Bye Bye Minnesota

Soo… This was it? My year is over? Already? I ask myself. It went by so fast. I remembered the first day like it just happened yesterday. And while I’m typing this, a summary of my last weeks in Minnesota, I’m driving in a van with 8 other exchange students through Texas. The coast to coast trip, where I was looking forward to for so long is finally happening. And don’t get me wrong, I definitely not wanted to leave Minnesota. But I love traveling and I have the feeling more that this is a vacation and afterwards I’ll be going back to Minnesota. It’s weird to think that I’m back in the Netherlands in 2 weeks.
I have to go home. But how can I go home if I’m already home? Minnesota became a second home for me and now I’m going back to what? To home? But my home is here? My friends, family, favorite stores, favorite restaurants, school. And yes of course I love the Netherlands, sometimes I’m as patriotic about the Netherlands as Americans are about America. But I kind of forgot how it was to live in the Netherlands. What kind of stuff did I do with friends? How did I filled my spare time? (hahaha kidding, I’m to busy for spare time). But I don’t really have a choice. After 10 months I have to go back home. 🙁
The weeks before I left Minnesota were filled with a lot of fun stuff. I went roller skating with friends, drove a car (and I wasn’t that bad), went to the movie, went shopping, had a bonfire, met a friend from Holdingford again. Oh and got sick in the last week (and still the first few days of the coast to coast trip). But feeling better now. Gave my dutch flag to a friend and she gave me an American flag 🙂 I packed a box to send home which was heavier than my suitcase. Packed my suitcase (only 44 lb!!!!) Kind of cleaned my room as far as possible when your sick and the only thing you wanted to do is sleep. Enjoyed the last evening meal with my host family and friend. And before you know it, you have to say goodbye. It is difficult to say goodbye when you don’t realize you are leaving and you don’t want to say goodbye.
I know for sure that I’ll come back. At least to ride a snowmobile.
I made in the last months friends who I’ll never forget. Friends where I will come back for. Who wants to come to the Netherlands for you (and all the weird food). Believe me when you start talking about the food we have… And we think that the Americans are unhealthy… lol
Anyways, this is going to be a short blog. I’ll post one about the coast to coast trip (and I’m making a video about the trip!)
I was planning on uploading this in Minnesota. Guess what. I’m right now in San Antonia, TX with a good wifi connection. At least I posted something.
Tomorrow we’re going to Six Flags!
See y’all in 2 weeks.

kahs bids farewell to four exchange students 

So last week the local newspaper Tri-county news published an article at June 7th,  written byJean Doran Matua. So for all the family and friends back home who don’t have Facebook or haven’t seen it yet.  The link to the article is at the bottom. 

The article:

A school year can seem long and painful, or it can go by in a flash. So much depends on your perspective, and on your attitude.

Four of the students who walked through graduation will probably agree that this past year went by pretty quickly. (Except maybe the winter.) Four exchange students from Europe completed a year’s study at Kimball Area High School last week.

Lea Schmidt is from Seeheim-Jugenheim in southeastern Germany. Her host parents are Tracy and Paul Hanan.

Linn Habberstad is from Jönköping, Sweden. Her host parents are Tom and Karla Ehlinger.

Emma Gobes is from Zeist in the middle of the Netherlands. Her host parents are Jo and Rod Olson.
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Ruben Overdevest is from Amsterdam, Netherlands. His host dad is Zach Boser, a.k.a. Mr. Boser the science teacher.

All agreed that winter is very cold here. And all four students missed their friends and families from home. They had a few other interesting observations, too.

They love the openness of people here in Minnesota. We’re outgoing and have lots of activities, whether it’s just hanging out, enjoying bonfires, eating out, or going to the movies. Emma noted that people here just do what they want to, like shooting guns. Minnesota people are nice. Ruben also liked that all the sports are through the schools (rather than special clubs not affiliated with schools as is the case in most of Europe).

There are a few things they don’t like: exchange students aren’t allowed to drive, and there’s no public transportation here. You can’t go anywhere without a car, and it’s sometimes uncomfortable always having to ask for a ride from others. Emma also noted that here fast food is cheap, but healthy food is expensive, the opposite of how it should be.

Foreign exchange students at KAHS for the 2016-17 school year were, from left, Lea Schmidt from Germany, Linn Habberstad from Sweden, Emma Gobes and Ruben Overdevest both from the Netherlands. Staff photo by Jean Doran Matua.

Surprises await all exchange students, no matter how much they prepare for a year abroad. Lea was surprised at how our teachers are so open. Ruben is amazed at how kids younger than he can drive, but he can’t.

Besides the obvious – family and friends – there are a few things they missed during their year here. All four of them missed their bicycles, and the ability to get wherever you want by bicycle. And it’s inevitable that they will miss the food from home, like European chocolate (not waxy like American chocolate), tappas, and Swedish pizza (that was Linn’s contribution, and something we’ll have to investigate further). They noted, though, that Chinese food is better here than at home.

Lea says she loves her host parents (and sibling too), and will miss them. She is here for a few more weeks.

Linn says the Ehlingers became a second family to her, and that her sister Hannah is now also her best friend. She loves the Ehlingers, and also her host grandparents (Ron and Diane Knaus).

Emma wants to thank her host parents for the wonderful year. She hopes to see them one day in the Netherlands.

Ruben really appreciates his host dad, saying that he really felt like a dad to him.

This was Emma’s third graduation from high school! She’s 18 and she’s finally done with high school. Ruben is done as well. Both Lea and Linn will have another two years of high school once they return home.

Being an exchange student can be a scary experience, going to live for a year with a new family in a new country. Thanks to all four host families, this was a great year for these four students. I’ll bet (a Swedish pizza) that their host families were enriched this year too.

I hope you’ll consider hosting an exchange student; it can be for a few weeks up to a full year. Your lives won’t be the same.

The source is: