Prepare yourself for a loooong blog. Get a cup of tea and maybe something to eat. And you might need a break halfway.
It’s January 1st, 2017. I can’t realize yet 2016 is over. IT went so fast.. In 2016 I got my HAVO diploma, broke my ankle, went to Curacao to visit my sister and of course I went to The US. I moved to another host family, met amazing people from all over the world, and saw amazing cities: Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Boston as Washington DC
I have no idea what 2017 will bring me yet.. On July 1st 2017 is my 20th birthday. Bye bye teenage life (my 20th bday is on 1-7 in 2017, haha, got it? 20-1-7, 😀 okay, nevermind )
My dad and stepmom are going to visit me by the end of this month! My brother will maybe visit me in April aaaand I’d like to do more trips. To New Orleans, Austin, Seatle, the Caribien, California…
I’m going to do something what’s really scary, but I’ll tell you more about that later.
I’ll start with my classes at a college and I have to make an important decision: staying or leaving.
1,5 week ago my mom and her boyfriend arrived in the US to visit me. Since they’re here I realize how much I do not miss home. Don’t get me wrong: I love that my mom and Hennie are here and of course, there are some things and people in the Netherlands I miss, but overall: no I don’t miss ‘home’. And I write home between the quotation marks, because my home in the Netherlands doesn’t feel like my only home anymore. I got a second home. A home in Weston, a small town in Connecticut. My home is in a beautiful house with an amazing family and the eight cats.
I see a lot of au pairs leaving, with all different reasons. Some have to leave, some are (home) sick and for some of them is the year over. I tried to imagine how it’ll feel to be back in The Netherlands. And now ow I see my mom, it makes me realize where I was thinking off: I don’t miss home. I talk to au pairs who are counting the days until they can go home, who are thinking of going home earlier and who are even looking at flight tickets. And yeah, I understand them, but it makes me realizing how happy I am here and how much I don’t miss my home in The Netherlands. And even my family is awesome, I don’t miss them that much (love you guys).
My mom notices all those differences between the US and The Netherlands. Small and big differences, cultural differences, people who behave different or just simple things which are different. I’m used to this now and totally forgot about that some things are different in The Netherlands Some examples:
- Enthusiastic Americans. American people can be really hyper and glib about something they like. Dutch people are more like: doe maar normaal, dan doe je al gek genoeg. Literally translated: just act normal, that’s already crazy enough. Dutch people are more straightforward and will tell you when they like something or when they don’t. And it’s not that Americans act like they like everything. It’s more that when they like something they can be super
- Free plastic bags . Since 2016 you have to pay for every plastic bag in the Netherlands. Sometimes you’ll pay 1 cent, sometimes you have to pay 30 cents. But it can’t be free.
- Drive-thru’s. Everywhere. Not just a MacDrive, but a pharmacy drive thru, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks Drive thru’s and even the bank has a drive-thru.
- Everything is big cars, road, houses, food, people
- Houses made out of wood
- Bad Roads
- So. Many. Stop signs.
- Little disposable cups in the bathroom (nor sure of those are typical American, though.. since they aren’t easy to find in a store)
And of course, there are many more differences. And as I said, I’m used to these things. I’m used to the American culture and I like it. Actually, before I came here I didn’t expect it to be that different. I thought the culture was the same, the food was the same and people would be the same. Now is America a big country, every state is really different and I only lived in two of them. But it took me a few months to get used to the American life. And I’m still wondered sometimes.
The most important reason I love it here so much is my host family. The kids, the parents and the cats, they’re all great. I can’t imagine to ever leave them and go back to my life in The Netherlands. But, at some point, I have to. And that’s what on my mind a lot. Do I want to go back in August 2017? Do I want to go back after a year in the US, 10 months in this amazing family? I can start my study, Nutrition and communication in Wageningen in September. I’ll be 20 years old then, and hopefully 24 years old when I finish. I need to move to Wageningen, live in my own room in a house full of other students. I’ll need to find a boring job at a grocery store, go to school, do an internship and live the normal student life. When I say it like this, it sounds like something I really don’t want to do. But I do. I’m looking forward to that chapter of my life. I’m just not sure if I want to, if I’ll be ready to, close this chapter of my life in 7 months. What if I stay 6 or 9 months longer? Then I’ll have my travel month in February or May, what is a lot better than traveling the US in August. Then I’ll be back in The Netherlands for at least a few months, before University starts. So I can get used to The Netherlands again, have time to see all my friends and family and I have enough time to find a place to live in Wageningen. I would even have time to make a trip somewhere. Travelling is one of my favorites things to do and there’s so much I still want to see. But, on the other hand. There are things and people I miss in The Netherlands. And if I start university a year later, I’ll be done a year later, so I’ll be 25 when I get my Bachelor. And I might want to study further to get my Master.
Fortunately, I have enough time to think about this. I think I have to make the decision around May/ June. I have the option to extend my year with 6, 9 or 12 months, in the same family or in another family. I would definitely stay in this family. I don’t think there’s any family more perfect (for me) than this one, so I would never take that risk. And I would extend for 6 or 9 months. (And I’ll never tell you what I decide, so I can surprise everyone when I’m back). 12 months wouldn’t make sense to me, because I’m afraid that coming back in the end of August, and starting University in September to quick is. And if I extend with 6 or 9 months, I’ll have enough time to get ready for the life of a student 🙂
But I’ll see.. Maybe in a few months I’m really homesick oooor I don’t like working anymore. I don’t .. We’ll see.
Oh, and I made a trip with my mom and Hennie. We went to Washington DC, Philadelphia, Lancaster and New York City. But I’ll tell you about that in other blogs. 🙂
I hope you enjoyed reading this and feel free to ask me anything or give me advise.
You made it to the end of this blog! Thankyou! And happy new year!