Saturday, 21 June 2014

ROTARY EXCHANGE July 2nd-July 5th.

Tuesday July 2nd 2013
It was Hanneke's birthday! My host family on birthdays (Since I was there for two, hanneke's and mine!) put up these triangular pieces of fabric on a string and hung them up all over the living room and kitchen. Hanneke was having a party that night for her birthday where a lot of her friends and some family would be coming over. So being dutch we had to go the Cheese store, which i have to say had veeeery good cheese! My favourite was the Limburg cheese (the cheese from the province I was living in!) The store, " 'T Keesheaukske" was probably the same size as a typical Aldo Shoes store. We then went home and I practiced my speech more and then we had dinner and off we went to Oor. The guests would be coming while we were at the Rotary Meeting. Upon getting to the hotel the meeting was at, which was the start at 7, we were 10 minutes early and yet were the only people there, from the other inbound and out bound students. We waited for about 20 minutes and then Winnie from the Netherlands and Lea from Vancouver island showed up! It was weird seeing her because she had been at my rotary meetin as well, for Vancouver island! I felt really bad for her though she had just flown in that day and then had to come there and present. After more waiting the last couple came and I don't remember the Dutch girls name but her partner was Daniela from Mexico. Then after even more waiting we finally got to go in to see all of the Rotarians. I think it was about 7:45 when we were told it would start at 7. I started getting paranoid that me and lea would have the same presentation on Canada but we didn't. She went first and talked about her and her school and her town and her rotary club and basically nothing I talked about. Then Daniela went (and you could tell that the Rotarians were beginning to lose focus a bit) and she talked about her friends and her school and her town and her self and her family.. And I starting thinking "oh no... I'm gonna go up there and bore everyone to death." Neither of them had speeches or written down anything! And then.. Daniela gave them all a huge thing of Mexican tequila. How could I top that? All I could think about was katniss in the first hunger games...but I went up, and presented and speed talked my way very quickly through the whole thing. Then we went home had Hanneke's birthday party and I met Aline and Corrina Again and this time Vincent Aline's boyfriend. I had my first European beer that night :)
Wednesday July 3rd 2013
 On the Wednesday me and Nienke and Maartje went to the Efteling. Now none of you probably know what this is and all I can describe it as is a ... Per-Disney. Like the real original fairy tales in their authentic forms before they were disneyified, plus more that never went through Disney. It is kind of like an amusement park.... But not at the same time. Every ride has a story. There was Monsieur cannibale which was like the spinning tea cups but instead they were pots that Monsieur cannibale was going to cook you in. And droomflucht (dream flight) which is kind of like a tour through a fairytale land....and fata morgana which was very like the pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney land. I really liked that one, there were of course roller coasters and what not(my favorite being the Flying Dutchman) but my favorite part was the fairy tale forest. It's was soooo cool. And I would like to thank my mum for always reading me so many fairy tales and telling me so many stories when I was younger, if you hadn't I probably wouldn't have none half of them! Some that I did know were Snow White, sleeping beauty, mother holle, the frog prince, hansel and gretel (that was a really cool one!),  the wolf and the seven kids,  Tom Thumb, rumpelstiltskin, rapunzel, Cinderella, the little mermaid, little red riding hood.. But there were a lot more that I had no idea about. It was kind of rainy that day so not super hot..... Which I liked :) for dinner I tried a kroket-which was the first thing I didn't like food wise since I got here! Then I tried Nienke for her frikandel-which was the second thing I didn't like. So I bought some food in the train station.. That night on the two hour train ride I lost my retainers... and I had to get a new pair when I got home :/ though I had a great day that day, I dont really think I realised how much of a great day I really had until coming home and remembering it so clearing and for sure wanting to go back!!
July Thursday 4th 2013
We stayed home.... And honestly I can't remember what I did...probably watched movies :P or read haha
July Friday 5th  2013
Me and Nienke took the train into s'hertogenbosch (most people just call is den bos) one of the first things we did when we got there was to go on a canal tour. It was all in Dutch but having my own personal translator comes in handy :) it was really cool learning about the history and stuff seeing everything that was so old. At this one part where we were in like a tunnel or something it branched off into another part that apparently when for like 800m or something and it was called either.. A) hell's tunnel b) tunnel of hell or c) the devils tunnel... I don't remember but it was terrifying looking. After that we had lunch and walked around the city I didn't think the city was super outstanding, it was pretty don't get me wrong but it's not one of the best the country has to offer... However it does have an absolutely beautiful cathedral, st. Jan's. it was built in the gothic style and was on my list of things to see when coming here. It was massive and for I think apart from the Dom in köln, Germany the biggest church I've ever been in. I loved it. It was one of those moments of walking in and not knowing what to look at. I'm pretty sure I just took pictures of everything my eyes laid on :) the outside was amazing but the inside kept up to par that's for sure.... It just made me think how long it must have taken to build this one church. My country of residence is under 200 years old and this one single church had a building process of 300... It was a weird feeling being in a building that you know is older than your own country! I think pretty soon after that we took the train home. It was such a beautiful building. Theres one thing that Europe definitely taught me, and that was how to appreciate beautiful architecture, my favourite for sure being as this one was, gothic. 

