Second Star to the Right, and Straight on ’til Morning!

A small brick house with the number 25 on it sits hidden cleverly behind a tall tree. It’s not a free-standing house, but it’s still roomy enough for my mom and I. A giant curtain cascades from the ceiling onto a little blonde girl hiding in it to “scare” her mother. The blonde girl carefully runs up the stairs to her room, which is skillfully decorated in yellow and blue. One of her favorite things is her Lion King rug, the one with baby Simba and Nala. She runs over to her mother’s room and admires the round pink lamp hanging from the ceiling over her bed.

Her mom calls her downstairs to eat dinner. They sit down at the yellow table in the small kitchen dining area and laugh about something that happened that day. The girl refuses to eat cucumber, and dinner concludes. She flops down on the green-and-white-striped couch and props her feet up on a round papasan chair. She daydreams about what America will be like. She tries to imagine away the boxes that surround her and the feelings she’s having. She’s very excited. But also nervous, and almost a little sad. She has so many friends, something she doesn’t ever believe will change. She glows with joy to think about the email address her mom allowed her to get to keep in touch with her countless companions.

On her last day of school, she proudly goes from classroom to classroom with a poster of two red cats for the teachers to sign, a Dutch tradition for when a student leaves school. She knew the whole school knew her as the girl moving to America, and everyone thought she was so cool. She couldn’t help but grin. It was bittersweet, saying goodbye to the students she grew up with, but she promised she’d come back one day.

Her Lion King rug had disappeared to somewhere, and eventually the young girl and her mother boarded a plane. A plane to America.

I’ll never forget the feeling of stepping outside of Pittsburgh international Airport that August of 2005. The air was warm and welcoming, a feeling I’ve happily associated with that airport and landing there in the summer months. It’s something I often look forward to when flying; feeling that welcoming, warm, American feeling once more.

I know we drove “home”, but I don’t remember too much of it anymore. I wish I could put smells into words better, because that’s really all I remember. The scene is this: a big white house on a corner of an intersection in a small neighborhood.

The young blonde girl opens the door to her new house, and is immediately overwhelmed. She was excited, but she wasn’t sure how to feel. “The doors are really hard to open”, she thought to herself. She went exploring in this new, unfamiliar place. There was a small, enclosed space on the front of the house that captured her interest. It was incredibly warm, and smelled like an old book store. She immediately started fantasizing about turning this space into hers, her playroom. She ran up the stairs and pulled doors open. The door to the right was awkward to open, and probably the hardest in the house. Inside was a room with the ugliest carpet you’ll ever see. Red clad the floors, with some sort of pattern of black color sprawled across like it was natural. The only furnishing in this room was a black couch bed thing- something the girl later learned was called a “foo-tawn” and to stay away from it because she could get her fingers caught in it. She found her room next door to the weird red room with the strange bed-couch-thing. A closet with squeaky doors greeted her, looking over a tall twin sized bed dressed in pink flowery sheets.

Fast forward some time, and our little girl starts school. She starts in Second Grade, with the knowledge that she’ll probably do it twice because of her age and her lack of any English speaking almost whatsoever.

The little girl proudly, but nervously, walks into her new school building. She knows what to expect a little bit, because she’d been given a tour the week before. She even got to ride a school bus for the first time ever, and that was super cool. She read the numbers on the walls of the school building carefully. She stopped at 38… and went inside. That was her “homeroom”, whatever that meant. She went inside and sat down, keeping her head low and staying quiet. Other students were fascinated with the shy blonde girl who had just joined them. They’d never seen her before. The teacher introduced her, and immediately other students came up to her and asked her all kinds of questions about her home country- most of which she didn’t know how to answer. She quickly became friends with a girl named Erin, and the two young girls were soon inseparable. She befriended a few more people- to include Sarah and twins Taylor and Tiffany. Her first sleepover party was at the twins’ house, and Sarah became a close friend as well, often spending time with her at Truck Night with her father’s monster truck.

Befriending Erin (and the other girls) showed me that it was possible to move on, that I could make new friends somewhere else. I stayed friends with Erin pretty consistently throughout the duration of my general education, up until senior year of high school. I still don’t really know what happened, but genuinely I hope she’s doing well. She’s in the Army now, and I hope her life is going great. Throughout the years of being friends with Erin, one time her mother told me that when I first moved, she thought I was from “Neverland” and how excited young Erin was to meet a girl from Neverland. Sarah and I still talk occasionally, but I’ve practically lost complete contact with the twins. It’s funny how you grow up, and eventually move separate ways.

For the longest time I always blamed my mom for “ruining my life” by dragging me away from the friends I had in the Netherlands and moving me to this country. It wasn’t until about two years ago that I truly appreciated America for what it is, for giving me the opportunities I have today, and for allowing me to have some of the greatest friends. Opportunities, experiences, and friends that will actually last no matter where I go. Realizing the bigger picture, realizing that the world is a small place that with modern technology is easily traveled, and realizing that those who truly care will always be there helped me close the door on this chapter of my life. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t not relate to that Miranda Lambert song about the house that built her… and if I had the chance I’d absolutely go take a look at what my old house looks like now. But I accept that I’ve moved on- and I realize how happy I am where I am now.

January: Think back to a moment where you’ve come to the end of the road with something important in your life—a relationship with a lover; moving out of your childhood home; graduation from school; etc. Write a scene wrapped around that moment, describing how you felt (good and bad) and how you closed the door on that chapter in your life.

