Day 20: Last day at Gelderlandschool

Today was my very last day at De Gelderlandschool in The Hague, Netherlands. I was pretty sad that I would not be able to see these kids anymore, but I’m also so excited to go on the rest of our adventure and get home.

As I entered the classroom today, a student brought me an entire thing of macaroons… WOOHOO! Another student brought me a goodbye card. These kids are so sweet I can’t take it!!


We started the learning for the day and got right to spelling. The kids worked on their new spelling words for the week by working on a practice worksheet where they fill in the correct word and correct spelling. Next, on the Promethean board (which is actually called a starboard) Abida went over some questions on the board as the students answered the questions.


The kids are so sweet. I keep catching them writing me letters and making me cards. It makes my heart so full!!!

Their next lesson was an individual assignment where each student gotout their   books and worked silently. It was amazing how quiet it got! They use these cool things that show the time all around the world. I needed one for this whole trip because I kept forgetting haha.

The kids took a test in their work book next and had to sit quietly in their desks jntil everyone finished. They could read their newspaper after they finished. The test is pronounced “vis vies” which is interesting to me.

Next week, all of groep 8 in the Netherlands take a standardized test similar to STAAR and they call it the “advice test” because it tells the students which high school they are ready for. Their school system is different and they go to high school based on academics rather than where they live. I find it interesting that they take the test to determine their schooling. Only groep 8 has to take it though. No other younger kids take atandardized tests. Every school here follows their own curriculum and they do not have to match with other schools, unlike Texas.

Every day around 9:30, one student gets pulled out of the classroom for extra help in reading. The school does not have areading specialist, but just has other teachers at the school leave their classroom and help out individually. Most teachers do not work a full 5 days in the classroom, so it makes things easier for 1-on-1 help since those teachers are free during that time.

A student from groep 7 came into the class to ask if anyone in our class wanted to order healthy food. Their theme is healthy food. They are raising money for the food bank through asking people if they want to buy healthy foods. If money goes missing, the kids have to bring money from home because the teacher says, “we do not steal from the food bank.”

At 10:00 we had snack and then went outside for recess. It was all the same as usual.

Spelling was at 10:30 and the kids used flash cards and wrote down the words for the week.


At 11:00, a lady came in to video a lesson and I swear she kept videoing me. I was as squished as I could he to the wall to hide behind the computer. I did not want her to put me in some school video or something!!!

After lunch, the kiddos and I played simon says and sang the YMCA for the last time. I was so sad because I had to leave them today!!!

At the end of the day, the Abida and the kids gave me a mini goodbye party. It was so emotional for me and I did not even think I was going to be as sad as I was. The kids made me this cute card and every page was written by a different student. The funny thing was, one of the students asked what my favorite food was, so of course I told her tacos. The front of the letter ended up having a taco on it. HAHAHAH! Some of the students gave me gifts, as well as Abida, Linda, and Judith. I was overjoyed. These sweet people made such an impact on my life the past 3 weeks. I miss them so much already.

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These are all the very cute gifts they gave me!! Literally so sweet

The students and I took a group picture and then the girls wanted to take a girls only picture. They already had a pose in mind.

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After leaving, I walked home along the beach and captured its beauty for the last time in the 3 weeks I was staying there.

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Overall differences I have seen in the Netherlands:

  • The cars and houses are small. 
  • The public transportation system is pretty good and used by most. 
  • People do not dress themselves up much. 
  • Everyone eats lots of cucumbers. 
  • They say they speak “Nederland” not “Dutch.”
  • The people are extremely diverse.
  • Christianity is not a widely practiced religion. Even some churches closed. 
  • It is very cold. 
  • Most people also speak English. 
  • Coffee and tea are always ordered after eating a meal. 
  • They do not do to go orders or leftovers in a to go box. 
  • Most places cannot split checks. 
  • They always order bread. and wine is not as good here. 

Overall differences I have seen in the public school system:

  • No standardized tests until groep 8.
  • They call their grades “groep.”
  • They start school at age 4, no matter what time of year. 
  • Children’s learning is mostly on their own through experimentation and investigation. 
  • Students leave and go home for an hour and half for lunch. 
  • Most kids walk to school. 
  • No uniforms. 
  • Some kids wear the same outfit 4 times in a row. 
  • Every day the teachers get coffee and tea for free in the teacher’s lounge. (drink out of clear mugs)
  • Schools can have only 1 class for each grade. 
  •  They teach Dutch and English. 
  • They go to primary school and then straight to high school. 

Day 19: Wednesday

Happy Wednesday!!

Today I woke up at the usual time of 6 am (UGHHHHH) and we headed to the bus stop bright and early as usual. We walked a little slow so we had to speed walk towards the end to make the 7:31 bus! Every day is an adventure with the bus. My bus, bus 26, is always parked in the front, but with no driver. As the driver comes out of the break room, he gets in the bus and sometimes wants me to follow him there but other times wants me to wait for the bus to pull up. Today was another confusing morning because the guy was saying something in Dutch to me about walking to the bus but when I said “do you speak English?” he mumbled something that sounded not so nice under his breath. Language barriers are very hard.

As I got to school, I walked for a few minutes until reaching the door. Usually, I just ring the doorbell and they let me in, but today I had to ring it 3 times before anyone even noticed I was there. I had to have a student help me figure out how it get into the building. Haha. I got a cup of coffee and headed up to the classroom.

The start of the day was pretty normal. The kids worked in their math workbooks while Abida explained the page on the Promethean board. Something interesting that I noticed today was that some of the kids were wearing the same outfit as they did yesterday, which they had also worn the day before. I am curious as to why this happens here. Many of the kids wear the same thing every day, but no one ever says anything.

