Monday, April 26, 2010


My weekend was eventful to where I am now exhausted on Monday morning.

At approximately 10am, Roger came to pick me up from my apartment to head to Zeeland! Zeeland was about an hour and a half drive - long distance for most Dutch people and very short distance for Americans. However, I did end up napping on our way there. I'm just a horrible passenger driver - I ALWAYS doze off.

We arrived at Neeltje Jans - a Delta Park where there are different exhibitions, shows, rides that deal with the water. Dutch people are definitely creative when it comes to dealing with water. I'm quite impressed actually. Roger and I first slid down this awesome slide, played at the water park for kids to show different ways of pumping water and controlling water. Then, we went inside this massive aluminum whale where there were abundance of information about whales. After the whale exhibition, we went inside an aquarium. I love aquariums. I sometimes wish that I was a fish - they look calm and content with their lives.

After the aquarium, we had lunch where Roger had mussels (I was craving oysters but they didn't have any) and I had some kind of meat with french fries. I can't get away from meat and french fries. One of my favorite dishes. :)

We also watched a seal show where four seals showed tricks and made me extremely happy. We also went to this other exhibition where I saw how people prevented major floods from happening again. It was pretty neat. Then, we tried to get on this ride at the Moby Dick site, but it was closed. We rode the train around the park as well. :)

To end our day in Neeltje Jans, we slid down the big slide again. The second time was definitely way better than the first time.

We stopped by Zierikzee, another island. Since it is a small town, the stores were already closed by 17:00 on Saturdays! We did grab a drink - I had the white beer again and yum. We also walked around the town, took pictures, and stopped by Albert Heijn so I could grab some beer and milk. Great combination, huh?

Before we got to Rotterdam, we stopped by Barendrecht where my interview will be. We figured out how to get there by finding the nearest bus stop. It was really nice for Roger to take me there to show me where it is. When we got back to Rotterdam, we had dinner at a Chinese-Indonesian restaurant that was really nice. I ordered the chicken soup and some kind of steamed meat ball.

And after a long day, I finally got home exhausted. I checked my bank account, still nothing there, and my heart dropped because I felt that I was lied to. :(

I arrived at Annemarie's right at 9 am and we headed to Efteling with the whole family and Borris' friend. It was a 45 minute drive to Efteling, an amusement park. I don't know what I was expecting, but I sure wasn't expecting a lot of people. As it turned out, Efteling is like Disney World. It was great. On the way there, Borris taught me the numbers 1-100 in Dutch. It was great.

Efteling was huge. I was greeted with three guys dressed up in costume, and we had a great time taking pictures with each other. The boys wanted to take the bigger rides while us girls went to the fairy tale theme rides so that Rosa who is 4 years old could enjoy the park.

It was really nice being with Annemarie and her family- and it was refreshing to think that I had great people to occupy my last Sunday. I rode a roller coaster - nothing compared to the US - and it was so much fun. I did get a headache after though. We also rode this water ride all together, and I ended up buying the picture that was taken of us - just as a reminder.

While at the park, I noticed that little kids had numbers on their arms. I thought that Annemarie was the only one that did this, but apparently it's a Dutch thing. In case, a young child gets lost, someone can call their parents. if they are found by someone else. It's a good strategy, I think.

I also received interview tips from Annemarie's husband because he hires a lot of people.  I found out that starting teachers here make 1600 euros a month after taxes. That's equivalent to $2000 a month, and sadly enough, that won't be enough for me to live off. My dad told me to be smart about my finances and write down all of my expenses. It's either I work in the US to pay off my loans or work in The Netherlands to take out more loans. Ugh, we'll see what happens.

When I got home, I cooked myself dinner. :) I really do enjoy cooking, I have to make sure not to leave the kitchen or else I forget about cooking. I also talked to my mom because apparently a check was sent to my house from Anthony. Since I didn't know what was going on, I called Anthony. He never picked up before with my Skype number, but apparently he picked up now because it said unknown number. Ugh. We discussed the check and other things. I ended up talking to him for an hour.

