Monday, December 27, 2010

December 4th 2010

So, leaving the house today was probably the biggest mistake I ever made. Essentially because snow in large quantities + a bicycle = disaster. Though it is not entirely my fault! It wasn't snowing very badly when I left.. It was 10 minutes after I left that I was stuck in the blizzard. It was so bad that I actually had to stop and seek refuge in the Albert heijn! And for those of you in California, that's our grocery store. Kinda like albertsons? :) haha I bought a cheap 4€ umbrella an headed out shortly after despite the snow. I wanted to get to the centruum. And 5 minutes into my 10 minute journey to the centre, what happens? The snow picks up so badly that my umbrella breaks. It BROKE the umbrella.. My only form of shelter. Worst 4€ I've ever spent lol well I'm here now, at least! Sitting at the v&d with the usual coffee and tomato soup. I figured I'd be a little daring though and get a chocolate croissant today as well :) it was one of the better decisions I made all day. I ran into Eduard when I first for here! He looked at me with a confused expression and asked me what happened? What do you mean I said? And he asked if I fell, because I was covered in snow. Lol How sad! Nope. Didn't fall. It's just my luck that the one time I decide to leave my beautiful warm sunny southern Californian habitat, to move to Europe, That they have the coldest, snowiest winter they have ever had. Hahah

Today is December 4th :) which in Holland is the Sinter Klass holiday! I'm not sure if I've written about him or not, but sinter klass is a saint who hails from Spain.. And in mid November he comes to Holland on his boat with all his helpers, the Black Pietes! Who are really terrifying actually. I don't know why the kids love them so much. Well anyway.. He comes to Holland and stays until the 4th of December. And on this night everyone gets together and sometime in the evening someone comes and knocks on the door! All the kids scream because two things could happen after that; A. Sinter klass is there to come and bring you gifts! Or B. The black pietes are there to come and put you in a bag, and take you away to Spain because you have been bad. It's the Dutch equivalent to the naughty list, or getting coal in your stocking. But 1000x times more terrifying. In my household I was told I was gonna get a sponge for Christmas in my stocking if I was bad! Or get smacked with a wooden spoon... (its an Italian thing.) hahah And I thought that was horrible. But being kidnapped, put into a sack, beaten with switches or, Tree branches.. And taken away to Spain, Essentially sounds like the worst that could happen to any unsuspecting 6 year old. Lol I have a French friend who lives in Breda, he isn't too fond of Holland and we had a conversation about sinterklass recently. He said that if he was little he would be bad on purpose just so he could be taken to Spain!! Hahahah it's probably warmer there?!

They are putting the huge Christmas tree up in the center as we speak :) it's kinda exciting! A real Christmas.. My first one! Though I am kinda sad my family can't be here to experience it. Ya ever heard that saying, it's not where you go, it's who you're with? Well it's true. Holland is beautiful but it would be 100 times better if they were here. After this im gonna go make a run to h& m before all the stores close at 5! Gotta find something nice to wear :) I went boot shopping earlier, I have a pair of boots that are gonna last me a while but I just thought I'd test my luck. I was proven unsuccessful lol boots are impossible to find. And if you do find some you like, thy don't have your size, or they are 400€. FML. The biggest horse I have ever seen just walked passed the window, pulling a carriage with black pietes in it. Hahaha they are really scary. Oh my. Oh well I'm gonna finish my lunch and head out! Finish this up later! <3

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hello :) I'm quite proud of myself; Mainly because this is the second post I've done this week! And I haven't been keeping this up the way I should. I need to start writing more because this is kinda of my own way of reflecting on my time here. I can write, then two months later go and look back at what I wrote! It's cool :) it's like my journal. I have a journal but like my blogg.. It hasn't been written in in like a week hahah! Well currently it's Wednesday night. It's almost 9:20pm and I did myself sitting on a train on my way to Amsterdam. Trains aren't used very frequently by Anyone I know back home so.. Using them as my secondary form of transportation, my bike being my first, is always an adventure. I had a very strange conversation with one of the workers on the trail. I was unaware you had to get your ticket stamped. I paid for it and I flashed my discount card so I figured that was all. WRONG. Has he told me normally, he would charge an extra 40€ for a mistake like that. But because I was smiley and warm he took out his stamp and validated it. That made me think about how many people he runs into a day. How many people who run into the problem I was faced with. How many unhappy people who were having a bad day get charged an extra 40€ because they weren't in the mood to smile an be friendly. That sucks! Shortly after a girl boarded my train and sat a few sets behind me. I'm almost 100% sure she didn't know I was here. Immediately upon entry to the cabin she takes out her phone and (I'm assuming ) she was talking to a boyfriend because they started screaming at each other. I could hear him yelling through the phone all the way on the opposite end of the train. After a few tears and strained vocal cords, the phone call ended with a quick "ik hoe van je" and a sigh. I didn't think anything of it until the girl started railing lines on the nice little tables supplied to your seats. I could see her in the reflection of the window, and either she couldn't see me or she just really did not care.  Drugs and angry phone calls. What a night! Lol

