Love Earth Life Happiness.

2.18.2011

Fiets!

Biking... Latest and greatest way of getting to where I need to go. Why did I never do this when I lived at home?? It's funny thinking about how I have to get in my car to even drive two blocks away to get to Kaley's house. I always even drive to Collin's house when we both live RIGHT by the park way....? During winter.. obviously it's a different story, but in the summer?? What have I been thinking! Another European way that I will definitely be taking home, is riding my bike. I'm hoping that one day, Utah will adopt the idea of having a bike lane on all of the roads as they do here in Tilburg... but nonetheless, it is still a much better idea for traveling. It's funny.. everyone from home says, "you'll be so fit when you get back!" but here... they don't even think of it as a form of exercise. Everyone just thinks of biking as their method of travel. Intelligent!

This is my short, sweet, and simple post... but for anyone who reads this blog... think about bikin! It saves some money on fuel and of course, it is a great form of exercise :)

(Bikes across from Fontys)

(Believe it or not... these are ALL bikes!!! And this wasn't even half of them! It's beautiful, eh??)

Have a happy day and weekend!!

2.17.2011

Therapeutic Nature

So, in one of my dance classes we had the chance to experience something quite different. In our dance theater class with D.. we are working on the "Butoh" technique of dance. Something I have never heard of before. For our first exercise, our teacher had us go for a little adventure outside to a park here in Tilburg. In this exercise, we were told to choose a partner, blindfold them.. and take them around the park for an experience without using the sense of sight. He told us to have the mindset that we are children again, experiencing the beauty of nature for the first time. I was skeptical of this idea at first.. but came to find that this was a great experience for me personally.. one of which I will definitely remember.

My partner was great! She walked me around the park.. let me walk through the leaves.. had me smell different things.. listen to the sounds of a dog running through the water, ducks quaking, birds chirping, wind blowing.. she had me feel many different kinds of leaves.. hug a couple trees to feel their different details... stand in the sun and embrace the feeling it gives. It's actually pretty cool to experience all of these things without knowing what you are doing next and without being able to see it. You'd be amazed at how much your other senses seem to grow when one sense is taken away. I heard so many sounds that I normally don't even pay attention to and gained an honest love for the world around me. Grab a buddy and try it out! Simply enjoying what nature has to give is amazingly therapeutic. I came out of this experience feeling completely relaxed and at peace with my surroundings, as well as with myself.

If there is one thing that I can teach you guys at home in Utah about some "European ways" that I will be bringing home... it is that everyone spends far too much time stressing their self out. I know that hardly anyone takes the time for personal relaxation, yoga,  or meditation.. anything like this. We don't spend enough time taking care of ourselves mentally, I think. It is just our lifestyle... being extremely busy.. and then not taking time to cleans our minds of the stress that we load ourselves with. Here in Tilburg, I am able to have yoga/meditation classes and have exercises in classes like the one I explained above.. It really does make a difference in how my body handles the loads of stress that dance brings and I've noticed it is making me an overall happier person as well. Try taking this idea into your life and don't forget the importance of de-stressing! Take some time out of your day to just relax, listen to your favorite music in a room where no one is near you.. lay on the floor and think about all of the things or people that you are grateful for.. participate in a yoga class.. do personal meditation of any sort.. take a walk outside and allow yourself to truly enjoy the world around you. You've worked so hard.. you deserve this break! :) That's it for today. I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of your day and weekend to come. I love you guys!

(I took the two pictures in this post at the park where we had our Butoh experience at)

Enjoy!!

2.12.2011

School here in Tilburg

Welcome to Fontys Hogeschool Voor de Kunsten.... (Fontys college for the arts)

This is a great school! I feel lucky to be an exchange student here. The first one from Southern Utah University so far.. and hopefully not the last! The dance academy here is fantastic. There are 10 dance studios.. all of which are very nice. The dance faculty at this school are amazing. I haven't met all of them yet.. but the ones that I have met are incredible dancers and teachers. They have a very experienced staff and are well educated in dance from traveling all around and such.

There are lots of students from all over Europe. So far.. I am the only American here currently. There are girls from other parts of The Netherlands.. girls from Finland, Costa Rica, Germany, Russia.. they're from all over. My schedule is still in the process of being decided.. this past week I took a couple of different classes. I take ballet with the 3rd years four times a week from 8:30-10:30am with John, dance theater with Eddy, Modern (Limon) with Raymond, Jazz with Marteea?, Hip hop with Johnny, and Modern (Cunninham) with Marc. All of these classes are great! I feel like I'm going to learn a lot this semester. There are a lot of talented dancers to look up to and again, the teachers are great.