I don't know anymore. Within that hour of my life, I've realized things that I don't want to accept. I'm torn. I'm ready to sit down with him and tell him everything. It bugs the crap out of me that because I talked to him, in that one hour, I turned into my old self again. Insecure, self-conscious, judgmental, jealous, and full of accusations. I lost focus. Anthony became the center of my life in that one hour, and God was put aside. I'm still weak. I still haven't let it all go, and let God. I still have a lot to work on. :(  

Friday, April 23, 2010


Today was an amazing day.

I started out by visiting a primary school meaning from age 4 - 12. The teacher that I worked with, Laura, was amazing. Although Annemarie has been emailing her to remind her that I wanted to observe, she just now answered. Like I always said, better late than never. I was super excited about being with students that I'm used to in the states - the age level that is.

When Annemarie finally introduced me to Laura, I was more than thrilled because Laura taught 10-11 year olds and it reminded me of Mrs. Bailey's class last semester. The whole class was so excited that an American teacher is with them. We started the morning with a group talk where I talked about where I was from and answered questions they had about me. The students were so eager to talk to me in English and they understood most of what I said - and this was their first year learning English. It was impressive! They barely made mistakes and it was the fact that when Laura teaches them English - she teaches them IN English. The questions they asked were really good too like "How do you feel not knowing Dutch and not understanding?" and "Have you lost a close friend" < - that hit me hard.

The most impressive thing though is the respect and interest that I received from the students. It was just super nice, and I've missed that. Even when they couldn't translate their questions in English, they looked at me while asking a question in Dutch while Laura translated. When we went outside, the students started showing me tricks with their skateboards, and I had a couple of girls follow me everywhere. It was nice to be wanted. :) I took pictures with the class because I absolutely loved them. I gave them my email address to keep in touch and I've already received an email from one!

One of the students also helped me try a wave board. Kids here make it look so easy, but it was sooo hard! It was fun, though.

There was also a smart board in every classroom and I was super excited. There are 550 students in the school, and they also have another building/school. Well, when the students were asking me questions, Laura can just bring up pictures/videos/etc on the smart board. It was amazing, and I've missed technology so much.

Then, I had lunch at Annemarie's. We ate our lunch outside in her garden. It was another beautiful day, and I loved the sun's warmth on my body. We had a nice chat about everything, and she said that she was glad I was here another week. She's really something else.

After that, I went back to my apartment because I was super tired. I originally wanted to go to Mag's son's bday party at this park, but I was just too tired. Well, instead of sleeping, I checked my email and I received an email from Calvijn Groene Hart (a bilingual school!) saying that they wanted to interview me! I was super excited and I called my parents and everyone I knew! It seemed that I was the only one excited though. Oh well.

Then, I went to the post office to send another box home. I have no idea how I ended up with so much stuff. My goodness. I went home, cooked food, and got ready for a Dutch Evangelical wedding with Mag.

I took the public transportation to Oud-Beijerland to attend the wedding. I thought about backing out on that one as well, but I couldn't miss a wedding. The wedding was absolutely gorgeous. Mag translated everything for me. There was this woman that was sitting beside me who wasn't very nice, as Mag would say it. She wouldn't scoot over for us - rude.

The wedding was completely different than Catholic wedding. There was a live band, tons of music, people raising their hands, etc. The groom even washed his bride's feet to show her that he wants to serve her as Jesus served his disciples. It surprised both me and Mag.

After the wedding ceremony at church - the reception! However, our reception is completely different than the Dutch reception. The Dutch reception is where all the guests get in line to congratulate the groom, bride, and their parents. They also hand their presents, and grab coffee/tea and a little snack. Then at 10, everyone who wasn't invited to the "party" is kicked out. Whoa, right?

