Monday, September 20, 2010

The Little Things Really Do Count

For a Monday today has been a good day. I had my 8:30 am class and after an adventure of finding the room, because I guess each semester classes change locations 2 or 3 times, we had a pretty good class. After class I had lunch with a couple friends who are also study abroad students and our conversation and my trip home made me think of some things. Studying abroad is difficult and each day can be a roller coaster of emotions. It is extremely reassuring to talk to other people in the same situation and hear that those moments of being uncomfortable, etc are totally common.
Coming back from school I went to go buy my bus pass and some stamps and I realized how much the little things really do count in to making a good day great. I was walking back to the house after doing my little shopping and a woman smiled at me, I was just so happy. Over here smiling is not as common as in the Mid West, the culture is more inclusive so smiling isn't just something you do all the time when you see someone, but when it happens you just get so happy. Other little things that really make you feel good are things like finding a new way to get somewhere, making it through a conversation in french without someone asking where you are from, and overall just suceeding in a task that at home might be like breathing but abroad can be challenging.
Now an update on my weekend: The Saturday trip to Antwerp was really nice, we saw a lot of interesting places and my presentation seemed to go well so that was nice. After we got back Kelsey and I went for dinner down by Grand Place and got pizza and fries for pretty cheap which was very nice. I came back to the metro and since Eddie and I were planning on walking back to the house together from his party he was at I ended up going over there for the dessert, yummy! We came back and I called it a night pretty quickly. Sunday was fine, a day of doing hw so it was as fun as I suppose hw can be lol. This week is another pretty relaxed one, although Friday we go to Amsterdam!!! I am very excited for this trip and to go outside of Belgium for the first time.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Why does Belgium have so many statues of beings peeing?

There are multiple statues involving the act of peeing. Mannekin Pis is of the little boy peeing and it is by far the most famous. However, did you know there is a statue of a little girl peeing and another of a dog? I bet not, I know I certainly did not. Today my friend Kelsey showed me the little girl peeing one and I found the location of the dog one online so I definitely plan on finding it too.
Other than the peeing statues this week has been pretty relaxed, I had my internship 3 times and classes as usual. Tomorrow we go on a art class trip to Antwerp and I give my presentation, I am happy to be getting it out of the way early in the semester. I will try to update with more exciting stuff later!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I am sooo lucky!

I would like to start off this posting with just mentioning how hard it is to come up with a title for each posting. I want each one to be cute, witty, and unique, but I am finding that to be more and more difficult each time I do one of these, as of now this post is untitled.

So the party! It was a crazy, busy, stressful, frustrating, amusing, and enjoyable time. From what I could tell there were no real plans for the day of the party other then that there was a party. There were things that needed to be done but nothing that we were told in advance must get done. So the day of I worked on getting tablecloths and tables are set up for the party, and little last minute things here and there. The staff that were running the party seemed nice and pretty organized, they were three recent graduates from school, I think in the field of cooking, party arranging, and things like that. The party started on time and had a good crowd right from the start, but then the frustrating part happened. One of the servers running the party came up to me and my roommate and asked us to start serving drinks. I was confused, I had not been asked or warned that I would be doing this and I didn't really understand what he meant, it ended up being that he meant for us to walk around and as people if they wanted drinks other than the champagne that was at the door. I do not want to sound off as mean or anything here but I was pretty annoyed. I had not expected to be a server or etc during the party, but instead a guest, it just started the day off badly. The rest of the day was spent doing little party tasks, we still got to be part of the party, but people began to think I was the nanny or that we were the staff, instead of students living here. Now this does not mean we didn't have fun, because we did. The guests were very nice and I was able to converse without a problem with them, I even received some compliments for my french which made me smile :-) The last part of the party was a dance party, but by that time I was pretty tired and just wanted to relax so I came back to my room, skyped my parents to figure out plans for the skype family date on Sunday, and listened to the awesome music they had played at the dance.
Sunday rolled around and it felt like the house was hungover! The house was sooo quite and no one really moved until after noon, well Evelyne and Alice left pretty early for church, but everyone that I knew was there was all asleep and quite most of the day. Most of the day was spent reading for my class on Monday and slowly cleaning up, I helped when asked but I really didn't have the spare time to help to much. Later that night I skyped a bunch of family who were at my grandma's house for my uncle's birthday. It was really nice to see so many people and have a real conversation with them through the computer.
So the rest of the week, I have had class, they all have gone well except every time I wake up at 6:30 for class I ask myself why I did that haha, but it's good because I get up and out to the world early in the day! I went to my internship yesterday. It was pretty cool! I watched a debate of the European Parliament through their website and took notes for a person in the office and then worked on updating the website and ginormous contact list that I think I will continually be working on for the rest of the semester. I am done with classes for the week so tomorrow and Friday I have my internship :-) Tomorrow I am probably going to head over to the library to get some books for my presentation for my art class next week in Antwerp over the Jesuits and the Arts. This Saturday we are going to Bruge with the art class, I'm excited to slowly start my travels! Friday I think Eddie and I are going to go down to the Grand Place and sight see a bit and find a delicious waffle or two!

