Sunday, June 27, 2010

Not a Porcupine

Welcome to my new 6 week old baby hedgehog, Qwilleran! We drove to Ohio (with a stop at the Indiana outlet stores) and picked him up from a breeder. Turns out he's a climber. He scaled the walls of his cage and fell off from the top. So now Dad is coming up with a contraption to prevent this. In the mean time, he is happily sleeping and eating his days away. He's a snuggler. Have you ever snuggled with a hairbrush? That's about as pleasant as snuggling a hedgehog.

Monday, June 14, 2010


This weekend 11 of us went to Rome, Italy! Jillian Maggard and I took a hop on hop off tour bus around the city and spent some time at the Colosseum and the Vatican, as well as shopping. The Colosseum was my favorite. It felt so powerful there, to know that so many gladiators and other people died there, mostly for entertainment. I'll just have to go home and watch Gladiator to relive the good ole days. The Vatican was amazing! We walked through the Vatican Museum which houses the Sistine Chapel. All the millions of hallways that led to the Sistine Chapel were amazingly beautiful. So many intricate paintings on the wall as well as the walls and ceilings themselves. The Sistine Chapel was awe inspiring. There were guards that kept shushing everyone. Apparently the Sistine Chapel needs complete silence to work. Whatever. Also no pictures. I got yelled at... Oops. Well I wasn't going to pass up the illegal opportunity to get my own picture of the famous ceiling! We did some major shopping after that and stumbled back to our hostel. Then we left to go home (Maastricht) on Sunday.
Today I had to say goodbye to my year 6 class. They left for camp this morning and my last day at their school is tomorrow. I had a harder time saying goodbye to them than their parents did. At least their parents get to see them when they come back from camp on Thursday. I really had a great time with my class and I already miss them all! So many different languages spoken in that class, yet a very tight sense of community. I have gotten email addresses from teachers and substitute teachers. One sub told me that she would do anything for me because she so enjoyed working with me. This lady worked with me for ONE DAY! That was pretty cool.
Tonight our professors took us to a nice Italian restaurant that GVSU paid for. Also Gelato for dessert. Did I mention that while we were in Rome, Jillian had 4 Gelatos in one day? Also she got pooped on by a bird. But not a pigeon because they are all too fat and lazy to fly in Rome.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I know why the Titanic sunk.

This past weekend Jill and I went to London, Belfast, and Amsterdam. We arrived in London around 6pm. We walked to all the main sites (Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace...) and had blast! We absolutely adored London! We spent way too much money on souvenirs, but hey, it was London! We went back to Buckingham Palace on Saturday morning to see if we could tour the palace. Next weekend is the Queen's birthday so they were practicing Trooping the Color. We got to see a great ceremony but couldn't go into the Palace. So we shopped!
We left London and arrived in Belfast, Northern Ireland around 6pm on Saturday. Um... Belfast. We stayed in the slums, pretty much. We were terrified. We were followed by groups of men, catcalled, witnessed a fight involving the throwing of beer bottles, and we ran back to our hostel. Our hostel... was in an alley. Also terrifying. We shared a room with 18 men and women. Sheets were not washed. We slept in our clothes and got out of there by 8am. Then we went to the outskirts of Belfast which were really beautiful and thankfully much different than the city centre. We hiked a bit and saw Belfast Castle. I was standing in the middle of a forest in Northern Ireland overlooking a cliff and it hit me. I was in Ireland! My whole life I dreamed of going to Ireland. It was amazing and gorgeous (except the city centre of course). We hated Belfast Saturday night and loved it Sunday morning. Fun fact: the Titanic was made here. If it was made in the city centre, I know why it sunk. Damn.
On our way back to Maastricht, we stopped off in Amsterdam. Here, we went into the Anne Frank Huis (house). This was an experience that I will never forget. I stood in the Secret Annex. I saw Anne's bedroom, complete with her decorations on the walls. I saw the marks that Anne's father made on the walls to record the growth of Anne and Margot during their hiding period. I saw Anne's diary and loose leaf pages in glass cases. I went behind the bookshelf that hid the Secret Annex. Amazing. Really one of the most amazing experiences in my life.
All in all, it was an amazing weekend filled with unforgettable experiences.