Now, I'm home and I'm feeling weird. I've had a good day then I get home and I feel weird. I don't even know how to explain it. We'll see.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


So I kept forgetting to update all of you with my lives. Two days have passed, and you haven't read about my life. How sad, right?

Well, the rest of Tuesday was both relaxing and stressful. I rushed to the school to meet with Magdalena and try to come up with a plan B for Romania. Since my flight to Cluj from Milan wasn't cancelled or at risk, I was trying to catch a train to Milan from Rotterdam. After stressing about the price, I received an email from my airlines about a risk of the flight being cancelled. So I just decided to cancel my trip overall, and just rebook another new flight on a later date.

Hm. For a while, I just put the thought of missing Romania aside. I was really bummed about not going, and I was so negative about being in Rotterdam for another week. I thought that I just wanted to sit in my room and sleep the rest of the time I was here.

I had a talk with Annemarie while she was doing canteen duty. She invited me to an amusement park on Sunday. I denied because I thought I would be intruding. Then, I waited for Magdalena to be finished with classes to check out the park that her son and his friends will be playing at. It's a really cool park - kids can play in the mud, sand, run around, have a campfire, build things with branches, etc. It's only .50 for kids and 2 euro for adults. It's a nice place to sit and relax - and that's what Mag and I did for the rest of the afternoon.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous. It was a bit windy - like always - but it wasn't too cold to sit outside for an hour or two. Mag and I talked about friendships, Romania, life, God, and everything else that came to mind. I will truly miss Mag's companionship and kindness. It's weird how attached I became with both Annemarie and Magdalena - I would consider them as two of my closest friends and they're both older and have families already. Steven kept forgetting that Mag and Annemarie have families and kept wanting me to invite them to go out. Ha.

I was really glad that I spent the afternoon outside and not in my room sulking about my missed trip to Romania. When I got home, I couldn't help but search for flights to Romania at a later date. I did find one for a cheaper price than I paid before but I would have to catch the train to Germany since the plane takes off at one of their airports. I was really excited, called Mag, and told her what I discovered. I would have to leave on Thursday night to catch the Friday morning trip to Romania, and Helen was super excited about it. However, after all the discussions and debate with my parents, Mag and Frank, and myself, I decided not to go because
1) I didn't have enough money (although Mag and Frank offered to help)
2) there's a chance that my flight to Romania would be cancelled because of the volcanic ash
3) there's a chance that I might get stuck in Romania because of all the chaos and miss my flight to the US

So for the first time of my life (haha), I listened to my parents and decided to play it safe. I dreaded telling Helen that I will NOT be coming to Romania, after she already showed my picture to her students, after she set up a program to have me give a speech about the importance of learning a foreign language as a young student, after she already made arrangements for me. I just hated disappointing her and I felt like I shattered her hopes. :(

As you can probably tell, I'm very disappointed and upset that I didn't get to visit Romania like I planned.

I was very productive. I bought wine, groceries, and a box to send home to the US since everything wouldn't fit. I bought so much food for the next week that it's a bit ridiculous. Sometimes I wish I didn't eat so much, then I would save a lot of money. Eh. I do cherish my relationship with food, though. And for the wine, I originally just wanted to buy boxes to put the wine that I already bought - but the guy said he only sells the boxes with a purchase of wine. So I ended up buying three bottles of wine - one for my Costa Rica group for our get together, one for Mag, and one for Annemarie. Then I used the boxes for my Polish wine and vodka. :)

As I carried all of these things in my hand (groceries, wine, and big box), I realized just how much I missed my car. I had to take the public transportation and everyone could tell that my hands were def full - and I kept hitting people with the box. It was a amusing but a bit embarrassing. When I got home, I cooked spaghetti and took a nap.

When I finally woke up from my 2 hour nap (only supposed to be 30 min), I decided to go to the shoe repair shop to get my black boots repaired. I've worn it so many times that the heels were so worn out. I took the metro and right when I exited there was a shoe repair shop. It wasn't the one I originally wanted to go to but it was closer and cheaper. I paid 6.95 euros to get my shoes repaired! I will have to take my other boots to get repaired as well.

