One day in London

Hi guys!

So this week, I got to go to London for one day! I was super excited because I LOVE London. I love the city life, the busy streets and the people that are too busy trying to get to work on time to even stop and wait for the traffic lights to turn green.

This trip was a school trip, but me and my friends decided to skip most of the activities school had planned for us and just go shopping instead.

Our trip started out Wednesday night at 11:30 PM, when our bus left Rotterdam. I basically slept the entire bus ride and only woke up in Calais to go through customs. We arrived in London at about 7:30 AM on Thursday. Needless to say that we were all pretty tired.

We started our day by getting breakfast at Starbucks near the tower bridge.

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After we had our breakfast, we had to hurry to get to the first activity school had planned, which was the old operating theatre. Some people may think visiting an old OR isn’t that interesting, but as I would love to become a scrub nurse one day, I loved hearing about how surgeries went back in the 1800’s. (spoiler alert: it wasn’t pretty).

After trying to find a place to eat near borough market (my friend REALLY wanted Mc Donalds) we decided to buy an underground ticket and go to Piccadilly circus. This was a little bit of a struggle, because our debit cards wouldn’t work on the ticket machines, but eventually we figured it out. After getting lost about a million times, we finally found a Mc Donalds near Piccadilly circus and had ourselves a nice lunch (we were starving).

The next challenge was finding Oxford street. We really wanted to go to the Lush store (honestly, if you ever find yourself in London, go to the Lush store on Oxford street). After walking around for what felt like 5 hours, we finally found Oxford street. We were ready to do some serious shopping, but after walking in to the first store, we realized we were way too tired to deal with the crowd. We did go to a few stores and I bought something at Lush, and new shoes at Stradivarius, but that was about it.

At about 4:30 PM we were done. We were too tired to even walk and we were starving (again). We decided to go to the neighborhood near the Big Ben and London eye and grab a nice supper. We ended up at an Italian restaurant called ‘Strada’ and sat there for at least two hours. The food was delicious.

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 After dinner, we didn’t really do much. We were too tired to do more sight seeing (even though I really wish we did, we just couldn’t) and we pretty much just waited till 9PM, because that was when our bus left to go back home.

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After not being in London for nearly three years, I had almost forgotten how much I love this city. Even though I was too tired to really enjoy this day, I was reminded of how much I love London, the culture and the English people in general, and I can’t wait to go back there.

Back to Minnesota

Hi guys!

I have some very exciting news to share with you!

Ever since I left Minnesota, I’ve wanted to go back. Even when I was still in St. Clair, I was telling my friends that my biggest dream was to come back during the spring and maybe even attend prom with my friends, who are now high school seniors.

Because I just moved out, I wasn’t sure if I was able to go back so soon. Obviously, flying to America is not very cheap, and since my spring break is in April, that does not give me a whole lot of time so save up for this trip, especially since the whole college, living on my own thing gets kind of expensive sometimes. I had been looking at ticket prices, but when I saw the prices I realized going back in April wasn’t going to be possible.

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This was at my American High School. It had the names of all the exchange students.

That was until my friend told me about IcelandAir. Now, I’m not actually going to fly to Minnesota with IcelandAir, but it’s that friend that made me think, maybe flying to Minneapolis doesn’t have to be as expensive as I thought.

That turned out to be true. I did look at IcelandAir flights, they were cheap, but not the cheapest I could find. When I realized flying from Amsterdam is waaaaay more expensive then flying from Dusseldorf (Germany), I decided to look up some flights from Dusseldorf. I ended up finding a very “cheap” flight, from Dusseldorf, with a layover in…. you guessed it, Amsterdam, to Minneapolis.

Even though I’m very excited to go back, this adventure is still a long ways away. My countdown app tells me it’s still 195 days away, and I know, those will be 195 very long days.

I’m 18

So today I turned 18. Which means I’m now officially an adult, even though according to the internet, some people never really reach adulthood.

So today me and my mom went do Den Bosch to do some shopping. Instead of shopping, there was a lot of waiting around for food and busses and other things, so my feet were pretty sore by the end of the day :’) .

After our little shopping trip, we went home to pick up the rest of the family to go out for supper, and oh my god. It was so good. We had Greek food and it was the best thing ever hahah.

Now that I’m 18 it’s time to go to college and find myself a place to live, so those are all plans for the very near future which I’m very very very excited about.

