Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 116

Woensdag, 30 November 2011

Yeah, I was almost late for school again.  I really need to stop turning my phone on silent when I sleep.  Actually didn't go to school, as my class had a little field trip.  We went to a local castle/courthouse just down the street from the school, and watched like the preliminary hearings for cases.  Or at least that's what I think they were.

The place

Basically, we went in, sat down, and then there were a bunch of people walking in and out.  The lawyers had this (what I think are kind of silly) outfits, which I'll just post a picture of instead of trying to describe it.  They walked up, usually one at a time, sometimes with clients and sometimes without, and talked to the people behind the desk.  Only a few times did the client speak or come in in handcuffs.  The girl next to me said if they were in handcuffs that was because they had either already been committed of a big crime (basically like murder), or that's what they were being tried on this time.

Today they also had another part, but I won't describe it because it's just silly
And the cases went by really quick.  Like, a minute or three tops.  One guy in handcuffs came in, no lawyer, so he spoke for about a minute, they gave him another date, and then it was done.  He was as surprised as me - he's like, "That's it?!" (and he said it in English so I understood!)  There were a bunch of people that didn't show up for their cases, so we had like almost an hour of free time to ask them questions and to walk around.  The final case was a bit long (like, 10 minutes), and after that we were free for the day (so, around 1120).

Since some of the people had lessons next, we stuck around Turnhout for a while.  When we were leaving the courthouse, we saw two of the policemen leaving (the police are so much less intimidating here!), my friend asked if he could try the handcuffs out.  It was pretty funny, since they were designed for smaller hands, so they didn't fit him terribly well.

See, the policeman doesn't look intimidating AT ALL

Went to a frituur with my classmates, hung out a bit, and then got the bus home since they had to go back to classes (they have extra music classes on Wednesday, but as an exchange student I can't take those).  Home, ate, and then slept until dinner.  Was going to sleep more after dinner, but they said I couldn't (I was "sleeping too much").  :(  So, I read some Catch-22 until Siemen and Patrick started watching a movie - Comet Impact.  Oh my goodness, it was so bad.  Like, I think it was worse than Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, and that's like a B movie.  I mean, at least Mega Shark has the whole cheese factor - sure, it's a terrible movie, but it's so terrible that it's amazing.  Comet Impact was just predictable and boring.  And the special effects were really obvious and not terribly well done - it just looked fake.  And this is coming from someone who still plays PS1 and N64 games and thinks they're well done.

Anyway, enough about that.  Got done with the movie, used my donorschoose money, looked up some Christmas presents for people, and now bed time.  Slaapwel!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 115

Dinsdag, 29 November 2011

Woke up pretty late today, barely made it to the bus on time.  Luckily I remembered to grab a Mountain Dew, so at least I was able to stay awake during the Dutch class today.  Lunch with Santi and Marcela, then real classes.  The acting class (didn't do my part, whew), two periods in the library where I alternated reading science news articles and studying Latin, and then acting again (did my part for like, 5 minutes).  Simple day.

Got home, ate right away, and then slept.  Actually slept until like 1045 because my alarm didn't wake me up (though Marcela did, thankfully).  Had some food so I could take my meds, went online for a little bit.  Anyone reading this from the US (and I know there's a few of you - the "stats" on Blogger says like more than half the pageviews come from the US) should buy this groupon.

It's only $10, and you get a $50 dollar credit to donorschoose - that's like $40 free dollars!  And donorschoose is an amazing website.  Basically, teachers (usually in mid to high poverty areas) can submit "projects" to the website.  Sometimes it's to buy extra things, but honestly, I've seen so many projects that were just teachers asking for crayons.  There's no budget, and they can't afford everything themselves.  Anyway, they submit the project, which details what they want, why they want it, and how it will help the class.  A little table at the bottom shows how much everything in the project costs, and where they're going to buy it from.  You can donate anonymously, in honor or memory of someone, or even just in your name.  And you can ask for updates on the project from the teacher, or ask for thank you notes from the kids.  It's really great.

So yeah, buy the groupon.  Beat my donation amount.  With this, I'm up to $80 donated, but I'm sure you can beat me :P  (Seriously, buy 2 groupons and you're ahead of me already).

Well, I'm tired and sick, so slaapwel everyone!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 114

Maandag, 28 November 2011

Woke up for school, which was not easy, especially after being able to sleep for the past like 5 days.  I actually managed to turn my phone (aka, my alarm) on silent when I was sleeping, so I was pretty rushed this morning.  Did Dutch class, which was pretty fun.  Everyone else was tired too, so it probably looked pretty pathetic in the class.  Managed to get a little nap during the break, so that was nice.

Ate out with Marcela and Santi (we didn't have time to make a lunch today).  Had a period in the library, a period of music history (I think?) where we basically analyzed an opera (an English one, so I could follow along), and then Latin.  I missed so much this last week, but luckily we're done learning new words until after exams.  Whew.

Bus home, which I fell asleep on.  Woke up before my stop, thank goodness, but it was so warm in the bus as compared to outside the windows were fogged up, and I couldn't see Marcela because there were too many people between us, so I was really confused.  But everything turned out okay, so whatever.  Home, napped until dinner.  Back upstairs, napped more, woke up to eat and take my meds again, checked some things online, and now it's time for bed.  Slaapwel!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 113

Zondag, 27 November 2011

Slept in until like noon, had breakfast, got ready, and left for the concert.  Had another little rehearsal before, which was good.  Watched the little kids concert that was before ours - it was a lot of fun!  There were some people in the fanfare who were doing little acting things in the background, and it was hilarious.  Great fun.