As I waited for my shoes to get repaired, I walked around the center of Rotterdam to look for a souvenir shop or a shop that could fix my glasses. My glasses is so ghetto now - it's all taped up. It broke like this before, but I was hoping that someone could fix it and not say 'we can't fix this.' That's exactly what happened though. :(

I also ended up going to HEMA, this store that sells almost everything. They have really good apple pies and I thought that it would be expensive. Well, it was only 5 euros! So you know I had to get one. That makes two apple pies for me - one from Albert Heijn and another from HEMA. Whoa.

As soon as I picked up my shoes, I went home to eat my apple pie. I finished half of one and soon felt happy and disgusted at the same time. I have to take advantage of eating as much Dutch apple pie as possible during my remaining days.

The rest of the day was spent on talking to people on facebook, calling my parents and my family, sorting out souvenirs, packing my box, and just being lazy. I debated about going to the school to pick up my bike, and ended up not going. However, I did go to the gym to do weights and cardio. I always forget just how much I love going to the gym until I get there. I also bought my little sister chocolate chip cookies because that's what she wanted.

After working out, I bought laundry tokens and washed my dirty clothes. I was just going to pack it in my suitcase and wash it at home, but it'll save me time at home to do laundry now. While I waited for my clothes to wash and dry, I watched movies, cleaned the apartment, ate, etc. It was a good day.

Today, I'm at school. I will be teaching at least one class today. It's a bit embarrassing to see all the of people at school again after telling them good bye. It was already hard enough to say good bye, now I have to do it all over again next week. Roger, a Latin teacher, offered to take me to Zeeland this Saturday so that gives me something to do! How exciting! Then, Mandy, an economic teacher, told me about a program that was going on for the day. There were different activities for the 6th years gymnasium level. 

I surprised my 4h4 class, and they were excited to see me at least one more time. :) They had a literature test, so I couldn't really talk to them. I did go to Zumba class at school! Taught by Mandy and another teacher. It was simple. I've decided that I want to be a Zumba instructor during my free time. I want to dance and get paid for it - and it's appropriate! 

After that, Mag and I talked about the lesson plans for the next 8 support classes that's left in the school year. We were very productive and I was surprised that I could come up with such good ideas. Then, a teacher came and told us that there are drinks and treats in the canteen. 

Sure enough, the drinks were alcohol. How I love this school - not because I'm an alcoholic or anything like that but it's just nice how relaxing it is to drink with colleagues and talk. I sure did take pictures. 

I also had to teach my support class at 2:55 and there were only 4 boys that showed up and we had a great time together. I really like the small class setting. We get a lot done and everyone gets the attention they deserved. I was also very relaxed while teaching. 

Then, I went home with Mag like usual Thursdays. When we got to the grocery store, she realized that she forgot her purse at school. Luckily enough, her husband got it for her. I helped her cook food, and talked about everything. This night, Mag was the one that put the kids to bed, and I finally went upstairs of her house. Her house is huge compared to the other Dutch houses that I've been in! She has so much room, and the kids' rooms are super cute. While she put the kids to bed, I cleaned up after dinner. It was the least I could do. 

Then, we finally relaxed and talked about everything. My conversations and discussions with Mag can go on for days. Goodness. 

I got home pretty late and I got on the phone with my family. My mom is hilarious. She had me changed her password so that nobody is commenting without her knowledge. Ha. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Polish Days :)


I woke up early to get ready for Auschwitz Tour. The breakfast served at Hostel 70's was neatly served since there were only seven of us staying in the hostel. The employees were also super nice and called Krakow Shuttle for me to confirm my Auschwitz-Birkenau Tour. At 9 am, I waited outside for the driver to pick me up from Hostel 70's. At 9:10 am, I became very nervous but I found the driver in front of Zodiakus Hostel - my original hostel.