This was just a little update post, hope you are all having an amazing summer 🙂

Why do an Exchange year

Before and during my exchange year, the question “why?” came up a lot. To be completely honest, I never really knew. I just wanted to, that was the only reason I could think of. Now that I’m back, I could come up with a lot of reasons why someone should go on exchange.

First of all, you will find yourself. Before I went on exchange, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go next. While I was in America, I was on my own, and I had to work to get things done. There was no way for me to just ask my parents to do everything for me, so I was forced to grow up. You have to be though to get through an exchange year because it is harder than you might expect, but it is so worth it.

In addition to the way you will develop yourself, you will establish a whole different relationship with the people you leave behind. You will find out who are in your corner and you will appreciate the things you leave behind more. Like they say, you don’t really know what you have, until it’s gone.

I came home thinking that I would have nobody and that my friends would have forgotten about me already, but then they invited me to dinner, and to a birthday, and it was just as if I had never been gone, and that was the greatest feeling in the world.

The best thing that I got out of my exchange year, are the friends and family I gained. I might not see them everyday and I know it’s very possible that I won’t see them again for a very long time to come, but I know they’ll always be there, and that’s the best feeling in the world.

Going on exchange is hard. It may seem impossible and I can’t tell you how many times I almost picked up the phone to tell EF I was going home. But I fought my way through it, and looking back, it was the greatest year of my life and I would not change one thing about it.

Into The Woods

During my exchange year one of my friends convinced me to try out for the spring musical at our school. I wasn’t going to at first but later changed my mind and decided to just go for it.

That turned out to be the best decision I made all year.

I had so much fun during the whole process and I was so sad when it was over. It was an amazing experience and I’m so glad that I was able to be a part of it.

I know I’ve been back for a while and this play took place in March, but since this was my favorite part of my exchange year I wanted to share it with you guys. I absolutely loved being Rapunzel and I am so glad I got that part. I think that was the best part for me in this play and I will never forget this amazing experience. 2016-03-20 07.26.00

 

The entire thing is on Youtube. It is a 2,5 hour musical, so I would be impressed with you if you have the time and patience to sit through it.

Video: Evilien

During my exchange year in America, me and some friends had the crazy idea to produce our own little horror movie. Since I was going to be the antagonist in the movie and one of my friends always joked around by calling me ‘Evilien’, we decided that Evilien would be the name of our little short film.

It didn’t turn out all that scary, but it is funny and we had a blast filming it, so I thought I would share it as a little extra, enjoy!

I do recommend checking out Tyler Dardis’ youtube channel because he is an awesome filmmaker!

10x Packing tips for Exchange Students

You’re almost leaving for your exchange year, and you still haven’t started packing. What are you going to take with you and how is everything ever going to fit into your suitcase?

No worries, you’ll be fine! Here are 10 tips that will help you pack for your exchange.

1. Carry on luggage

Carry on luggage (usually) doesn’t have a weight limit, so it’s the perfect opportunity to fit some extra stuff. Just be careful not to put your liquids into your carry on luggage, but you can fit a loooooot of clothing in there.

2. Are you going to wear it?

If you never wear it in your home country, you’re not going to wear it in your host country. On the other hand, if you do wear it in your home country, you are going to wear it in your host country, so be sure to bring those items with you (so you don’t have to ask your mum to send it later on… 😉 )

3. Dress code

Depending on where you’re going, your school might have a dress code. My school did not allow us to wear shorts shorter than the knee, so I knew not to bring too many of those. Make sure to check if your school has a dress code before you start packing, this can save you a lot of room in your suitcase!

The dress code is usually listed on your school’s website, but you could always just contact your school or ask your host family!

4. Buy stuff there

You can buy a lot of stuff in your host country. Unless you have an introduction of any kind, you won’t have to pack shampoos, lotions, etc. If you do have some kind of introduction, just bring some travel sized products and that will be enough to get you through the introduction.

5. Think ahead

Are you going to be involved in any sports in your host country? Are you going to a cold area, or will you only be wearing shorts and tanks? Just keep things like that in mind while you’re packing and you might be able to leave some things out.

6. TSA locks

It’s always a good idea to lock your suitcase, but the airport staff might want to go through it. If you want to prevent them from breaking open your suitcase, you should buy a TSA lock, because a they will be able to open these!

7. Souvenirs 

Your host family decided to host because they are excited to learn something about your country, so it’s always a good idea to bring a little gift. A fun gift could be a book about your home country! Anything that represents your country will make them very happy.