So I feel like I need to write a little more about this experience overall. I am really enjoying being here but it is such a different experience than my time in France last summer. I feel like last summer was truly the most carefree and relaxed I have ever been. Classes were not very important and the whole time was spent enjoying the most innocent of moments and traveling everywhere we wanted. This time is different. School is important takes time, nothing is wrong with that, it's just something I need to be prepared for, and luckily I really do like each of my classes. I'm not living with 40 other Americans, but instead I am living with a family! It is so cool to actually see what a "normal" Belgian life is, but it is something that has taken some adjustment time. In France it was so easy to see people and spend time together, now its harder. I really enjoy being around the family because even the most innocent nights are moments where I learn a lot and better my french. The social scene is different but just something that has also taken time to adjust. Travel wise it is taking a lot longer to plan things out. Financially I am in a different place so I have to stay very in control of my funds and patient this time around.

I really am enjoying Belgium. It has taken the last three weeks for me to realize these and many more little reasoning for my reactions lately, but now I think I have a handle of the situation. I am truly living my dream right now of working and living in on3 of the international politics capitals of the world and I cannot describe how thankful I am to be here. Brussels is an exciting city to be in, everywhere you go you interact with people from around the world!

I am having an amazing time and have been each day I have been here, I can't wait to see what is next to come on this amazing adventure!


In the end this post title wasn't hard to figure out :-)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I love my AGE!

I think this title was pretty witty, since AGE is the name of the place I am internship with :-)

Today was my first day at AGE and it went really well. I got there early so I got a coffee from a place really close to the office and finally updated my journal! I had to be at AGE at 10 so I went in a little early because I had nothing else to do. I have a desk and computer of my own :-) I started off by meeting a couple people at the office, seeing how to work my email, and then got my first assignment!

Today I worked on reading over an 85 page document and making sure the English was correct and made sense. As a place where people from all over Europe work they just wanted someone who spoke English natively to read it. After that I just spent time emailing and talking to people at the office, and starting to figure out when I will work and what I will work on. I go back tomorrow and then we will see when exactly I will be working.

Earlier this week my friend Mario and I went to the Atomium. It's a giant iron atom that was built for the 1958 World's Fair. It was sooooo big, I can't describe it haha. People are allowed to go inside I think 4 of the spheres and in each one there are different exhibits in them. You can also take an elevator to the top sphere and you are able to see an amazing view of the city.

The rest of my week has been pretty chill. The house is in a uproar trying to get ready for Saturday's party. I guess 90 children and 100 adults are coming to the party in the afternoon and 100 adults to the party in the evening. It will be pretty crazy but I think a lot of fun!

I will try to post some pics soon, but unfortunately on Monday I lost my camera bag and with that the little thing I need for uploading pics.