Sunday, October 11, 2015

Day 14! Special Parents Event!

Hi guys :)

Yesterday, on Saturday, I was invited to volunteer at this Special Parents event by a friend of a friend. The entire thing was amazing.

This organization hosts Special-Parent's days twice a year, where volunteers provide 1 on 1 care for the special-needs children and there siblings for an entire afternoon, while their parents enjoy a lunch or dinner at a restaurant of their choice. So, I got matched with Brendan, a super cute and happy boy in a wheelchair who I spent the afternoon with. The event was huge! There was a petting zoo, a hay ride, pony rides, a hot air ballon, and many more fun things to do. Unfortunately, because Brendan was bound to his chair, we couldn't do most of the things. But we still had fun. We painted on canvas, decorated a pumpkin, danced to the music, enjoyed watching the animals from the petting zoo and had some delicious pizza. I really enjoyed the entire day a lot!

I also met some new people, including Elena, the friend of a friend, and 3 of her friends. After the event was over, we all went out to eat some frozen yoghurt which was also really good! I had a pumpkin latte flavored one, covered with all kinds of different toppings (mostly chocolate :D). I really hope we'll be doing more things together in the future.

Here are some pics!

Julie <3

                                                                  Brendan and me


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A few pictures!

Hi guys!

Today was a little more exciting than usual because I rode my bike into town for the first time! Woohoo!

No but seriously, I enjoyed it a lot! I got to walk around Denville a little bit, shopped at Walgreens, stopped off at Starbucks, had a Subway sandwich for lunch and just really enjoyed having some 'me time'.

Otherwise, the rest of the day was great! I went to the playground with Ellie, we baked some Halloween brownies and just had a blast.

Here are some pictures of today!

Enjoy! ❤️


Swinging on the playground!

5 deer in the backyard yesterday morning!

Denville park!

Starbucks and shopping ❤️

My delicious Subway sandwich :D

Denville museum!

Our Halloween ghost brownies!👻

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Day 7

Hi there!

So, today is Saturday. That means it was the first day I could sleep in a little, which was awesome. I got up at 9am and pretty much rested in my room all day. I really needed that quiet time.

As you already know, I haven't posted for a few days. I was either playing with the kids or too tired to write. But I feel like I really got into a routine these last couple days. I get up at 7am, make all of the kids beds, go downstairs to help make breakfast for them and also make sure they get dressed and brush their teeth. Right now, my host mom still helps me with everything and tells me how they do things around here. When the older kids are off to school, I watch Ellie for the rest of the day. She is so adorable but definitely keeps me busy. We either play inside, outside or sometimes even go to the playground (although the weather hasn't been very good these last couple days... thanks to hurricane Joaquin!). I also do laundry every day and clean up the kitchen, which doesn't bother me at all :) The tricky part is always to figure out which clothes belong to which kid (or parent...) and then to put them in the right spot in their closets. I'm sure it will take me a couple weeks before I figure everything out.

I haven't gotten out of the house much yet, but I'm hoping that as soon as they'll let me drive that will change. I can't wait to explore the area, go shopping and obviously go to New York. I don't know when I'll ab able to do that, but I'm praying it will be soon. Until then, you will have to read these 'not so exciting' posts.

Tomorrow my family is planning on going bowling, so I'll probably go with them. It sounds like fun :)

Well, this is it for now. I promise the posts will get a little more exciting once I start doing stuff.



Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Day 2 & 3

Hi everybody!

Yesterday was crazy and I was super exhausted by the end of the day, so I was too tired to sit down and write a post. So I'm just going to write a little about today and yesterday.

The first night here was great! My bed is so comfortable, I slept like a baby. However, the first morning was a little awkward because I wasn't really sure when to get up. They told me to sleep in but I also felt bad for not getting up when they did. So, the shy girl that I am decided to just wait until they left which was around 8.45am. So yeah, not THAT late! (All day long I had to listen to the kids tell me that I slept in so late :D If only they knew...)

However, when I finally decided to go downstairs, nobody was there to tell me what to do. Also, I was super hungry. I felt so weird going through their kitchen to find food and dishes but I finally managed to make myself a bowl of cereal, which was very delicious. After a while my host mom came home and told me she had to pick up Ellie (the youngest) from school at 11.30 and asked if I wanted to go to Walgreens before picking her up together. Obviously I said yes. So around 10.30 we left to go shopping, which was not that exciting. But I got shampoo! Afterwards we stopped off at Starbucks and I got my very first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season. I feel like I'm gonna have a few more of those this fall. During this I really got to know Alisa a little better which was great! Then we picked up Ellie from her school which was adorable because there were a bunch of toddlers and little kids running around. When we got home, my host mom kinda started telling me what the kids like to eat for a snack (Mac & cheese yum!) and what they drink and stuff like that so I could start helping with that. The older kids came home a little later. For the most part I played with Ellie and Evie all day. We also started watching Frozen together which was super cute because we all knew the words to the songs, so we all sang together. After eating pizza for dinner, the three of us decorated a halloween gingerbread house! We had so much fun!

That was pretty much my day yesterday.

Today I got up with everybody at 7am. I helped Alisa with making breakfast for the kids, she showed me how to make their school lunches and then I walked Evie and Billy to their bus stop. Ellie doesn't go to school until 9am, so we watched a little tv until we drove her there. When Alisa dropped me off at home, I had some quiet time for myself until 11.30. I took a shower and then tried to lay down for a little while. I think I managed to sleep for 10 minutes. When Ellie came home, I made her lunch and we played all day together. Board games, dolls, outside, trampoline, tag, hide and seek, soccer,... just to name a few. She's so super adorable that I love spending that time with her, but it's also really exhausting! How can a 4 year old have that much energy? :D When my host dad came home at 3.30, I had a little time to myself but soon Ellie was back in my room. So we pretty much spent the next few hours until dinner together too. After dinner, Ellie, Evie and I played some more games in the family room. Later, they had to take a bath and they wanted me to do it! So I gave them my first bath!

At some point my host dad came upstairs to tell them it was time to go downstairs. I really love spending time with them! They are so cute and funny! But tonight I was a little glad, just because I am really really tired. It's only 9pm and I know I'm going to fall asleep very soon. I really hope this constant tiredness will go away with the jet lag in a couple days.

Well, tomorrow is my host mom's birthday. I have a little present for her, but I also planned on baking a cake or something. I don't know if I'll be able to do that already. I'll keep you posted!

See you tomorrow!

Julie <3

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Day 1

Hi guys!

As you can see from the title, today was my first day in New Jersey!!! YAY! It was one big emotional rollercoaster for sure.

I don't want to talk too much about the whole 'having to say goodbye at the airport' thing because I really don't want to relive those emotions. It was so hard. I would even say that it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Once I was past the part where I had to say goodbye to my family (yes Maren is family too), I was ok for a little bit. But then I got to the security part, they pulled my backpack aside and had to check it and it took forever. It stressed me out so much because I knew I wouldn't have any time at the gate before we would start to board. And I really didn't need that stress on top of all the other emotions. Then when they finally let me go, I looked for my american passport because it wasn't in the spot where I usually put it, but I just couldn't find it. I was sure the stupid lady who searched my backpack took it out and kept it or something. It's not like that hasn't happened before with important documents in our family (hint hint Nikki). I just pictured calling Mom after only 20 minutes of being by myself to tell her I had lost it. But then I decided to just ignore it and started rushing to the gate. Once I was there, I had 15 minutes to go to the restroom, buy myself something to drink and take my entire backpack apart. Ahh my passport was there! Thank goodness!

Boarding, taking off and flying was the easiest thing ever. I was able to sleep for 3 hours, watched Mall Cop 2, started watching Harry Potter (like I've never seen it before), watched the Friends episode where Ross is "Fine!", watched an episode of The Middle... listened to Welcome to New York a LOT... Oh and I had my very first ice cream on a plane. Altogether, the flight was what calmed me down after all the excitement at the airport. Thank god there was hardly any turbulence at all. It was a perfect flight. During our landing I could see the New York skyline in the distance and for the first time that day I started crying happy tears. I was in New York. This was really happening. You don't know how surreal everything felt.