 

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”

~E.⭐

The Bells Were Ringing Out…

For Christmas Day!December_header_snowflakes

It’s the last month of the year, so naturally my blogging wouldn’t happen as scheduled. So far, December has been fantastic. 

T’was the nizzle before Christmizzle and all through the hizzle… Oh wait. I should probably elaborate on the month itself. Last monthly goal reflections is a go! Let’s see… what were my goals?

  1. Keep an eye on my finances and be smart about it. I mean. Sure. Yes. It went… better.
  2. Finish my online course early (because the weekends are great when there’s nothing to do) I mean, the semester ended so there’s that
  3. Further my Civil Air Patrol education. Recently, I attended a Mission Scanner course and will be getting my aircrew wings upon completing two sorties. I’ve also completed more of the FEMA training, and I just. I want to learn everything I can. SUPER COOL NEWS COMING IN THIS POST OMG
  4. Be more organized. This continues off of finding a routine. Jetlag is a… bad thing. Organized? Yeah. I did that. But routines? Meh.
  5. Apply for scholarships. Tuition is a little important. Tuition is indeed important.
  6. Keep a close eye on what I eat and when I eat. I can eat without getting sick again! And screw feeling bad about eating. I have been healthier, though. So it’s lit. 

Since November, plenty of things have happened. My first semester of college came to a close, I stepped out of my comfort zone with CAP (and it paid off), and life is great. 

I finished my first semester strong and confident. I got all As with the exception of a B+ in English, setting my first semester GPA at a 3.823, something I’m incredibly proud of. My classes were pretty challenging. My Story on the Web, the class where I had to create a website and tell a story online, taught me an incredible amount about various Adobe softwares. I had a super fun time creating my Audio Story and Video Story, all about the Civil Air Patrol. The lab was an open lab style instruction, meaning it was completely optional to come to class (except for the mandatory once per unit). Myself and a guy named Max attended almost every class, often being the only ones. I didn’t know his name until about week 13, but him and I would always hate people together so that was pretty cool. I also took a class called “Destination Kent State”, a class targeted at first year students. It was a requirement and very… interesting. English was pretty neat, but wayyy too much writing. My final project was a research paper on Ernest Hemingway and his literature as anti-war. The people in that class were pretty cool; Julia and I talk sometimes. I also took Computer Science, which was… stressful. I scored fantastically on the second midterm though, and after much panic ended the year with an A anyway. The last in-person class I took this semester was Society, Culture, and the Digital Sciences. At first, it started out a little rough. I couldn’t grasp how the professor would teach, and missed a lot of points on the first few assignments. 

HOLD UP IT’S TWO MINUTES UNTIL CHRISTMAS OKAY WOW (we’re watching The Santa Clause 2 and bun is asleep) (surprise I’m in the Netherlands for Christmas) 

OKAY WOW IT’S CHRISTMAS HI 🎄❄️❄️❄️❄️ MERRY CHRISTMAS ❄️❄️❄️❄️🎄

Alrighty so, SCDSCI, as we abbreviated it. I ended with a 102% A. The professor was pretty awesome. I also took an online class, called “Media, Power, and Culture”. It was interesting. Somehow I pulled off an A in that too. Overall, I think it went great. I had a fantastic first semester, and my scholarships and grants covered everything. I took 17 credit hours last semester, and I already registered for Spring 2018. 18 credit hours, here I come! It’ll be good. 

Last year’s Christmas Post talked all about my visit to the States, as I was living in the Netherlands. This year, I’m spending Christmas in the Netherlands with Andrew and my family, and it’s pretty cool. 

ALSO OKAY GUESS WHAT okay. I mentioned cool Civil Air Patrol news. I applied for 2018 Ohio Wing Encampment Cadet Deputy Commander for Operations… AND I GOT THE POSITION. Applying was incredibly out of my comfort zone and writing the letter of intent was pretty stressful, but in the end, it really did pay off. Andrew applied for Cadet Deputy Commander for Support, and he got that position. Encampment is going to be pretty awesome. I’m super stoked. The Cadet Commander seems pretty cool too, and I truly think this encampment is going to be fantastic.

How is it almost one a.m. help

Okay, I’m being sent to bed so “Santa” can go put gifts under the tree ( @ mom). I’ll be posting at least once more this year to reflect on my goals for 2017 and announce my theme for 2018. I can’t believe it’s already the last month of the year. It’s been a great 12 months of goals with y’all. So on that note…

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! 

~E.🎄

blAUG in a timely manner

Someone slap me; that wasn’t even a good pun.august

Well, I was going to blog in a timely manner this month. I suppose August 2nd isn’t the worst I could’ve done. My laptop keeps overheating and being a general pain in the neck, which is rather ironic for a digital sciences major to be honest. 

This past month has been incredible. I had the once in a lifetime experience of releasing rehabilitated seals. I got to drive a boat. I found out some amazing news- my first semester of college is fully paid for by scholarships! I was super excited to learn that. I can’t wait for college. July was pretty freaking amazing, and I know August will be just as good. 

There will absolutely be a post about seal releasing. It was such an amazing day. I can’t even put it into words right now. Super shout-out to the Zeehondencreche in Pieterbuten for that opportunity. I can’t wait to post all about it. 

