Wednesday, 18 January 2017

What I learned about America and the Americans

I’m home again! I wasn’t completely over the jetlag I had there so I’m even more tired. But that’s okay. It was all worth it. I had an amazing time, met wonderful woman and man and all of them had wonderful views for the future. (That was one of my hypotheses, the homework.) I had good conversations with everyone and got to know the culture much better. That was part of the trip. So here I’m going to list some things I learned about America and the Americans. 

Do you know to which pixel you should look? I don't, but Ben and Emily were Margit and mine host family on sunday
I do understand why Americans hate tax so much. In our country, when we buy something, tax is calculated in the price. We know it’s there but it’s not visible. When something costs €4,- it is €4,-. In America when something is €4,- I think, oh nice, just 4 dollars and then I want to pay and then it turns out that it’s more money because I get tax on it. They fake you with a cheap prices and then you get the tax. That made me hate the tax too. Because it was visible. For us, here it’s not. Which is easier shopping and less anger while shopping!! ;)

Also, American students are wonderful creatures. Everybody I talked to was hard working and not lazy. They wanted to get the best grades they could. They did more than they had to do. And did lots of other stuff besides their study to get extra credits or just so they could prepare better for the future. They are helping with so much extra school stuff.
We don’t have that. We have to study and we’re happy when we pass a test. No matter what grade we get. Passed is passed. The grade doesn’t matter. We think like this: when we pass a test higher than a 6, then we did too much work. Over there only an A or B is good. Here is a 6 okay and if you get higher grades you're showing off. I wish I was more like Americans at this point. (I immediatly make  a promise to myself to work harder and not being so lazy.)

Making a snow angel at Meijer Gardens
The other thing I learned is how nice they are. Americans are people that immediately are your best friends and they are so polite. In a restaurant, we messed up the money. So we first sent her away telling her we were fine when she offered her help, then we weren’t fine and we did need her help.(Because paying a bill is sooo difficult -.-) So we had to ask for her help we just declined 10 seconds ago. And she was so nice. It was no problem, she was happy she could help us. I mean, if we do this in The Netherlands the waitress would have been VERY annoyed. Also, I was 15 or 20 minutes late for an interview. I was still working on the other interviews and time got ahead of me. And he was acting like it was no problem I wasted his time... I was so late and I hate being late and I apologized and he was okay with it. He didn’t show any annoyance by my lateness. Americans just don't show they are annoyed with you.

And the language. When we sometimes lost the words, they were waiting patiently when we were discussing in Dutch what word we were looking for. They just stood there hearing us blabbing Dutch to each other and then hearing us describing words to them when nobody knew the word. And they just we’re ALL so nice and understanding. Even when we messed up words and stuff like that.

Sharon, me, Anna
I’ve learned much more but I’m not going to write it all down. That would be pretty boring I guess. But I learned about politics, the American Dream, school pressure and I learned to understand a little bit better that you own weapons to protect yourself and for hunting. I've talked to lots of people about it because it was part of my homework, so I heard different opinions about it and it really helped me understanding. It’s just a big difference between cultures. But I do understand it a little better now.

Sanne, me, Jessie, Margreeth
And there was one special American, my roomie Anna. Anna shared her room with me and Sharon which was very kind of her. And we had a lovely time together. The painting with a personal story special written for me was so kind of her to give!! And even though we were gone often on trips to gardens, museums, business stuff, radio stations or whatever we were visiting she was always very kind and helpfu as soon as we got home. I had dinner with her and friends and we went to a cute little coffee shop in Grand Rapids which I never would have found on my own. It's fun to see some local stuff instead of all the big high lights of a city. Thanks Anna!!
  Also, Jessie, if you read this: Thank you so much for the bracelet with cute letter. Thank you both for being such loving and kind people. I’m glad I had the chance to get to know you both. And of course everyone else I’ve talked to and had lots of fun with. I love you with my whole heart and hope we’ll ever meet again. How unlikely it may seem right now!

Xx Rianne

Ps: I haven’t been blogging as much as I hoped to do in America. I thought I would be blogging every day. But every day was full of tours, visits and lovely Americans to become friends with. So every free minute I spent with my new friends! (Or I did homework, there was lots to do) No time for blogging. So I’m going to make it up by still writing posts. In one post will be two days just like the first four days. Because I promised to blog about the days. So I have to do it one way or another.
Saturday, 7 January 2017

USA Day 3 & 4: My Very First Mac 'n Cheese, Museums and Detroit

 So yesterday was really cold! It was -11 and snowing. But we went to Our Daily Bread, a publisher and it was very interesting there. It's a big company that publishes Christian books and all and also have a tv and radio station. That was, for me as journalism student, really cool to see.

Then we had lunch and during lunch I became homesick. I felt a bit lonely then and I just started to cry when I called my mom. But I've told people about it and now they know and they are helping me. In the afternoon we went to WoodTV. They were going to film a program with us, and they asked for volunteers to walk on snowshoes. I don't have a photo but I'm going to screenshot as soon as I've seen the footage. It was really cool to test those shoes. I felt like bigfoot because of the traces it left behind. It was wonderful to find out that with those shoes on walking in the snow is not slippery at all. So this was a cool experience. Then we went home to the campus and we had game night. We played all kind of Dutch games which was fun.

And today it was even colder. It was -14!!!! Crazy! But we went to Detroit. So we had to get up early to get there in time for our tour around Ford Museum and Factory. So while on the road we talked a lot with one of the professors who used to live in Detroit and he told us everything about the history. When we arrived we went to the production area first and to see how those pick-up trucks are made was really impressive. Then we went to see all sorts of Ford cars and we learned about the history of Henry Ford and I say it again: I’m impressed! 