Did the concert again, went well again.  Didn't get any videos or pictures, but someone was getting a sound recording, so I'm going to try and get a hold of that.  Patrick and Truut came, so I went to talk with them after the concert.  They had to skype Robyne around 6, so we went home fairly early.  Had dinner, did some Latin homework, and then caught up with Marcela when she got home.

Finished up my Dutch homework, talked to some people online (including people from my Dutch class - they're all worried about me, it's so sweet~).  Had some cereal with Marcela, and now it's time for bed.  Actually have class tomorrow :/  Slaapwel!

Day 112

Zaterdag, 26 November 2011

Got up around 12, had breakfast and took my meds, slept again until like 4.  Got ready for the concert, cleaned my room, and got to the concert place at like 530.  Got my new uniform for the concerts (the pants are like marching band pants, they're terrible), but the shirts are really nice.  Had a little rehearsal until like 650, rushed home to change and eat, made it back for the start of the concert at 730.

It was actually the kids group that played first, so I talked to one of the guys in my section for a bit.  He really liked "Under Gypsy Skies", and we may try to arrange it for fanfare.  :)  Did the concert, which was a lot of fun.  I love doing concerts.  Only problem was that I feel like there's water in my ear drums, so I could never hear what pitch I was playing, and some of the parts of the music hurt to hear.  But whatever, we sounded good, that's what matters.  I'm going to try and get a recording of some of the songs tomorrow.

Didn't stay long after the concert considering I was still coughing a bunch.  Had something quick to eat, changed, and just checked online quick to respond to some emails.  But now, it's time to sleep, so slaapwel!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 111

Vrijdag, 25 November 2011

Slept in until like 10, had some breakfast and tea, went back to bed until like 430.  No one was around, so I just had more tea and napped until dinner.  :P  Ate, watched V for Vendetta with Marcela (Truut was sleeping upstairs because she was sick, and Patrick and Siemen were gone).  Went upstairs, starting reading Ishmael again (I always forget where I got in it and have to start over...), hung out with Marcela, had a snack with her, and then read some news online.

And, seeing as how it's been such a looooong day, I think it's time for bed. :)  Slaapwel!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 110

Donderdag, 24 November 2011

Slept until like 11, had breakfast, and had a talk with Truut.  They're not happy that I didn't go on my class trip yesterday.  Oh well, nothing I can do about it now.  Slept again, woke up to shower and have some tea, took some Tylenol and slept more.  Woke up around 530 to eat, and then went to the doctor.  He basically just said my throat is swollen, gave me some meds, and told me to sleep a lot and drink tea.

Home, went online for a bit (didn't see my parents online though, total bummer).  Napped for a bit, went downstairs and had some dessert for Siemen's early birthday party (they gave him a laptop!), watched a bit of a movie, and then came upstairs to sleep.  Anyway, I have a full day of sleeping ahead of me, so I gotta rest up for it.  :P  Slaapwel!

Aand, Happy (American) Thanksgiving everyone!  I have to say, I'm so thankful for my friends and family back home for not only supporting me in doing this exchange, but in staying connected with me and making me feel loved even though I'm thousands of miles away.  And I'm thankful for my new friends and family here (especially Marcela~) - there's no way I could have even gotten this far in the exchange without them.  I'm so spoiled to have so many great friends and family supporting me, both here and back in the States.  And I'm thankful to Rotary for giving me this opportunity!  I can't wait to have another amazing 8+ months here!

And I'm really thankful for the other exchange students!  No one else can understand what you're going through better than other people going through the exact same thing.  And exchange student hugs are the best (not saying this because they're like the ONLY hugs I ever get, but because they're just amazing)!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 109

Woensdag, 23 November 2011

So, interesting day.

Woke up early to go to the school thing.  All the info I had was that I had to get a bus to a stop in Antwerpen, and then the paper said I'd get on a bus with everyone else to Vremde.  So, I got to the right stop (I know it was the right stop), and waited by where the buses from Turnhout were coming in, because I took a quicker bus than my classmates - it would have been dumb for me to meet them in Turnhout and then go to Antwerpen.

They didn't show that I saw, so I started walking around the bus stop to find the bus to Vremde.  I had the number and stop of the bus, but I couldn't find it.  I walked around like twice looking at all of the buses and upcoming buses (this was a big stop), but I couldn't find it.  I called the school asking what I should do, they had me give my number so my teacher could call me.  She called like 20 minutes later, saying the bus was at a place like 400 meters away (Americans - think like more than 4 football field lengths), and she texted me the directions to go there.  I started walking there, ended up coughing so much that I felt like I had an asthma attack, and then ended up having problems breathing, so I just went home.  Had to call the school and my teacher again, they were fine with it as long as I called when I made it home so they knew I was safe.

