The first two weeks in America are over…. So far I have mainly done nice things and of course ASL (Americ

an Sign Language) learned from people I met at Gallaudet. The University
where I will take a number of courses for six months.
The first we
I explored the city with my brother Kenneth and did some nice things. I was especially looking forward to the shops where I can buy things myself later, and that was not always that easy. The city itself, Washington DC, is very beautiful and fun and there is plenty to see and do. We've visited pretty much every famous spot such as the Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, Pentagon (only viewed from a distance, mind you), the White House, Arlington Cemetery and of course some museums
ms, such as National Museum of Natural History. I will visit the rest when I have time.
I also spent time with Lisa, a Dutch student who has lived here for 4 years, and her friends. That way I get to know some of the people of Gally (nickname of Gallaudet ^ _ ^) and of course ASL. I have not taken any lessons so I have to learn it from the beginning. At first it was a bit difficult to follow, but with Lisa's help it went better. I also made my first trip to the US with Lisa and her friends. We went to Cunningham Falls State Park in Maryland. It's about a 2 hour drive from Gally, and we hiked there, climbed some rocks and had a BBQ. In the meantime it rained a lot, but we hid under the shelter until it was over.
In the end it had been a lot of fun. The days after that, in the second week, I was often on campus, because I finally got the key to my room. My roommate won't be arriving until later, so I'll be alone in my room for the first few days. Kenneth had already left home…. but I did make some new friends.
I did this by often eating in the cafeteria on campus and joining the people I met before. And there are other people at those tables and I get to know them. In this way I not only get to know people, but also ASL.

And then I was invited to a night of bowling in Bethesda, Maryland, a town just outside of DC. Of course I went, because a lot of people from Gally came there. It was mainly international students who have studied here for a few years. It was good to get to know them, because they all know what it was like to be in Gallaudet for the first time and also learn ASL from the beginning. At the end of the evening I was exhausted from learning ASL and getting to know a lot of people. But it was worth it. The campus itself… it's like a village, because Gally has pretty much everything a village needs. In addition to the dorms (dormitories) and the university, there are restaurants, shops, primary school, secondary school, sports facilities (swimming pool, sports field, fitness etc…), health center, hotel, church and even (campus) police. Here everything is accessible to deaf people and other people with disabilities. Oh yes, there is even Starbucks here on campus!

What is also striking about myself is that I don't really miss home in the Netherlands, so I don't suffer from homesickness. The only thing I miss is the strong (and delicious) coffee. Here the coffee is not really drinkable, so I searched everywhere for the materials to make coffee myself. But that was not so easy, because they only use coffee machines here. I'm really not going to buy it, because I'm only staying here for a semester. But… I have found a “coffee mate”! She also doesn't like American coffee, so she makes her own coffee. And I can always go to her for the delicious, home-made coffee without adding too much water like those Americans always do ...