Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What I've been up to

Hi everyone! Here's an update with some things I did lately. My life here in the USA is starting to feel more and more 'normal'. It's been 47 days since I left the Netherlands, and everything doesn't feel new anymore. That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy it though! I'm still happy with my choice and I love living in the United States :)

With the other exchange students
A week ago, my exchange organization EF organized a picnic for all the exchange students in the region. The picnic was at the Greenville Zoo which is pretty close to my house. In Greenville itself are 3 exchange students with EF. Many of the other exchange students came from the states Georgia, North Carolina and some came from other places in South Carolina. I'd met a few of them already, but it was great to meet the other ones as well! Every family had taken something to eat with them. Together with the exchange students and an IEC we talked about our first weeks here, adapting to a new school and homesickness. I feel like the beginning of an exchange year is the hardest, because you don't know anyone yet. You have to make friends and adapt to a new life. During my year, there will be more activities with our 'exchange group', so that will be nice!

At church with Julia, Juanita and Laurel
After the picknick I hung out with an exchange student from Germany, Julia. I'd met her at the Welcome Days and we'd already talked before that. She lives around half an hour from my house. I showed her where I live and in the evening we went to my church together. That was because the church organized a big event for teenagers. There were all kinds of different activities and games, and even a frozen yogurt truck. We did Karaoke which was a lot of fun. A few days later I went to Julia's house and we rode on her host family's quad. It was the scariest thing ever but I really liked it!

Last week I also had my first Lacrosse practice. Yes, I'm going to play a sport! I've never played Lacrosse before and I don't know any of the rules, but we'll see how it goes. We're going to practice three times a week. It's mostly conditioning, which means exercising to get strong and ready for the games that start in the spring. What we've done so far is a lot of running, sprinting and muscle exercises. We haven't actually practiced with the Lacrosse sticks yet. I like it so far (even though it's really hard and tiring) and the girls in the team are great :)

For the people who don't know it, this is Lacrosse. It looks pretty scary but an exchange year is all about trying new things, right? :) 

Another thing I noticed at school is the Pledge of Allegiance. Every morning during the first period, everyone in the class has to stand up, face the American flag and put a hand on his/her heart. Then everyone says the sentence: 'I pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.'
As a non - American this is a really weird thing, because we have nothing like this in the Netherlands.  For the Americans it's totally normal though.

This weekend I went on a trip with my host family! We visited a beautiful city at the coast, called Charleston. It's around 3 hours driving from Greenville. The first thing we did was going to the beach to an island called 'Isle of Palms'. The weather was perfect (even a little hot) and the beach was really pretty. Obviously, there were a lot of palm trees. In the afternoon we went downtown to go shopping at King's Street. We ate at a seafood restaurant with a nice view on the water. The next morning we went to 'The Battery' which was an important place during the civil war. I loved visiting Charleston and I don't think I've ever seen so much palm trees in one city! It's definitely on my list of favorite places.

That's mostly what's been going on in my life! This week is spirit week which will end on Friday, so I'll definitely blog about that later. I hope everyone in the Netherlands is doing well, it's probably pretty cold there already. A thing I love about the south is the great weather, because it still feels like summer here ;) I miss everyone but I'm also happy to have the opportunity to be here. Hopefully I'll have time to blog again soon!