Today was a very “warm” day here. It got up to 60 degrees!!! Much better than the 30 that it has been in the past 2 weeks. The sun was shining, which never happens, and we didn’t even turn the heaters on in the classroom for the first time since I have been here. It is funny that 60 degrees is warm to me now. When I get back to Texas, I will probably have a hard time getting used to the very hot weather.

Here is the schedule for today! If anyone can understand the words..

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During the student independent time, Abida took a small group aside to give extra instruction.

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When moving on, as students were sitting in their desks quietly, Abida said their name with a thumbs up. This method gets the rest of the kids to sit quietly as well.

Next thing today: “thema”

Each group went up into the front of the class and explained what they were doing for their theme, WWII. The class was able to ask them questions about their projects and how it related to the theme. I liked that this was student led and the kids had the opportunity to share with the rest of the class. Some students are creating canvases, powerpoint presentations, clay sculptures, and even plays.

One group was filming a short movie and they usually go and play around in the hallway, so I had to supervise. Two of the students are “dating,” whatever that even is in 6th grade, and so they were play fighting the whole time. What in the world haha I could not really do much because of the language barrier but they understand the word “stop” so that helped me a little.

At 10:00 it was break time! We went back into the classroom and all the students pulled out their sandwiches for snack. I still can’t believe the students bring full sandwiches for their SNACK!! Every day students try to offer me some food and usually it looks so strange I do not take it. Today, a boy offered me a crepe.. holy moly it looked amazing! I could not take it though because that would be wrong to take from a student who may really be very hungry.

During snack time, these kids went crazy! Since it was a half day, most of the kids seemed to think it was okay to run around the class yelling and screaming. Abida got the kids to be quiet but they still were playing around instead of eating their snack and being quiet. I am a little confused as to why these schools have a half day on Wednesday but still do snack and recess. That leaves almost no time for actual class. It’s almost pointless to be here, honestly.

During their recess time, it was amazing weather. The sun was out and it was actually “warm” instead of freezing cold. Abida was asking me why I was so white if the sun is always out in Texas.. I about died laughing! I’m just pale okay 😦

We came back inside and I was asked to go teach an English lesson in groep 7. At first I was incredibly uncomfortable because I had no idea what I was even supposed to teach, but thank goodness it was a computer program in English and was pretty quick. At this school, they start teaching English in groep 7 because most students’ first languages are Turkish or something else. English is hard for them to learn because Dutch is already their second language and the school throws another language at them. I personally think they should start teaching it earlier so it sticks in their brains quicker, but I understand that it would be hard because the kids cannot really speak Dutch well and that is the main language in the Netherlands. I started out with telling the students my name and where I am from and then got to the good stuff. The English program that the students use references popular songs to help the kids learn English. It was pretty fun because the kids all got up to sing and dance! Their class even graded me at the end by calling out the grade they think I should have gotten!!

My class started working on their pictures of the Anne Frank House book shelf before going to art later on. At 11:00 the music teacher came into the classroom and taught a music lesson. I missed most of this because of teaching the English lesson in groep 7. Abida, Linda, and Judith were all in the classroom watching the lesson to understand how to teach music. It was a party!! The music teacher first started by asking the students questions (which I did not understand). I pretty much stared at everyone during the lesson because I had no clue what they were talking about. This has been my life the past 3 weeks LOL. The man kind of creeped me out because he looked like a homeless man that picked up a random guitar and waltzed into the classroom. (Sorry if this is a little judgey, I am trying to portray the image) The teacher had a student come to the front of the classroom and stand on a chair to sing a song while he played the guitar. It was pretty funny to watch! The class then had to create a beat to a song and it was a hot mess..

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It is interesting to me that the music teacher does not have a classroom where the students go, but they come into the actual classroom and teach it. How do they have time for every class? Art also does not have its own teacher. The kids go into the art room and the classroom teacher teaches this lesson having to do with their theme.

This is the room where the kids do art. The kids had to use their drawings from the Anne Frank house to create a book shelf out of cardboard.

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Once the students finished this up, it was time to leave school! Half day woohoo!


Since today was a half day, we decided to take the opportunity to go into the city of The Hague to eat lunch and see a movie. Their movies are interesting here.. they have the same movies as we do in English, but with Dutch subtitles.

I took the bus, which was extremely overcrowded and had a bit of an experience. People would not move back so I almost could not get on the bus or even get a seat!! Crazy.

We went to a place called BIT, which is sort of by the rest of the restaurants we have been to in the city. I got a Caesar salad and surprisingly it was very similar to real caesar salad this time. Every time I have gotten one, it was a random mix of things shoved on a plate.

It was amazing, the lady brought us so much bread!! My favorite!

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After eating, we headed to the movie theater! Little did we know, we had to walk up to the fifth floor to see the movie. Now I understand why people over here are so skinny!! The movie was in English but had Dutch subtitles. It was pretty cool. The previews were in Dutch though so that was a little odd.

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Like look at these stairs…. this is only one flight.

Heading home, we stopped to get stroopwafels. These are small crunchy waffle-looking desserts full of caramel. Holy wow, is all I have to say. The place we got them at was a cute little store that apparently is usually an ice cream place. The man working at the counter said that next week it is turning back into an ice cream place. How sad!!

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We took the bus home and walked the mile long hike back to our little home in Roompot. I am pretty excited that we do not have to make that walk for that much longer.

Tonight was laundry night!! The washer costs 5 euros and takes a LONG time. The dryer costs 50 cents for 10 minutes. Expensive washing….. All of my stuff was a little soapy and crush (nasty I know) so that was interesting.

We got back home and cooked the last of our pasta and had one of our last dinners in the Roompot kitchen! I am so ready to get going on the rest of our adventure and head to Barcelona on Friday!!!

Goodnight friends! Gotta get some sleep for our last day at school tomorrow!

Day 18: Tuesday

Happy Valentines Day!!!