Home, saw Patrick, basically summed up how I felt, and went to bed.  Marcela woke me up around 1 for lunch, ate a bit, and went back to sleep.  Basically slept until dinner, ate, slept again.  Woke up for a little bit to chat with Marcela and some other people, decided I was still tired, and so I'm off to bed again.  Such an interesting day.  :P


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 108

Dinsdag, 22 November 2011

Woke up feeling absolutely horrible, slept on the bus to school, and went to the Dutch class. A lot of the class was just individual work time, so I just did the assignments really quick and slept more.  :P

Skipped lunch because I wasn't feeling well, and went to talk to the secretary.  My class has a trip from tomorrow (Wednesday) until Friday - overnight trip, which I basically just got the info.  From the way Patrick talked to me this morning, it seemed like we decided that since I have Dutch lessons on Thursday and Friday, and rehearsal tomorrow (and the fact I felt like crap), that I would just not go on the trip (and a few of my classmates agreed - they said the trip was basically a lot of talking, so I wouldn't understand).  The secretary said fine, just have a note from your parents saying you have Dutch class, and it's all good.

So, I went to the library for the rest of lunch to hang out, and then I got a call from Truut.  Turns out she was a bit angry that I thought I wasn't going on the trip (I left the paper saying I was going at home because it wasn't filled out and I thought I wasn't going), and told me that I was required to go and that I needed to go talk to the secretary again.  So, I had to go fix that, and then went to my acting class and tried to pay attention.  Did that, and then went home seeing as how I only had study periods left in the day, and one of my classmates said that there was no reason to stay if I didn't feel well and I didn't have class.

Home, ate a bit, slept for like 4 hours, had dinner, and then went to fanfare rehearsal.  That went till like 1030 since we need a lot of practice before our concert (or at least I do), went home right away, had some food with Marcela, and got ready for tomorrow.  I won't have internet (I think) until I get home on Friday, so I'll update again then.

And since I won't be home on Thursday, I just want to say an early "Happy Thanksgiving!" to everyone back in the States (or any other American reading this).  I hope you all have a wonderful day filled with great food and great company!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 107

Maandag, 21 November 2011

Got up after a great sleep, bussed to school.  We were waiting in the Dutch class for like half an hour before another teacher showed up and said our teacher's car had broken down, and she wasn't coming in today.  So, Marcela and I went out to a little cafe with 4 gals and one guy from our class to talk and get to know each other.  It was a lot of fun, and it was really nice to talk out of class.  We're planning on meeting up in Antwerpen on Wednesday.  :)

Lunched with Santi and Marcela at the school, had a period in the library, a music theory class, and then Latin.  We had this huuuge test which I probably failed, but I filled in more than half, and I understood most of the questions, so it's better than before.

Home, chilled out with Marcela a bit, had dinner, talked to my friend in Germany and realized I can't go visit him during winter break.  :(  He switches families on the 1st of January, and I was planning on going the 2nd, so I guess I need to make some new plans.  :P  Hung out online a bit, then watched "Dan in Real Life" with Marcela and Patrick.  Great movie.

Upstairs, tried to take my socks off before realizing that they were completely stuck to my feet.  Ouch.  Totally learned my lesson though - I now have bandaids on, so hopefully my ankles can heal without trying to grab onto my socks.  :P

Anyway, still a bit tired from the weekend, and I have rehearsal tomorrow, so I'm going to bed early tonight.  Slaapwel!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 106

Zondag, 20 November 2011

Woke up around noon, had some breakfast, and then watched some old drumline videos with some of the other people that spent the night.  We watched RCR's show from 2010 since it was on the DVD we were watching - I can't believe that it's been 2 years.  We also watched the theater show DS (DrumSpirit) put on quite a few years ago - I think it was like 5 years back?  It was cool to see what the show this year is going to be like.

Got dropped off at the train station, made it home without falling asleep (thankfully).  Had to walk from the bus stop to the house since my bike wasn't there which sucked, seeing as how I completely tore up the back of my ankle yesterday (new shoes + someone else's socks = no skin left).  Showered, ate, and got ready for bed.  Super tired still.  Turning in early tonight - gotta get up for school tomorrow, and study!  Slaapwel!

Day 105

Zaterdag, 19 November 2011

Wow, long day.

Woke up at 5, got ready, and then Patrick and I left at 6.  He had to do some things with the cows for a minute, and then he dropped me off at the train station.  Still faster than biking there though.  :P  Did the usual train business, and got picked up in Kortrijk by a girl in my section.  But, when we were driving to rehearsal, this one guy totally disobeyed some traffic signs and got in front of her, and then slammed his breaks.  She ended up rear ending him, and we spent a long time on the side of the road with them exchanging information.

The other guy in the car called someone to pick us up, and we ended up getting to rehearsal a bit over an hour late (the girl got there like almost 3 hours late).  Practiced for a bit, but then we got NEW CYMBALS!  One of the directors had went to the US for like a week to pick them up, and he came to bring them to us straight from the plane.  :)  I taught them how to tie the new straps, and then we messed around with the old cymbals, trying some stupid flips and things.  Did some group rehearsing, and then tried some flips (like, flipping over someones back) with the cymbal tech - it didn't really work out, and I probably got really close to dislocating something.  :P

Ate, changed, and then we did a little "parade".  I say parade loosely because it was basically just us playing down the street until we got to a specific pub, and then we played inside of there for a bit, and then had a drink.  We ended up going to 5 places, so it was pretty fun.  I had never seen the music before either, so I was just making it up, but I think it sounded okay.  We had to go play/speak at a church, which was really weird.  I don't think I've ever heard of a drumline playing in church before.  Then back to the drumline clubhouse, got out of uniform, and then I went with a girl in my section to her friend's house to get changed for the gala/awards.  They lent me a dress (ugh, dresses) and did my hair (I think all of them are hairdressers), and then we went back to the clubhouse.

