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.. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Tuesday: Fun

1. Got to school early and looked forward to sitting in for the English verbal exam - ended up not making it in the morning 
2. Helped Magdalena grade papers
3. Got my scrapbook turned into an actual book - yay.
4. Taught my last Tuesday session
5. Watched a play by the 6th years - they annually put a play together about a Greek myth and make a modern story - it was very entertaining - a bit promiscuous and I was shocked - but completely entertaining although it was all in Dutch
6. Had a class with the 5th years
7. Individual tutor with Rick so that he can practice his verbal skills - he wants to meet again 
8. SCMS principal emailed me
9. packed my other suitcase - my luggages can weigh 23 kg and both are under and I still have an extra carry on bag that's empty. yay. 
10. tried to wash clothes but stupid washer took my money - hate this building I call apartment
11. My parents are the greatest. :) I can never say that enough. 
12. I can't believe that Friday is my last day at school. :(

Monday, April 12, 2010


Today started out really slow. I got up, got on facebook, and found my little brother engaged to his girlfriend. What the heck!? This is one of those times where I don't know what to say, and I'm upset that I'm not home to talk some sense into him. 

Anyways, I was late for school because of that discovery. Annemarie and I only had the 5th years and we just had to do paperwork and all that jazz to get them ready for their exams that I'm helping to make. :)

So, I talked to Hans about contacting Barendrecht and getting me an interview before I leave for the US. Barendrecht just said we'll see. Ha. It's a little disappointing, but I have hope that God has a better plan for me than the plan I have for myself. I really do miss my family though so it is time to go home. 

I sat in on the English verbal exam of the higher level 5th years. It was an interesting procedure, just a really casual conversation to check for grammar, pronunciation, fluency, etc. I was with Annemarie and Michel, and it was very laid back and amusing. Michel has such a British accent that it made me smile. He criticized America a lot too about introducing fast food restaurants and saggy pants. 

Then, it made me realize just how much the adults here really dislike America and look down on America. Not everyone, of course, but I've just heard plenty of negative comments about America. I mean I sometimes dislike it but it's okay, I'm from there. However, I do find it offensive when older Dutch people criticize my American accent and makes unnecessary comments about America. It's kind of like me making fun of my sibling - it's ok but when someone else does it - it's not ok.

Needless to say, I kept a smile on my face and played off the comments. Back to the verbal exam, the students each get 10-15 minutes to speak with the teachers. The questions can be about their interests, etc so it's like grading the students but also getting to know them. It was amusing. 

I also received my evaluations from Annemarie and Hans. :) How exciting. I also witnessed my first process of accepting a new student in the school. Hans had a meeting with the student and their family to discuss the school expectations, fill out paperwork, etc. The student was so excited to be accepted in the school. The student was with her sister, who took interest in me and asked a lot about America. 

The weather was beautiful today, by the way. I cycled to Lillian's house to take a picture with her and just to say thanks and good bye. She gave me more insight about everything that I've done. The resume and cover letter that I was so proud of, she butchered and said it was horrible. I mean, I took a class and everything to put the resume and cover letter together. Oh well. She did find me another English teaching position that I can apply to. I just have to revise my resume and cover letter to the Dutch way. 

Then, I went home and cooked dinner. I'm really so proud of myself. I have to make sure that I eat everything before this Friday when I leave for Poland then Romania. 

I packed one luggage already! I think I might have extra room in my other luggage. I'm so excited! :) 

And my parents are the greatest. They make me laugh. I can't wait to see them.

Netherlands is absolutely beautiful


I woke up early like every morning to start my daily routine. I didn't do much, just more paperwork and organizing my life. I did finish the book, "A Thousand Splendid Suns" and I recommend it to everyone. It's such a devastating story, but yet grabs your attention to where you cannot put it down. Well, that's what happened to me anyways.

I also cycled around parts of Rotterdam that I haven't seen. I intended to go to this park that my mentor teacher recommended but I couldn't find it so I just kept cycling. I cycled for 90 minutes around the city, and stopped and stared at the river for an hour. I really am going to miss this city. The weather was pleasant, and the sun made Rotterdam sparkle. :)

I also went to Zumba class since it has been a while since I attended a Saturday session. I wanted to go to the shoe repair store to get my shoes fixed, but I decided to wait until I get back to the US. I had tomato soup and cheese sandwich for lunch, and spanish rice with meat and mushrooms for dinner. I was proud of myself for cooking such wonderful meals.