Then we went for lunch and I had for the first time in my life Mac ’n cheese and this was delicious. at first I thought it would be just lots of cheese but it wasn’t and it was soo good! Now I understand why you Americans are always talking about how good mac ‘n cheese is! ;)

Then we went into Ford museum which was so cool! I love old cars and that museum was full of it. everywhere I looked I saw beautiful cars and also the president cars and the car from John F. Kennedy when he was shot. Not that that is cool but it’s part of the history. And Fords museum is not just cars. There was also lots of information about the separation of black and white people. The bus from Rosa Parks, but there we’re also big doll houses which we’re so beautiful that I got jealous that the museum has those big houses!

Then we went for a ride through Detroit to see what the economic crisis did to the city. And I was shocked. How can this happen to such a beautiful city? All the houses I saw were damaged and empty and ruined. But the houses once looked beautiful and I was so sad that this happened and I truly hope that once Detroit can become a glorious city again.

Sorry for the blur. We were driving by and weren't allowed to get out of the car...

Artist made something happy out of something sad
Then we went to chipotle to eat something and I had a burrito!!! The photo below says enough and I couldn’t eat it all but it tastes soooo good!

Sorry for the typo :(
Now I’m going to sleep. I’m still tired and I think it’s a jetlag but I don’t really know because I never had a jetlag before. It’s just that I always wake up at 3 AM and that I feel wide awake. Then I go and take a walk to the bathroom and go back and try to sleep again. So good night everyone and I’ll see you soon! Tomorrow we’re going to a Griffins game and that’s something I’m also really excited about!


Xx Rianne

Thursday, 5 January 2017

USA Day 1 & 2: Travels and First Impressions

So I finally got time to get my laptop and sit down for a second to update you and tell you about day 1 and 2. After more than 24 hours of travelling and waiting, I finally arrived yesterday in Grand Rapids at Cornerstone University. The flight was fine and I travelled with 6 others girls who are also in this minor from our school and we had a good time together. There is not much to say about yesterday. It was just traveling and we arrived here when it was dark so I just didn’t see much of the university campus. Also, I was so tired. I really wasn’t paying attention to everything.

And then this morning I woke up, still a bit tired and confused because we went 7 hours back in time but I slept very well. And then I had to get dressed and I sleep in a dorm room. This is my very first time in a dorm room. It’s just new. I am a student for four years but I’ve never seen something like this. We do have a campus but there we don’t have halls with sleeping rooms for girls only. And a lavatory that all girls uses. My very first thought of the lavatory was that it looked like a camping bathroom. The toilets and showers and stuff. I could only compare it with camping’s I’ve been to.  But our campus is mixed with boys and girls in houses. We have buildings in which you own a room and you share only with 3 others the shower and the kitchen and the living room. Here is not something like that. There is no kitchen! Everybody buys their meals every day and not cooking it because simply they can’t. But there is some sort of common room but I haven’t been there yet. 

This had me thinking of: WHAT TEAM? WILDCATS!

We also went to Gerald R. Ford museum. Which was a cool museum because you could weigh yourself and find out what your Moon Weigh would be. That was cool! We also when to Meijer. A massive shopping centre where you can buy food and bullets (!) like it’s no big deal. Buy food and if you need some more bullets you can get them there too. For me, that’s unbelievable. Food is good, bullets are killing and you can buy them in the same store. But apparently here you can.

And this picture above is crazy! This is a piece of the German Wall. It's the first time I see a piece of this wall. And it's in the USA. Not even Germany. And the Germans are my neighbors and right now I'm so far awar from home...
I'm here for the snow. I haven't seen proper snow in years and you all should know how happy I am that it's snowing here!

Right now, the other Dutch people are with each other in someone’s room. They skipped dinner but my roommate, (? is that the right word?) the girl that shares her dorm room with me and with another Dutch girl, took me to the cafeteria and I sat with her and her friends. I ate some pasta and we chatted about differences and those kind of things and I just really like this time off. Just a little rest and doing nothing but writing a blogpost and writing in my travel diary.

Xx Rianne
Monday, 2 January 2017

Life update: Going to the USA

My life has been very busy again. But not with school this time. The past few weeks were weeks full of preparation for my sisters bachelorette party, her wedding and Christmas and new year!

So that's the reason for no blogposts. There was no time and when we had free time, we wanted to spend it together instead of everyone behind their phone or laptop. So I've been very absent on here and maybe this time I'm not even sorry. I'm looking back on the most wonderful weeks of this year with lots of love and laughter and amazing memories!

But now a new year has begun and it’s immediately very exciting! I’m going to America tomorrow and I can’t wait for the adventure to begin. So I’ve been preparing for the past few days. Because I’m always procrastinating I did everything last minute but I guess I’m ready now to take off and start an adventure in the USA. It’s going to be my second flight in my life and I must say I’m a bit anxious about it because it's the first long flight and that’s just a bit scary. It’s also my first time so far far away from home. And yeah that’s just a big thing you know?

But now I’m ready to go. And I truly hope that I can blog every day. I’m really going to do my best just like I did in London two years ago! (Is it that long ago already?) I really enjoyed the blogging every day but it’s really hard to fit it in the day when there is so much to do and so less time… But I'll try! Promise.

For now, wish me luck and if you want to follow me for more little things about this trip to the USA than gollow me on my Instagram, snapchat (erikarianne) and twitter and take a look around here to see how my adventure is going!

All the love and best wishes for the new year!!

Xx Rianne