Friday, November 11, 2011
Today was my first time in the Netherlands and it was not only great, but truly special because I shared it with some of my closest friends. Ana, Odette, Jacqueline, a girl from Ecuador, and I all went to a festival where everyone wore strange, colorful costumes. I imagine that these people are over enthusiastic about their costumes because its like their Halloween. No one in Europe celebrates Halloween as Americans do. I really wanted to dress up for Halloween this year and go "trick or treating" but its not a strong tradition in Europe; even though the holiday originated here. Luckily, we randomly found some free hats and wore them all day long. None of us wore costumes but we fit right in. I guess our crazy hats drew other peoples attention because as we were eating our lunch while sitting on a bench, an unknown, english women came up to us and wanted to take our photo. After many photos and much conversing she left and was never to be seen again. We had many conversations with random people but its a great experience to talk about the culture of Netherlands with these strangers. Surprisingly, when I tried to speak french no one understood. People speak excellent english and Dutch in the Netherlands and practically no french. It only took me 2 hours to travel across the country and I already arrived in a different country with a different language. Europe is truly the most complicated and refreshing continent in the world. Anyway, we ate lots of waffles and did alot of shopping (like usual). My foreign exchange friend, Jacqueline, told me that she felt at home during our stay at the faire because she celebrates the same holiday in Switzerland. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for her to live so close to her family and yet not be able to see them. In the end all the foreign exchange students are in the same boat. We all miss our familys and friends but we also are having a fantastic time in Europe.