So the drive to Auschwitz began - an hour away from Krakow. There were two other people in the van with me. The driver has only worked for the company for a month, and he seemed nice enough. On our way to Auschwitz, there were cops everywhere and people on the side of motorways. People were also pulling over to try and see if they can get a glance of someone important. Yes, Sunday was the burial of the Polish president so it was chaotic. I was a bit worried that I would be the only one at Auschwitz but there were plenty enough people. The other two people with me were very intrigued by each other's company that I was invisible to them. One was from Canada and the other one from Australia - yes, I can understand every little thing they talked about.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous to be spending it at such a depressing place. We watched a short film first, then on to the English tour guide. There was an English tour guide at 11:30 and my group joined them. However, the tour guide kicked us out because we were in the wrong group - not once, but twice and stated that it was impossible that we were supposed to be with her.

So we went with another tour guide. Auschwitz I is incredible. It was so surreal to see those words in the entrance gate "Arbeit Macht Frei." I took tons of pictures, but none with me because I didn't know what kind of facial expression I should have. We went in the different block buildings where the hospital used to be, the "death building," and so much more. We saw proof of evidence such as lots and lots of hair from the prisoners. It was disgusting. I took pictures even when we weren't supposed to. We also went into the basement where the first experiment of Cyclone B happened. The basement also included tons of torture rooms which really creeped me out.

The last thing we visited in Auschwitz was a crematorium and a gas chamber. I couldn't even take pictures inside because I thought it would be disrespectful. In that gas chamber, you could see the small openings on the roof where the SS put in the Cyclone B to kill the prisoners.

Then, we went to Birkenau aka Auschwitz II. I never realized just how big it was, and it surprised me that there is a neighborhood full of houses next to it. Of course, those houses didn't exist during WWII, but it's still creepy to think that you are living next to a camp where millions of people died. There are no words to describe the feelings I had while walking around Auschwitz II. Our tour guide took us to what used to be the bathroom and where 400 people lived in a barn. The living conditions were devastating. Then, she also showed us where the SS did their selections, where the moms, kids, and older people walked to their death, and the destroyed crematoriums. There were four of them in Auschwitz II.

I also had a chance to go to the building where registration took place - where the Jews were tattooed, shaved, disinfected, etc. For the first time during the tour, I felt really uneasy and scared as if someone was with me. Nobody died in that building but the feeling I got while inside was plain creepy.

The tour took 6 hours in total and it was worth every penny that I spent. It was also a good decision to go to Auschwitz instead of going to the funeral of the Polish president. When I returned to Krakow, I did manage to stand with tons of people waiting for the burial to take place in the castle. The crowds of people were amazing. I took tons of pictures.

Ooh, I had a really hard time distinguishing between still and sparkled water. I am disgusted by sparkled water and that's what I kept buying because I didn't know how to tell the difference. Ugh.

As I was walking home from the center of Krakow, I got pooped on by a bird. It was a great sign to show that I would not be having a great night in Krakow. When I checked my email, I found a cancellation email from my airline. My trip to Romania was now cancelled due to the volcanic ash. I frantically tried to look for alternative (but cheap) ways to get to Romania and there weren't any. I was beyond upset. This was the third time that my flight has been cancelled while traveling in Europe. Ugh. I spent the rest of the night trying to see if there were any way that I could go to Romania --- epic fail.


I woke up early looking forward to the breakfast. After the delicious breakfast, I went to the post office to mail my family a postcard from Poland. I also explored other parts of Krakow that I hadn't had a chance to look at. I went into this church - by far my favorite Catholic Church that I have seen. It was absolutely breath-taking. I also walked through a park, bought chocolates and souvenirs, and walked back to the hostel. I got on Tram 19 to go to the bus station, and did not have to pay for my ride there. I don't know how people are checked if they paid or not. I know it's wrong, but I was totally out of Zlotys.

