A Semester in Prague: Week 4

Whoops, these posts are getting later and later in the week. Time is flying by here in Prague though! I can’t believe I’ve already been here for a month! I’ve never been outside of the US for this long and while I’m enjoying my time immensely, all the comforts of home are starting to creep up on me. Classes keep me somewhat busy and my weekend adventures definitely keep my traveling spirit alive.

Tuesdays are always my longest, yet most enjoyable day of the week for one simple reason — my culinary class. I’m a huge fan of cooking and signing up for a Czech culinary class might have been the best decision I have made thus far on my trip. Each week we make a three course dinner for each other, consisting of soup, an entree, and the most delicious desserts. I’m starting to think that I should dedicate an entire post each week to what we make in this class, sharing each recipe so that I can remember them in the future as well. This week we made roasted onion soup, sausage and sauerkraut strudel, and a classic apple strudel. Its so interesting to learn new techniques and to learn our teacher’s family recipes.

The rest of the week flew by and before I new it I was packing my bags and boarding a plane to Eindhoven. It was so refreshing to know that I was flying to a familiar place where they spoke a (somewhat) familiar language and seeing some of my favorite people— my Dutch family. I took four friends to the Netherlands with me and was well and prepared to be their official Dutch tour guide!

We arrived late at night and my uncle, Luc and cousin, Daan came to the airport to pick us up. A few minutes later we were “home” and settled. We had a few drinks in the blokhut, played some games, and chatted until the wee hours of the morning. It was a fun way for my cousin to meet my friends and they got a bit of a taste of my family as well.

The next morning my friends slept in while I made my way to Bergeijk to pick up my Dutch passport!! After the stressful fiasco that was trying to get a visa for the Czech Republic, I was so glad to officially be a part of the EU. Holding that passport was like a giant weight lifted off of my shoulders.

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The rest of the day was spent playing cards, exploring Boxtel and the Friday morning market, and visiting Oma. It was fun to show my friends around a town that I am so familiar with and I gained a new appreciation for Boxtel and the childhood days I spent there. I consider my Dutch heritage to be a huge part of who I am and it was fun to get to share that with my friends. We ended the evening with the typical Friday meal of frietjes and kroketten and a long night of endless card games.

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The next morning my friends and I woke up early to catch the train to Amsterdam. We only had a few hours in the city, so we did a bit of strategizing to get the most out of our short visit. We walked quickly through the Red Light District, stumbled upon Dam square, strolled along the canals, barely dodged quite a few bikers, and finally ended up at the Rijks Museum. The Rijks Museum is probably one of the most beautiful museums I’ve ever been to, and its not as overwhelming as other art museums such as the Met.

We spent an hour or so wandering around and looking at some incredible artwork. I had been there before, but still managed to see artwork that I hadn’t seen during prior visits. After the Rijks Museum we spent some time being typical American tourists and took photos at the I amsterdam letters outside of the Rijks museum.

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After a quick lunch, we split up into two groups — two of us headed to the Van Gogh museum, and the other three to walk the streets of Amsterdam. I was a bit museumed-out so I guided the other two to Vondelpark, and then just through the streets to see the typical Amsterdam houses. In the two hours that we were walking around we got sunshine, clouds, and even a bit of rain.

We all met back up for dinner and made our way back to the train station for an early night back to Boxtel. We spent the rest of the night playing games, laughing lots, and building card towers.

The next morning I woke up early to have breakfast with Oma, and spend a bit of time with her before we went back to Prague. We headed back to Prague around noon, and spent the rest of the day getting ready for the week ahead.

It was so nice to see my family again, and to feel a bit of that comfort of home. I feel incredibly lucky to have them so close and its comforting to know that they’re only a short plane journey away.

I’m still loving this study abroad experience, and its giving me a serious case of the travel bug. I am making all sorts of plans to travel within Europe and I’m even thinking about some short trips I might take when I get back to the US. Next weekend I’m taking a bit of a break from the weekend trips and just having a chill weekend in Prague which should be nice a refreshing. I’ve seen quite a bit of Prague already and I’m getting relatively comfortable with the city, but there’s so much more to explore. Catch you next week for another update, and possibly another post dedicated entirely to my cooking class!

P.S. I’m updating this blog weekly, but you can follow my day-to-day adventures on Instagram: @aninavdv

Math, movies and drums!

Hello lovelies! Just popping in for a quick week update!

This week was not too different from any other week here at Miss Halls. However, a few minor tweeks made it slightly more enjoyable, than previous weeks. Monday and Tuesday were all-in-all pretty uneventful. Same old same old. Classes till four, swimming till 5:30, dinner, study hall, sleep.

On Wednesday, I had a pretty normal day as well, until 1:30. I signed up to take the American Math Contest and I still can’t decide if it was a mistake or not. After filling in the bubbles for my name, address, school, and all that we were allowed to open our test booklets and begin. I got through about question five with barely any trouble at all. I was thinking “WOW! This is pretty easy!” but nope… All I had to do was flip the page and it was like I was reading Chinese. Now, I would consider myself to be pretty good at math and it is one of my favorite subjects but I will never take that test again. I say congratulations to everyone who felt confident about that test. You will go far in life!

On Thursday we had a few guests come to school, and during the time that I would normally be feeding animals in a foot of snow we watched a movie called Sweet Dreams about a women’s drumming group in Rwanda who decided to open the first ever ice cream shop in Rwanda. It focused a little bit about the genocide, about drumming, and ice cream. It was a brilliant movie that had me close to tears, and laughing. It also got me thinking how fun it must be to be a film maker. Ugh, so many things I want to do with my life! Anyway, after we watched the movie and the co-producer talked to us and answered questions about the movie, we had a drumming instructor come to school and the whole school participated in a huge drumming circle. I was a little skeptical about this but as soon as I was beating on that drum I couldn’t help but smile. Something about making music with your friends and letting frustration out all at the same time is just breath taking.

Friday was my last day of swimming. We had relay races in the pool and the lifeguard looked at us so strangely as we cheered on our team. My team won most of the races except we got disqualified on the first one because there was a bit of confusion with who needed to go and when we could start so one girl started way before she should have. This season has been so great and I have gained so many new friends. Got to love swimming!

Yesterday I went to see Miss Hall’s production of Oliver! and my oh my! It was so good! Good job to all of the actresses! You were truly amazing and I will have the Oliver! songs stuck in my head for the next week or so. I hope that this last performance today is just as great as yesterday’s performance!

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This weekend I have been doing practically nothing other than drawing in my sketchbook. I usually don’t get so into it, but this weekend I have been doing it non stop! I probably should probably stop and get some of my homework done. I also don’t really have a choice because every page in my sketchbook is currently full! Because of this wonderful achievement, I will leave some of my favorite sketches and drawings below!

Well, that was the excitement of my week! The countdown begins! Two weeks, and 12 days left until I’ll be back in sunny North Carolina for spring break! It could not get here soon enough!!!!!!!! Hope all of you lovelies are doing great!

Peach out, enjoy luffas, and laugh with the adventure!!!!