More than fitting.



Adios, Goodbye, Dui, Au Revoir. No matter how you say it, it still sucks.


I hate goodbyes. I am the most awkward person at saying goodbye, even if it is a simple farewell after dinner. This week I have been bombarded with bidding adieus and it has been a mixture of awkward, sadness, and excitement.

My last days at Calvijn went by faster than I thought. One moment it was the beginning of the week the next I was giving my last lessons. I always like to end my time with students by doing something fun and clearly signifying an end with words of wisdom. To avoid the awkwardness saying goodbye makes me feel, I wrote my farewell and wisdom in a letter to the students. I then had the students sign a Dutch flag, for my future classroom, and gave them candy since candy is the only way a child will remember an adult. I was surprised that in return I received cards thanking me and wishing me a Merry Christmas. I also received a candle that says in Dutch something about being a good teacher (I forgot the translation and the candle is now packed away so I cannot Google translate). The candle and cards made me feel so accomplished. The fact that these students took the time to give me something or write kind words on my flag made me feel incredibly happy. It’s hard to tell what students think of you when they moan and groan and sleep through class, but at the end it felt good to know they enjoyed my teaching.

Some things that the students wrote on my flag:
“I’m gonna miss you”
**The only time I will accept “gonna” in an English classroom.
“Don’t forget us.”
“You will/are an awesome teacher.”
“I had a funny time.”
**I think he meant fun.
“You should come back and teach us.”
“You are a great teacher.”
“Good luck”
“Success”
** This saying very Dutch to just say the word.
“Thank you”
“Soyonara”
**I think this is a mixture of languages.
And my favorite, “Laugh everyday.”

I will honestly miss my students! I had such a wonderful time teaching them. I faced many challenges but grew so much from conquering them. Most importantly this experience further confirmed that teaching is the career for me. I want to be in the classroom everyday and so my job search begins, after the holidays of course. I may not know where I will get hired or when I will be teaching my own class, but I know that it will come sooner or later and for now I just need to keep a positive attitude or keep playing Christmas music when hunting through the want ads, it really brightens the mood!

Besides saying goodbye to my students I have had to say, adios to a few friends. The hardest part about making friends here is that there is no way of telling when we will meet again. I am deeply sad about this but am so grateful to have met and spent time with all of them! And luckily, facebook allows international friends to keep in touch faster than snail mail.

To cheer my sad self up from all these goodbyes, I took a trip to The Hague. The Hague is “the beach town” and it most certainly lifted my spirits. I forgot how much I simply love the beach and sea. Even though it was freezing out, grey, and raining I had such a lovely time walking in the sand and letting the mesmerizing waves erase my worries. I wish I had visited The Hague at the beginning of my trip so I could fully enjoy this beach in the sun. Oh well!

It’s absolutely crazy to think I have been here for four months. The time went faster than it takes a college student to leave campus after the last final.

And so, I will embark on one last trip before returning home for the holidays. Austria will be the perfect transition before arriving in America and experiencing reverse culture shock.

Dui!
image
8th graders. It’s flu season, I clearly am a germ-a-phob.

image 
7th graders
image 
Angelia group. 
image 
7th graders.
image 
Ahh the lovely sea!
image 
Hey Zach Brown, I got my boots in the sand… Life is good today. ;)


The Magic of Sinterklaas.


Sinterklaas begins in late November and starts when Sinterklaas himself arrives on a boat from Spain. Sinterklaas is similar to Santa Clause but is dressed in clothes that more resemble a pope, very holy. Families take their little kids to welcome him at the port and are festively dressed in either Sinterklaas or zwarte piet attire. Sinterklaas stays in Holland till December 6th, where he leaves gifts in good little kids shoes. He leaves candy, gifts, pepernotens (little gingerbread cookies), and poems. Zwarte piet delivers these gifts by coming down chimneys. If the kids are naughty, Zwarte piet scoops them up puts them in the sack and takes them back to Spain with them. No kid wants to go to Spain so they try extra hard during Sinterklaas to be good.