Since I still had an hour left before my bus leaves, I went to the mall. The mall was three stories high and it was huge! Nothing compared to the malls in the US. When I wasted enough time at the mall, I headed to the bus station. My back was hurting because my bookbag was so heavy - full of liquor to bring back home. :)

My bus back to Rotterdam was of course late. There were a couple of people freaking out about the bus. At this point, I was just over Europe and wished I could go back to the US. However, with all the volcanic ash from Iceland - it seems impossible. I did meet this really cool girl on the bus. She's from Hong Kong, but studying in the UK. So the trip to Berlin wasn't as bad. We did take a lot of breaks, and traffic was horrible in Poland. Oh, and the roads are really bad too.

When we finally arrived in Berlin, I transferred to another bus where I met a girl from South Africa who is working in the UK. It seemed that almost everyone on the bus was riding the bus because their flight was cancelled.

Riding the bus isn't bad at all. I don't mind it a bit. I was really uncomfortable but whatever. Travelling these past couple of days was very stressful. Everyone and everything were chaotic and everyone seemed to be complaining.

I can't believe I'm saying this but I'm ready to go back to the US.

My flight to Romania is cancelled over all - there's nothing I can do. That leaves me with one week left in Rotterdam - I wonder what I'll do.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Polish adventures!

I don't feel like writing in sentences so here goes:

- went to school to say goodbye to teachers and finish my portfolio
- got talked into by Hans to stop by on Tuesday when I get back from Poland
- Roger, the Latin teacher, gave me a tea set
- ate Mcdonalds with the Turkish girls that I tutored: one did really well in English while the other not so much
- was a fat ass again by ordering too much food
- called my mom, took a nap, and rushed to the bus station
- looked forward to the 20-hr bus ride to Krakow

- arrived to Berlin
- bus to Krakow was two hours late
- rumors that Krakow would be closed due to the burial of the president
- one guy offered me a ride to Krakow: thought it was sketchy
- glasses kept breaking: really need new glasses
- ate at Mcdonalds again: very much disgusted at myself at this point
- met Slovakian couple who were all over each other
- the bus drivers spoke only Polish when making announcements
- the bus ride turned into a 23-hr bus ride: ugh!
- when i finally found my hostel, the hostel was full and had to go to another hostel down the street: Hostel 70's
- after putting everything up, went for a walk around the city center
- lots of people mourning the president's and his wife's death: their pictures are everywhere and everyone is holding a Poland flag
- Obama is supposedly coming tom for the burial
- went grocery shopping for food tom 
- bought Polish wine :)
- bought souvenirs, hopefully can send the postcards
- everything will be closed tomorrow 
- Hostel 70's is a very small hostel, but nice enough
- looking forward to my Auschwitz tour tom
- multiple overdraft fees charged to my bank of america account: have no idea how i'm paying for it. :(
- apparently bars here in poland close at 12 due to prohibition on sundays
- Polish language is very intimidating, I can't even try to read it 
- slept all day but yet so tired
- "bubbles or no bubbles?" this mcdonalds employee asked when i said water to drink...haha.
- thank God i didn't ride with that guy who offered

Friday, April 16, 2010


Thursday was my last day teaching at Calvijn, and boy, was it busy! The day started out pretty slow since I didn't have to teach until 11:05, 11:55, and 2:55. Yep, three classes on my last day.

In the morning, I just worked on more paperwork and making sure that everything is completed. Anthony emailed me about his placement - he's going to be in Massachussetts! How exciting, right?

I wasn't feeling well in the morning, this whole getting sick before traveling is not working for me. However, the classes that I taught did make me feel better and it was a great closure to an amazing teaching experience. Since it was my last day with 1mh2, Magdalena gave me the opportunity to do something fun with the students. Of course, we played musical chairs. It's just so much fun for both me and the students. When the student was out, they had a worksheet that covered grammar rules that they have learning. And guess what? The students actually did the worksheet. Whoa, right?!