We started off the day relaxing because the students started out in gym and came back to the class at 9:30! It was a nice relaxing morning.

At 9:30 the students got out their letters that they are writing to my students at Nola Dunn. Most of the kids need help spelling things in English and I swear each student has written 3 drafts of the letter just to make it perfect. It is so cute!!

10:00 was break time! A student brought me a little snack that tasted like cake and he called it “kete” which I don’t even know what it is. It was almost like monkey bread! Yum!!

10:15 is break time!! We went outside in the cold weather and stood around for “girl talk” while the boys ran and played. At this school, the girls are very open about their lives and just tell us everything! Since it was valentines day, many of the boys were asking girls to be their valentines. How cute.. I still think they are too young but still. One girl told me that since she is going to high school next year, she wants to stay single. I just couldn’t stop laughing during that 15 minutes.

We came back inside at 10:30 for their WWII lesson. They picked up where they left off yesterday with the packet on the holocaust. The kids were surprisingly pretty quiet because they had just been running around and it was time to calm down. I love that this class is able to sit quietly and listen without having to be asked many times.

At 11:15 I went to groep 6 again to teach another lesson. It is pretty fun going into the younger grade because they still love to sing and dance. First, I taught them how to nod, clap, and shake their hips, then I taught them what elbow and stomach were, and then I showed them how to be loud and quiet. We did the GoNoodle Banana Banana Meatball and the kids sang and followed along. It was hilarious!! Then, we played simon says again 2 times and the same girl won both times. I felt bad because this girl knows English the best out of anyone in the class and she dominated twice. Last, we sang head shoulders knees and toes slow and then fast. The kids knew the words pretty well!! They were able to ask me more questions today and I got a few funny ones.

  1. Do you like Trump?
  2. How old is your dog?
  3. Did you do anything fun for Valentine’s Day?
  4. Isn’t your boyfriend’s name Tyler?

As I was leaving, the kids freaked out that it was my last day teaching their class and they hugged me until I got out of the class. It made me so happy that they love for me to be there, but I also could not breathe haha.

Here is the link to the GoNoodle video! Banana Banana Meatball — Youtube version

Now it is lunch time!!

When we came back from lunch, it was a lot of independent work time. The kids worked on their math work books and then moved onto their required assignments for the week. They were handed a checklist with all the assignments so they knew which ones they had to complete this week.

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Some of the kids were becoming restless and kept talking loudly for a second and then quieting down. All of a sudden the class got insanely quiet it was amazing!!

At 2:30, we moved onto working with their theme, WWII. The students have a model of the Anne Frank house and they had to draw a detailed picture to scale of the house. They got to work with a partner and the teacher drew their names out of a box. Instead of sticks, they have little plastic things with their names on them. Tomorrow they are going downstairs into the art room and creating a model of the book case in the Anne Frank house! How cool!

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These are their name “sticks”

After school, we had our Valentine’s dinner with our teachers and Sigurd and Maria.

Maria, Fallon, and I went a little early to figure out exactly where to go. We ate at a place called Haagsche Wens and we all got to order beforehand because there were so many in the group. I chose some sort of vegetarian tortellini that was AMAZING! Just take a look:

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Dinner was pretty fun. We all just talked and laughed about random things. It was nice to meet the other teachers and introduce my teachers, Linda and Judith, to my friends. The student teacher, Abida, could not come so that was pretty sad!!

After dinner, we were dreading the bus ride back because it usually takes about an hour to get home, including the mile walk home from the bus stop. Thankfully, Linda offered to drive us home and we did not have to make that long trek home!! I think it is so funny because the cars here are so tiny and we all cram in, but while in the car, they listen to music in English that we even listen to at home. At the school, a few of the students were singing songs that I could not believe they knew the words to, but the thing is… these kids do not know English well so they do not know what the words to the song even mean. Goodness gracious.

Finally, we made it back home and I was absolutely exhausted from the long day!!

Day 17: The Last Monday in The Hague

This is my last week at Gelderlandschool!! How crazy how fast the time flew by…

I woke up a little later today and got a slow start because I was exhausted from the traveling the day before… I made it onto the bus and the TV was out!! This means that I could not see where my stop was and I had to listen. Thank goodness I knew what my stop sounded like because it could have been a disaster FOR REAL!

It was a pretty normal day at school.

8:30 The students worked on another reading from World War 2 but in the sense that they read from the point of view of the Netherlands instead of the Germans. The students were called on to read a section of the reading and surprisingly the students who usually talk very loud were very quiet. Maybe they were just tired.

Today is very very very cold here (30 degrees to be exact, and I find that to be cold) so I wore leggings AND jeans to keep me warm. I was still not warm.

9:15 “Woordenschat” which is like vocabulary. The student teacher, Abida, showed a chart on the board and the students learned those words. I could not understand this part of the lesson well because it was all in Dutch, as usual, and I just try to figure out what is going on. LOL.

Juf Linda stayed in the class for this section of the day and she observed Abida. I asked how the student teaching words here and she said that it is very similar to our student teaching at home, except it lasts all year instead of just one semester. They start out observing, then teaching one lesson, then two, then all. Abida is full time teaching right now and it is cool because I get to see this system over here and how it works. 

9:45 Talk about the weekend!! All the students have the opportunity again to talk about what they did over the weekend. I cannot understand what they say, but it is cute to see all the students get excited about their stories and talk about everything they ate and who they hang out with. Most students in our class live close so they are all close friends.

10:00 is snack time! The students were so sweet today and gave me so many goodies. For Valentine’s day tomorrow, one boy brought me heart shaped cookies!!

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I overheard some kids comparing their heights and they kept saying “look I am longer!” “no I am longer!” It is interesting because we say “taller” and not “longer.”