I also contemplated whether I should go out or not since it was my last Saturday. I ended up just watching Eurotrip and Blood Diamond. It was a great way to end my Saturday night. I just couldn't imagine going out by myself and going home by myself at night in those dark streets of Rotterdam.

I also looked up different things to do in Poland. I'm super excited about the trip, but sad that the Polish president died in a plane crash.

I woke up early to shower and get ready for Keukenhof. I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting - maybe just tulip fields for free. But this is like a botanical garden kind of deal. Annemarie came and picked me up at 8:30 am, and the drive to Keukenhof was 45 minutes away. Her daughter, Rosa, came with us. :)

When we got to Keukenhof, I paid 14 euro to get in, but it was definitely worth every penny. The gardens and greenhouses were full of stunningly beautiful tulips and varieties of flowers. I was amazed and overwhelmed at the beauty that surrounded me. I took lots of pictures to try and capture the atmosphere and the beauty of it, but it was nothing compared to what I was seeing.

We only spent 2 and a half hours at Keukenhof, and you can easily spend 5 hours there. There were tons of people! The weather wasn't as nice as the day before, but it wasn't raining. I heard lots of English being spoken by Americans, and I quite enjoyed it. Goodness, I wish I could fully describe Keukenhof. Because of this trip, I'm convinced that The Netherlands is absolutely gorgeous, and I understand now why The Netherlands is known for tulips.

When I got back to Rotterdam, there was a marathon going on right in front of my building. The crowds were full of vivacious cheerleaders, and the surroundings were very relaxing. I hope to complete a marathon one day. For lunch, I had a hamburger with cheese and mushrooms and fries. It was great. For dessert, I had my leftover Easter chocolate. Yum.

Then, I took a nap and headed to Oude-Beijerland to visit Magdalena and her family. I'm truly blessed to have them in my life because they have guided and supported me in getting closer to God. Just to have them around me makes me feel like I'm a good person after all. They've done so much for me, and they keep doing nice things. Magdalena's kids adore me, and I adore them. It was really nice to be with a family with so much love for each other. After the kids were put to bed, we had one of our long discussions about God, family, and the past. Magdalena and Frank told me all about how they met and the blossoming of their relationship. I love hearing stories from happily married people. They've been married for 12 years, and they assured me that it's not easy all the time. I needed to hear that.

Frank also ceases to amaze me. He helps out around the house, cooks, cleans, etc. He reads the Bible to his kids every night, and sings a song with them before putting them to bed. I love watching this whenever I'm over.

I got home pretty late because of the great conversation we always have with each other. I ended the night by calling Steven and him making me laugh.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Today was so much fun and relaxing! It reminded me just how much I love teaching and why I do what I do. 

I got emotional today because I'm so torn about coming back to the US and having discussions that might just change my life. I lost sight of God, and pushed him to the side. Therefore, I started to worry about everything, but He gave me a sign that reminded me everything will be okay. How I love how He works. 

Anyways, I cycled to school. The weather was gorgeous. The only reason I came to school is because the girls I tutor took their English writing exam today, and they wanted to meet with me before their exam. 

After I met with one of the girls, I felt rewarding. Her English was much better than it was. She wrote three letters for me, and the third one had very little mistakes! I'm so proud of her. The other girl couldn't come because she was studying for her History exam. I really hope they did well. 

I worked on my portfolio, almost done! After the meeting with Seyma (my student), I had nothing else to do so I decided to hang out with the concierges because it's been a while. We sat and talked about everything, and I really do enjoy talking to them. They all have many stories to share, and I love listening to them! 

I also got my scrapbook printed which was awesome! I love the color printer here and all the cool stuff that the concierges can do with the printer! 

Then, I had a long talk with my 4h4 boys about everything and anything. I enjoy talking to those boys, and they make me smile with their silly comments. They always make sure to greet me when they see me and they also huddle around me. They keep telling me to stay and how much they'll miss me. 

I'm so frustrated with the service here in Rotterdam. I shipped a box to the US and the post office didn't have tape, stuffing, and didn't take credit cards. It was upsetting, and it cost me a lot of money. :(

I'm broke, and I still have to go to Poland and Romania. Uh-oh. 

I cooked dinner! I had spanish rice, meat, and mushrooms. It was great. I really like cooking.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Today, I said good bye to my roommate. I dropped her off at central station at 5:45 am. Now my apartment is so lonely. 

I went on a field trip to Vught where an old prison camp was located. The prison camp had 50,000 prisoners during the second world war. Being in that environment made me really sad. 