Then it was like the typical awards banquet thing.  We ate a bit before hand, and then they had a slideshow of pics from the last year, and then people had to go up and present the awards.  I actually had to present one of the awards with one of the techs, but we did it in English (he had marched for like 4 years in the states, so his English is great).  I didn't even know I had to present until earlier that day, so it was pretty funny.  After the awards, it was this big dance party.  Well, I didn't dance, but most everyone else did.  I talked to quite a few people from the drumline, had a blast, and ended up leaving at like 530am.  There were 6 of us staying at the director's (or whatever his title is) house, so when we got there we ended up talking for close to an hour before finally going to bed.

Not many pics right now because no one has them on facebook yet, but here's a few from the start of the afternoon:

Me with one of the girls from my section

Cymbal line with the new plates~

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 104

Vrijdag, 18 November 2011

Dutch class again in the morning, but it was suuuuper slow today.  Marcela and I basically just leaned against each other and tried to stay awake.  Lunch, and then had my music theory/composition class, where I just sat and studied Latin.  Supposed to have art history next, but the teacher was sick, so we had to go to a study room.  Listened to some music, played cards, and read a bit - great end to the week.

After class, went shopping with Marcela.  Got a little thing for my third host sister's birthday (didn't get to give it to her yet, oops), and like 5 movies because it was only 5 euros.  We stopped at the ATM to get some cash for the weekend, and check to see if we got our Rotary allowance.  And lo and behold, it looked like we got like 3 months worth at once!  Marcela didn't have like any money in her account before, so when she saw her balance she just yelled really really loud something to the effect of "YESSS!".  The guy behind us was really scared I think.  :P

Home, cleaned up my room a bit, packed for the weekend, and did some reading.  Now, even though it's early, it's time for bed - gotta leave the house at like 6am tomorrow for drumline.  :/  Won't update until like Sunday night since I'm spending the night again, so until then!

Day 103

Donderdag, 17 November 2011

Dutch class, which was hilarious.  I don't think it'll ever be really dull in that class.  Lunched with Santi and Marcela, and then went to (what I thought) was my music classes.  Turns out all the 5th and 6th years were giving a mini concert to show off what they had been working on in lessons over the past two months.  It was really nice, but I wish I had known about it so I wouldn't have brought my instrument to school.  >.<

Home, went online.  It was entirely too cold in my room upstairs (they don't heat the upstairs, and I swear it's colder in my room than outside), so Marcela and I curled up in her bed with the blankets from both of our beds. Twas nice.  Had dinner, hung out a bit, and then went to fanfare.  A lot of fun, like usual.  Afterwards some of the guys tried to translate Dutch sayings into English, with varying degrees of success.  :P  I couldn't really remember any good English ones, probably because I can't use them here since people would get confused.

Oh, and my brother Collin is going to be studying at the University of Bath in the UK spring semester!  Yay!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 102

Woensdag, 16 November 2011

So, waking up at 6 is not something I would be able to do for a job.  Thank goodness I just promised I would wake up at 6, not do anything.  :P  Actually had real class today, so we had to take the earlier bus.  Marcela was almost late, so that was pretty funny.  Listening class, Latin, a period in the library (I couldn't find my class - they weren't in the classroom...), and science.

Then, another edition of "Marcela and Kelsey fail at public transit".  So, Emi (district rotary person) was going to pick us up at 1 at the Station in Turnhout.  It's pretty close to the school, but Marcela was cold, so we decided to take the bus, since it's only like one stop away.  Okay, that's all good.  So we got on a bus we knew stopped there (not our regular bus, but whatever, it was at our stop so we got on), and like 5 minutes later we were at the station.  We tried to get off the bus when it stopped, but the bus driver wouldn't open the back doors, and we couldn't push our way to the front.  We tried yelling at him to open it, but no dice.  Oh well, we decided we could just get off at the next stop.

So, we hit the button saying we needed to stop aaaaand... he just kept going.  We kept clicking it, and he kept going past the stops he was supposed to go to.  I finally shoved my way to the front of the bus and told him we needed to get off (because by then, we were like over two stops away from the station, and we were about to go across this big intersection).  Someone who knew Marcela was on the bus and finally saw her.  She asked where we needed to get off, and Marcela was like, "Way back there!"  So that girl went to the front, and had the driver open his doors right there, even though it wasn't a stop.  Whew.