At 10:10, half of the class went to gym and the other half worked on their themes. Since they can work on whatever they like, there were some students working with clay, painting, creating a powerpoint presentation, and even creating a play. The two halves switched after their gym time or theme time and did the other one.

11:45 lunch time! The students left to go home and eat and Linda, Abida, and I stayed in the class and talked. I love that I have become so close to them! I feel like I can ask anything and we just talk about everything.

Something interesting I noticed in the classroom today.. each of their binders have a hole in the spine in order to grab it off of the book shelf easier.

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Of course lunch time was all the same as usual. People brought interesting foods and I brought cold pasta again! What fun! I sneakily took this picture of someone’s lunch because I thought it was interesting. Bread, cheese, and cucumbers. It sounds very normal, yes, but here they eat cucumbers all by themselves like it is a full meal. In the red box, those are sprinkles. People here put them straight on bread and eat them for lunch.

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Yes I’m a creeper. Oops.

Once we came back into the classroom, the students started right back into learning!! This next lesson was about adding fractions. Abida used the promethean board to teach the kids while they followed along in their books.

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Next, they moved onto their subject that includes math, science, and history.. “Studie Voordigheden.” I could tell during this lesson, the students were becoming restless. They had just had lunch, but I felt the kids all riled up.

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When I came back from lunch, I found these gifts by my stuff. I was not sure who they were from, but later after a few lessons, a boy in my class said “Miss Amanda, that gift was from me” and then hid his face. It was absolutely adorable!!! He said a few minutes later, “I am very shy, sorry.” This was the sweetest thing!! The little things make my heart so full!

The rest of the day was pretty relaxed. The students worked on what they needed to finish and then at the end of the school day they had a spelling test. They are tested on 15 of their 30 spelling words and then they have 3 bonus words in case they get some wrong.


After school, I took the bus to the city of The Hague. We met Dr. Williams for dinner to talk about our experiences and how everything is going. It was nice to all go sit down together and eat a nice meal. We went to a place called ‘t Goude Hooft and it used to be a very old pub, which was cool. IMG_9090.JPG.jpeg

The sun was out today so it was absolutely beautiful!!

 

IMG_9082.JPG.jpegAfter dinner, we stopped at a grocery store called “Marqt” and got a few things. Look at all this chocolate!!! It is called Tony’s Chocolonely and it is absolutely amazing.

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Look how amazing this looks! Best chocolate ever

On our way home, we kept seeing snow from the weekend, but it was sunny. Such a weird concept.

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We rode on an incredibly busy bus back to Kijkduin and we took a detour by walking along the beach to see the sunset. It was incredible. The quality of our picture was not good and did not do the sunset justice.

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What a beautiful place to study abroad!!

 

Day 14-16: Dublin

This was our second travel weekend and we went to Dublin, Ireland! It was nice to have a change in scenery but the weather was not all that great, so it seemed very similar to the Netherlands in that way.

Dublin is such a fun, cute place!!! I wanted to stay for weeks.

Friday

We started our trip early Friday morning. We took Uber to the airport from our Air bob and went through security and customs easily. The flight was not too packed but MAN the terminal was so far away. I swear we walked for 20 minutes before even getting to our gate from security. Ridiculous.

Here are some pretty pictures from the flight. The first one is up in the air and the second is out view of Ireland as we were about to land. SO MUCH GREEN!!!

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We took a double decker bus to the temple bar area where we were staying and it took a little while. We met our Air bnb guy at this cute little cafe called Bittersweet cafe and I got this amazing chocolate muffin. (little did I know I would go back for this a few times)

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Next, we saw our cute place we were staying in for the weekend (which we swear was this mans actual bedroom… hmm) and then headed to lunch at the Legends bar. The food here is very good.. Still a little different than America though. Countries over here do not cook their bacon the same at all. Sad.

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It was adventure time!! We walked the streets of temple bar and here are some of the things we saw:

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I swear everything here is green or red.

At night, this town lit up. Literally. Every place had lights going from the top of the building to the bottom.

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For dinner, we went to this cute place called the Rustic and of course we ate bread. As always in Europe. I got a “glamburger” and this is how it looked. Interesting I know.

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We saw this cute place called Fallon and Byrne, so obviously we had to have Fallon stand in front of it!!

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Dublin at night is absolutely beautiful.

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Saturday

We woke up moderately early and went to a cute place called Queen of Tarts for breakfast. I got a hot chocolate, chocolate scone, and the “hearty breakfast.” The food here is different for sure because their bacon, eggs, tomatoes, and sausage were different. Go figure.

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Our next stop: Christ Church Cathedral

This Cathedral was truly AMAZING! I had never seen so much detail put into a building and have it stay a very long time. This Cathedral does not need an explanation… only pictures. The pictures do not even do the Cathedral justice.

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This is only half of the cathedral!!

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It is over 1000 years old

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This is right inside the cathedral. They hold church services here many times a week.

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The baptistry.

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Look at the details of the floor. Truly incredible

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The stain glass was amazing

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Again, the detail

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We could sign a prayer book

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Area where you can pray

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Detail!

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This is the huge door leading to the crypt

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Inside the crypt

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Inside the crypt

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The many dresses from the early times of the cathedral

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There are many cool places around Dublin too. Look at these windows!

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Later, we went to a small shop and had a cappuccino. They give a small thing of sugar and brown sugar cubes to use! I have never seen brown sugar in a place like this before.

The buildings here are such a work of art. These pictures show the bad weather and how incredible the buildings are at the same time.

Next,we walked to the Guinness Storehouse. On the way there, I noticed these signs on the ground which help you know which direction to look for cars. They drive on the other side of the road here, which totally freaks me out!!

Guinness Storehouse was HUGE!!

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On our way out of there, we took a taxi to the Dublin Castle because it was raining. Look how weird it looks for the driver to be on the opposite side.