First of, I got to school early in the morning to do more paperwork. I also had a class with 5h3 where we reviewed for their upcoming English test. After that, at 10 am, Ted, the history teacher, came and got me. I met an intern, Brenda, and she's doing an internship like me in History. She's a student in Rotterdam working on her Bachelor's. She was a really nice girl. 

The ride to Vught was an hour and a half, and we took a bus with 26 students. It was ridiculous how some of the students were getting sick in the bus. A couple threw up - I'm guessing from being car sick. The smell of tomato soup throw up was completely disgusting. 

When we finally arrived at the camp, the whole tour was in Dutch. I should have known, and the guy did not translate at all. I really should stop expecting people to translate for me. I felt so out of place, and not informed, but it was still a great experience. Ted did translate some stuff for me, but he was too occupied with the other students, which I totally understand. Another thing that made me feel at a disadvantage. 

However, the field trips are really awesome. The students are sometimes hard to handle, but they really do learn through experiencing and witnessing some of the horrible things that happened in the past. The students were loud while in the bus but paid great attention when the tour guide was speaking. Ted also told me that parents do pay for these excursions. The parents receive an invoice during the beginning of the year, and it's all voluntarily. It's a little unfortunate for the students who couldn't afford it. 

Anyways, the most touching thing at the camp was the Children's monument. My heart just went out to all the kids, and I started tearing up just from the thought of what happened to them. The most interesting thing about the camp is that they only saved a building for exhibition and the rest is used as a prison currently. The prisoners are the worst you can get - the toughest prisoners - like murderers and terrorists. The thought of being so close to them scared the hell out of me. 

We also went to a monument for the resistance army who were shot and killed by the Nazis. Just being there and imagining what happened made me shiver. This makes me nervous about visiting Auschwitz in Poland next weekend. 

Then, I tried to catch Magdalena before she went home, but as it turned out she went home early because her daughter was sick. I cycled to KFC because I haven't eaten anything all day (this was 4pm) already, and then went grocery shopping so that I have food to last me the rest of the week. Then, I caught the metro to Zuidplein and bus to Oude-Beijerland to have dinner at Magdalena's and to meet with the religious group. 

Like every Thursday, it was a nice discussion about ministry and evangelism. I really like that I have a support group who encourages me and motivates me to become closer to God. It's a nice feeling, and I'm hoping to find a support group when I come back to the US.

Hm. I really want to stay here in the Netherlands. We'll see how that goes. I miss my family and dogs like crazy. :)


Oops. Completely forgot about updating my blog.

Time to catch up on Toni Rose's life! :)

> did absolutely nothing
> almost everything was closed because it's considered 2nd day of Easter

> went to The Hague with Annemarie, my mentor teacher
> weather was absolutely beautiful
> took a walk around The Hague, saw the government buildings and the royal palace, went through China Town, window shopping, had coffee and apple pie (least favorite apple pie), grabbed lunch at Dudok, and grabbed a beer at a terrace (white beer/wine beer?) I really need to check my hearing
> spent 7 hours with my mentor teacher - realized how much I'm going to miss her
> great day
> packed just to see if everything will fit - have to buy a box to ship back to the US
> Mom makes me laugh. :)

> Ashton's last day at school
> worked on my COST portfolio, almost finished
> met with the two girls that I tutor - very motivated and determined to do well in their English writing exam (love those kinds of students!)
> bought a box to send to the US - TNT post employees aren't very much help
> celebrated Ashton's last day with apple pie and ice cream - (ate this instead of meeting with my personal trainer)
> felt really sad and lonely for some odd reason
> talked to Anthony's mom to wish her a happy birthday
> my madre is awesome :)
> started reading "A Thousand Spledid Suns"
> I love reading :)
> applied for an English teaching position at one of the schools here
> a teacher, Roger, is so helpful when it comes to looking for a job here :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Nether-Amsterdam - chill

On Friday night, I only got 4 hours of sleep. I've been having problems sleeping, and I'm not quite sure why. 

I woke up early to get ready for Amsterdam on Saturday morning. I cycled to the station while Ashton took the tram. There was a special in ticket sales. If you travel in two, you can buy a return ticket for 45 euros and you can travel anywhere as much as you want for that day. It was a sweet deal.