Took like 20 minutes to walk back to the station.  Had just enough time to finish our meals before Emi picked us (and Santi, who arrived right as Emi did) up at the station.  We then drove to Ham (heh, ham) to pick up Jenna, and then we went to Sint Truiden to bowl with the other Dutch exchange students.  There were only like 14 of us there, so it was a blast.  I did terrible my first game (69), but managed to do a bit better my second (109!).  Granted, that still sucks, but it was the highest score out of anyone from either game (the next highest was Fede in the first game with a 105).  It was just great talking to everyone again, and hanging out a bit.  They made me bowl without my glasses once, so I couldn't even tell if my ball was at the end of the lane or not, but I managed to get a strike doing it, so then everyone tried with my glasses, and got strikes.  Pretty awesome.  Just some pics from it:

Everyone that was there

With Bernardo and Sravya, two of my good friends

I was super excited

At like 5:30 (about 2 hours after we got there) it was time for us to go back.  Of course, it was rush hour, so by the time we dropped Jenna off at her house and made it back to Turnhout, it was like 7:50.  Marcela and I took the bus home, devoured a bunch of food, and got ready for bed.  SO TIRED.  Thankfully it's Dutch school tomorrow so we can sleep in a little bit!  Slaapwel!

Day 101

Dinsdag, 15 November 2011

Dutch class in the morning again, which was great.  Basically all of my classmates are really fun, which makes it a great learning environment.  Marcela and I then went to lunch with Santi, and then real school.  Well, I had my acting class (didn't do my part), two periods in the library, and then the acting class again (which we still didn't do my part, whew).

Got home, and like 10 minutes later Marcela got home (she didn't have class, so she went to Antwerpen to buy winter clothes).  And lo and behold, she had Dominoes Pizza for us!  We had been complaining for months about how bad the pizza is here in Belgium (no, you shouldn't need to say 'tomato' as a topping if you want sauce on the pizza), and we had been talking about going to Dominoes next week but she decided to surprise me.  :)  We had to eat it in our closet because we don't think Truut likes Dominoes, plus it was almost dinner time.  We left like half of the pizza for tomorrow, but we had to leave it in with our clothes so they wouldn't find it.  >.>

Eating our pizza in the closet

Pizza in with my clothes

Had dinner, talked with Marcela and made s'mores, and then went to fanfare rehearsal.  I jokingly texted Marcela like halfway through saying I was thinking about the pizza, and that she should bring it to me.  Of course, she didn't respond, so the person sitting next to me and I both thought that she might be bringing it.  So, I started tweaking out every time the door opened, it was pretty funny.  It went a bit long, and then with staying and talking with people after I didn't get home until around midnight.  And one of the guys that stayed had to wake up at 6 for work, and he was complaining about how hard it would be, so I told him I'd wake up at 6 too, just to see how bad it would be.  We'll see how that goes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 100!

Maandag, 14 December 2011

Wow, 100 days already.  As they say, time really does fly.  I've got what, like 270 days left?  Even less if I can't get my new ticket to work out.  More than 25% of my exchange is over - this is ridiculous!  Just going to do my normal post first, and then going onto my rambling.  :P

Got to wake up later since we had Dutch classes, so that was pretty fantastic.  Found the school after only getting lost a bit (and considering we didn't know the name of the school, the street, or really anything, I think we did pretty well).  Yuwa, another exchange student in our school from Japan, is in our class as well!  Yay!  But it was really fun.  915-12, so we should learn pretty quick.  There are a lot of immigrants in the class (obviously), but they're all a lot of fun and great to talk to.

Ate out with Marcela for lunch to celebrate the 100 days (and we both didn't have a lunch packed), so that was fun.  Had a period in the library, a music theory class (aka, I got my classmates yelled at for talking to me), and then Latin.  Home, read a little bit, had dinner, and then played some video games.  Started a file on Ocarina of Time, and played some FFIX, so it was a pretty fantastic night.  Watched the end of "The Green Mile" with Marcela, Patrick and Siemen, and then it was time for bed.

Oh, this song basically sums up exchange for me. Give it a listen.

Okay, rambling time.  I've been trying to draft this post for a while, but it isn't really easy.  What is there to say?  I still suck at Dutch, but hopefully my new Dutch lessons will help quickly - I'm hoping to talk mostly/all Dutch with my second family.  I'm learning a lot about myself as well - how I cope with things, what I care about and what I'm fine without.  I'm also experiencing a new culture and completely broadening my view of the world.

On this day last year, I was at RCR rehearsal, and two days later I was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa chapter (Alpha Delta Alpha) at my community college.  It's weird to think about - last year RCR and PTK were basically the biggest parts of my life, and now I'm not a part of them anymore (at least for this year).  It's funny how things change.  Even after only one year in PTK, which was in my home city and culture I'm used to, I was completely changed.  I can't wait to see how much one year of exchange changes me in both the short and the long run.

At PTK International with most of the board

RCR Cymbals at MPA Finals 2011
But really, I don't know what else to say.  I've changed in countless ways - some ways I've noticed, and I'm sure in ways I haven't noticed as well.  Maybe in another hundred days I'll be able to more coherently talk about everything, but for now, I'll just leave it like this.  I guess if there's any questions you'd want me to answer (things I miss, things I like here, etc), just comment and I'll get to it - I'm pretty terrible at thinking of things like that on my own.  :P

Anyway, here's to the next 100 days!  I hope they can be just as good!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 99

Zondag, 13 November 2011

Another uneventful Sunday.  Woke up, had some breakfast and chatted with Marcela (she got home this morning), and then both of us slept for a few hours when Patrick and Truut went on a walk.  Practiced trumpet for a bit, and had dinner.  Talked to a few people, worked on some cymbal stuff, and got ready for bed.  Starting Dutch classes (FINALLY) tomorrow!