But let’s see. This year is going ridiculously fast. It’s the eight month of the year and I don’t know how I feel about that. I’m about to be living in an apartment I signed the lease on. I’ll have a roommate, a friend and Spaatz cadet from CAP. We’ll have a cat. I’m about to be an adult. College is starting so soon. I can’t wait, but I’d be lion if I said I wasn’t nervous. I’m going to miss my family like hell, and I’m so thankful that they’ve been nothing but supportive and encouraging me on my journey to be the first to get a degree in my family. The first to even go to college. That feels so incredibly amazing. 

I know I’ll have to work my ass off, but I’m ready. I have the most amazing friends, family, and boyfriend I could ask for. I’m going to make them all proud. I’m going to show everyone that doubted me who I am. I am a lion.  

My July goals were kind of lame, but I kept up with them. I can actually do push-ups now, so hey. There’s a plus. I’m curious to see where I am on my year goals. Let’s review!

  1. Love myself and be happy. Do things because they’ll make me happy.
  2. Go to college and study where and what I want.
  3. Achieve at least C/Lt Col in the Civil Air Patrol
  4. Learn to stay calm and manage emotions, as well as being able to express these to others. (This one may not make sense to you as the reader, but it does to me. I’ve already started working on it!)
  5. Learn something new. Whether this is learning a new language, something about computers, anything.
  6. Make money. Save money. (Already working on the saving money! #AdventureFund)
  7. Stay hydrated. All year.
  8. Read my whole James Patterson series.
  9. Travel.
  10. Write more. (Whether this is blogging, letters, cards, journaling, it’s going to happen!)
  1. Yeah. This one’s going. Most days, I love my body. This one’s going. 
  2. Hell. Yes.
  3. This one might not be realistic due to the requirement of attending Cadet Officer School or a Region Cadet Leadership School, but I’ll be a Cadet Major on the first day of college! I’ll be a major starting my major. Ha. Thanks for that pun, mom.  
  4. This one’s a work-in-progress. 
  5. I know like, three Russian words and more German than I did a month ago? I learned a lot at CDTA? I’m wayyy too familiar with the Public Affairs Regualtions for CAP? 
  6. I mean. Yeah. I saved hella money on college this semester. And there was the $0.81 I made in interest on my savings account! 
  7. I’m working on that. *eyes water bottle*
  8. Still. On. Book. Thirteen. Traveling really killed my vibe. 
  9. Yeah, I’m so sick of that international flight. And Germany is cool. 
  10. Hi, I’m writing (and I mean, I wrote to study for my tests for C/Maj so there’s that).

I guess I’m only going to set one goal for August:

Whatever you do, do it with passion and to the best of your ability. 

This can apply to so much, and I can’t wait to show the world who I am. I won’t give up. I’m not going to be just a nobody. Mark my words. 

Alright y’all. Thank you for reading. You guys are fantastic.

Smile, you’re awesome. Take some time today to think about how far you’ve come and how you’d make your younger self proud. Be someone you would be looked up to as a child.

~E.💕

P.S. I untangled a slinky this past week and that would’ve made younger me so proud. That’s all I wanted to be able to do in life. Little things. It’s the little things. 

I did one of those “100 things about you” posts from Facebook.

The result? Probably being unfollowed on my blog, and boring a few readers to death. 

Well, here we go. I’ll put my responses in purple and bold.