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Here is the Dublin Castle. This was a quick trip to see it and leave due to the weather.

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After such a long day, we went back to our room to take a quick nap and regroup. Once we were ready to go, we took a stroll down Grafton Street with all the shops. This area was SO cool!! It was a beautiful and new looking area.

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From here, we walked around and looked for a place to eat. Little did we know that there would be NOTHING to eat here. Literally every place we went turned us down. We needed a reservation and we did not have one. I think we walked 2 miles just to find a place to let us get food. We ended up at a place called Bobo’s burgers and (not surprisingly) I got chicken. Best. Chicken. Ever. Wow.

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Okay anyways.. after this, we just adventured more into the town and then went to sleep.

Sunday

In the morning, we had to leave pretty early because our flight was early. We went back to Queen of Tarts and got some breakfast. Look how amazing this cinnamon roll looks!

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We headed to the airport on the double decker bus again and it was time to fly out! I had such an ordeal happen during security because I forgot about the liquids rule……. Of course I had too many so they took some to throw away. I was pretty angry, to say the least. Lol.

We finally got to our gate, boarded, and we were off! Back to the Netherlands we went!

When we got back, it had snowed! NOT FAIR!!!

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There was snow in little patches everywhere.

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We stopped at De Haagche Beek again (yummmmmmy) and I got tomato soup and hot chocolate. The whipped cream here is AMAZING!

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We walked very very very far to get home with our bags. Finally, we made it and I felt like I had frostbite!! Sadly we got home and our bread went right into the trash can. Let me show you why… RIP.

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What a great way to end the day.

Day 13: Thursday

Today was the last school day of the week for me!

We started the day with writing goals and then they worked on a worksheet. Typical stuff. Next, they put their journals away and got to math.

During break, it was -1 degree celsius, so it was FREEZING!! One of the students brought me hot chocolate, which was amazing!! What a way to warm me up!!

At 10:30, we came back inside and starting working on spelling. A few of the kids were talkative, so they spread their desks around to work quieter.

Afterwards, the kids started writing the letters to my Nola Dunn students again. It was pretty fun to do this activity, because the kids got to know a little about where I come from and I got to show them pictures of my students to help them see whose letter they read. I loved getting to see the kids get so excited about reading my other students’ letters and hearing about school in America.

After lunch, I went over to groep 6 (or grade 4) and did simon says with them. I started out teaching them specific things like head, toes, fingers, run, jump, and turn around. I started out going slowly at first and helping kids through the instructions. Next, I went a little faster calling out the commands and students started catching on. They had so much fun that we played 3 times! Here are some of the commands I used

  • Stand on 1 foot
  • Jump
  • Hug your friend
  • Close your eyes
  • Clap your hands
  • Touch your toes
  • Turn around
  • Touch your head
  • Rub your belly
  • Pat your head

Afterwards, the kids had prepared questions to ask me and I tried my best to speak slowly and answer all of there questions. Most kids spoke English but some students had a hard time asking the questions. It was fun getting to have a good time with another class as well.

At 1:45 the students in my class began their self-working time where they could finish anything they had not completed for the week. The students went through their checklists and had Abida sign which assignments they had finished.

At 2:15 the students started working on their theme for the six weeks which is World War 2. Here are some pictures of the students working on a variety of projects depending on what they chose to do that related to WWII.

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These students painted each canvas separately and put them together to create one large piece. My teacher told them glue was dangerous, so the kids were being extra extra careful when glueing them together HAHA!

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This student was creating a powerpoint presentation on her take on WWII.

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These students were making ships for the large painted canvas.

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These students were using clay to create models of their take on WWII.

This lasted just a short time because we video-chatted with my class from Nola Dunn. It took a little while to figure it out because of the time change and the technology, but we finally got it to work. I was on my laptop and Mrs. Berry’s class was over the projector, so it was harder for me to show my class. I introduced my students and they talked to my students at home for a bit but by the time we got it figured out, it was time for my class here to go home. The time change is 7 hours, so right when my school here ended at 3, Nola Dunn was just getting started at 7:15/8:00. It was so interesting!!


Since our weekend was beginning, I brought my bags with me to the school so I could head straight to the train station after school. We were headed to Dublin for the weekend!! For the night, we stayed in Amsterdam because our flight was very early in the morning, before the buses even started running. We took many buses and trains to Amsterdam and we finally made it there. Second weekend in a row!!! We did not want to walk all the way to our Air bnb so we took a taxi there, which was amazing. It was so cold and the weather was a bit rainy, so it was not worth it to walk all that way.

We got to our air bnb and of course it was called the “lovers suite” where 3 of us were staying… awkward!! We all cuddled up close that night lol. We went to dinner after being there for a little bit (we watched some of the bachelor first) and it was called Cafe ‘t Einde. Our server was new, I think, and he wrote on the receipt “Have fun in Ierland #dutchspelling.” It was so sweet!! People here are so friendly and they are so willing to speak English and make us feel at home.

That was the end to our long school and travel day. We have a busy weekend ahead of us!

Day 12: Wednesday

Today was a half day at school! Which means we had an afternoon of adventure!

We started out school with work books and I talked to students to learn the numbers, phrases, and days of the week. I have been trying very hard to learn all the Dutch I can! It is a very difficult language though.

Here is the schedule for the day!!

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At 9:15, I taught a music lesson. We did the YMCA, juju on that beat, whip and an an, and some other Dutch song. It was not quite a lesson, but it was a fun way to get the students active. They wanted to do those three specific songs so I went with it! The kids loved the YMCA so much that we played it 3 times through.

10:00 Break time! Students all had sandwiches again and then we went out for break.

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This is where the students put their sandwiches for snack time.

