On Thursday there was a wonderful presentation for all the parents and students. We had spent all afternoon preparing different projects such as dance, art, stop motion, and songwriting. They were all very well done and presented to the parents and fellow students Thursday night. The entire evening was great. A few students presented their projects from Monday with us again and the Dutch students gave us all a gift:a hat, a world squeeze toy, a pen and a bag. The entire evening was very enjoyable and it made me realize I’m not ready to leave!
On the way to Deventer we stopped at Wilp-Achterhoek to visit a cheese farm named Boerderij Den Hoek. We split into two groups to tour their small factory. Much of the ways they care for their cows are the similar to Canada. Although I don’t know how we make cheese well enough to say ours is any different I certainly know that the end product is. After the tour, we were given the chance to sample their goods. The regular milk was very fresh. Buttermilk’s smell left nothing to the imagination; very sour. Yogurt was very good until the after-taste hit. The cheeses were delicious. The textures of the old cheese was not to my preference, but one couldn’t deny the flavour. The young cheese was definitely my favorite. I haven’t been fond of nuts and in cheese it is no different. Ultimately I enjoyed the entire event.
On Remembrance Day we went to the Holten War Cemetery to present the projects we made besides the graves of the soliders from the North Shore. It was very emoitional standing next to the grave of McRae. It really hit home the fact of what happened making them more than just names on some files. It will be a Remembrance Day I wont forget.
After that we went to the Airborne Museum and did the tour of the buliding and the airborne experience.
It’s only natural to be nervous about traveling to a new country, but what may seem strange is that the majority of my anxiety lay in the thought of biking approximately 8 km to school every morning. Truth be told, I’m not much of an athlete and until this week, I had not biked at all for the past 5 years. Over the summer, I had planned to practice so that I would not be so out of shape when I got here but predictably, this did not happen. The beginning of my bike troubles began when I found I could not even get on, being way too short for a bike that was built for long Dutch legs. Even adjusting the seat was no help: I was simply unable to mount. About 15 minutes later, we were able to somewhat solve the problem by having someone hold the bike upright and bringing me to the sidewalk where I found a ledge to stand on. Luckily, riding was much easier than I anticipated. The distance was not so much of a big deal and inexperienced as I was, I was still able to ride it without exerting too much energy. Though I am still not mounting with ease, it has generally gotten better with each passing day. Perhaps I will be an expert by the end of this exchange.
Yesterday we visited a cheese factory located about an hour away from Canisius. We were split into two groups upon arriving at the farm and led on tours of the facility by the owner and a worker there. We were shown a short video clip about the productin of dairy products and cheese before heading out on the tour. We visited a barn where they showed us their 30 cows and we had the opportunity to pose with them. Along the way we saw cats and dogs and other domestic animals. We were shown where diferent cheeses are stored and the tour guide explained the differences between them. Finally, we tasted some buttermilk, milk, pudding and various cheeses. Unfortunately, only one type of cheese appealed to my tastebuds. The milk tasted similar to the usual kind I drink and the pudding was very delicious. I did not enjoy the buttermilk, which was much too sour for my taste. I ended up buying a slice of italian cheese from the store at the end of the visit. I really hope my family will enjoy it as much as I did!
On November 11th, our Canadian and Dutch students traveled to Holton to commemorate the lives of our men who fought and died for our freedom. I thought the ceremony was very touching. I know the project has changed since we first started it last year, but I am glad it has done so. We were able to start something so special that it affected people from all around the world, families who didn’t know what had happened to their love ones or thought that their stories would never be told.
The ceremony was a very emotional one. Out of all the remembrance ceremonies I have attended, this one was by far the most touching. This project has made everything personal, by reading the files and having greater knowledge on these men it has made a connection between students and soldiers. I could imagine his youth and the time he registered in the war, his first time stepping on the battle field. I could imagine the fear, the pain and the loss of losing friends, and missing family members.
This was and will always be one of my most memorable experiences here in Holland and I am so glad we had the chance to do this. The raw emotion that was present at the ceremony was beautiful and I hope they continue this project in the future with other students who visit Holland.
– Rebekah Dubé
Between traveling in the two different countries, the Netherlands and Canada, I’m undecided to which is better. The landscape of the dutch people was much more apparent for sure. The major reason why is the tree line of Canada. In Canada, you can travel for miles on end seeing nothing but a solid wall of trees. Here, at the Netherlands there are flat grasslands where everything from the horizon and back is out on display; a constant scenic view. The Canadian mountains and hills are alien to this landscape and so the form of transportation follow suit. Whether it is bikes, busses, or cars they differ from country to country. The cars of our northern home are large to cope with the winter weather and rocky terrain while here they are suited for comfort and affordability instead. In the Netherlands there are only busses we would use for long distance travel without a single school bus for quick school transport. Instead of public transport everyone in the Netherlands uses bicycles. The swarms of them crowd the many roadside paths specific for bicycles. At the school the entire parking lot is reserved for all those bikes. All the bikes in use here are utility bicycles in place of our popular mountain bikes. All in all each country has their own different perks to travel.
On November 12th, my exchange partner’s father drove us to Münster, Germany. All of the shops were closed because we arrived late, but we were able to take many pictures of the scenery and historical buildings. Most interesting of all was the Domplatz, an old church that was built over a period of approximately 400 years. A first portion was built and later extended to its current size. After World War II, it had to be restored due to being damaged during the war. Visiting a German city was also a great way to find similarities and differences between European cultures. The methods of travel were the same (bicycle, most commonly), but many of the houses were different. I am very thankful for the opportunity to travel to another country while in the Netherlands.
Coming to the Netherlands has been an experience of a lifetime; I can’t think of any other trip that I’ve been on in my life that can even compare to this. We started our Netherlands experience with a visit to the Holten Canadian War Cemetery it was such an amazing experience to see this cemetery and honour the men who gave their lives in order to protect us and the people of the Netherlands. When doing our projects it felt like we had a connection with every soldier in the graveyard and it was really something amazing that I’ll remember forever.
On the second day we talked to the other Dutch students at the school that could speak English and learned all about them and they learned all about us as well. After that we went to the other school in the area that was sort of like their middle school, at this school we were really treated differently the younger Dutch student were in awe that we were from Canada and it felt like we were famous! All the students wanted to get a picture with us and were crowding around saying hi, shaking our hands and asking us a ton of questions. It was really amazing what an impact our presence had on them and I just can’t wait to experience more of the Netherlands!
I think it’s pretty safe to say that no one knew exactly what to expect when they signed up for this trip. Thanks to several preconceptions we have of the Netherlands and of the Dutch people, I’m sure we were all able to form some sort of mental image of where we were headed. Though I can speak only for myself, I was not overly shocked by what I saw upon arriving in the country. True to my expectations, the roads are narrow in European fashion. Bicycles are a common form of transportation. The scenery is largely made up of fields full of cows. The Netherlands are just as beautiful as I could have hoped, and yet still manage to exceed expectations in this respect. The same held true when we traveled to Deventer yesterday. It appeared to be, in my eyes, a typical European city. It was while standing at the top of the clock tower that I found this resemblance most striking. Standing on one side, you had a beautiful view of the river. On the other, the city stretched out as far as the eye could see. Seeing both Deventer and Tubbergen were like dreams brought to life, and as always, were much better in colour.