Hello! Again, I am so sorry for slacking so badly! Over the next couple days i’m just going to touch on a few things that have happened over the last couple months. I figured I should try and break it up just so it is a little easier for me.
First off! Went to Amsterdam a few weeks ago and had a marvelous time! What a beautiful city it is! I had no idea it would be so nice and that the people would be so friendly. Right when we got there, we met up with a family friend of Roni’s. He told us some sights to see and when to the best times to see them were. One of the first places we went to was the Anne Frank house. It was really a sight to see. So much history took place in such a small house. The first thing that struck me about the house was it’s absence of furniture and lack of human presence. It simply looked like an empty house. Apparently Otto Frank (Anne Frank’s Father) decided that after the war was over and the Nazi’s were forced to return belongings to the people (the belonging’s that were left anyway), he decided that he would rather leave the house empty as it shows a lack of people where there should be people. It is an homage to the millions of Jews that died from that war. The house did feel empty and eerie from that I think. We were also there at night. The other thing I remember very clearly was right after you go through the bookcase, you are confronted by a staircase that is almost the same slant as a wall. I could not believe how steep the stairs were. We watched little old laddies barely being able to climb the stairs. I found that most of the stairs throughout the whole city were very steep (not as steep as the Anne Frank House stairs, but still.) Very moving to see the original place of so much history.
The next morning we woke up bright and early to see the parade! Sinterklass was doing a parade through the streets of Amsterdam to welcome the start of Christmas! I don’t know a whole lot about this tradition other than kids make lanterns and receive gifts, and the older crowd paints themselves black and hand out candy. Apparently they are Sinterklass’ assistants and go down the chimney to deliver gifts and such. Anyway, it was very cool, they did a boat parade in the morning, and then an actual parade in the afternoon where Sinterklass was on a horse riding through the streets! Roni’s family friend had a daughter that we got to watch the parade with. I think it made it a lot more fun because she was pretty into it with all the candy ‘n all.
Other than that, we mostly just walked around, shopped, took pictures and ate a lot of street food. The street food was INCREDIBLE especially compared to Paris. They have foods of all sorts, from sushi to Mexican food, Hamburgers to crepes, they had it all. It was a great time! Ill be sure to post some pictures. :)
Another phenomenon that has been rattling me lately is that I don’t feel the need to pee myself every time I enter a store now to either order food or a drink or buy clothes or whatnot. I feel confident enough in the language to at least get by with buying what I need to, asking price, sizes, colors, what type of tea, hot or cold; I can get by with that. It feels good to be able to have mini conversations now. I feel like I have a unlocked a secret passage way that I couldn’t go down before and i’m finally getting to explore all it’s nooks and cranny’s. I have finally found my niche hear and learned that I can lead a totally normal life outside of the united states. I can study here, take evening classes, join a gym, learn instruments, etc. I know now for when I come back that everything I can do at home, I can do here.
Today, i also had a nice little conversation with one of the cosmetology girls named Armonie. It is so good to talk to people that don’t know any english. It pushed me much harder, especially when you don’t know the word for something and have to figure it out through other words and phrases. There were quite a few times that we didn’t understand each other today, but we muster through it and just laugh it off because in the end, it’s nothing vital and the whole point is to just have a nice conversation with someone. Though, it is strange to hear myself speak French. I kept asking if I was making any sense and she kept saying yes, but I don’t know how sincere she was being. I thought I sounded like I was just jumbling words together, but somehow she figured it out. I think at this point, I know a lot of little phrases and quite a few words, but I need to take a class again and be forced to write essays and short answers in French that forces me to think through all my thoughts on paper and make them into coherent sentences. Because right now, its jumbled words, messed up grammar and unconjugated verbs… It makes me excited to come home and go back to studying.
It’s late and I must sleep. Another post by Monday!!!
Goodnight and bisous!