Zwarte piet, translation Black Pete, are Sinterklaas’s helpers similar to Santa Clause’s elves. People not familiar with the tradition of Sinterklaas, such as Americans, often believe that zwarte piets reflect racist ideas. They view the zwarte piets as slaves to the white man, Sinterklaas. However this is a misconstrued view. Zwarte piets are happy little helpers who just happen to be full of soot from delivering gifts. They can’t help it that the chimneys are dirty. They are not trying to offend anyone it’s just a dirty job. J

The stores all over Holland are festively decorated and toy stores have mile long lines. Schools have decorations up as well, and have plenty of activities for the children.

I was asked to visit a middle school near my school so the students could practice their English. They excitedly told me about Sinterklaas and gave me pepernotens. They were adorable. They also explained surprises, which is similar to a Secret Santa exchange in America. Students secretly pick from a lottery, another classmate then they have to make a gift for that student. The gift has to reflect the student’s personality and there also must be a poem. How cute! I have always hated Secret Santa’s because I never received a good gift. I distinctly remember in 2nd grade receiving socks and chapstick. I think I would have enjoyed surprises more because they are hand made and thoughtful. Plus if you didn’t receive a crafty gift at least you still have a poem, which has more thought in it than chapstick and socks.

Of course the holiday’s main target are children but there are of course adult activities. This weekend the couch surfing community hosted a Sinterklaas weekend with tons of activities. I attended the dinner and main party. In the spirit of the holiday Meghan, Vanessa, and I decided to paint our faces black, throw on a zwarte piet hat, and show up at the party in style. We were the only three dressed up and therefore the highlight of the night. We stood out like a sore thumb but we looked festively fantastic. It was such a joyous holiday evening!

Sadly, the weekend came to a terrible end. Too top off the end of the weekend blues the bears lost in overtime and I received another rejection letter to a job I applied too. Luckily, my spirits were lifted today! No Monday blues here! It was my last lesson with one of my classes. By no means was I excited it was the last lesson but the fact so many students came up to me after class to shake my hand and compliment my teaching left me feeling accomplished. They were one of my favorite classes and I will miss them so! Oh parting is such sweet sorrow.

After school I came home and as I was eating a snack I saw something in my shoes. Sinterklaas left me chocolate, a gift, and a poem! I cheerfully opened the present and it was a zwarte piet doll. I have been looking all over for one in the stores but I have not been able to find one. Ah, I am so happy! Sinterklaas (my host Patty), found the perfect gift. J I truly have the kindest hosts.

So all and all, I love Sinterklaas! It is such a wonderful holiday that brightens up the dull, grey, dark, cold, winter days and nights. I will most certainly be celebrating this in my future no matter what country I am in.

Proost!


zwarte piets <3


Pepernotens not to be mistaken for kibbles and bits.


My juniors, I am going to miss them!

 
What Sinterklaas left me :) 


The Future Freaks Me Out

And so my final days here in Rotterdam begin… 25 days!! It’s unreal! My mind can’t fathom the idea that in a few weeks I have to say goodbyes, stuff everything into my suitcase, and head home into my unknown future. Don’t get my wrong, I am very excited to be home for the holidays and all but the idea of not having a secure job yet FREAKS ME OUT. Ah, post grad worries. I must keep Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” on repeat in my head. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LanCLS_hIo4

Besides the time winding down here I am still the same, very happy and busy. This weekend I got a lot of work done and went yet again, to Amsterdam. I went with my friend Li and we met up with his friends for a birthday celebration! It was so much fun. Even the fact that we had to take a bus back home, due to the trains not running, did not get my sprits down. I did arrive back home at 6 am though, oh the joys of traveling! My favorite part of the night was watching a local band play. It wasn’t even really a band, just two guys playing classic American songs. They were so good and the atmosphere was so comforting. It was in a tiny old pub. The two guys played in front of a window that looked out to the street which was teeming with bustling tourists. It was so cozy to be inside singing and swaying to the music. 

Teaching today was quite fun as well. I continued some Thanksgiving lessons and in another class had students do impromtu speeches. I forgot how nervous some students get when they have to speak in front of others. I am so glad those nerve racking days are over for me. I will say it is exciting to be on the other side coaching the students. I was truly impressed with some of the their speeches. 