  1. Are you named after someone? Not that I know of…
  2. When was the last time you cried? Oh goodness. Sometime this past week.  
  3. Do you like your handwriting? Yeah.
  4. Do you have freckles? I do indeed.
  5. What is your favorite lunch meat? I am not a fan of lunch meat… at all.
  6. Do you have any kids? Nope. I prefer to wait a decade or so longer.
  7. Do you use sarcasm? No, never. What’s sarcasm?
  8. Do you still have your tonsils? Yep, but not the adenoids.
  9. Would you bungee jump? Probably not, but skydiving is on my bucket list.
  10. What is your favorite cereal? Fruit Loops!
  11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Usually.
  12. Do you think you’re strong? It depends.
  13. What is your favorite ice cream? Strawberry Cheesecake from Katie’s Korner!
  14. What is the first thing you notice about people? How they act/behave. (Fidgety, etc.)
  15. Red or pink? Black.
  16. What is the least favorite thing you like about yourself? I guess my acne. But what the heck kind of question is this? I want to think about stuff I like. Like my eyes. *cue empowerment*
  17. What was the last thing you ate? A mini cheese pizza.
  18. What are you listening to? The Offspring.
  19. If you were a crayon what color would you be? Black.
  20. Favorite smell? Thunderstorms.
  21. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? On the phone… that would’ve been a Cadet Advisory Council conference call.  
  22. Favorite sport to watch? Hmm… I wanted to be original, but I’m not. Probably soccer or football.
  23. What color is your hair? Like… 5 colors. My roots are like, brownish blonde (my natural color these days I guess) but the rest of my hair is this awkward faded red color.
  24. Eye color? Blue.
  25. Do you wear contacts? Some days. I prefer glasses.
  26. Favorite food? Dunkin Donuts’s Turkey Cheddar and Bacon comes close.
  27. Scary movies or happy endings? Ooooo, this is hard. Both. But if I had to pick, I guess toss me a happy ending.
  28. Last movie you watched? The Santa Clause 2.
  29. What color shirt are you wearing? Gray.
  30. Summer or winter? Summer.
  31. Hugs or kisses? Kisses.
  32. What is on your lock screen? A picture of a runway with a plane taking off that says “Take Me Away” in some pretty font.
  33. Last show you watched? I binge watched NCIS two nights ago.
  34. Favorite sound? Chords. Like, music chords. Mmmm.
  35. Rolling stones or Beatles? The Beatles all the way.
  36. What is the farthest you have traveled? Well, I mean, I’ve lived on two separate parts of the earth so there’s that.
  37. Do you have a special talent? I like to think I’m a half decent cornet/trumpet player.
  38. Where were you born? The Netherlands.
  39. Computer or Television? Computer all the way.
  40. What book are you currently reading? “Finders Keepers” by Stephen King.
  41. Any tattoos? Not… yet. 
  42. What color is your house? Brick-colored.
  43. What color is your car? It’s called “Reflex Silver” and is Volkswagen-specific.
  44. Do you have any pets? A cat named Ophelia. Past pets include Booplesnoot and Dwayne the Dwarf Hamsters- Cats Skittles, Shakespeare, Herbie, Mozart, and Rataplan- and Buckshot the Bunny.
  45. Mountain Hideaway or Beach House? Mountain Hideaway.
  46. What is on your mouse pad? The CyberPatriot logo on one, a dog on the other, and my mouse on the third.
  47. What is your earliest memory? My bear party when I turned five.
  48. What is your favorite alcoholic drink? Those darn Halloween Shots from the bar that night my friend from Berlin visited.
  49. What is your favorite vegetable? Spinach.
  50. Do you remember your first day at school? In America, yes.
  51. What is the worst exam result you remember ever getting? An F in Freshman Physics. And I got high-fived for it. That teacher was the best.
  52. How tall are you? I want to believe I’m 5’7” but I’ve always been 5’6″ and a half when I’m measured “professionally”.
  53. Can you swim? Like a fish.
  54. Who is your favorite movie actress? Natalie Portman.
  55. Who is your favorite movie actor? Christian Slater, Rami Malek, or Leonardo DiCaprio.
  56. Who is your favorite historical figure (been dead for at least 100 years)? Guy Fawkes.
  57. Who is your favorite superheroine? Does Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer count?
  58. Who is your favorite superhero? IRON MAN IRON MAN IRON MAN
  59. Can you name a female scientist other than Madame Curie? Absolutely. Grace Hopper. ♥
  60. Who is your favorite mythological god or goddess? Dionysus. It kinda just stuck after being assigned a project on him in 5th grade.
  61. What is the worst movie you have ever seen? Oh man, probably “VHS” or “VHS2”.
  62. What is the worst TV show you have ever seen? “1,000 Ways to Die”. I hate it.
  63. What is the worst book you have ever read? Probably anything I “read” for summer work in High School. Except for “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” and “For One More Day” by Mitch Albom (I sobbed).
  64. If you could go back in time to witness an historical event in person, what event would you want to see? Woodstock, in 1969.
  65. If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? Hawaii.
  66. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you meet? Samantha Christoforetti.
  67. If you could become famous for one thing, what would that thing be? Trumpet Performance.
  68. If you could meet any famous person who is dead, who would it be? Heath Ledger.
  69. Have you ever gotten any points on your driving license? That’s a negative, ghost rider. I’ve only ever been pulled over once; for a license plate light that was out.
  70. Have you ever bought alcohol or cigarettes while underage? I mean, alcohol is legal here at 16. That’s underage in America. But. Negative on the cigarettes. (I can barely breathe *without* smoke around. Hah).
  71. Where have you visited that you would like to go back to? Colorado.
  72. What is your favorite way to travel? Airplane, or by car if it’s close enough.
  73. What was the last computer game you played? War Thunder.
  74. What is your favorite movie? It changes weekly. I couldn’t even tell you, probably. Alice, Through the Looking Glass was pretty good. So is Stuart Little.
  75. What is your favorite book? That giant book of Shakespeare plays I own.
  76. What is your favorite song? Anything Blink-182. Or “Timber” by Ke$ha and Pitbull. Or “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics. There’s too many… oops.
  77. What is your favorite city? New York City. 
  78. Have you ever written a song? Yes. And I wrote it down on my bunk bed that’s taken apart now. I have pictures, though. 
  79. Have you ever written a poem? There’s a couple on this blog!
  80. Have you ever been a boy/girl scout? Nope. CAP is pretty awesome though.
  81. Have you ever written a book? I tried.
  82. What is your biggest pet peeve? Not paying attention to detail.
  83. Have you ever blown bubbles in your milk? No, I’m allergic to milk protein.
  84. Would you rather eat a Big Mac or a Whopper? Whopper. Given, there’s no tomato, pickles, ketchup, or onion.
  85. True or False: You would rather eat steak than pizza. It depends on the pizza or steak. Likely it would be False.
  86. Have you ever tried to cut your own hair? Oh no… Not those memories…
  87. How did that turn out? I wore headbands for a year.
  88. If you could be any age, what age would you be? 21. Not because alcohol, because it seems you’d finally be treated like an adult.
  89. Have you ever gotten gum stuck in your hair? No, but I did get some on my favorite footie pajamas when I was younger and I was devastated.
  90. Do you ride roller coasters? Heck yeah.
  91. What’s your favorite carnival ride? That monster truck tire thing that rolls you upside-down.
  92. What is your dream car? A 1959 Volkswagen Bus, Type 2.
  93. If you were in a car sinking in a lake, what would you do first? Wait for the car to fill up with water, thanks MythBusters.
  94. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance? Yes, in Florida (at Disney nonetheless). I barely remember it because I was passing out, though. It was my Sophomore year of High School.
  95. Can you pick something up with your toes? Yep. I can also open doors with my feet.
  96. How many remote controls do you have in your house? Three.
  97. Have you ever fallen asleep in school? Sophomore US History taught me how to sleep with my eyes open.
  98. How many times have you flown in an airplane in the last year? In the past 365 days, I have been on 4 separate commercial airliners, and flown a Cessna and a glider.
  99. What’s your favorite number? 19.
  100. A quote to end on? “She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city” -Roman Payne