It's really funny because a big majority of the people here swear. In English. It's so funny, you'll be listening to them speak in Dutch for a while.. then you'll hear a random "F-word" then they'll continue speaking in Dutch. Why they don't swear in Dutch... I haven't figured out yet. But it makes me laugh whenever I hear it though. :)

This week, the dancers in the 3rd year have been taking their exams in their classes from last semester. I was lucky to sit in on almost all of them and see what they've got! I took a short video of a part from Graham (a form of modern) which I had never seen before. I thought this part was crazy cool and I'm glad I got it on video... Snapped a couple of pictures as well.. enjoy!

video
(this video is a piece from Graham)

video
(this is from my ballet class.. not the best. But give me a break, I was nervous my first few classes. haha)

 (more from Graham.. this is me still messing around with photoshop hah)
(and more from Graham)

I'm excited for this year baby!!!! Fontys, get prepared from some good ol' American Samijo Butt Kickin!!!!

2.11.2011

All settled in...

Three words on the mind this evening....

I love Tilburg.

Things are great! I finally feel like I'm settled in and after a lot of busy errands, bike rides, and dance classes.. it has already been one week since I arrived. One week here and I already feel like my mind has been opened even more and I'm definitely learning a lot about others and mostly myself. The people here are SO kind.. I have been able to get to know some of the dancers a bit more since I've been here and have already been served a yummy Spanish dinner by some of the flatmates that I'm living with. It's great having international students to live with. Not only does it reassure me that I will actually understand them.. because they all speak English as their 2nd or 1st language and none of them speak Dutch (at least I don't think)... but they are always wanting to get out of the house and explore the city!

My one and only concern as of this second... I need to learn Dutch. They say it is a mix of English and German... Well, I don't know German.. so I guess I'm half way there by speaking English? No. Dutch is such a confusing language. I have learned random words here and there.. but my dream of being fluent by the end of my stay.. hah we'll see if that actually happens. Difficult!

Thank Heavens for technology. Skype is one of the greatest things invented. I actually didn't even have internet for the first freaking like 5 days of being here.. and that was a definite test for me. I failed, I cannot live without internet. (at least while living in a foreign country by myself at 18). You should have seen me jumping around in my room by myself when the good old google homepage popped up on my screen. It was as if I spotted a suitcase full of gold. I'm also grateful that my parents are doing their best to stay up to date with technology as well. Seeing them on skype has been an answer to many prayers for me!

Story of the week: As some of you know... I got lost on my first day trying to find Fontys... the school I am attending. This was terrifying! Annoeska gave me specific directions on which streets to turn down to find the school on my bike and said it would be about a 10-20 minute ride. So, I ventured out.. and being me, I decided that I would try and go a different way and see if I could get there in, what I thought would be a faster way. Not a good idea. This so called-20 minute bike ride, turned into a 50 minute bike ride.. The streets started getting less busy and I knew I was officially headed the wrong way.. Then I saw this older guy out for a jog and this is exactly why I am SO grateful that the people in Holland all speak English as well. I asked him how to get back to the University.. and he had me turn the other way and go back a couple streets.. and turn left and right and left and right... I was pretty far off-track. Needless to say, I found my way back and not ONCE have I been lost again. It was one of those times where in the moment, I didn't know whether I should laugh or cry.. laugh because I was an idiot of thinking I could find my own route.. but cry because I was scared out of my mind. I craughed. :)

Here are a couple of pictures for your entertainment of some of the people that I've met here and of what Tilburg has to show! :) Enjoy...


 The Finland boys in my flat.
 The Spanish girls in our flat!

 All the flatmates enjoying some Spanish grub. :)
 Party with the modern dancers.

All is well!

2.03.2011

The Journey Begins Now.

This is it! After many treacherous hours, I am finally packed and ready. I've been catching myself wishing that there is someone out there who is currently figuring out a way to zap everything in my bedroom to my new place in a different country... I didn't realize just how hard it would be to pack for six months. The stress of possibly leaving something behind has been haunting me today. Right when I get on that plane in T-minus 5 hours, of course I will think of something that I have forgotten. hahaa. Oh well.. as my mom reminded me yesterday... all of this stuff are just "things". She is right!

I've had such an amazing last few weeks here in Utah. It's so true that you don't realize the greatness of people in your life until you are leaving them for a long period of time. I was worried that I wouldn't get to spend enough time with a lot of the people that I love before I leave.. but I am so grateful that this wasn't really the case! Even though there were definitely people I wish I could have spent some time with.. I have been so lucky and have been given lots of great experiences packed within these last two weeks. To all of the people who have talked with me, spent time, and who have given me great words of encouragement as I begin this journey... Thank you!! The blog is where I will be spending a lot of time writing my experiences and sharing pictures from The Netherlands.. so please feel free to read up whenever! And even more importantly.. keep in contact with me! These next 5+ months are going to be amazing, but I am only human.. of course I'll get home sick somewhere in there. I would love to hear from you guys. Skype, facebook, email, mail... whatever you would like :)

Everyone keep yourselves safe.. keep yourselves happy.. keep on, keepin on! Over and out for now.. Tot Ziens!

Fiets! Not my photo... but you'll be seeing plenty of mine soon. Lucky duck!