I have a lot more exciting lessons this week, starting Narnia and The Christmas Carol! Hopefully the week flies by because Meghan is coming to visit for the Sinterklaas weekend. Couch surfing has events all weekend to celebrate the holiday! Very excited and in such a holiday mood!

Cheers! 


Gobblin’ about Thanksgiving

Boy oh boy, I thought last week I was busy! Now that the semester is coming to an end the stress is just beginning! The end of the semester is always exciting, overwhelming, and stressful I realized no matter where I am in the world.



Besides the stress I am extremely homesick this week, Thanksgiving!! I thought teaching lessons on Thanksgiving all week would cheer me up but it has only made me crave mashed potatoes, turkey, and black Friday shopping. I will say though I do enjoy showing students YouTube videos of the shopping madness. They are so baffled that Americans stand in line till the wee hours and then stampede into the store like a bunch of wild animals only to get a TV on sale. I understand their viewpoint of us Americans, Black Friday proves we are an extremely consumeristic  society and a bunch of idiots fighting over Tickle me Elmos. However, nothing beats that rush of running into a store, grabbing a cart, and completing your shopping list by 9:00 A.M.

Thanks to F.D.R’s decision of moving Thanksgiving up a week, to help boost the economy during the great depression, we Americans can proudly celebrate Black Friday. The reason behind Franksgiving is more substantial than Thanksgiving itself. The story of Thanksgiving is all but a myth, yet such a tasty one. 

So yes from the viewpoint of Europeans Thanksgiving is one giant lie about a “peaceful” feast and a ploy to jump-start the Christmas season, but I love it so. I suppose I will stuff myself silly on Thursday with mashed potatoes, watch Thanksgiving specials online, and get some Dudok’s apple pie; so not all celebration is lost. 

Enjoy your Holiday!! Luckily, I will be home for Christmas though. :)
 



Feeling a bit like a Native American this year ;) 


Too Many Puppies


Busy, is too small of a word to describe my past week and a half! I have been swamped, but of course in a positive way. I will try to catch up and blog more this week!

Last Saturday I went to see my host, Patty’s, band play. It was 60’s through late 90’s dance party. It was fantastic! People dressed up from all eras. I dressed as a flower power hippie! (Found a dress for only 5 Euros!) Vanessa and I danced the night away in a sea of a much older crowd. Patty’s band was by far the best, belting out American oldies. The band radiated so much energy that it was impossible to stop dancing! It was a great night.

Sunday came around which meant lesson planning and preparing for the week. It was a fun filled week at school because kids were so excited about the Election on Tuesday and of course the results. I thought it would be strange being in another country on such an important day for America, nope the students made me feel right at home. All day students came up to me to talk about the election. Wednesday when students saw me in the hall all I heard was OBAMA!!  I was shocked to see their excitement and hear some of their responses when asked why they like Obama. A lot of the younger students had well educated answers. Some definitely follow American politics more then I do.  My favorite response however was, “I like Obama because he’s black and cool.” J

On Wednesday my cooperating teacher had me over for dinner. It was so lovely! We had a nice dinner of tacos along with other traditional Dutch food. I had a raw haring (fish), and ate it the Dutch way of holding the tail up. I also had oillenbollens, which are fried pastries with raisins in them. They are so delicious yet so filling and fried. There are stands everywhere now where you can get them fresh. The stands pop up during the holiday season. Back in the old days people who were working outside would eat the greasy balls to keep them warm. For the many people who don’t work outside now, they just add calories to the waistline.

The rest of the school week went well. Due to my mispronunciation of my student’s names, with the suggestion from my teacher, I gave them English names. They loved it! They think our names are so funny and strange. One student’s name is Hicham, I gave him the name Harry. He laughed so hard. I am glad they enjoyed it, because it is so much easier for me now.

Friday finally came around and my friend from Spain came to Rotterdam. I finally had the opportunity to show off “my” city. We had a wonderful time. We cycled in the park, had kapsalon, Dudok’s apple pie, went dancing, had dinner with my Chinese friend, and did some shopping in Delft. One of our bikes broke down, and yes we actually fixed it! I can’t fix anything, we are quite proud and feel a little Dutch when we had success fixing the bike. 