ROTARY More on Friday 28-Monday 1st

So I began to write my last blogs for my trip right before leaving Roermond and coming back to canada but somehow deleted the first half of of my blog.. and then when getting home we were so busy and then when Nienke went home, school started and now its a year later to then so I figure I should probably finish, better late then never.

June Friday 28th 2013 
So as I said, (I am going to be switching all this into past tense rather than present!) we finally got to go into the shops, we went it felt like everywhere in Roermond! Down all of the Alleys, into so many shops and I got quite a few things, as did Maartje. We also went to the Roermond Designer Outlet, which was pretty cool, though as to be expected they were all "designer clothes" so needless to say I didnt buy anything (though! I did go in my first Burberry ever, which with my Emma Watson obsession I had loved this line for a long time so it was rather exciting like pictures of me under the sign grinning like an idiot exciting) Something that we did buy, which was another first to check on the list was dutch fries.. aka the beginning of a very beautiful friendship. I had never had fries with mayo before but oh Holland <3 you made me fall in love! Good ol' Piet Friet :) this (AND STROOPWAFELS.... and paprika pringles ... and many other foods!) became my go to food. After eating the most wonderful and beloved euro fries we walked around that area of roermond a little more, past the cinema and an old fortress wall (you find history EVERYWHERE) Taking our time we meandered back to where we had parked our bikes and we (And I very warily, as I still was not confident on the bikes! Or on the bike lanes, surrounded by everyone who were all pro bikers since about the age of 4!!) rode our way home. Naturally I took about a hundred photos through out the day. Now just to flash back to the present really quick one of the things that I by far miss the most about this experience was my host family, who really are my second family now, and one thing that most definitely goes along with that is, my host mothers cooking!!! She was (is!) a wonderful cook, i can remember watching her put so much effort and detail into the things that we were about to eat, and every single thing tasted and smelled amazing! There are a couple of meals that stand out to me in particular; Pork chops wrapped in bacon with a boccini, tomato salad (aka right up my alley), chicken breast with fresh delicious mushrooms and mushroom sauce, and white Limburg asparagus and cheese sauce, and (while Nienke was at Nicolaas's house because she doesnt like rice) rice with again the freshest tastiest mushrooms... ahh i could go on and on about food!! But I'm getting off track

June Saturday 29th 2013
That morning I started another long and beautiful friendship that is between me and trains! I absolutely adore them, and Im not really sure why I just love putting in my head phones, sitting but the window and getting lost in  my thoughts and the world flying by outside. So this very first train of many was heading to Maastricht, a very very beautiful and rather unique city that left a very good impression on me. When we got off the train it was raining abit and I have to say I love europe in the rain and sun... I really am trying to find something that I didnt like about it.. but its hard.. rose coloured glasses?? maybe ...but I really think not. To get to real city Maastricht you have to walk across this beautiful bridge that runs over the Maas river then you get to the older part of town (though really its all old...wonderfully wonderfully old). Nienke and I again walked around the city and naturally did a fair amount of shopping. One especially cool store we came upon was a Miffy store! I dont know if a lot of people watched that show about Miffy the white rabbit cartoon when they were young but I sure did! Well it turns out shes dutch and her real name is not miffy but Nijntje.. yes that's hard to say.. We walked a round some more had lunch and went to this really pretty park right  in the middle of the city, and it finally was sunny!! shortly after we went back to the train (ahh trains <3 ) and went back home.

June Sunday 30th 2013
This day we went on a car trip, not far to this other town in Limburg (my province in the south) called Thorn. This town was really cool because almost all of the walls of the buildings in it wear painted white! we went to some cool art galleries ( all very expensive as art seems to be world wide!) and went to a little place for lunch. I was not super impressed with the food from that restaurant, hanneke's cooking was better :)

July Monday 1st 2013
CANADA DAY!!!! Felt really weird not being in Victoria at the parliament buildings but it was pretty cool to be where I was, representing my country. This typical monday of course was set aside for most dreaded work in this case doing my presentation for Rotary. Which I had not known that I had had to do before arriving. It appears only certain rotary clubs do it, the other girls who had presented had known and had theirs all prepared, but as for me I had the cram session on the monday. As it turned out my speech (which i was told my Nienke had to be on me and canada) was pretty decent! Different from the other girls but thats okay. That night though we did actually go out anyways! Not for dinner or anything. We drove to this town in Limburg again called Asselt, it was very cute and had a gorgeous little Chapel that Maartje, nienke and I got pictures in front of. We then went and got tea (my host father naturally got a cappuccino as always :) The place that we got tea had a very beautiful view. It was by water and something that made this night very special for me, was that I got to see my first European sunset that night. At my house you can see the sunset very frequently, but at my house in the Netherlands because everything is so flat everything always got in the way of the sun from the view of the house at least, and so far I had never been anywhere apart from the house at that time. It was beautiful and just one more thing that I get to metaphorically check off the list, my first European sunset, but not my last.