I just looked out the window and saw that we were At the train station for Delft. I've never been there but my friend Meghan went a couple weeks ago and said it was cool! They're knows for their blue and white painted pottery. And there is a museum that showcases how it's made, how long it takes, all thy jazz. There's also a museum on carnival! That would be interesting. Now were in Den Haag. I've been here. That beach that I can't pronounce nor spell is here! It's a nice place. I'm on my way to Amsterdam to meet Stephanie :) from centraal, we are going to Theresa's place and staying the night! Essentially making our journey to Paris 1000x easier. I had planned on taking the 1am train to Amsterdam then hang out from like 4 am till 7 when I had to be at the station. Those plans sucked. But that was my only real option unroll spending the night at Theresa's arose! So I'm really stoked about that. Steph and i have a 6 hour bus ride to look forward to tomorrow :) haha I'm kinda excited. It shouldn't be too bad especially since were together :D I can't believe I'm going to Paris. I've always wanted to go to France. Bretagne, France primarily. I'd like to live there. On the shore. That's a dream of mine hahah retire and move to the beach in France. Sounds nice huh? Lol it still hasn't really hit me that I live in Europe. Saying thy seems weird as well because I kinda went from 0 to 60 in terms of being adjusted. As soon as I stepped off the plane in Zurich I was adjusted. This is my home now. And it's what I see as the norm. So technically going to France is like going to.. Arizona from California. It takes the same amount of time pretty much. If driving from Holland to Paris, it takes about 5 hours. So I'd say that's a good comparison.

Speaking of ARIZONA! My family is there now :) they are staying at my great grandparents house to spend the thanksgiving holiday with them. That should be nice. Glendale, Arizona <3 My grandma is babysitting my puppy Jake, and my Aunt Gina is also in Az. From New York. So they have a full house :) mmm I can see the pizellies already. Omg. I'm definitely making pizellies when I get home?! That sounds so good. Nobody makes em like Gram. I look like I'm running away hahah I can see my reflection and I have 2 carry on's. My coat and my snow jacket lol and I'm by myself. Not to mention it rained on my way to the train station so why was my beautifully done hair is now a big curly mess. Awesome. NOT! Ya know that moment where your eyes start to burn and itch and you wanna rub em but you remember you're wearing eye makeup.... :| FML. Anyway. It's 10:15 now. And I'm a few minutes from Amsterdam. So im gonna sign off. I'll be sure to write again soon <3 Good Night Holland. Good Morning California <3XOXOGINA

Long Overdue..

Why hello strangers! I'm sorry I haven't been writing recently. I've been a bit more than busy. To be honest it really just feel like one huge blurr. I've been here for 3 months now and it's really getting easier. Some days are more difficult than others; and not even in terms of the family, The work or the children.. Just getting used to my new life. My new friends. What we do when we go out now, compared to what I use to do when I went out in murrieta! Lemme tell you.. HUGE difference. Mello relaxing quiet nights are few and far between, while Late, LATE crazy nights.. And early slow mornings, are abundant and consecutive. Lol but that's what you do here. That's the life style. And it makes me glad that I'm here for a year. Because honestly i don't think another year of these parties would be too good on my sleep schedule or my mental health LMAO!As the days go on I find myself meetin more and more Americans! I met a guy from Arizona, a girl from Oregon, Arkansas, and a girl from California :) they are all pretty close to Amsterdam so I'm stoked to meet them. Arizona even lives in my town! Holland is getting colder and wetter as the weeks pass and I'm not really looking forward to it /: I need to get some boots and I need to go shopping for some warmer clothes! But I can't right now because I'm saving forrrrrr PARIS!! :D this trip is coming up on the 25th of November; the American thanksgiving, and I am traveling with Stephanie who is American as well! So were goin to have a little celebration in our hotel room. We planned for his trip for weeks and it really paid off. Bus ticket to Paris - 20€ hotel room in Paris - 110€ so in American that's about $150.00! I can't wait. Paris has been my dream, well.. One of them for a very long time. I really hope it is everything I think it will be. After that Christmas will be coming up soon! Its going to be so weird to be away from my family for the holidays : ( it's gonna be hard but I figure people do it all the time, so I can do it. And I'll be home for Christmas next year! Christmas 2011!! Woot woooottt! Haha oi vey.