I got off the plane, went through customs, got my luggage, went through border control and then I was outside. I looked around but couldn't see my host family anywhere. I started walking up and down the airport, thinking I was in the wrong place, but finally decided that where I came out was the only International arrival spot there was. So I just waited a little, knowing I was early. Finally I just went outside and called my host dad (Yeah I probably could've done that earlier! Haha!). They were actually just right around the corner. Meeting them was such a big relief. They were so so so nice. The kids were super cute and excited. The drive to Denville took us probably 30 minutes. The nature here is so unbelievably similar to home. I guess I'm not used to normal trees and hills here in the US. All I'm used to is palm trees, ocean and flat land. So that was a pleasant surprise. It felt so familiar somehow. When we drove through Denville, I fell in love. I'm so sad I couldn't take pictures because I would've loved to share them with you right now already.

Denville is the smallest little cutsie town you have ever seen. Little shops on the left and right, trees, parks, classic american houses everywhere. When we drove up to our house, you should have seen my face. It is so beautiful here!! I will make sure to take pictures tomorrow! We arrived and they had 'Welcome home' balloons on their front door. So sweet. Then, Alisa and the girls showed me the entire house. It is really really nice!! My room is so cozy! I love it! Afterwards, the two youngest girls, Evie and Ellie wanted to show me the outside parts so we went into the backyard and they showed me their trampoline and everything. Then, the three of us walked down the road to the lake where they have this little beach area. Because we walked on the street, I had too hold Ellie's hand and I could already see myself as Nanny Julie. When we got home, I gave them their presents (german games and sweets). Everybody loved the chocolates, and together with Ellie and Evie, I played some of the games I brought. Soon we ate dinner (Tacos yuumm). Oh and I also met the grandparents who were the nicest people ever. After dinner, I went upstairs to have some quiet time and unpack. All this time I was close to crying, just because it felt so real. How could I possibly stay in this family for an entire year? How could I not see my family for so long? But as soon as I had unpacked my suitcases, it already felt a little tiny bit more like home in my room. After her bath, Ellie came into my room and we kinda played/ talked (however you talk to a 5 year old) for quite a long time. She was so adorable. Soon Evie came in too and we just spent the rest of the evening in my room together. First the two of them had a blast sliding around my room with my fuzzy socks on. Then, Ellie got kinda tired so she snuggled into my bed while Evie entertained us with different sketches and commercials she thought of. I can only say..  Noseapillar. I don't know how Evie prefers to spell it, but she invented the caterpillar hanging from a nose: The Noseapillar. It was genius. We really bonded in that hour or two and it made me feel so much happier. If I could bond with them after only a few hours, I could only imagine what it must be like in a few months. And it's clear that I'll be spending most of my time with the two youngest ones. The two older ones definitely like to keep to themselves, which I totally get.

Now it's 10pm and I'm laying in my super comfortable bed. I'll probably fall asleep in 0.2 seconds after posting this post. I am so glad that I had such an amazing first day. Even though it was super hard and I had to shed a tear every now and then, I'm really proud of myself. I know it will be super hard for the next weeks or months. I just hope it keeps getting better and better. We'll see what life brings my way.

Hugs and kisses!


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

First post!

Hi there!

I just realised that it's already 3 am (it took me quite a while to set up this blog), that means it's already the 24th of September, and that again means that I am officially leaving in 3 days! Wow! I can't believe how fast time flies. CRAZY-ANYA!

It all seemed so far away but now it's so close and everything feels so real! And honestly, the idea of leaving for a year is terrifying!!! But at the same time I am SO SO SO excited! I can't wait to hop on that plane, meet my host family, my 4 host kids, the guinea pig! (YES I am going to miss Leah like crazy, ok?!).

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love quotes so here's the first one already. (You'll probably find more of these in the course of this journey, so get used to it! They'll probably just pop up in the most random places! Don't say I didn't warn yaa... Oh yeah and also Taylor Swift references... =D )

Nervous and excited are the same sensation. 
Negative vs positive. 

So stop saying you're nervous and start saying you're excited!

Thinking about all the exciting things I will get to do, see and experience this year makes me smile real big. Even though I am going to miss my family and friends (like crazy), I think this opportunity will bring so much joy into my life and will teach me so many important things that you just can't learn by staying in one place. I'm ready to make that first step into my own independent life!

But for right now, I should probably sleep. I am not even going to tell you what time it is.
I hope I didn't bore you with my very first post and hope that you'll stay around to see what life brings my way on this very exciting adventure.

Until then, all the best!