Well guys, that’s my “100 things about me”. Hopefully I wasn’t too boring :p

As always, thanks for being here.

Stay strong!

-E.

“If nobody hates you, you’re doing something wrong.”

Home is where your story begins, or so they say. Now, the title doesn’t have any relation to this post, but I googled “House quotes”, and I should’ve known better.

newhouse5

I’m sitting at the kitchen table, typing my first blog post from the new house. I am really newhouse3doing something productive- I’m hurrying up and waiting. Yesterday I set up the wifi (and cried a little at the wiring done in the meter closet) and now I’m waiting for the TV to decide to finally want to work.

The first picture here to the left, is what the closet lnewhouse2ooked like before I put the modem in (yes, it’s a modem. With WiFi capabilities. *twitches*).

The picture to the right is after installing the modem. It’s still barely better, but it… works. I just kind of want to cry and install little tiny shelves. It honestly is slightly  frustrating, especially coming from the US where you had the freedom to put your router and phone (almost) anywhere. The “meterkast”, or “meter closet” in English- is kind of just a pain in the neck.

Oh- another pain in the neck?? The WiFi doesn’t reach my room. Time to go buy a WiFi Range Extender. I wanted to use the NetGear router dangling from the cable in the “before the modem” picture and set up my own WiFi in my room. But, my mom isn’t necessarily a newhouse4fan of running Ethernet Cables through the house. Darn… :p

This is my view right now, the leaning tower of boxes and the TV loading screen. It’s rather annoying- and has probably
been sitting like that for about half an hour.

But on a side note, our living room looks really cute and the newhouse1couch is comfortable as heck. Also yes, I *did* line up the bird picture with the TV. From this angle, it doesn’t look like it- but I promise it is. I spent *wayyyy* too much time doing so.

It’s coming along. It’ll start to feel like home soon, right? When we actually start sleeping here… Right? Hopefully. Ikea is coming tomorrow to set up my dresser, my brother’s bed, and bring mattresses. I’m excited for that, because it means I can go back to doing productive things in my room. And make my bed. And decorate. And hang stuff up. Okay, I’m a tad excited about my room. Who wouldn’t be, though?

Oh! I finally remembered what I’ve been meaning to post about. Remember my friend that crashed into the lake? (See this post) Well, he’s okay! And so is his instrument. He lost some music and solos, but other than that, he’s absolutely fine. Even his phone works again. I was so relieved. Shout-out to all my friends that helped me find out he was okay/helped me calm down. My mom, too. She helped me a bunch.

Well, the TV is still loading, bu I think I’m going to go take a nap in the recliner now that my mom left the house to go pick my brother up from school. Yay, productivity!

Have a great day, everyone 🙂

-E.

The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect is a scientific theory that states that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever. This isn’t about something changing the universe, but this is about something changing me.

butterfly-6This past weekend from Thursday night to Sunday morning, I had a friend stay here with me. It was honestly the most amazing thing that could’ve happened when it happened. We’ll call the guest “F” for internet and privacy purposes. Before F arrived, I hadn’t had any human interaction with anyone my age in over a month. I met F through Civil Air Patrol; he was in my squadron during my basic encampment. We stayed in contact, and I knew he was studying in Berlin. I asked if he wanted to come visit, and he agreed.

F arrived Thursday night around 1800 by train. The minute I got to speak English to a friend, I knew this would be good for me. We drove around town a bit, showing him around. It was dark of course, but in my opinion still nice. After driving around, we went to a restaurant in town to eat. He tried fries with mayonnaise for the first time. Those darn uncultured Americans :p

After eating dinner, we went to my grandparents’ house and settled in for the weekend.butterfly-7

The next day, we woke up and went to get breakfast at a local bakery. He had a puddingbroodje (a.k.a.”roombroodje”) and I had a Deense krakeling. We went to the park to eat them, and afterwards rode bikes for about 12 miles. I showed him around in the daylight and we saw where they build the big cargo ships,  the street I lived on when I was younger, the house we are going to be living in, my brother’s school, the business district, and a few other things. We also went to a store by a local windmill.