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Surprisingly enough, this is the recycling bin…

After their brain break, the kids worked on things they needed to finish in their workbook and I gave all the students letters written from my kiddos at Nola Dunn. I tried to give the kids the letters based on how much English they knew. The students that did not know as much English, I gave them the shorter letters. This went sort of well but some kids had a very difficult time translating most of the phrases.

Next, the students could use crayons or charcoal to color a picture of them if they were in the Holocaust. Here is a student’s that worked very hard at shading to make it look more intense.

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This was a very short day at school! We got out at 12:15 and then I headed into the city with Linda. We met up with Eric, Yvonne, Maria, and Fallon! Eric and Yvonne wanted to show us around the Hague, the beach, and the rest of the city. It was a rainy, yucky day so we did not do much at the beach.

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Pier

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Beach

We ate at a burger place, that did not serve burgers for lunch (confusing I know) and so I got nachos.Everyone thought it was hilarious because I got this huge portion of guacamole and nachos, but at home, that would be a normal meal.

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After eating, we headed into the city. We had to take a bus over there all together. We saw where they parliament works, the different embassies, and the castle. The architecture was incredible!

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The city in The Hague

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Their sidewalk is made of shells!

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Parliament

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“Little john” is the son of the first prince

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We were cold!!!

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Entrance to the parliament

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“Ridderzaal” which is inside the entrance to the parliament

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Inside the parliament

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Queen’s palace

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Something funny to me that I noticed… the police all wear very intense gear, including a beret, and drive G-Wagons. What in the world….

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After looking around at some funny shops where everything is cheap, we went to a Mexican restaurant called Popocatepetl. The chicken enchiladas were amazing!! We were so excited to eat some food that reminded us of home.

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We headed home afterwards and once we took the bus to the cars, Yvonne drove us back to Roompot. She was so sweet and have us these small soaps that look like buildings in Holland!! It was absolutely adorable! I loved getting to spend the day with these amazing people.

Day 11: Tuesday

Today is Tuesday and it was a simple school day, yet again.

The start of my day was a little annoying though because the second I stepped onto the bus, the bus driver asked me about Trump and started giving me his feelings. I told myself at the beginning of this trip that I would not talk politics because I did not know what people thought in this country, so I sat quiet. I am so sick of people asking. LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!!

Anyways…

At school I had 2 cups of coffee from the machine in the teacher’s lounge. Woohoo I was pumped up! I am taking advantage of all the free coffee and hot chocolate here because it is delicious.

The kids started out their day in the gym again, so we did not have the students until 9:30. We used that time to get organized for the day and I got to ask many questions, as always. I find this school so intriguing because it is not a Dutch school. Most students are from Morocco, Turkey, Poland, or Egypt, so Dutch is the second language. It reminds me of Clifford Davis Elementary in Fort Worth!!

At 9:30, the students came back into the classroom and worked on letter writing again. The way they write letters here is very confusing to me. At each table, I walked around and used the google translating app on my phone to understand what jeu wrote about. This app has been a life saver lemme tell ya!!!

At 10:00 the students ate their snack. Of course, two boys forgot to put their snack in the box, so they had to wait 5 minutes to eat. They were HANGRY….

10:15 was break time! We went outside and it was very cold as usual!! Ik hep het koud!!! It is cold!!! I wanted to wear my coat all day long, but it is inappropriate in the classroom for the teachers to keep their jackets on.

10:30 was time to get started again. Math time!! The kids learned about factoring again and I actually think I understood this lesson. The students were being a little feisty today. Apparently in their culture, the kids are taught to speak their minds instead of listening to what they are told. I do not like this because they tell the teacher “no” like it is no big deal.

1:00 English lesson. We went around the classroom and labeled everything in Dutch, and then I labeled it in English. After labeling, I said the Dutch word and the kids repeated the English word. I loved this method! The sticky notes will stay on the walls until I leave so I can learn some Dutch while the students learn English.

At the end of the day, a couple students baked some cupcakes and gave them to the whole class! They were AMAZING!

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After school, we decided to take a trip to the city of The Hague. It was a little rainy and cold, but it was worth it. We are staying far out from the city so we do not get to see it very often. We went to Primark, Zara, LUSH, and a few other stores in the town. They have some good shopping!!

Once we did some good shopping, we went to grab a bite to eat. Every place in The Hague is different! We went to an Italian place called Uno and got some pizza. WOW! Their pizza over here is a little more plain than ours at home but still was very good. I was so exhausted from the long day that it was nice to come home to Roompot and go to sleep early.

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Day 10: Just a Typical Monday

Today is February 6th and it is my first full week at Gelderlandschool. It is unreal that my time will almost be over here by the end of this week!!

Today as I walked into the school, I met the secretary of the school. Amazingly enough, this sweet woman is also the janitor! How interesting. She cleans up the teacher’s lounge and I guess the classrooms. There is another janitor as well but she told me that she is the “unofficial janitor” haha!

This week in the classroom, there are 2 class assistants that sweep the floors at the end of the day, pull up the blinds, and pass out papers. Each week there are 2 new assistants who take over these jobs.

Every morning in the room, the blinds and shades are put down because once the “sun” comes up, it shines into the classroom and gets into the kids’ eyes. The sun rarely is out here though so usually this is not an issue.

Here is a rundown of my day:

8:15 Students arrive at school and place their jackets in their bags outside and place their snacks in the bucket by the door. (If a student forgets to put their snack in the bucket, they have to go get it from their backpack and wait 5 minutes to eat it. It seems they are teaching their students responsibility in this way. Funny enough, students bring a full sandwich as a snack.)

8:30 Bell rings and kids read a packet about the holocaust and concentration camps.This is done as a class and a new student each reads a new paragraph. (During this time, I try my best to stay by the heater because the room is very very cold. There is no air conditioning, but it is freezing outside and the small heater on the side does not help much.)

