First blog of the new year!

Here I go again! That’s what I thought when I was saying goodbye to everyone at the airport back in Amsterdam. Yet everything would be different this Fall. It’s all for real this time. Everything will matter. For those who didn’t know yet, last year I decided to go to Green River College for a gap year program of at least one quarter. Then in November I decided to stay for a second quarter. When I got back home in April last spring I needed to decide what I wanted to study this schoolyear. After so much thinking and considering every possible option I decided I wanted to go back to the US and study here full time. So, now I’m back majoring in natural resources!

I flew back on September 11thwith just one stop in Iceland with another Dutch girl named Merel. I met her earlier this year at one of the alumni dinners in The Netherlands for both old and new GR students from Europe. It’s really nice to fly together with someone, so you don’t feel as alone when you just said goodbye to you family and friends. The flight really didn’t take that long and we soon landed at Sea-Tac airport early in the evening. We were picked up by someone from school, that’s also when we met another Dutchie called Floor and got dropped off at the Campus Corner Apartments where we first had to sign our housing contracts before going to rooms. I have a different room this year, which is a bit smaller, but still great!

Collage 1 Heenvluchtk

I slept terrible that night, mostly from the jetlag but also because all these impressions and things you hear and see are lot to take in. Our first day started with doing some groceries and meeting more Dutch people. We also went walking in the woods again on our very first day, in the rain! 🙂 We went to Walmart on Thursday for more groceries and other stuff. Because we were with such big group, it almost felt like a field trip on its own. After that was orientation, but because I had already been through that last year, I didn’t need to go again. So, I went to the gym instead. At night we bought some concert tickets and I also signed up for the first weekend events. Yesterday was kind of messy. A lot happened that is hard to explain in words, except for the afternoon. When I met up with Daniëlle, another Dutch girl who has already been at GRC for five quarters, to go to H-Mart, an Asian grocery store in Federal Way where I bought some pretty freaky stuff.

And today I went to Bainbridge Island, west of Seattle. Together with a lot of new European students. I had never expected it to be such a great day. We walked a lot, ate awesome pizza and ice-cream and it didn’t rain until we got on the bus back home.

So, while I’m getting used to Fahrenheit, feet, miles and am and pm again, I had a great time seeing quite some friends from last year again. But I’m also meeting so many new people! At first, during my first night I thought ‘’What am I even doing here, why did I come here again’’ but everything feels different now. I’ve already been through so much these past few days, so many good things, everything really just needs to fall into place.

Collage 2 Bainbridge island


Crazy last week!

I always knew there would be a last week. I just never thought It be here already! This week is finals week, which is kind of a crazy and unusual week. To be honest, it’s just a disorganized mess in my head. I know everything I still need to do, but one moment I’m finishing something and then another thing pops up that I almost forgot about.

Last weekend started with a bowling event organized by the European Club. We first ate at Shake shake shake in Tacoma where I had a hamburger and an oreo milkshake before bowling not that far from the restaurant. I couldn’t even remember the last time I went bowling, so I had fun and even made a couple of strikes! Saturday was St. Patricks day and I decided to go to Seattle since I heard there was a parade and a marathon. When I got there it already ended, yet a lot of people were still dressed in green and it was cool to see. I first had breakfast at Pike Place Market, after which I took the bus to Gas works park on the other side of Lake Union. I had a wonderful view of downtown and the lake and took some awesome photo’s. I also went to the Fremont troll, which is a creature made of rocks underneath a bridge in Seattle.

The next day, on Sunday I just studied a lot. Finals week was coming up and in comparison, to last quarter where I had no finals at all this quarter all my classes have one. Monday started with my last pe exam, which was really hard and Tuesday was study day. But the IP office also organized a goodbye lunch for gap year students from The Netherlands and Germany who are leaving after this quarter. Since I am one of them I got my certificate, and I also got to say a few words about the past couple of months. We had lunch outside, after which Ayleen and I decided to walk to the river for a last time.

Wednesday I had my criminal justice final which wasn’t that difficult, plus I saw I did really good. My teacher had already entered all the scores like an hour later. And today is Thursday. I had the day off today and went to the outlet collection to buy one more thing I wanted after which I started packing like crazy. That was quite the test too, but after some repacking I managed to fit it all in my suitcases. Tomorrow I will have two more finals, one for my photography class and my creative writing class. And at 3 in the afternoon, I’ll be moving out of my apartment and moving in at Ayleen’s host families house for two nights. My flight is Sunday and I really don’t know what to think about that. On the one hand I am sort of looking forward to going home, but I also wanted to stay longer if that was possible I guess.

But! I am coming back in fall. I finally made a decision about what I am going to study: natural resources right here at GRC. There are so many reasons why I want to come back here! And I think this will really fit me.

Collage 33 overig

Last month of my gap year!