After our bike trip, we ate a typical Dutch lunch. We had soup to start, and multiple types of bread were set up on the table with young and old cheese, Nutella, hageltjes (a Dutch bread topping, it’s very sweet and looks like sprinkles), butter, sausages, and some other toppings. Once we finished lunch, we went to go see the Fraeylemaborg.butterfly-4

The Fraeylemaborg is a small castle, if you will, that used to house the lords of the land in the 18th century. It’s a very cute building with lots of history- and some ridiculously steep stairs… For a house, of course. The main thing we got out of it was the fact that the tower isn’t centered *twitches *and my brother discovered a really awkward pole placement on the back of one of the statues. And of course it was very nicebutterfly-5 to see. There was SILVERWARE. Pardon the blurry picture and the fact that you don’t get the joke. But it was authentic silverware.

butterfly-3After the Fraeylemaborg, we went to a different windmill- one you could actually go inside. F got to move the blades and help the miller with doing windmill stuff, and we went all the way up to the top and saw the big gears and how the mill works, piece by piece. We also saw a bunch of little bugs that still haunt me. After that, we drove around and drove to Zuidlaren to show F where the Zuidlaardermarkt is. the Zuidlaardermarkt is a famous horse market that has existed since 1701 and happens on the third Tuesday every October. After that, we went to an Oliebollenkraam and ate oliebollen, a Dutch New Year’s snack that is essentially fried dough. When we came home, my butterfly-8grandma had made Nasi for dinner; an Indonesian rice dish. After eating, we played a few rounds of sjoelen, a Dutch game with wooden bricks and point values much like a miniature shuffleboard.

Saturday, the last full day F was here, my brother had a soccer game at 0900. They lost, but it was F’s first live soccer game, which was cool! I was honestly surprised that they played on the turf field, since this country is in the middle of a huge turf protest. It’s been though that the rubber pellets used on turf might cause lymphoma or leukemia, since they are essentially ground up tires. But, it hasn’t been scientifically proven.

After my brother’s soccer game, we went to the Markt (open air market) in our town. Here we got Vietnamese food; loempias and bapao, and ate them for lunch. F also got a piece of Dutch cheese for his family.

butterfly-2The days started to really feel productive; we were so active before noon! In the afternoon, we took the rest of the day to tour Groningen. We started by walking around the Markt there, known as the Grote Markt- which translates literally to “big market”. After the Markt, we made our way to the Martini Toren. The tower has a really cool history. Here’s a little snippet from Wikipedia:

The lighting of celebratory fires on the third gallery, after the departure of Spanish and Walloon troops in 1577, caused the tower to partially collapse. However, the remaining portion kept a height of 69 meters. In the 17th century the tower was repaired up to the current 97 metre height. Later the tower was damaged several times by natural violence and several wars. There is a bullet hole in one of the bells, a result of heavy fighting when the Canadian Forces liberated Groningen at the end of World War II.

butterfly

The tower was fun to climb and the views were amazing. F and I got to ring the bell, and the rope will literally pull you off the ground at least five feet. I was hesitant to do it at first, but I’m really glad I did. For me, the worst part about the tower was going back down; there was so much traffic. I guess it’s a good way to meet new people, as my mom put it. I’ve had enough steep stairs for this lifetime. Y’all can keep your spiral staircases, too.

After the tower, we walked around the busy streets of downtown Groningen. There were shops, bars, pubs, food places, hair salons, you name it. After a bit of walking, it was time for the boat tour! We rode a boat all around the canals of Groningen, and got to see many nice sights you wouldn’t really get to see anywhere else. The recording of the tour guide speaking in Dutch, German, and English quickly became very repetitive and annoying, and I was happy when it was quiet for a bit. It was really hard not to fall asleep on the boat, though. It was so calming and you were so close to the water. F and I started dozing off a bit.

After that, we went to Kattencafe Poeslief, which is a cat cafe. They serve coffee and let you play with cats. We arrived pretty close to their closing time, 1700, but they still let us in to play with the cats. It was so awesome. We still had to eat dinner somewhere, so to conclude our unbeleafably* fun day in Groningen, we ate at ‘t Pannekoekschip; the pancake ship. butterfly-9

Upon returning home, we played two games of Mens Erger Je Niet, and F won his first game. My brother won the second.

Some time later, we went out to a bar and afterwards went for a long walk through town. We walked around six miles, probably. One of the places we walked through was the park, where we came across a cat who really needed some attention. It meowed and followed us, so I picked it up and carried it through the park. It was adorable.

This weekend was incredible. I could not have asked for anything better, or anyone better to spend time with. It gave me so much appreciation for what is around me and in town here. It gave me such a will to travel and see the world. There really are no limits.

Go, live, and be happy.

-E. ♥

*Spelling is done on purpose to commemorate a leaf.

Oh right! I almost forgot to mention. The bar we went to was called “De Vlinder”, which translates to “The Butterfly”…

Countdown- 1 (the baby one).

Tomorrow’s the day!!!

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*cries* -newborn me, probably.

This one is going to be a bit different. This one is going to be spent looking at baby pictures! These pictures were all taken around the turn of the century (1999-2001).  016

This first picture was taken at one of my first- if not my first swimming lesson. I was less than a year old, and I loved the water. I asked my mom if I liked the water, and she said “I don’t know, that’s like a million years ago” -actual quote from my mom, 2016. My grandma then confirmed I loved swimming.

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The second picture is of me at age 3, in 2001. I had gotten the car I am sitting on for my first birthday, and loved it ever since. The animal in the cage was a rabbit, named Buckshot. I’ll elaborate more on the bunny when I do my pet post, which I’m planning to post in late October or early November. The bike on the right is still in existence- my brother uses it (and loves it) in present day- even though he’s actually way too big for it.

