a team Nederland fan decked out in orange, the national color. the flag is red white and blue, but the royal family's name is van Oranje, or 'of orange'.
On Sunday, my family and i drove to Essen, Germany to see the European Kanopolo Championships. it was a beautiful morning, sunny and warm but breezy enough. we drove for about two hours, maybe a little less, over the border - i was surprised that we could just drive through, but apparently most of Europe has open borders now so it's just like driving from one state to another.
i've never seen anything quite like kanopolo - 'the best way to describe it', said Wencke (my host sister), 'is like rugby in kayaks'. and it is. there are nine players on each side, and they basically beat each other up to try and get the ball into a square goalpost on either side of a large pool. the games took place on a large lake just outside of Essen, with courts (pools?) set up one next to another, roped off and sided by floating docks. there were probably eight or so, plus some areas for practice. the nations competing (as far as i know) were Germany, Italy, Russia, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Poland, Russia, and France. it was very fun to see all of the different nationalities roaming around, chatting in the sun in about fifteen different languages. i also had my first taste of pommes frites with mayo, or french fries. i liked the mayo well enough, but they had a bottle of ketchup there and i stuck with that :) we had a discussion later on about how all exchange students gain weight during the year, so i'm going to try to keep that to a minimum! plus... ketchup is amazing. we'll leave it at that.
Today Paula, Wencke and I went to my school to meet with the dean and figure out my schedule. it turns out that the level i was going to be in, havo 4, is too full, so i'm going to be in VWO 5 instead. vwo is the level for more ambitious kids who want to go to university for careers. i'll still be with people my age but the classes will be a little harder, and more oriented towards college-prep. possibly. this is all from what i've been able to make out of my english briefings. it's funny having conversations here, because paula and this or that person will have a long exchange and then paula will turn to me and say, he thinks you should take biology. haha well i can follow conversations here a bit, as in i can tell what they're talking about. tomorrow i'll bike there again and pick up my schedule, and be shown around school a bit, perhaps meet some classmates. then i'll start school officially maybe wednsday? we're not quite sure yet, as this school week is a bit all over the place. hopefully all will go well there, i'm excited to start school and talk to people my age again! i haven't met anyone since i arrived here so making friends will be nice.