- High School Holland
High School Holland studente Lavinia vertelt je in deze blog over haar eerste maanden in Nederland. Van haar eerste schooldag tot aan de herfstvakantie, alles komt aan bod!
I only still had a few hours, but, to be perfectly honest, I hadn’t quite realised yet that that would be my last day with my family for the whole next school year. Upon my arrival at Schiphol Airport, on the 22nd of August, after having said goodbye to my parents and to my beloved sister, who I know I will miss more than anything else, Travel Active greeted me with an ”Orientation Week”. Where 80 students from all over the world are reunited in one big group of, eventually, friends whose only trait in common is one single question: ”why pick the Netherlands?” Unlike me, not everybody seems to have a perfectly sensible answer. On the contrary. Most of them admitted to having just let destiny guide their hand on the map, but it wasn’t like that made their choice any less difficult or courageous. From Italy, Australia, New Zealand, America, Belgium, Brazil, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, Mexico, Venezuela, we are all just the same. I am not alone in this anymore.
Well, first of all, they are lovely. And when I say lovely I mean LOVELY. So welcoming and warm and fun to be with, all as gorgeous as models and so undeniably nice and always ready to help me. Plus, they have a cat, so extra points earned! On Monday they helped me settle in and they helped me bring in all of my luggage. On Tuesday my host dad and I put together my bike and then my host mum and I went to register me at the town hall and you have no idea how much all of that paper work stressed me out (still hoping I didn’t make any stupid mistakes that will end up costing me 325 euros). Today my host dad brought me to school where I had an interview to be accepted and settle a few things for my profile. I was so stressed, but happy that he was willing to do this for me (he also bought me chocolate!).
Well, how should I put this? It’s not easy to have a second first day of High School, especially if this second first day happens to be in a new country of which you barely know and understand the language. Everything started off the wrong way:
-I prepared lunch, but I forgot to bring any water;
-Securing my computer on the bike took forever and taking it back took even more (these stupid binders will be the end of me);
-Removing and putting on the lock had got my coat stuck in the wheel;
-Because my PC occupies so much space, I had to keep my relatively heavy backpack on my shoulders. End result? When I first climbed onto the bike I almost fell and ended up on the road.
But, to be perfectly honest, it has been a super fun experience!
Today, for the first time in years, school has started and I have free Saturdays. And I am loving it! So much time to do whatever I want (for now at least, since I still have like no homework). This morning, differently from all the other days up until now, the weather wasn’t looking as good, so my hostmum accompanied me by car (which was kind off special, since everybody here does absolutely everything by bicycle, literally) to a sport centre to take a look and give a try to karate here as well in order to continue my sport. The style practiced here is extremely different from the one I am used to (they even exercise with weapons and are a lot less elegant and precise than we are), but the people there were very welcoming and happy to have me there, so I’ll give it another shot on Tuesday and then I’ll decide whether or not I want to continue. Regardless, it felt really good to be on the move again, even though I hadn’t expected them to let me participate immediately, so I was totally unprepared and definitely not dressed in an appropriate way for it!
Aside from the fact that, as soon as I’m left on my own, I start having catastrophic thoughts on how I will ever be able to master this language or to pass this year with the brilliant marks I would like to have if not by a miracle and I start questioning my own sanity at the time, I decided that this whole thing would be a good idea. These last few two days have been pretty fantastic. Tuesday evening, although feeling somewhat under the weather, I decided to go by train again to the senior group of karate. How weird and comical that session has been, can’t even be put into words, I swear.
First of all, everybody is so much more easygoing and relaxed than I am. I stick out like sour thumb, all stiff and afraid of hurting others and super composed in everything I do. And when we started training with wooden knives it all just became even worse. Let me tell you, my performance as “attacker” was LAUGHABLE. No person would ever wield a knife that elegantly and gently. And when it was my turn to defend myself, the most embarrassing thing happened: I was so unwilling to utilize force that the entire team ended up cheering for me like “harder!” and I just wanted to crawl in a hole in the ground, but wow it had been ages since I laughed that much. Also, in one exercise we were to make our opponent lose their balance and drop on their back, but I was so short compared to the guy I was training with that it just looked like he was lifting me up!
For the first time in my life I’ve experienced an Autumn Break! You know, like one of those mystical holidays present in the anglo saxon school system, but with more stress, more homework and no time to really do a lot, mostly because you feel the pressure of test week arriving and it just makes you want to shout your anxiety out at the top of your lungs. As you may tell already, I didn’t really do much aside from studying (and I’m still behind regardless. Help! I need a miracle. But I wouldn’t say that I didn’t have fun, quite the contrary actually. First I had my sleepover and then this week I was able to study with a friend (a.k.a my guardian angel, who oh so patiently looks after me every time and puts up with my helplessness) and even went grocery shopping with him and had him over for dinner.
I also have great news: I now have a new host family and I am moving tomorrow! Wednesday afternoon I even went with them to choose some wallpaper and bed sheets for myself and I helped out cleaning and setting up the shelves for my bookcase and wallpapering up the walls. My room looked really pretty at the end of the day and I was really satisfied with myself, since it was my first time handling something like wallpaper and I guess you could say that it was also a good way to start off things with my new hostfamily. I’ve really enjoyed my time with my current hostfamily and I will kind of miss them, but I’m also really excited about tomorrow and can’t wait for it to come!
I just hope I won’t scare them with the huge amount of luggage I have…