021 The third picture in this post is also of when I was 3. (So is the fourth picture, but we’re only halfway there… WHOA-OH..My hair wasn’t often in a braid like this- but I really like them. Fun fact: my hair was in the same kind of braid for the Sadie’s dance my junior year. I didn’t have the cute little chick hair clips in High School, though. If you look at the background, you see the largest object is a dollhouse. That dollhouse was one of my favorite things in the world- both to play in with dolls *and* to play on. “On?” you ask? Yes! On! The slanted wooden roof was perfect for a small child to slide on. So, it was not only a dollhouse, it also doubled as a jungle gym.
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The final picture in this post is from when I was ALSO three, and I played field hockey. I’m the small child with blonde hair and the red sleeveless jacket thing (I forget what those are called- there *is* a specific name). “I really don’t see what could’ve gone wrong, giving all those kids wooden sticks” said my mom. “I’m really surprised no one cracked their skull open”. I agree, dude. I agree.

I was a pretty cool small child, blonde hair and blue eyes. I probably had some of the best faces (that the public interwebs don’t get to see). And tomorrow- yes, tomorrow- that “pretty cool small child” turns 18. Yay! Or something… (I think I can agree with newborn me who was crying… I’m not sure I’m ready to adult. Can I take a nap instead?).

Well everyone, as I enter the brand new world of adulthood (officially at 11:12 a.m. on October 19th)- wish me luck. Time to go pay some insurance.

“Never did the world make a queen of a girl who hides in houses and dreams without traveling.”
― Roman Payne, The Wanderess

Have a fantastic day, you guys.

-E.♥

The one about feelings, anger, and frustration

Everyone deals with it. Anger, sadness,  stress, frustration. Sometimes jealousy. I try not to blog about them, but I’m going to be brutally honest- sometimes ignoring your emotions takes a toll on you. There’s been one other rather upset blog post with lots of feelings; the annoying one about me getting dumped. Normally, I feel horrible posting my feelings online, and as you could see in the post after it, I apologized. This time… I won’t apologize. My feelings are my feelings, and honestly if you’re reading my blog, you sort of care about me anyway (or you’re just amused at my misfortunes; but that’s alright too).

I’m having a really shitty time adjusting to this country and the people in it. I’m trying to do my best, trying to hold on for my mom’s sake. She’s so stressed as well, I feel like whenever she sees me be happy, it makes her happy. So I’m really trying. I love my mom, and I hate seeing her upset- especially now coming to realize that she’s actually a cool parent- and has been, but I just didn’t see it (ouch, did I just say that out loud? Online, for that matter?). I just need to find a way to get my frustration out. This blog is helping, but I’m not sure how much longer. I miss my late night drives, in my car, by myself. I miss seeing my friends, being able to just crash on someone’s couch and maybe wake up in the morning, maybe in the afternoon. I miss being able to do “stupid” stuff like drinking a few too many energy drinks or walking over the train tracks or walking through the woods alone or even driving a little too fast sometimes (heh).

Anyhoo, this country. This country, man. No, it’s not all bad. I really enjoy some of the things, but that’s for happy blog posts. This is not a happy blog post.

  1. UGH I MISS MY HOODIE WEATHER AND PUMPKIN EVERYTHING. It skipped straight to winter coat and where the f*** is the pumpkin in this country?!
  2. If people could stop interrupting and/or ignoring my brother whenever he talks, that would be cool. Just because you don’t see the enthusiasm of the little human doesn’t mean no one else does. Weird.
  3. I want food that doesn’t give me a stomach ache. I mean, yay! All natural whatnot. I mean, damn. Does my body have to reject it? I got less sick from a McDonald’s Buttermilk Crispy Chicken sandwich…
  4. Speaking of stomach… MIDOL. How do females here even survive shark week?! And tampons, dang, I just paid nearly 8 Euros (Which is around $8.40) for a box of like, 15 normal tampons. This is an issue.
  5. “How rude”. People here are legitimately the most rude human beings I have ever seen. You can stand in a store looking at something, and before you know it (without an excuse me) you have a Dutch person all up in your jacket (because it’s -100° or something in stores) looking or grabbing something from in front of you.
  6. Oh my goodness… and the government. They track pretty much everywhere you go. Apparently there’s this whole WhatsApp security crisis that’s got a bunch of people’s panties in a twist. But aside from that, as a seasoned and free American citizen, I find it uber creepy that the government has to know in what house you’re living, and with who, and all the kids, and they have to see you, and it’s just freaking me out. (Oh, and I miss my second amendment).
  7. I can’t carry my knife. It’s apparently frowned upon or illegal or something. I haven’t done too much digging, but from what I’ve seen it’s illegal (please correct me if I’m wrong).
  8. Number 8 has been removed for… reasons.
  9. Hamsters here. Oh my, the poor hamsters here. This will likely turn into a blog post on its own- but for now… the wheels the pet store sells for hamsters are so incredibly bad for them. Please, if you have a rodent of any sort, do NOT get a metal wheel. It will hurt your pet.
  10. Number 10 has also been removed.
  11. Oh man, here comes the stomach ache (just ate dinner oops)
  12. The time zone. Why the time zone?! I miss my friends. I miss talking to people. I miss attending Civil Air Patrol. I’d missed nine meetings in my cadet career (including encampments and NCSAs) and that’s up to 11 now. It pains me a little. And the whole… messaging people. Yeah- I still can- but it’s at weird times. *sigh*.
  13. This entire country is pretty anti-american and pro-american stereotyping. It’s a tad frustrating. I mean, I suppose America is the country with the highest obesity and the most junk food- but so what? That doesn’t really mean you can profit off of making fun of me. Or Americans in general. (I’m still pretty patriotic even for not living in the country. I’d be flying an American flag if it wouldn’t get my house vandalized. You think I’m kidding).
  14. WHY are my clothes losing color?
  15. We still don’t have [working] phones over here. That is a little ridiculous- especially since my brother is in school. What if an emergency happens?
  16. I really want our house. But it isn’t ready until November 1st. Oh man, I’m going nuts.
  17. I WANT MY FACE WASH AND MY CHEAP RITE AID PERFUME. This boat can kindly floor it across the Atlantic.
  18. Number 18 has also been removed.
  19. Hey look, it’s my favorite number. Well, this one is about my birthday. I am turning 18 this year (oh no, I just gave away my age on the interwebs) and I had planned on becoming a legal adult in the US of A. Yanno, buying a lottery ticket legally because I can. Maybe buy some dry-ice, paintballs, pepper spray, and a new knife while I’m at it (hoorah for ridiculous rules). Aside from all of those things, “becoming an adult” seems so much less complicated in a country you’ve witnessed other people do the thing you have to do before you. “Becoming an adult” seems so much simpler when you know the language and grammar (and a couple of curse words) without even having to think. I’d prepared myself to become an adult in America. I was ready for adult life there. How am I even supposed to choose health insurance here? I barely know all the big words for body parts here. How would I even know what doctor to go to? *sigh* I can’t adult.
  20. And the power here. This is more our fault- but I don’t have enough power cables to keep all of my electronics charged. My mom and I share a computer cable, and my laptop dies when it’s not plugged in (thanks, hp battery recalls). This is driving me nuts.