When we got to Amsterdam, the clouds were already threatening to pour rain on us. For 10 minutes, it held up, but then it started raining, and that was how our day went. We went souvenir shopping first so that I can go ahead and get that out of the way. Then, we went to several museums in Amsterdam using our Museum Card. We went to The Old church, The New Church, Amsterdam Historical Museum, Biblical Museum, Foam_Fotografiemuseum, Museum Geelvinck, Jewish Historical Museum, Museum Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder, and The Willet-Holthuysen Museum. We didn't get to go to Van Gogh because it was so far away and the rain was really killing us. 

We picked up plenty of brochures, and loaded up on information and maps. In the Amsterdam Historic Museum, there was a Red Light District Exhibition which was so interesting.  This guy tried to hit on me while we were looking at pictures that dealt with porn and nudity. It was awkward. (It does amaze me how open The Netherlands is about sex. I kinda wish it was like that in the US.) The Old Church was massive but not that impressive inside. The New Church was used for exhibitions. The shopping mall was breath-taking.  there was rain and sun at the same time. We ate at McDonalds for lunch, and I grabbed KFC before we went home. So American, but I can't help it. 

We also went grocery shopping at Albert Heijn since it'll be closed for Easter and the second day of Easter which is Monday. Then, we grabbed coffee (hot chocolate for me) and Dutch apple pie at illy. I'm absolutely in love with the apple pie, I cannot say that enough. On our walk back to the central station, we were caught in heavy rain and hail! Needless to say, we were soaked when we got in the train. We also rode first class (b/c of the ticket) and a guy commented on me eating fried chicken with bare feet. (I had to take off my shoes and socks because they were soaked and the ride was an hour and 15 minutes long. I didn't want to be uncomfortable!) 

I rode my bike on my way home, and it sprinkled a little. I ate my leftovers and went to bed. I finally finished the book, Catcher in the Rye. I'm not sure how I feel about it, though. The use of the curse word, 'gd' bothered me way too much to enjoy the book. Oh well. 

I was exhausted and didn't feel good at all. I got ready to go to church since it is Easter! However, after I got dressed, I looked outside and it was raining. My only transportation is bike and I would be soaked by the time I arrive at church, so instead I prayed and did the Catholic sermon myself. It lasted 30 minutes instead of an hour like it would at church. 

I was also supposed to go to Magdalena's church today, but I wasn't feeling well. I also had this feeling that it would be a bit like betraying my church if I went to another church that wasn't Catholic. I dunno, I'm weird. 

The rest of the day was spent organizing and updating my life. I talked to my wonderful parents. Unfortunately I won't be able to attend this Women's Leadership Institute that I was accepted in because I don't have $500 to pay for it. Finances are really stressing my parents out, and I wish I could help out. My dad kept apologizing for not being able to give me money. It's not their fault...

I organized my souvenirs also. Man, I have a lot of souvenirs and I still have to buy just a couple more. Er. I still have Poland and Romania to go to. :) 

I also started working on updating my scrapbooks. I just chose the pictures from my junior year and there's 415 pictures. Whoa. 

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Who would've thought that Utrecht would still be fun after the third time of visiting it? My overseas coordinator invited Ashton and I to Utrecht once again to visit him, and also to show off his new paint job at his house. He was very excited about it. He's too precious. 

We arrive at Utrecht Centraal at 1, and the first thing Ashton and I did was go to Burger King and order food. I feel like such a bad Catholic (being Good Friday and all) and didn't realize that I wasn't supposed to eat meat after I ordered chicken nuggets. They were only a euro! Hans didn't get to the station until 1:15 so we enjoyed our food while waiting on Hans. 

For the first 20 minutes that he arrived, he just talked to us about why it was so busy in the station. There were people everywhere! After we finished eating, we started walking and Hans still had so much to show us. We went into this store, Xenos, where they sell really cheap things. Xenos had everything you can think of. I really liked the store. Then, we took a different route than the last two times I was in Utrecht, and he talked to us more about The Netherlands. We walked to the city center where people enjoyed the canals and the sunshine. We stopped for coffee, and sat down next to the water. I witnessed boats passing by, ducks playing, people sitting on the ground eating, and these three girls littering. It annoyed the hell out of me. 

After coffee, we went to the Museum of Clocks and Organ Music, and it has to be one of my favorites. We waited until 3 for the guided tour, so we wasted time in Bruna, a store like Hallmark in the US. Then, we did the guided tour in the museum. Oh yea, we had our museum cards so we got in free. However, mine didn't work. :( The girl still let me in though. I still have to call customer service about my card. 