Oh, and a few things that have happened recently I've forgot to mention.  First off, got the package from my family.  Got my eye drops (yay!), the hat I wanted, a bunch of hats for Siemen, Patrick and Marcela, and a cook book for Truut.  I also got a mini zen garden thing, which is a lot of fun.  :)  Second, my horse made the local paper up north!  My dad rode horse to the bar with my brother Kyle and his girlfriend, and they put a picture of it in the paper.  It's pretty funny to see, because I used to do that all the time with him as well.

Anyway, that's all I have to say tonight.  Slaapwel!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 98

Zaterdag, 12 November 2011

Got up, looked through my music a bit, and walked to drumline rehearsal with two other guys that spent the night at the house.  Then, basically rehearsed from like 10-6.  There were a few breaks, a long lunch break, meeting another American that might join, but there was a lot of rehearsing.  They're letting me put in cymbal visuals, so that's a lot of fun.  I've never really gotten to write the visuals by myself before - I would only suggest them to my cymbal tech, and she'd just take it from there to make it way more awesome.  So it's a great experience.

Tried on a uniform for next week, then hung around the clubhouse until a bit before my train left.  Got a ride to the train station, then went through the usual two trains and bus routine to get back to my bike.  There was this drunk guy on the bus, and we had a conversation in Dutch!  Granted, my part of the conversation was basically saying yes and no, but I don't think he noticed I didn't really know what I was doing.

Got home, got caught up on my facebooking.  Realized that an essay I sent in to Kare-11 news (news station from my area back in the states) won RCR $1,100!!!  I'm so glad I could still help the drumline out even though I'm here.  Apparently I need to pick up the prize in person, so I'm waiting for the instructions to come so I can ask if my old director can pick it up in my name.  I don't think I could get home just to do that.  :P

It was a great day talking to some great people - I really love drumline, as you've probably noticed.  But, it's been a long two days, so it's time for bed.  Slaapwel!

Day 97

Vrijdag, 11 November 2011

Pretty fun day.  Woke up to have an early lunch with Marcela (she was going to a friend's house for the night), relaxed a bit, and then left for drumline.  Got there, spent like 3ish hours defining things and going through some music.  Watched some videos on youtube of like past cymbal ensembles or tenor licks - things like that.  Got to talk to some of my section mates a bit more, so that was cool as well.  Oh, and we did a puzzle!

Around midnight, went to the house of one of the directors/techs of the drumline.  Watched the end of a movie that we had started watching at the drumline clubhouse, talked a bit about DCI/WGI, and went to sleep.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 96

Donderdag, 11 November 2011

Woke up early, got the bus (which was like 5 minutes late), and made it to the school JUST in time.  This is why I hate not being able to drive - as most people back home know, I HATE being just on time, I need to be early. Anyway, got on the bus for the field trip, and we were assigned into small groups of like 6.  A student teacher was leading my group - she was 20, so we got along really well, considering we're so close in age.

Went to Maastricht first, did a little packet where we had to go to different places in the city and answer questions.  Pretty fun.  My group kept getting lost.  :P  Had lunch, and then went to a little museum underneath a restaurant.  There were some pretty well preserved Roman ruins, and it was really cool to see.  Then, back on the bus to Maaseik, where we went to an interactive museum of sorts.  Made some foods from ancient Roman recipes, some kids had to get dressed up in the clothes of that time, and we got to see some typical museum things (pots, medical equipment, etc).

Home, barely had time to eat and get my stuff together for fanfare rehearsal.  For the first like 40 minutes, there was like NO ONE in any of the chairs around me, except for one guy diagonally in front of me from another section.  Pretty funny - I'm just glad we played the easier songs first.  After rehearsal, since 11/11 is a holiday from school and work in Belgium, quite a few people stayed late, myself included.  Got home around 230, looked up some drumline things, and went to bed.

Also, I probably won't be updating again until late Saturday night or Sunday since I'm spending the night away.  So, until then!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 95

Woensdag, 9 November 2011

School, of course.  Listening first period (country and city blues), which didn't really work because the CD we were listening to in class was scratched, so we couldn't really do the lesson.  Latin, prepared for our field trip tomorrow (yes, I'm going on a field trip with the 12 year olds).  English, which was basically just watching a little thing on garbage and waste, but since it was British English it was pretty amusing to me.  Then Science, which means I just talked to my classmates.

Then, Dutch lessons.  Marcela and I got off at the right stop this time (whoo!), and got to the lesson on time.  The teacher is such a sweetheart - she had little candies and tea for us because she knew we were tired (which we were - I almost fell asleep on the bus, and I was standing!).  Left her house at 4 to get our bus home, which was at 422 (and you know when I mention exact times that it means something went wrong).  We got to the stop at 416, and waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  Checked the sign for the umpteenth time, and yes, the bus does come on Wednesdays.

No bus.  Had to get the bus to Turnhout at a little after 5 (it was late as well - I was about ready to die), and then Marcela and I got off at the train station - not our usual stop, but we know that the bus to Lille passes there after our usual stop, and we just wanted to make sure we could catch the bus.  And sure enough, as we ran to the halt, our bus was just pulling in.  So incredibly lucky.

Got home, shoveled down some food, and the did some translating for my Latin trip.  Talked to some people, got ready for bed, and now it's time to sleep - earlier morning tomorrow!  Slaapwel!