The beginning of March, meant my last month here in Washington for my gap year. Back in November, I booked my flight home which will be on Sunday the 25th. A lot of people asked me why I am going straight home and not on some adventure during spring break. One reason is because of my luggage, I brought way too much stuff! And I just don’t see myself walking in some unknown city with three suitcases. My other reason is a bit more significant. Because I am an aunt now! My brother and his girlfriend got an adorable little girl just about one and a half week ago, called Mae. And I can’t wait to meet her as soon as possible! By now I only have ten more days. Better start prepping to pack up stuff in my room.

In the mean time I wasn’t going to let a single day fly by. So, the first weekend of this month was a busy one. That Saturday started with another hike I signed up for. We were going to Snoqualmie falls, which is a big waterfall not too far from here. It was a beautiful day, mainly because it was very sunny but also because it we did a lot in just one day. After we hiked from the top to the bottom of the waterfall, the bus drove us to a small train museum. Where we had about half hour to explore. But that was not all, because after that we were dropped off at the North bend outlet mall. There we had a sandwich from subway as lunch.

Collage 30 Snoqualmie falls

My friend Ayleen also went on the trip Saturday, but we both signed up for an ice-hockey event the next day too. So, it was the perfect opportunity to have a sleepover at her host family’s house. We watched some movies, painted with light using our cameras and made German kaiserschmarren the next day (comparable to crumbled pancakes). By then it was time to walk to the bus circle. Even though I already went to an ice hockey game back in December, it was awesome again! There are so many weird people there, kind of fascinating. And I still admire those ice hockey players for being able to ice skate while chasing a puck. Unfortunately the Seattle Thunderbirds lost, yet our night was great!

That following weekend John, who always comes on every Green River hiking event invited me and two friends to go on a little road trip to the beach with him and his wife. We drove about two hours to a town called Ocean Shores right next to the Pacific Ocean. Where, after we had a small lunch, we walked through sand dunes to get to the beach and sea. It was amazing! Afterwards he drove his car onto the beach. I had never done anything like that before, so it was quite the experience. He also made donuts in the sand, which kind of squeezed the three of us together in the back seat. We also flew with the kite that he brought before driving all the way back to Auburn. But we made a pit stop in between at a store called Costco. A huge store where they sell anything you can think of in giant sizes. Some say it’s more American than national parks!

Past Sunday me and some friends bought tickets for a baseball game. The Washington huskies versus Illinois state. Which took place at the university of Washington in Seattle. Yet again I had a wonderful day. The game lasted like three hours, but I loved it! Most of us bought some UW gear afterwards before heading to Pike place market where we ate some.

I realize I am all caught up with my blog! Next week I’ll write some about my last classes, finals week, packing adventures and more!

Snow at GRC!

After Valentine’s day it was time to celebrate Chinese new year. And of course the school organized this big Lunar new year party. I couldn’t go, but I heard it was really cool and that there were lots of performances. That same weekend was Presidents day, which meant we would have Monday off. Quite randomly I signed up to go rock climbing in an indoor hall in Tacoma with the rock climbing club! I took it easy, since my shoulder was still in pain, but I had fun after all and met a lot of new people!

I had to photograph an animal as assignment for my photography class. And since I still wanted to go to a zoo here, this was the perfect opportunity to go to the Woodland park zoo in Seattle. It was Sunday, so pretty quiet. Plus, it even started to snow! The animals must have looked at me like I was crazy trying to take pictures of them in such weather, but I had fun and it worked out fine.

Monday, I met up with Ayleen. It was beautiful weather, pretty cold but the sun was out. So we just walked some in the forest. We both like to take pictures and brought our cameras. Yet another relaxing day. Meantime, the Olympics had started. And I always love to see athletes from the Netherlands compete and win! So together with an international student advisor and a Korean girl we organized an Olympic global tea afternoon. We both gave a short presentation about how we celebrate the Olympics and there was food from both countries. It was really nice to eat some Dutch stuff again!

Two days later it started to snow really bad. Just like that, out of the blue! But I didn’t notice at first. I was in my room all afternoon with my shades closed when Ayleen texted me about it. And when I came outside, it was like a winter wonderland. I helped some people out who were trying to build a snowman and we soon started throwing snowballs. Later we had this huge snowball fight when even more cca residents joined. It was one of the most fun nights of my time here! The next morning I was awake before the sunrise, so I decided to walk into the forest and watch the sunrise at the viewing point. I walked through a lot of fresh snow and it felt magical! Even the campus was covered in white, so our morning classes got cancelled.

Collage 29 snow

By then, a busy February ended with our last ski trip. It was a lot colder than the previous times we went to Crystal Mountain. It was very foggy and we often couldn’t even see each other. Me, Ann-Sophie and Benita decided to take a more ‘woodsy’ slope through the trees. But it wasn’t exactly a well-maintained route. We often fell and since it had been snowing for days your ski’s would completely disappear into the fresh snow. This day also ended quite extraordinary. On our way home our bus broke down, while we were in the middle of nowhere. So we had to wait for a new bus to come and pick us up. Lots of people took Uber or similar. But I didn’t t have to be anywhere, so waited patiently. We left the resort at 5 and returned home by 9:30. And to be honest, I didn’t care at all. Yet another adventure with GRC, you could say!