When we were out dancing, we heard the funniest song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2zQKqgNAeE

Listen and laugh. :) We couldn’t get it out of our heads, especially since we saw so many puppies while cycling in the park.


It is so nice to keep busy, as the days here turn grey. It helps beat the winter blues! It is truly sad to think my time here is almost over. I know the time will fly by because my weeks are filled already! I am soon teaching Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol, SinterKlass is approaching, and I am ending my stay here in Austria!


Crazy, no?

kapsalon!!

Cycling in fall!


Sun!


Fall Break

Wow, does time fly by! I need a vacation from my vacation. Autumn break was spectacular.  

I started off the break doing touristy things here in Rotterdam. We went on the pancake boat, which was phenmonal. The boat is an all you can eat pancake resturant that goes around the harbor for one hour. I never consumed such delicious pancakes. These are by no means like American pancakes, they are more like crepes, very thin. My favorite ones were the bacon pancakes. They press bacon right into the pancake and then you can add any toppings you want. The bacon of course was the best with the fresh Dutch cheese. Mmmm. The weather during the week was warm and sunny so I got a lot of cycling in at the parks here. The trees were beautiful. They reminded me how much I love fall!

After a few days here in Rotterdam, I traveled over to Cologne, Germany to visit Meghan. The main attraction in Cologne is the Dom. This cathedral is absolutely massive. I have seen pictures before but they just do not do justice to actual size of this monster. The lover’s lock bridge was also wonderful to see. Couples come to the bridge to put a lock with thier names on it, then throw the key over the bridge. From the amount of locks on the bridge I can only imagine the Rhine river and the fish are stuffed with keys. Cologne is also known for thier light beer, Kölsch. I was quite disappointed, I thought it was pretty terrible. Oh well, I suppose I will have to travel to a different city in Germany to experience a good German beer. ;) My Oma would be proud, I did eat a ton of weiner schnizel while in Germany. The best I had was at a resturant that added a creamy red pepper sauce. Ohhh it was so delicious!

After Germany I headed home for a day then went straight to Amsterdam, again. The weekend was filled with Halloween parties, which I just had to celebrate. It is one of my favorite holidays and I was feeling a bit homesick not being at EIU. But Amsterdam definelty made up for it. It was extremely interesting to see how another country celebrated Halloween. Halloween is just starting to catch on here, so mainly it is only celebrated in big cities, like Amsterdam. Being on a traveling budget, I opted for a cheap pair of Minnie Mouse ears for my costume. When shopping for my fabulous costume, I already started to notice the cultural differences. First of all I had to wait in a line for 15 minutes just to get into the shop. Everything in Amsterdam is ridicoulsy small so the shop only let in a certain number of customers at a time. In Amercia we use giant empty buildings to supply our Halloween needs, there is no long line necesarry. Not only do companies rent out buildings, but there are a number of Halloween stores to choose from. In Amsterdam there was about 2 to pick from. When at the Halloween party I noticed the costumes were different from America, as well. Kids in America like to dress in scary costumes and adults like to make thier costumes sexy. Any character or costume you can think of in America can be turned into a slutly, sexy, version such as Harry Potter. These sexy costumes entail wearing less and showing more, which is idoitic since it is always freezing at the end of October. In Amsterdam this was not the case. As I looked around I could barely find anyone who made thier costume sexy. There were zombies fully clothed, vampires with full capes with blood everywhere, and nurses that were not sexy but extremely scary carrying fake needles. It was like being in a haunted house but everyone was dancing instead of trying to scare you. I feel that is how halloween should be, fully clothed, scary, and filled with dancing.

My Halloween weekend in Amsterdam sadly ended my break, and I had to head back to school. Man, if I thought returning from a break as a student was hard, returning as a teacher is worse! It was difficult to get back into the swing of things, as it was for the students. It has been a long week of planning and teaching but I had the opportunity to squeeze in a Halloween lesson. :) Luckily, tomorrow is Friday and I can try and relax. I am still so exhausted from break. Oh! I found the cherry beer I had in Brussels, here in Rotterdam and I could not be any happier. :) I hope your Halloweens were filled with pumpkin carving, carmel apples, candy, and scary movies! (I missed out on those)

Cheers!

 

Gorgeous!

 

Dutch pancakes.. MMM!