1mh2 class was a difficult class, and they misbehaved not because they didn't respect me but because they couldn't understand some of the things I was saying. Although it was a tough ride with them, I couldn't be happier. They always cheered when they found out that I would be teaching them, and they always compliment me on how I look, how I teach, etc. I thanked them in the end of the class, and told them just how much I will miss them. They said the same thing.

Right after 1mh2 class, I had to teach a new class of 2nd years with Ted, a History teacher. The class is learning about the Holocaust, and they are sharing and communicating with students from Poland. Since the Dutch students didn't speak Polish and the Polish students didn't speak Dutch, they depended on English...and that's where I came in. I helped the students with their grammar mistakes, spelling mistakes, and guided them through sentence structure and vocabulary. Since some of the students couldn't pronounce my name, they called me "Miss America" and it definitely caught me off guard. It was kind of nice.

Then, I had a break in the teacher's workroom where Annemarie, Magdalena, Roger, and I took pictures. It was unbelievable that I haven't had any pictures with Annemarie or Magdalena so we took advantage. At 2:55, I had to teach the support class where half of 1mh2 class was there for "punishment." It was a bit of a distraction because I'm used to the 8 or 9 students that I had on Thursdays. It was a bit chaotic with 15 students.

After class, Magdalena filled in my COST evaluation. She made a comment about how I dressed too sexy for school. It caught me off guard because how I dressed would be how I would dress in the US. Dresses, skirts, pants, etc. It frustrated me a bit because I covered every thing, no skin was showing except for my neck and my arms, yet I was still too sexy. Should I just start wearing baggy clothes? I think things would be different if I wasn't as pretty. I don't want to sound conceited or anything, but there's this other teacher who dresses way worse than me - her clothes are way tighter, she shows a lot of skin - but she just doesn't have sex appeal (other teachers commented on it) so it doesn't really matter. I've changed my wardrobe to more conservative - I even wear tights and underclothes to make sure that I didn't show excessive skin or anything. I don't know...

I also said a few good byes to a couple of teachers, and it makes me sad to think that I will no longer walk through the doors of Calvijn and say good morning to these wonderful teachers in Dutch.

When Magdalena and I finally left the school to go to Oud-Beijerland, I was super tired. We picked up her kids from school, and we visited Jelma, one of the girls from my religious group. We walked from the school to her house, and it was a beautiful day. When we got home, Frank, her husband, took over cooking while Magdalena finished my evaluation and I took a nap. :)

At 6:45, we were off to Happy Wok where my religious group and I celebrated being together and also combining it to be a goodbye dinner for me. Happy Wok was a buffet, but they didn't have much to choose from. My first plate was full of food while the other girls had very little food. The American side of me glowed. Anyways, the buffet had cooked food and uncooked food where you can either grill it or make a wok.

At Happy Wok, I met two new girls, Dehlia and Tinca. Karen, Thirza, and Fay were also there. We had a great time talking about food, life, etc. Then, we had a debriefing of the 40 days that we participated in. After that, the girls gave me presents. Fay gave me a mug full of Dutch tea and Dutch jelly. Karen gave me a wooden shoe keychain and stroopwafels. Thirza gave me a card and more stroopwafels (aka Dutch cookies). Magdalena gave me glass wooden shoes, and the whole group gave me a children's book that reminds me just how special I am to God's eyes. The girls all wrote in it - and it brought tears to my eyes. Not only did they give me presents, but they also paid for my dinner.

That night in Happy Wok, I was overwhelmed by the kindness that the girls have shown me in just 8 Thursday meetings. We were open to each other about everything, and everyone has their own story. I admire these girls for sharing their stories with me, and also that they try to live like Jesus and serve God. To have these girls my age surround me was just such a refreshing feeling. Because of them, they made me feel redemption and that God is an all-forgiving God and that he loves me no matter what. Their prayers about me touched my heart, and I will forever be grateful for them. They changed my life forever.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I had a really busy day today. :( And I'm sick again. I think my body knows when I'm about to do some major traveling. Ugh. Two more days until Poland then Romania. 