Day 94

Dinsdag, 8 November 2011

See, I'm updating on time for once!  I can do it, I swear!

School was fairly simple today.  Choir with the younger kids (I think 2-3 years younger than me), a period in the library, and then the other choir class I'm in (with kids my age and a year younger) sang at this one... thing.  I don't even know what it was.  We were in the bottom of the church, and I think it was some religious thing, but seeing as how I couldn't understand I just sang when the kids next to me nudged me.  Whatever.

Lunched with Santi and Marcela, as both of them were back at school.  The acting class was next, and it was just watching other classmates get railed on for not doing their part properly.  Makes me glad I don't have a part - as much as I love acting, I'm simply terrible at it.  Then in the library, and was working on translating some stuff from my Latin class when boom - power died.  All the comps shut off, and I think none of the lights in the school worked.  Sat there talking with Marcela (she was there as well), but she was feeling really sick (we're thinking it was food poisoning), so we went to go home, seeing as we only had library time left.

Of course, today was the day where the earliest bus was at bit after 4, so we just shopped around for a bit.  Well, Marcela shopped, and I tried to stay awake.  Got home, did some homework and eating, and took a nap to get rid of a headache I managed to have most of the day.  Went to fanfare rehearsal, had fun like always.  Got home by like 1130, which I think is a very reasonable time, especially after the weekend.  :P

And, as soon as I was about to go to bed, I got messages from two people I haven't talked to in ages, so I had to chat with them for a bit.  So now, it's time for bed.  Slaapwel!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 93

Maandag, 7 November 2011

Waking up was difficult - I was up fairly late trying to do some last minute school stuff.  :P  Marcela was just beat from London, so she decided to stay home.  I just took one of my Mountain Dews to help stay awake, and went to school.  In History, we basically just talked about (I think) WWII.  The teacher wouldn't even give me the papers to follow along, so I was just sitting there, trying to listen to the lecture while everyone was filling in the packet.  Super boring.  Did a little speech in English with my partner (super boring as well).  Science, the class went to the library, so I just read a bunch of science news articles online, seeing as how the teacher told me to just do whatever I wanted.  Then German, which was basically just the class messing around and not doing anything.

Had lunch with another exchange student (I think she's from Japan?) since Santi and Marcela were gone, and I don't even know where my classmates go.  Had a period in the library, then music theory, where I just talked to my classmates as they weren't doing anything either.  Latin, learned some new words and did some actual work.

At home, talked with Marcela for a bit, did some studying, ate, and then went to bed.  Woke up for a little bit at night to eat a snack, but that's about it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Day 92

Zondag, 6 November 2011

Woke up fairly late, considering I thought I was going to be studying all day, and I wanted to make sure I was wide awake.  Of course, as soon as I woke up and ate Marcela came home, so we took some time to catch up.  A few minutes after I started working on my homework, Truut told me we had to go to a baby shower.

So, I then had to spend almost three hours standing around at the party with her, Patrick and Siemen (Marcela didn't need to come).  Got home, ate, finally got a chance to study.  Skyped with Kyle a bit, but seeing as how he was at the bar and didn't have headphones, the conversation wasn't that long.  But yeah, basically just studied and went to bed.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 91

Zaterdag, 5 November 2011

Got up around 11, did some homework, and messed around online.  Truut then came home with the cousin's kids to babysit them for the day, so I opted to take a nap instead of being downstairs.  :P  Made some food, and then got picked up for a fanfare concert in the Netherlands.  Was a lot of fun - watched two other groups and hung out a bit before we played our part (like almost an hour of playing).

Hung out with the fanfare after the concert, and got home a little after midnight.  Then, as some other people were going out again in Lille, I went to meet up with them.  Hung out again until like 3, then decided that three days in a row of being out until 3 was enough, and went home to get some rest.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day 90!

Vrijdag, 4 November 2011

Woke up around 10am, so I was pretty tired.  Took my time having breakfast, then worked on some schoolwork I had.  Did some reading, and by then Truut came back home.  We went to Turnhout to return a book my previous Dutch teacher had us get, did some shopping (which I almost fell asleep during - shopping when tired is terrible), and went back home.  I had Truut and Patrick try root beer - they thought it was okay.  Still made the comment that it smelled like Listerine.  Siemen actually seemed to like it (he doesn't like Mountain Dew though - he stole one of the cans because he thought it was like Sprite :P).  He wouldn't try it with icecream though.

After that, took a little nap, got some busy work done, and then went out with some friends from the fanfare to one of their houses.  It was a blast!  Talked to some new people, got to listen to good music, and just hung out.  Great fun.  Got home around 4 and promptly went to bed, which is why this is posted late.  :P

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day 89

Donderdag, 3 November 2011

Sorry!  I swear I'll update right when I wake up, but it's been like 24 hours since I first got up and I'm really tired.


Okay, this was a seriously long day.  Since Santi was sleeping over, Marcela and I were sleeping in my room.  We didn't get to bed until like 1 because we were talking and hanging out.  Then, at 330 (yes, in the morning), Marcela woke up to take a shower.  Of course, since she was sleeping in my bed, I woke up as well.  As soon as I was about to fall back asleep, she got back, we we just ended up talking until we went down to have something quick to eat.