Recently I went to Belgium with Esther and the boys! The city is truly beautiful. With it's classic 17th century European architecture, it's sitting right on one of the biggest harbors in Europe! Rotterdam has the first. I love going to the harbors, seeing all the boats and you can smell the seafood places as soon as you step out of the car. It's almost like being at point loma, but 200x bigger hahah. We walked around Antwerp, went to a nice little Italian restaurant, and looked at all the stores! For people who love chocolate and beer I highly recommend Antwerp :) there are beautiful chocolate shops on almost every corner, and they have very nice pubs and restaurants all over. The cathedral in the centre of the city is probably the most beautiful I have seen since I've been here. It's the largest and most intricate of the churches and we actually went inside! It was really cool. I love stuff like that. I would like to go to Brugges next. It's the opposite of Antwerp; it's in the countryside and I heard it's so nice to visit. But I wanna go when it gets warmer out. Which at this rate seems to be never. Lol you can take the girl out of California but you can't take the California out of the girl :) I wish I could still wear my flip flops! Hahah I really need to start writing these more. I really have been finding myself having more and more things to write about but not enough time to do so. I read something the other day that was written by Ernest Hemingway and it said " I find writing to be very easy, you just sit at a type writer and bleed." which couldn't be more true. I've always loved English, literature and writing.. But maybe I should turn this into something more? Who knows. All I know is art school awaits me when I return home. California awaits. San Diego awaits!! I have 250 days left here :) I've decided I want to be home around my birthday. And that's what I want as my present. To be home with my family. The longer I'm here, the more anxious I am to start my life back home. The more I see, experience and learn.. The more I wanna go home and share with Jack and Hannah! Oh oh oh I'm getting butterflies just thinking about it :D apartment shopping. Starting college.. AGAIN! Lol ugh :) can't wait. Paris is 6 days away. So is thanksgiving! Christmas is 36 days. Then.. It's new years!! Lol

I can't believe it. I really don't even know where the past couple months went. It was like we didn't even have the month of October. We just had September, Halloween then November. Lol it seems like Saturdays were diminished in the process! I can never remember where those go! Lol like today is Saturday. I woke up and got ready, an left to come to the centruum. Went shopping because I had some extra cash. (for once) got some stuff I'm gonna need for Paris :) and now I'm sitting at the cafe in the v&d eating tomato soup and an iced cappuchino <3 it's lovely. I love having time for myself to just thinks and write an breathe and SLOW DOWN. It's like my refresher to get me ready for the rest of the week :) this week is going to e especially insane. I know I'm gonna be stressing about Paris unroll the moment we walk into our hotel room. Because I'm Gina Pauling. And my anxiety gets the best of me sometimes. Lol all the Christmas lights are put up in the town, and in the evening when it's all lit up it is so beautiful. It reminds me of how home is duringg this time. There's no Christmas tree selling on the sides of the road here though like there is in Murrieta. Well, none that I've seen. And I know I know thanksgiving hasn't even come around yet. But I'm used to having everything up so early! My thanksgiving was last night :) I spent two days preparing my favorite traditional "Pauling family thanksgiving" food for Ed, Es, and the kids. Sweet potato casserole, creamed cauliflower or.. Bloemkool! Corn, masked potatoes, cornbread stuffing, and instead of turkey, we had chickens :) try don't sell turkeys in the grocery stores. If I wanted one I would have had to go shoot it, take all the feathers off then.. Well.. Behead him. Lol which I was surprisingly informed that my Mexican mom ( Mamma Manzo) could have showed me how to do that?? Hahahah!! That's rad. Lol I could never do that. I'd catch him, end up making friends with him before I even had time to do the rest. Oh well :) haha oh! I got the coolest ring today. It's big and gold and tacky. It looks like a jaguar and has little diamonds in the eyes. Very 80's. My mom would hate it!! Hahah! But it's rad it actually looks like a snake. But it's suppose to be a cat. They have the coolest Jewelry! I love stuff like this. Alright lovies, my food is gone and I just got a wiff of Christmas trees from outside. I'm gonna go see what's going on. I love you guys, and I miss you terribly. Send me your addresses so I can send you postcards from Paris! Good morning Murrieta and San Diego! Good evening Breda :) tonight gonna be a long one <3Love,