9:15 Vocabulary lesson. Students get a new list every 2 weeks and they study these words every day. Each group of tables has a small box with the words on a small piece of paper to study.

In order to get the class’ attention, the teacher rings the small bell to get them quiet. It surprisingly works.

10:15 The class talks about their weekend. I find this very interesting because the students just have the opportunity to share what they did over the weekend and get to take a break at the same time. It is nice that they can share something about themselves in the classroom.

10:55 Gymnastics (or PE) time! The first half of the class goes into the gym and the second half stays in the classroom to learn about their theme. This class’ theme is World War 2, so all of their lessons are about WWII the whole six weeks. Once the time is up, they switch. The school has a boys and girls locker room where the students can bring whatever clothes they want to change into and get ready for PE. It is a requirement for the teacher to be in there to monitor, and I find this very scary. I felt awkward being in there.. Oh well it is the rule. In gym, there were different stations where the gym teacher had the kids do each station in a few different ways. They ended PE with a dodge ball game and once the student got out, they went to the locker room to change. They have to rinse off in the shower before changing back. I like this because the classroom does not stink!!

11:30 Break for the students until 1. They leave school or stay downstairs and get milk provided by the school.

12:30 Time for the teacher’s lunch!! I think it is interesting to see the mix of food in the lounge. Most people bring cucumbers and eat them by themselves. Ew. Others bring bread and cheese. That’s it. I just eat pasta and all the teachers laugh at me because I do not look like I am a part of them!!

Today in the lounge we talked about their traditions and how their Christmas holiday and Santa Claus are different. They celebrate Santa on December 5 and it is only for Dutch kids. Christmas is celebrated on the same day but instead of Santa bringing them gifts, they come from somewhere else. Very different than America for sure.

1:00 Students come back from break and take a spelling test. This test is not for a grade, but instead is to check their knowledge of how well they know the words. I felt like I was back home because we do this in America as well.

On the board, each day the teacher writes the schedule where the students can follow along. The students write goals in their journals in the morning for each subject and check if they made their goal. There is a checklist the teacher has to sign in order to let the students move onto the next week’s work.

1:20 Math! The students work in their work books depending on their level.

2:00 Social Studies! They do not call this subject social studies, but their word is very hard to spell..

2:30 The students have free time where they can draw a picture of the classroom drawn to scale. It is funny to see the students that are perfectionists and do not like the way their’s looks.

3:00 School is over!

At the end of the day, I headed to the grocery store by my school to get more food. Once I made the trek back to the bus, I headed home. I met Fallon and Maria to do laundry. The washers and dryers here take FOREVER!! And they cost 5 euros each to wash… yikes.

Afterwards, we went home and watched the bachelor. It was nice to catch up on something from home because we do not see very many things similar to home over here in Holland!!

 

 

Day 7, 8, & 9: Amsterdam

Hallo!! As my adventure continues, I get more excited about each new experience. This weekend we got to go experience the great city of Amsterdam. All I can say is WOW! I was so thankful for all the English. The menus were in English, the servers spoke English, and the signs were in English. Hmm.. I wonder if this is a tourist town or not. LOL.

Friday

On Friday, Fallon and I took many buses to the train station that took us to Amsterdam. The bus was double decker, which was so cool! We rode for about 45 minutes until arriving in Amsterdam. Let me tell you.. This transportation system is so confusing!! We got off the train and walked around the same block for at least 15 minutes until finding the tram stop. (Which by the way happened to be right where we got off the bus, but we did not see it the first time.)

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On the bus!

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Our 2 decker train

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Train time!

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Sleepy Fallon (don’t kill me for this)

The tram card scanning machine was broken so our ride was free!! HOORAY! This means a lot to us little college kids. Each time we get on a bus, tram, or train, we can our OV-Chipkaart that we had to load money on at the very beginning of the trip. I think we finally have this down because now I remember to get the card out before getting on and off the bus so I do not forget to scan. Apparently, if you do not scan it while getting off, it charges you a LOT of money. Hmm. Don’t wanna do that.

While walking through the city to find our hostel, we passed many beautiful buildings and the canal. I am amazed that this city can fit so many homes on one street. The houses are skinny and go straight up. There are trams and buses everywhere. The bikers have no mercy. If you walk across the street here and a car is coming, it will be the end for you because I can promise they will not slow down. True story.

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Canal

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Tram and bikers

We walked for a while and followed the directions on the hostel website, but if we had not seen a sign for it, we probably would have walked for hours. Sadly, our room was not ready, so they gave us free drinks at the restaurant!! Bless!!

I only have two words for our room. SO. TINY. Wow the room was small. We had a set of bunk beds, a small table, a little “closet” dresser and a bathroom. Weirdly enough, the toilet was not in the same room as the sink and shower. I have learned that this is a normal thing here in the Netherlands.

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Our small hostel room

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“bathroom”

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“toilet”

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Bridge from each building

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“closet”

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Our small bed

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Roomie Adventure Time!

Fallon and I got organized and headed to lunch. We knew of this amazing avocado place close to where we stayed, so we walked there and realized it was not even open yet. We accidentally stumbled upon what we thought was a cute little cafe that ended up being one of the best places we ate in Amsterdam. It was late afternoon, so we had missed the lunch rush. They almost did not serve us lunch because we came in the in between time, where they do not usually serve food. This would never happen in America because not everyone eats at exactly noon every single day. This cute place was called Cafe De Pijp (Cafe de pipe, if you say it correctly) and it was an amazing start to the weekend.

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Cafe De Pijp

Our next stop was the canal cruise. We bought tickets ahead of time for this canal cruise and as we showed up, we were surprised that there were only 6 people on the whole boat! We got a tour through the city’s canal and we saw the Anne Frank house, another house that was said to be the smallest house in Amsterdam, and all the many house boats that lined the canal. The sunset was absolutely beautiful and the houses looked even more homey as the evening went on.