Anyways, the tour was awesome. We listened to a lot of different tunes and chimes when the clock strikes every hour. We also learned how the whole thing works, and it was fascinating. The tour guide was very good at explaining everything in Dutch and English. She always had a smile on her face, and the museum attracts lots of young children. She also sang for us and made us sing this really cool Dutch song. My favorite organ/instrument was the one for dancing halls. The organ/instrument is massive, and played a swing-type song...and I absolutely love swing dancing. When I told Hans, he got my hand and we started swing dancing in front of everyone! It was great!!!!!

One of the organs/instruments also played Thriller by Michael Jackson, and of course, I had to bust a move. The Dutch people seemed to enjoy watching me dance. Ha. 

After the museum, Hans showed us the first department store ever in Utrecht that turned into a cafe/club. It was huge and the atmosphere made me want to sit and have a drink. We also went inside "The Beehive" store which is an expensive department store. Hans also showed us the main post office (where I bought stamps) and it was massive! My camera unfortunately died and I couldn't take a picture of it. :(

Finally, we took a different route to go to his home. We saw lots of green and flowers, which got me really excited. It's still a bit chilly here, around 40 degrees Celsius but it feels so good compared to below zero weather. Hans showed us his new paint job, and it did look good. He talked about dusting everything, and putting away a lot of his things. We sat down, had coffee and "Easter cake," and talked about everything. It was like a debriefing since Ashton is leaving next week, and I only have two weeks left in Rotterdam before I travel some more. 

We had dinner which consisted of corn, salad, potatoes, and fish. We also had ice cream for dessert. Hans mentioned the public television stations and the more people who subscribe for the program, the more time they get on the television. It's a really neat system. Hans also surprised us with a huge Easter egg filled with chocolate.

When I finally got home around midnight, I rode my bike while Ashton walked, my card to get in didn't work. It was a great way to end the day. :( I stood outside for a while because the intercom didn't work, and I also had to wait until Ashton got home. It was a pain in the butt. I honestly dislike this apartment very much. 

Utrecht made me realize just how much I'm going to miss Hans. He's such a wonderful person, and because of him, the trip here is much more enjoyable. He always has a smile on his face, and he loves having us here. I can't even describe him fully, he's just freaking amazing and I wouldn't know what I would've done without him. Unfortunately, he's retiring next year. The teachers and the students absolutely adore him...

Oh, and Hans's hobby is collecting money from all over the world. It was such a fascinating hobby, I think I might pick it up. He gave me Polish money for my trip to Poland. He also gave me the money that Philippines used when the Japanese took over my country. I can't wait to show my family!

Friday, April 2, 2010


Thursday was my last day teaching my 4h4 class, and it went really well. My overseas coordinator also observed me. Since I had chocolate eggs to hand out to students, the students participated and I kept their interest. First time ever. Ha.

I also took class pictures today. My camera is acting up, and the pictures aren't coming up clear. :( 

The 5th years had a review today for their upcoming English reading comprehension exam. 

I was also super tired today because I wasn't able to sleep last night. I took a nap again that turned into 3 hours and I was up late at night. :(

Oh yeah, with my support class, I didn't play games with them, and the lesson turned out well. It seemed that they learned a lot which is always exciting. 

I also went home with Magdalena for the religious group get together every Thursday. Karen wasn't there so the group seemed so little. We had a great discussion about discipleship, and it was great like always. God loves me and He's so good to me. We all made plans for next week about how we can be closer to God. 

Magdalena also ordered Chinese take out, and for 25 euros, we got tons of tons. Magdalena's kids were adorable like always. They invited me to go to church with them on Sunday for Easter. I'm a bit nervous about attending another church, but they have translations in English so I would know what is being said. 

My group planned out a goodbye dinner for me at a Wok Restaurant. I'm pretty stoked. :)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Today, I visited the town Leiden to see Leiden University with Ashton's mentor teacher. She attended Leiden University and received her bachelors and masters there. Now she's back as a student taking classes in Italian, and she encouraged me to visit Leiden University to see if I like it enough to go to grad school there. 

We took the train to Leiden from Rotterdam Blaak. She purchased my ticket so that I could get a discount. Once we got to Leiden, we walked to the University and she pointed out different places that I could go to while she was in class for four hours. We went to the old academia building, and she told me stories from her past. The tradition in Leiden University is fascinating. 

When she went to class, I walked around the town. It is such a college town, and I really liked the atmosphere. I went to the Museum of Antiquities, where there were tons of information about Egyptian history. I saw a lot of mummies. It was awesome. 