 

Lover’s Lock Bridge.

 

Schnitzel <3


T.G.I.F

Brief update on last weekend. After the certificate ceremony and school dance on Friday, I met up with a friend and got soaking wet by the lovely rain. Saturday I worked on my lesson plans, went to a street festival, and then went to the cliche party! I of course represented America in my Chicago Bears gear and brought Doritos and Oeros! I met so many people from all over! We had great laughs at everyones cliches. After the party I caved in to my craving and ordered some tasty kapsalon. It was the perfect ending to such a wonderful night.

And now for my week! It was the final week before autumn break and the students were just as restless as the teachers. It was a successful teaching week for me. I taught persuasive writing and The Second Shepherd’s Play. Both lessons went swimmingly well. I had the students act out the play and it was fantastic! We had a lot of fun. More classes got added to my schedule so I started teaching them this week. These classes also went well! I did a lesson on America and the kids loved it. My teacher also gave me positive feedback saying I’m very enthusiastic and have a great sense of humor. The students were asking for me the next day. I am very excited to have a new string of classes and work with these students.

It is now the start of fall break and the weather couldn’t be any better! It’s a beautiful, warm, sunny, fall day. I am going to take advantage of this weather and go cycle my excitement away in the park. I have a feeling this break is going to be the best! :) 

Dui!

 

Merica!

 
Cliches from around the world! :)

 

He made my kapsalon.. I wanted a picture. 


 


Culture Shock Gripes

Who is Robbie Williams? 
I delivered a lesson where the students had an activity to complete in their workbook. It was a simple crossword puzzle on the terms from the excerpt we just read in class. Then there were come other terms that were popular in the culture. One of the answers was Robbie Williams. When going over the answers, I admitted to the students I do not know whom this Robbie Williams is. In shock they responded, “WHAT!! You don’t know who Robbie Williams is?!?!” All they could do was explain he was a famous singer from London. A few days later, I was working with my other cooperating teacher and asked him who Robbie Williams was. I then got a whole lesson on famous European musicians. Robbie Williams, to me, is Neil Diamond to Americans. He sings cheesy, happy, love songs. He is a very loved singer in all of Europe and is known for his great interaction with his crowd. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luwAMFcc2f8

^ Watch if you never want to get caught in a, “You don’t know who Robbie Williams is, situation.”
My teacher’s enthusiasm for European rock stars increased, as he realized I knew nothing. We spent our free period rocking out to the oldies and laughing at the cheesy videos. This video is actually about Rotterdam. It’s extremely corny! It’s great!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onKrpUeocUk
I suppose I was shocked that there are other countries with their own music scene, typical American thought. Most of other countries music stars makes it over to mainstream America, but there are some great small ones who don’t.

Public Restrooms in Europe.
I experienced this bathroom conundrum when I was in England, two summers ago, and have been completely reminded how frustrating, annoying, and ridiculous public restrooms in Europe are. First off, you have to pay to use them. The minimum is 40 cents most are usually 50 cents. It may not sound a lot, but when you are traveling, and like any human being have to use the bathroom frequently, it adds up. I do not find this problem in Rotterdam, however in Amsterdam and Brussels I paid a small fortune to respond to the calls of nature. It truly sucks because you have to be conscious of your coins. It is necessary, when traveling, to always make sure you have the correct amount of change for a bathroom visit, otherwise you’re screwed. Most bathrooms will give you change, some will not. It is always important to be prepared! Besides the fee, bathrooms in Europe are, I swear to you, hidden. They are always in the most inconvenient locations. I have hiked up three flights of stairs in fast food restaurants, I have squeezed through windy narrow stairs, and I have had to walk miles just to discover a public restroom. It truly is a journey to feel relieved.

Ice and Water
Ice is the equivalent of finding bathrooms in Europe, actually it’s worse because it’s non-existent. If you order a water there is no ice; if you order a pop it comes to you luke warm with no floating, frozen, cubes. Okay, so I order a smoothie there HAS to be ice in a smoothie… NOPE. They make smoothies iceless. I did find the holy grail of ice though. I ordered a 5 euro cocktail, and there filled to the brim was ice. There was so much ice it was almost impossible anything else was in there. The one time I don’t need as much ice I get it, go figure. Water is another thing that drives me crazy here, it’s not free. They do not give you complimentary water. I suppose paying for water here evens out my drink intake at home, since water is all I drink with a meal. Someone really needs to show these Europeans how to make ice!