8. Leave some empty space

No matter where you’re going, you are going to buy stuff once you get there. You will want to adjust to what people wear in your host country and by leaving some empty space in your suitcase, you will be able to fit in some of the stuff you buy.

9. Room decoration

After packing your clothes, you probably won’t have much room left in your suitcase, but it’s still a good idea to take something that will remind you of home. If you really don’t have any room left, you could just print some pictures to hang up in your room at your host family’s house.

10. Don’t stress

It’s okay if you can’t bring that one cute top, there’ll be plenty other cute tops to buy in your host country. You’re probably going to forget something in the stress of leaving for your exchange year, but that’s okay, you can buy almost anything once you get to your host country.

I know packing sounds impossible, but it’s really not all that hard and I’m sure you’ll be fine! Just have fun preparing for your exchange year, it will really be the time of your life!

 

 

Video: South Dakota

So, this is my last post for this series about my trip to South Dakota. I had a blast the entire trip, and I put a ton of pictures together in a little (again poorly made) video. (Me and iMovie really don’t get along). So, enjoy!

South Dakota (Part 3)

Hi guys !

This will be the written last post in my South Dakota series, as the next post will be a video about our trip to South Dakota. In this part, we will travel past South Dakota, to see Devils Tower in Wyoming!

Day 5

On day 5 we went to Wyoming to see Devils Tower. We weren’t going to go at first, but as we didn’t know what else to do this day we planned this little day trip to Wyoming, and I’m glad we did! It was about an hour drive from Belle Fourche to Devils tower, and it was so worth it! I think Devils Tower was one of the prettiest things we saw on our trip.
We were lucky that it was June, because they ask climbers not to climb the tower in June, because the Indians don’t like people climbing it. This way, we had a perfect view of the tower without climbers!

We did a short trail around the tower and we had lunch at a little picnic spot near Devils Tower. After lunch we started our trip back to South Dakota. We decided to head straight to Wall, so it was a long drive there. We took a quick look at the badlands and then we went to our hotel.

That night we drove back to a lookout spot in the badlands to watch the sunset, and it was gorgeous. There were a lot of goats that live in the badlands and they all came out so we could see them.

Day 6

This was our last day in South Dakota. We spent a big part of the day in the badlands and drove through pretty much the entire area, which was awesome. We did some short trails while we were there, but it was too hot to do a lot of walking.

The badlands were so gorgeous and it was so awesome to see the difference between the badlands and the area surrounding the badlands because there is such a difference. I would definitely recommend the area. Just don’t forget your sunscreen…

As I said, this is my last written post in the South Dakota series, the next post will be a short video with a ton of pictures. I really hope you enjoyed seeing my pictures and reading what we did in South Dakota. It was so gorgeous out there and I would totally go back if I had the chance.

South Dakota (Part 2)

As I told you in my last post, this post will include the most exciting thing we did in South Dakota.

Donkeys.

Day 3

At about 10 in the morning we drove to Custer State park, to drive through the Wildlife Loop. We were fully prepared, we went to a little supermarket to buy carrots.

Sadly, we went too late. Most animals were already out in the woods where we couldn’t see them. We did see a lot of buffalo though, which was really awesome.

After seeing the buffalo, we finally saw what we (I) came for. The Donkeys! I don’t think I need to give any further explanation, just look at the pictures.

After the Wildlife Loop, we went to Needles highway, which was gorgeous. We stopped at a lot of amazing viewpoints and drove through there very tiny tunnels. The one thing we didn’t see, was the Needles Eye…

After not seeing the Needles Eye, we decided to go see Mount Rushmore. I spend most of my time trying to figure out which state was the first one to be admitted to the Union, but seeing the actual sculpture was very impressive.

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After hanging out at Mount Rushmore for a little bit we went to Keystone for supper. After Keystone, we decided to do the Iron Mountain road, and as Iron Mountain Highway would go right into the Wildlife loop, we decided to go see the donkeys one more time.

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Iron Mountain road gives you a great view of Mount Rusmore!

Day 4

New day, new chances. So, off we went, determined to see the Needles Eye. It was a little bit of a search, but in the end it turned out to be right in front of our faces.

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After seeing the Needles Eye we went on a little hike, which was gorgeous, just like everything in the black hills, and after that we went to bear country.

I was very excited to go to bear country, but to be honest, it was a bit of a disappointment. Not all animals were there and the park was very small. The baby bears were adorable though.

After Bear Country we did some shopping in Rapid City, and we continued our trip to Belle Fourche. In the next post, we’ll travel past South Dakota, so stay tuned for that.