Left the house at 5, dropped Santi and Marcela off at Brussels a little after 6 for their London trip.  Patrick, Truut and I then left for the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery.  Had some breakfast to wait for the sun to go up, and then walked around the cemetery.  I got pictures of certain headstones for the mayor up north back home, and just some pics of the cemetery.  I have to say, I think I may like this one more than Flander's Field.  It was really a beautiful place.

Front of the cemetery

Tree in the middle of the cemetery

A headstone for an unknown soldier

After that, we went to a small village to go for a little walk.  Of course, it took over an hour and a half for Truut to find it again, so I was really close to falling asleep in the backseat (this was only around 2pm).  Went for the walk, which was also really pretty, and then drove home.  Got really close to falling asleep in the back, but of course, whenever I was about to fall asleep something happened where they had to slam on the brakes, so I would get jolted awake.

From the walk
At home, edited the pictures from the day (over 100), ate, and tried to stay awake for fanfare repetition.  Barely managed to do that, but afterwards I had people try A&W Root Beer, seeing as how we play a song called "Root Beer Rag".  And Mr. Hayes, you were right, a LOT of people didn't like it at all.  The common consensus was that it smelled like Vicks Vapor Rub (everyone smelled it before trying it; it was pretty hilarious to watch).  A few of the younger (read: under 30) guys thought it was okay, but no one loved it.  Ah well, that leaves me with a few bottles left.  They also thought it was weird we'd have icecream with it, but I guess if you've never tasted the magic of Root Beer Floats, you just wouldn't understand.  And a few people thought, even after clarifying multiple times, that it was real beer, so they took a big swig.  Fun to see.

Basically stayed there talking and hanging out until like 320.  So yeah, like 24 hours after I woke up I finally got home.  But it was a good day, so I can't complain.  :P

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 88

Woensdag, 2 November 2011

Hey, I'm updating on time!  Whoo!

Anyway, another late start day.  Marcela and I took our time getting ready, and then took the bus to Herentals.  No reason really - we just wanted to explore a bit.  Ended up a a store that had CD's, and I fell into the "2 for 15 euros" trap.  Got a boxed set of Country Classics (4 cds) and a boxed set of songs from famous musicals (also 4 cds).  So, I guess it was a good deal.  Helps me with my country music addiction, even if just for a bit.

Bussed home, ate, wrote a bit.  I'm attempting NaNoWriMo again (you try to write 50k words in a novel during November), so it was nice to write a bit for that.  Already behind though.  :P  Ate again, cleaned up, did some music stuff, and then Santi came over to spend the night.  Had him and Marcela try Code Red (a different Mountain Dew flavor, for those who don't know).  Tried some of our cookies, which actually turned out okay.

Got ready for tomorrow (going to an American cemetery to take some pictures, after we drop Santi and Marcela off for London).  Anyway, we're waking up in like 5 hours and it's a looong day tomorrow, so slaapwel!

Day 87

Dinsdag, 1 November 2011

I swear I'll start updating on time... tomorrow.


Okay, it was just another lazy day.  Woke up after a good rest, had breakfast, and then stayed home with Marcela while Patrick and Truut went out for a walk with some family.  Since we didn't get to do anything for Halloween, we decided to dress up when we were by ourselves at home.  Seeing as how we only had Marcela's makeup, it was a bit difficult, but we tried our hardest.



Then, we went downstairs and decided to be zombie chefs.  Well, tried to be zombie chefs.  We tried to make french toast, which turned out... okay.  I had Marcela try another kind of Mountain Dew (Pitch Black) before we decided we sucked at cooking and went to watch a movie.  We watched Moulin Rouge, since she's been bugging me to watch it for some time now, and we put on Portuguese subtitles just for fun.

Afterwards, we went to take a nap and chill out upstairs.  A bit later, we got a call from Patrick and Truut saying they were going to pick us up for Chinese food in like 20 minutes.  Mind you, were were still in our makeup, and I don't have any makeup remover (and Marcela barely had any).  Rushed to get it off, which thankfully worked.  Went out and met some relatives at the restaurant.  It was pretty fun - pretty upscale, as compared to my previous experience in Chinese restaurants (I think LeeAnn Chin's is the most upscale place I've been :P)

Back at home, Marcela really wanted to make the peanut butter blossom cookies I've always been talking about.  We tried, though some of the ingredients were improvised a bit and some of the measurements didn't work out, but they worked out okay.  After that, just went back upstairs and basically went to bed right away.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 86

Maandag, 31 Oktober 2011

Man, I'm getting really bad at putting these on before bed - that's three nights in a row now I've forgotten.

Anyway, it was a super easy day.  Had breakfast, got invited to go to Antwerpen with Marcela.  I actually said no (for once) - she was meeting basically only Brasilians, and I don't know Portuguese.  :P  Stayed at home, and was actually by myself until like 4pm.  Which, of course, means I played trumpet super loud for most of the time, seeing as how I wasn't disturbing anyone.

Biked to the library to get some movies, hung out online, the usual.  Had dinner, read some pdf stuff on the lappy, talked to people, tried to get my trip to Germany worked out, skyped with my mom for a little bit.  Fun night.  Didn't really feel like Halloween.  LAST year felt more like Halloween, and I was in a car for the entire day.  But whatever, I'll just have to make up for it next year.