24 hour time

"I will meet you at your place at 20:00." What?! Gah, let me count from 12:00, to figure out what you mean by 20:00. Barely anyone uses the time we Americans are used to. I feel like I am in the military. I am awful at math, so I have not yet mastered this clock. I got down that 15:00 is 3:00, and I kind of go from there. I am always counting and always getting confused. I have to double check most of the times to make sure I got the right time. I changed my clock on my phone to 24-hour time to get used to it. It is not helping, I had to change it back after I got confused when the time was 00:10. To me it seems silly to have a 00:00 hour. What time doesn’t exist? 

Metric System
Like I said, I am horrible at math, even the simplest math tasks I cannot master. So of course, I am in a country where the metric system is used. Oh wait the metric system is used in every country but AMERICA? OF COURSE! I did not think this would be an issue, it definitely is. I have given up on following recipes on the back of boxes because they are all in a foreign milliliters or a strange gram measurement. I never know the temperature unless I look it up; 18 degrees Celsius is not the freezing cold I am used to in Chicago. And when someone says, “Oh, it’s just about 15 kilometers,” I cannot imagine the distance between the two places. When someone says the temperature or distance, I always ask what that is in Fahrenheit or miles, but no one knows. They do not learn our American way of measuring, they just laugh at how were the only country who has their own system. Go Patriotism? 



Closing Times

In good ole America, stores are usually open till 21:00, or 9:00 P.M. I never have to worry about time because something is always open especially Wal-Mart. Here in Europe that is not the mindset. Grocery stores close early and do not open till later in the afternoon on Sundays. At first, I was all over the place. I was going to celebrate a birthday with a friend and figured I would grab a something sweet and some wine on my way over, at 8:00. I cheerfully bike over to the store on my way out, nope closed. So I tried other bakeries, they too are closed. It was quite frustrating, but now I feel that I manage my time better and am more prepared with these early closings.

 I never thought I would miss Wal-Mart.

Profanity in Class

In one lesson, I had the students work on creating an ending to a story. I gave them the first half of Ronald Dahl’s short story, “Lamb to the Slaughter” (Read it, it’s fantastic). I cut the story off after the man says to his wife, “We have to have a talk.” I then let the student’s imaginations run free. When they completed their stories, I asked them to share. The first group went and my jaw dropped. Their story went something like this: The man told the women he had cheated on his wife with her brother, and that they were going to have a baby. It was not told like this however, it was told in dialogue filled with profanity. The F word was used, the A word, the B word, hell just about every terrible swear word. I panicked as each of these words continuously came out of the student’s mouths. I looked at my cooperating teacher in the back for support, but he was laughing. Okay, clearly this language is accepted here. It was strange, but I felt a sigh of relief knowing I did not have to expel or punish these students. When they were done reading, I simply responded, “Wow, that was some colorful language. Although, in that type of situation I suppose I would use those words too.” I asked the remaining groups to share, and what do you know their endings were filled with even more swears, and even some brutal violent deaths and fights with the use of food. (Which ironically foreshadows the ending). My cooperating teacher just kept laughing and was not phased by this language. After the lesson he commented on my “colorful language” statement, explaining that in Holland they use swears in everyday life, so it is okay in the right setting to use them in school. What a difference from America, all of these students would have received an F, or some type of harsh punishment; got to love the land of the free.

Teacher Shock (being on the other side of the classroom)
I have most certainly experienced this before but it still makes me laugh every time I encounter it. Texting in from your purse is not sly at all; it is actually the most obvious way to send a text in class. For goodness sake cell phones came out in my generation, we invented texting from a purse and all those other “sneaky” ways to text during class. This one girl was fixated on her purse during an activity I was helping out with. It was the most annoying thing ever and she looked so ridiculous. Nothing in your purse can be that entertaining. Now that I am on the other side, I understand all my previous teacher’s rants on texting during class, and I formally apologize.

