December 2, 2018
As week five came to an end, Emelie and I were in Amsterdam for Thanksgiving weekend.
While in Amsterdam, we were able to accomplish so much in just a short amount of time. We went to the Anne Frank House, The Van Gogh Museum and did a Canal Tour. Getting lost in Amsterdam was an insightful visit.
The Netherlands is the third new country that I have traveled to since leaving the United States six weeks ago. After this trip, it is safe to say the Netherlands has a special place in my heart. The people in Amsterdam were so friendly, welcoming, and helpful. Although we were two young women in a large city, neither of us ever felt unsafe. I loved how social the Dutch were from a friendly smile and “Hallo” on the streets to engaging in conversations at local cafes. Amsterdam felt like home.
Part of my experience abroad is learning more about culture and people, and my time in Amsterdam has added to this. I had the opportunity to see first-hand where Anne Frank and her family hid for 25 months and was at a loss for words seeing the size of the bookcase that concealed their hiding place. I also got to take a peek into the life of Vincent Van Gogh!
The Van Gogh Museum was also very informational and a great learning experience. A wonderful place to observe and view amazing masterpieces by Van Gogh and others, but also learn about Van Gogh and his family, his strengths and his struggles.
The canal tour of Old Town was such a cool way to see the city from another perspective. I found it very enriching to see familiar storefronts and restaurants while on the water, as it was easy to make connections and find my location.
If you ever have the opportunity to travel with your best friends, I highly recommend it! My experience traveling with my best friend, will forever impact me and the way I travel. It was fun and exciting to find a sense of direction, landmarks, and favorite places in a foreign place.
Throughout our crazy adventure, we walked and became familiar with Amsterdam, never getting too concerned with our path, as long as we reached the final destination. This was very enriching as we never knew exactly where we were going, but having a general plan and remaining flexible was amazing. We found many restaurants that we took a chance and walked into, after miles and miles of walking.
Not only did we share meals, laughs, and happiness but also memories that can never be forgotten or erased. We tried small food places, that were not always on the map, and lived without access to the internet or outside world for most of our time in Amsterdam.
Now back in Ireland, at Holy Family, we are in full swing preparing for the Christmas Concert. All students attending the Junior School will be participating in two concerts, one held during the day for the Holy Family Senior School, and the other in the evening for families. Students across all age levels are practicing learning multiple songs with motions to the songs. Some students have their own lines and individual roles. For example, in the junior infants, there is a Santa Claus and a Mrs. Claus, as well as a Christmas tree. Being a part of the Christmas Concert has been an enriching experience, as it something I have never been involved with prior. I love Christmas, and the concert is a great way to give me the holiday feelings in Ireland.
Concluding this weekend, I have two weekends left here in Ireland. Although I have been extremely grateful for this experience, I will be ready to be home for the holidays.
Tegan is an elementary education major from Spring Grove, Illinois.