Well, there’s 20 complaints I have. Maybe I’ll post twenty positives soon. It’ll be fun to try and think of in depth arguments for why I like it here. Oh well, I feel better after this long rant. Maybe I’ll go take the Dutch version of ibuprofen and try to sleep.

Stay strong guys, and don’t let others change who you are.

-E.

 

Oh my, the month went by!

Hello, lovely readers!

Some of you have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while… a month exactly. I’m not necessarily about excuses, but, there is a legitimate reason.

I used to reside in the delightful state of construction work and bipolar weather, however, I have since moved to the other side of the world! (And let me tell you, I’m pretty sure this is the country of construction work and well, rain).

water-in-the-dark

The picture is of the city near my hometown here in the Netherlands. If you look to your right, those boats are actually peoples’ houses. It’s pretty neat. The lights and the sky and the water all look incredible, and honestly, I only noticed that in the picture… not even in person.

The Netherlands is like a whole different world to me. Yes, I lived here until I was 7- but that means very little. I knew as much of the language as any seven-year-old does of their language. I’d picked up enough to get by in years after that, but now I’ve started to realize that the language barrier may be greater than I thought. I shy away from speaking Dutch because I know it likely won’t be grammatically correct. Maybe I’m not using the correct tense of the word. Maybe I’m just creating a word altogether. It’s a little stressful. Everyone back home says “give it a month” or “go make friends”. That’s so much easier said than done. Yes, I may have been incredibly social in America, but that’s different here.

Here, I feel insecure about what I wear. I don’t know the norms here. I never see anyone wearing a simple graphic t-shirt here. I felt awkward going into a store yesterday wearing my Paramore tee, black cargo pants, and Timberland boots. I felt like I stood out. My pants weren’t tight. My shoes weren’t “cute”. Who wears a shirt with writing on it? It’s probably all in my head… but that’s bad enough. Here, I feel awkward even talking. My voice sounds weird to me when I speak a different language.  When I’m with my mom, I let her do the talking and I awkwardly stare. Yes, usually I can follow conversations. I just don’t feel like I have enough words to choose from to be relaxed enough to participate. I’ve wished more people here would speak English to me, but then there’s the accent that bothers the living hell out of me and the reversed language barrier. I guess maybe I’ll learn soon enough. Maybe I should try harder.

My body isn’t used to the time zone yet. I’ve never had an issue with jet lag. Back in America, I had a hard time sleeping. Throw me in a country whose time zone is Eastern Time +6… I’m screwed. I have yet to fall asleep before five o’clock in the morning, and I’ve been here 8 days now. And yes, I have indeed tried putting down all electronics. I have slept through the days, though. Side note: that’s a really good way to avoid humans.

There’s not a whole lot else to blog about- since my days have recently been spent sleeping and avoiding people. I signed up to referee soccer for U11 and U9 leagues. I was the only girl in the room. It was a tad awkward.. especially because the club then posted on their website that they appreciated the “boys and fathers” that came out to the meeting. Well, I’ll show them. I guess female referees are seldom in any sport. I’ll smash the patriarchy in their face before they can even think “why is there a female ref?”.

So, yeah. I’m alive. I’m hanging in there. I’m trying to look at this like an adventure. Most people in the US would kill to spend time in Europe. Even though my situation wasn’t exactly planned… or my choice… I’m trying to be positive. It’s going alright.

-E. ♥