Last night I had to help out with the Angelia certificate ceremony. This was my first time helping out with an extracurricular, and man it is a lot of work! I had to decorate the room, take pictures of the kids, collect and count the votes for the contest, and then of course clean up. I am so used to sitting in such ceremonies without a realization of how much work gets put into them. It was worth it though the students truly enjoyed their spotlight moment. One student even asked to take a picture with me; she made my night. My cooperating teacher gave me three roses for helping out and they are beautiful! After the ceremony the students had a school party for the 8th graders, freshmen, and sophomores (A.K.A the kiddy party). It takes place in the nice cafeteria area and it is what we would consider a school dance, minus the all the fancy dressing up. They had a D.J. and it was weird to see the students dancing. Again, I am so used to being on the dance floor it made me feel very old being on the side of the chaperon. It was extremely nice though to see all the students running around having fun and worrying about the opposite sex. Ahh, I miss those days. 

Cheers! 


Hi I’m Stacy, and I am a kapsalon addict.

Another quick week in Rotterdam!

Monday was a rough start to the week. I had to teach a lesson to four classes where I have not taught in before. For the most part it went well. The first three classes were a bit chatty but I was able to control them and they understood the lesson and activity. I was actually quite surprised at what some students came up with; their ideas were great! The last class however, was miserable. The period starts at 4:00, yes 4:00 in the afternoon. From a student’s perspective, that is a ridiculously long day and too late to be in a classroom. Student’s attention spans no longer exist at such an hour. So, the students talked through the whole lesson, gave me no respect, and did not do the activity correctly. Besides it being such a late hour, it was difficult to get the students to listen to me because they do not listen to their teacher. Classroom management ceases to exist in this class. It is extremely difficult to step into a classroom where the original teacher is not respected, therefore through the transitive property, I am treated the same. Even though this lesson was frustrating, loud, and migraine inducing, I learned a lot. Next time this occurs I am just stopping the lesson and going to have a back up “punishment activity” such as grammar exercises or writing. The lessons I have been doing with the students have been more on the fun side, because my only objective is to get them to practice their English by speaking. Now I know to take away the “fun” when the students give me no respect. I have to be Miss Mean! ;)

Tuesday there was a teacher outing at school. We went about forty minutes away from Rotterdam to the country. It was beautiful and the sun was shining! There were three options for activities and I chose the wine tasting. We biked about 20 minutes to a nearby vineyard. It was really neat to see all the grapes on the vines. The tasting was a bit disappointing; the guide talked too much and there was not enough tasting. Of course the man talked in Dutch so I was bored the majority of the time. A really nice teacher took me under her wing and translated for me. She was very sweet. She too was bored and thought the guy talked too much. The majority of the group agreed.  My favorite wine I tasted though was an apple cider. It was delicious and so fresh!

The rest of the week went like clockwork then it was finally Friday! Friday night I went out with my friend from Austria and her friend from school. We went to a fashion night event at a pub. It was really fun! We ended the night with our usual trip to a late night food place, Jaffa. I decided to try kapsalon. Kapsalon is always talked about among the locals and non-locals. It met the high expectations it was amazingly delicious. It is a dish where the bottom is a layer of fries, smothered in cheese, topped with a cucumber yogurt sauce mixed with some doner (lamb), and is covered with lettuce. It is almost like a gyro without the pita. It’s Turkish, and I am addicted. Saturday night on my way home I got some kapsalon to go. It’s very dangerous because there are late night places everywhere that make kapsalon and you just smell the wonderful scent in the air all the time!

Before I got the kapsalon Saturday, I went to the market got a pumpkin and another Turkish dish. It was a baked potato filled with cucumber sauce and doner meat. It was so fresh and delicious! Perfect comfort food. Later that night, I went and met up with some couchsurfers. It was a great time and I met some nice people. I even got invited to a cliché dinner next weekend, where everyone brings a dish from their own country. I can’t wait! Now I must decide what American dish to make!

Today I went cycling in the park because it was such a nice sunny day. And plus I had to work off all that kapsalon somehow. ;) Now time to prepare for tomorrow and make a lesson!

Cheers!

Dutch vineyard 

Stylin’

Kapsalon

Turkish potato

Sunny Sunday biking in the park!