I arrived to school early to finish more of my paperwork. My day started out really slow since the time is winding down, and there's not much for me to do anymore.

While I was sitting in the teacher's workroom, a Math teacher talked to me about a former American teacher in Calvijn coming to visit him. Apparently this American professor taught in Calvijn for six months, and he taught himself Dutch. Anyways, the entire time the teacher was talking to me about Bill, I couldn't help but notice how beautiful this teacher is. He's not fully Dutch, but his facial features is just astonishing. I couldn't help but stare. He has been teaching in Calvijn for over 10 years, and he is a foster parent of 5 kids. How amazing, right?

Anyways, I met a student to practice his verbal skills. He told me 10:30 but he showed up 10:45, It's ok, at least he showed up. We went into a classroom and got to talking about a WASP Reporter article that he read for me. :) He made mistakes like "much people" and a couple of subject-verb agreement. We did talk alot about himself, his experiences, etc. It was a nice chat.

After the meeting, I left right away because I was invited to my first Dutch birthday party by my mentor teacher, Magdalena. Joshua, her son, turned 7 and was having a birthday party at 14:00. I went home at around 11:15 and heated up spaghetti sauce and boiled some noodles. Yum. I felt really crappy afterwards, though. I talked to Ashton (yay!) and the cleaning people came in. This time there was a guy with them. I caught him staring at me - awkward.

I tried to take a nap before the bday party, but that didn't happen. So I caught the metro to zuidplein and the bus to Oud-Beijerland. I didn't know what to expect of the party, so I made sure to get there on time. I was the first one there - people didn't start coming until around 3. I didn't know what to give Joshua for his bday so I made him a bday card and gave him an American dollar - figured that would be cool to a 7 year old. When the first guest showed up with her two kids, Hanah, Joshua and I were blowing bubbles. When one of the kids went outside, I accidentally smacked him in the face while making bubbles. Oops.

During the birthday party, only a couple of people came which was stressful enough for Magdalena. She had two friends come over with two kids each, her sister-in-law with three kids, and her neighbor with one kid. Her parents-in-law were there also. Her father-in-law really made the effort to talk to me about everything. He did comment about how Dutch people in Rotterdam don't really like all the immigrants coming in. Interesting because I have met Dutch people who feel this way. The guests really did try to include me in the conversation. I met Magdalena's Romanian friend also.

The party wasn't as different than US bday parties. I think the only difference is that hot tea was still served even though we were outside in the warm weather. Magdalena bought an apple pie, a chocolate pie, and a cake for Joshua. (She gave me a doggy bag full of treats when I left.) She also had snacks like chips, tomatoes, olives, candy, fruits, etc. It was a mixture of healthy and junk food. :) When the cake was out for Joshua, the guests sang a birthday song in Dutch, English, and Romanian. It was awesome.

On my ride back to Rotterdam, the bus scanners weren't working and I got home for free. :)

As soon as I got back to Rotterdam, I got my bike and rode over to my other mentor teacher's house, Annemarie. We had planned to have dinner at her place. Since her husband wasn't home, she decided to cook sauerkraut because her husband didn't like that. She cooked a traditional meal - mashed potatoes, pineapple, sauerkraut, bacon bits all mixed together with sausage. It was an interesting taste. I didn't dislike it, but it wasn't one of my favorites either. Easy to cook, though. :)

After dinner, Borris (her son) and I went to Albert Heijn and picked up some ice cream. It was a very short walk, and I was a little nervous being with Borris alone because we didn't understand each other. However, we recited the alphabet in both English and Dutch and we taught each other different words. It was precious. 

When the kids finally went to bed, Annemarie and I had tea and graded the 4th year students' letters. I love grading. We also worked on the re-sit literature test for the 5th year. I ended up staying until 10. It was a nice evening. 

I came home exhausted, however. I called my mom and dad just to check in. John, my little brother injured his thumb. Goodnes..