun to walk in that. 🙂

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Shoveling

 

I had a snowday today (Monday February 2nd). I took this morning some nice pictures of the snow around my house here. After taking some pictures I went playing in the snow with Hannah. We made pictures of it. We just fell down in the snow or we jumped into it. You didn’t feel anything of it because there was a lot of snow. It was really fun!! After that I skyped with my parents to show them some pictures. In the noon Hannah left to Milwaukee for practice. I didn’t go, instead of going to Milwaukee I started writing this blog and tonight I will play my second hockey game.

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Snow in the backyard

 

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Our house in the snow 🙂

 

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Falling into the snow

 

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Hannah jumping into the snow

 

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Jumping into the snow

 

Today I also ordered a map to collect quarter dollar coins from each state in. I think it would be fun to try to get them all before I left. I came to this idea when I saw that Alexia this did. So you can make me happy if you’re American (or if you have quarter dollar coins) which I don’t have yet and you want to give it to me! I also ordered a selfie stick for when I’m in Salt Lake City and Hawaii and of course other moments where I can use it and I ordered lenses that I can put on my phone like wide angle, fisheye and macro. I don’t know how they will work but I will see. 🙂

I’m really looking forward for what the coming months will bring me and I will try to update my blog when I have time. I think I will try to make soon a vlog (video blog) soon too about my normal day in the US. I still have to arrange something with school for that because I can’t film in school during a school day because of privacy of people. I hope the video will work out. I might try to make a video in my Minnesota weekend to try out if I like making videos. I also still have to find time to write my blog about differences between the USA and The Netherlands.

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog! Please let me know if you want to know something about what I do here! Comments are always welcome!! 🙂

Bye from the snowy Chicago area!! Have a nice day!!

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