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We had a little time before meeting the rest of our TCU friends, so we stopped at the Heineken Experience to see how beer is made. It was so cool to see because we saw the process, got a taste, and even got a few souvenirs.

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We head out to find our friends and we found a cute sushi place called Sumo. Of course we had to stop because sushi!!! Their food was amazing!! I swear every restaurant we go to, they think we are crazy because we want tap water. Water at restaurants costs money here.. ridiculous.

We wanted to go to this place called Door 74 and by our surprise, it was too hidden to find. This one little adventure did not go the way we wanted to because we did not make a reservation and we could not get in. Therefore, we ended up going to another cool place and we met so many cool people! Even a guy named Olaf! The child in me asked him if he has seen the movie Frozen and he about died. Haha.

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The first day was done. We headed back and went to sleep.

Saturday

Today was the busy busy adventure day!! First stop: breakfast. We had free breakfast in our hostel and we got to go through the line to pick from the following food: cheese, bread, cucumbers, sprinkles, hard boiled eggs, cereal, oranges, and some other things I was unsure of what they were.

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Next was the Anne Frank House!!!! This was one of the coolest things I have seen here so far. We got in line at 10:15 sharp and started with the museum. It was extremely hard to look at because it was such a horrible experience the family went through, but it was so cool to see how their bravery and courage got them through for the time being until they were caught. The wallpaper was real. The sink and toilet were real. We even got to see her many journals. I truly thought she only had one diary because of the book we read in school, but this is not the case. She had many journals, pictures, short stories, and even a few chapters of a book written. Anne was such a talented young girl. Pictures were not allowed, but if any of you know me, I was not about to go through this cool place without capturing it for myself… Don’t tell on me.

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Front Door

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Funky shape, but this is a panoramic going from top to bottom of the full house

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Stairs from the bottom floor that were shown in glass

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tiny tiny tiny stairs

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bookshelf door

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hidden doorway that was very short

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These are markings for the kids as they grew taller! How cute!!

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REAL pictures on the real wall paper

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This was Anne’s room in the exact way she had it with a glass covering to protect the real wallpaper and pictures.

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Toilet

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Sink in bathroom

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Even smaller stairs to the third floor

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third floor stairs to attic

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List of people in concentration camp

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Anne’s death card

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First book

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First original diary (a bit fuzzy)

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(bad quality) another journal of Anne

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(bad quality) Anne’s short stories

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A wall of different versions of Anne Frank’s Diary

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Anne’s photo album and Otto Frank’s passport photos

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Margo Frank’s photo album and Anne’s passport photos

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Anne’s passport photos

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We got to sign the welcome book for the museum

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Fallon and I’s notes in the signing book for the museum (of course I spelled a word wrong)

After the Anne Frank house, we made our way to eat some crepes! Wow I have never tasted something so yummy. I got a nutella, banana, and strawberry crepe. Go figure!!

 

We wanted to head to the I amsterdam sign, but it was so far away. Our only way of transportation was our feet.. We walked over 17,000 steps that day. Enough said. On our way there, we passed this giant group of people watching a magician and a man blowing giant bubbles. We are children so of course we had to go play with them!!

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The I amsterdam sign was so big, but also so busy!! How many people really need a picture in front of this!! (who am I to talk because that is why I was there too lol) We got a few pictures but there were people in every single one.

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Lastly for our afternoon, we walked through the amazing shopping strip they have and headed home!! It was nap time. Literally. We slept for 2 hours. Walking through a huge city can wear two people out!

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Dinner was a must. We were so hungry! Especially me. We went to a place called Stoop and Stoop. I tried a “chicken burger” which sounded like a chicken sandwich but I promise you it was nothing like one. I still ate it because I was starving, but I will not be eating a chicken burger every again. (They do not cook their bacon all the way here…..) The rest of our night was a rainy, cold experience just stopping by different places throughout the city.

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Time for sleep again!!

Sunday

Today is the day to head back to Kijkduin 😦 I wanted to stay in Amsterdam so bad!

Since we had to check out of our hostel, our bags had to come with us wherever we went. We ate breakfast at this amazing place with sandwiches and waffles. WOW the waffle was even better than the crepe I ate! Yummy!

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My breakfast buddy!!

We went to the Van Gogh Museum next and of course, our bags could not come with us.

What to do what to do…

We walked across the street and went into the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam. The front desk lady told us we could store our bags there while looking in the museum. Little did she know that we were not looking at their museum, but the Van Gogh Museum instead… We bought a student ticket for only 9 euro and stored our bags. We had to become sneaky super women and slide out of there with no one seeing. We went back to the Van Gogh Museum and luckily got in with no problem. It was a very cool museum! I loved getting to see all of his pieces and read about his life. I knew he was crazy because he cut off his own ear, but I had no clue he was actually mentally insane. What a cool learning experience for me.

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We ran back to the other museum afterward and went through that one as well. Umm… It was not what we expected. The art pieces were weird. In my mind, it was not art. But who am I to say that.. I can’t draw or paint haha.

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As our weekend was coming to an end, we tried to do the last few things on our list. My next number one was getting American food at Hard Rock Cafe. I have missed American food.

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This meal was amazing!!! Fajitas and onion rings. Random but amazing.

We next headed to the Red Light District which about scared me to death. I will not go into any detail about this experience because my 5th graders are reading this. Haha. Enough said.

Time to go home! Sadly!!

Our travel time was shorter than before but we made it home in about 2 hours. Of course stopping for some dessert on the way home before walking our mile home from the bus stop. Bed time!!

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This weekend was so much fun and I wish I could already go back!! See you next Thursday Amsterdam!!