Then, I grabbed lunch at McDonalds, of course. I really like exploring by myself. After lunch, I found a street full of stores, so I wasted time there. I bought Anthony a really cool bday present, and I hope he'll like it. I really need to stop spending money. Ugh. 

The rain started. :( I went to a cafe and ordered a hot chocolate and apple pie both with whipped cream. Yum. My two favorite things. The wind is crazy in Leiden - much worse than Rotterdam. 

We took the train back at 3, and she saw one of her former students who also works after school at Calvijn. I got a chance to talk to him, and he seems really cool. He's going to Leiden for German Language and Culture. He also told me that the students he worked with at Calvijn said that I talked too fast, and it was hard for them to understand me. I didn't think I talked fast, but it's a good thing to know. I'll make sure to talk slowly from now on when I thought I was doing that. I also make sure to ask if they understand and they say that they do. I don't know. 

Also, the principal from my former middle school emailed me asking when I was getting back to the US so he can interview me. I guess I have to keep my hopes up. We'll see. 

The wind is ferocious today! I saw a couple of people falling off their bikes because of the strong wind - me being one of them. It was way too intense. 

Then I took a nap that lasted forever. Ugh. I have to stop taking naps.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Funniest thing ever: I got pulled over by a cop on my bike. He was on a scooter, and to get my attention, he was yelling at me. 

It was my fault, I guess, but the fact that it happened still makes me smile. I got on the sidewalk for like 2 seconds (I've seen people do it all the time) and apparently crossed the road when the light was red when I thought it was a blinking green. Whoops. 

I just started shaking my head. Luckily enough, the cop didn't give me any ticket. It was very interesting because you hardly see any cops in Rotterdam, and I could've argued with him (cause you can and it'll be fine) but I think the fact that I didn't speak Dutch made him leave me ticketless. 

I didn't have to teach today because I went on a field trip with the History class. We went to a museum that provided information on how WWII affected The Netherlands. It was very interesting. Of course, we took the public transportation with 22 students and 3 teachers. It still blows my mind how public transportation is taken when there are field trips - it's just too chaotic. 

I also met with my two girls that I tutor every week. They're adorable, and I'm going to miss them so much. Their English writing exam is next Friday, so we'll be meeting almost every day next week to just practice their writing skills. I really hope I've done a good job tutoring them. I'll be grabbing dinner with them on my last day in Rotterdam. :(

Also, I finally tracked down where my package was with the help of my mother and two awesome ladies from the museum. I was getting frustrated because the TNT post here couldn't help me track my package and tell me where it was. Every number I called led to another number I needed to call, and it made me realize just how much service sucks here in Rotterdam. I guess they don't get paid being helpful...

My family is the greatest! In the package were food, medicine, prayer books, and little things that I needed. They also included a card where everybody wrote in it and told me nice things. Ha. 

I can't believe that Ashton is leaving next week. I'll be lonely for a week, then I'm going to Romania, then I'm going back to the US! Whoa. How unfortunate. Ha. 

I'm going to Leiden University tomorrow and asking lots of questions about possibly going to grad school there and extending the deadline for the application since it is due this upcoming Thursday...



So today, I handed out evaluations for my students to complete about me. Here are some of the answers that I received. 

Question: What is one thing that your teacher does well?
Answers: "She dresses attractive." "She's taking good care of herself." "Try to learn Dutch." 

Question: What is one thing that you can suggest to help this teacher improve?
Answers: "Don't wear  your glasses anymore. This looks great (without)." "Saying my name." "Get more experience in handling fights." "Spend more time with me." (one of the boys) "There are things but not important things. You will do great in the US." (I guess I'll never know what those things are.) 

So yea, what an entertaining day! :)

I also took a picture with 4h4 class. 

I taught the 4h4 class, which always goes very interesting since they never want to listen. I don't dislike them though, they do make me laugh. 

Since I wore my contacts today and dressed up, the boys in my classes went crazy with compliments and comments. I finally realized why I wore my glasses and not my contacts - to prevent all the drooling from the boys. Not being cocky or anything, it's just strange...

After teaching, I worked out at the gym. I talked to my mom about my package and apparently it has been sitting at the post office for two weeks now. I have to go pick it up. :) I also talked to Kristen, whom I haven't spoken to in quite a while. 

Then, I went to my mentor teacher's performance. She sings for a band, and she's really good! We watched the other performers - it was a free jazz show. And we cycled home together. It was a very nice evening - except that I went straight from the gym to the performance. I'm sure I smelled something not pretty. Ha.