Olivia, outbound to Netherlands

Vijf maanden. Het is echt gek. Five months. I think time doesn't have the same meaning as it used to. Five months feels like a day but also years. I have grown so much since I arrived. The scared girl who stepped off the plane at Schipol Airport is long gone. People are always asking me how exchange is going. I try my best to explain but it doesn't always work.

So far this year has been amazing. Trying, definitely hard, completely exhausting but most of all amazing. Though I don't think that word quite describes it. Like I said its quite difficult to explain (also my English is suffering so could just be bad vocabulary). My highs are high. But my lows are low. I'm always exhausted, in the best kind of way, and you wouldn't believe the amount of people and names I have to try my best to remember, and pronounce correctly,.. and then there's learning a language.. which is quite hard when everyone REALLY wants to show you how good their English is, but I’d say I’m doing a pretty good job.

I just moved in with my third host family. Time is going way too quickly. I got to celebrate some Dutch holidays, (including another day of Christmas???), Sinter Maarten, really similar to Halloween but you have to sing for candy and you make lanterns instead of dressing up, and Sinter Klaas, who fills your shoes with candy. I’m also really starting to love the Dutch culture, even the biking.. Although it’s much more enjoyable when I’m not running late to school. I am getting pretty good at the 45 min bike ride to school, but not gonna lie I do still get extremely jealous when I see someone pass by on a scooter especially if it’s raining, snowing, hailing or when I’m being knocked over by the extremely hard wind.

There’s so much I love about this place. I love the cheese and hagel slag (chocolate sprinkles you eat on bread), I love the crazy indecisive weather that always keeps you on your toes, I love the history, the peace and beauty of the land, the Dutch obsession with cheese, art and water but what makes this place so perfect is all of it put together and mixed with some really awesome people. It really does feel like home.