Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sorry for the Wait

Well. It's been much, much too long since I wrote a post. In order to save time (and jog my own memory!) I'm going to make a little list of everything that I've done since Bruges and January (a whole 4 months!)

- "La Festival de Liège" - a month long performing arts festival that I went to with my class here. We saw 7 different shows in a month and the majority were excellent!
- Eurodisney in Paris with AFS! Lots and lots of fun, but one loooong day! However for all you Americans, this is a good example of the differences in distance. If you leave early enough (and come back late), you can go from Liège to Paris and back in a bus and still have a whole day in Paris. I also (sort of) got over my fear of Roller Coasters!
- The last weekend of January was the AFS mid-stay weekend. Which, despite lots of talk about feelings and stuff, was a lot of fun - and it reminded me how incredible it is that so many students from everywhere around the are so similar in so many ways.
- During the Carnival Vacation in March I went to Paris for 3 nights with some friends (one from New Hampshire, one from New Zealand, and one Belgian). We had an absolutely amazing time being tourists and just having fun together!
From La Belgique (blog)

From La Belgique (blog)

- In the beginning of April, I went to London with my school. We had a lot of fun and saw about a zillion things in just 3 days!
-The first week of Carnival Vacation I went on a biking trip for 3 nights with my scouting group, in preparation for our longer trip in Austria this summer! Again lots and lots of fun, and we got to see the beautiful Belgian country-side!
From La Belgique (blog)

-The second week of Carnival vacation, my family (Mum, Dad, Sister, Cousin) came to visit! It was amazing see them and showing them my life here. We visited Brussels, Bruge and then spent the rest of the week in Liège. It was a little hard saying goodbye, but if 10 months went by so quickly, 2 months will be nothing!
From La Belgique (blog)

-The first saturday of May, I passed the SATs at the International School in Brussels with friend (also on exchange in Belgium) from Maine. Such an out of body experience! It was exactly like an american school, complete with sports teams, clubs, guidance counselors and english speaking students!

-One wednesday during May I went to Brussels for AFS, we were on the radio and took a lot of pictures to use as ads. I'm now in an AFS ad!
From La Belgique (blog)

Last Thursday I went to Antwerp with some friends. Most of the Museums were closed because it was a holiday, but we had a lot of fun - it's a beautiful city!
From La Belgique (blog)

And then here we are. I've started exams, and I'll be doing exams for the next week and a half. After that I have a schedule filled to the top!
First thing to explain is that I'm staying a month longer than planned - I got my visa extended so I could do a trip with my scouting group. We're going to go biking in Austria for the last 2 weeks of July! And before that, my schedule is full of goodbyes, music festivals, vacation with my host family and lots of fun!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Last week, I visited Bruges with some other Exchange students. I was awed by the canals and the architecture. It was a truly beautiful city, and I can understand why it's called the "Venice of the North" - there are canals everywhere! We stayed in a fantastic, friendly hostel (called the "Snuffel Backpacker Hostel" - it already wins points for it's name!), and spent the day being tourists. I took way too many photos (if you look down two posts you can see them all).
What was really bizarre was that everyone spoke English! It took some getting to used to to say "Hello" when walking into a shop instead of "Bonjour"!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

So, now that I have a good method of putting up photos - take a look!

However, I am slowly losing my ability to write and speak clearly in English - so please excuse any mistakes! : )

The holiday season was a lot of fun here, although there were certainly times that were a little tough.
After St. Nicholas (which I explained in the last post), the holiday season really, truly starts. The Marché de Noel in Liège is (and was) incredibly festive, and since it started snowing near the beginning of December it became fairy-tale perfect. Belgium got record-breaking snow's this year - almost a foot. And, as a Mainer it was really hilarious watching the poor city-dwelling Belgians trying to figure out what to do with all the snow! Half of them don't even own shovels, the snow was on the news every night, and the buses were shut down with each new snowfall. The huge staircases by my house became incredibly dangerous and going to school each morning was an adventure. However, the night of Christmas Eve I went sledding on the stairs!
We also finished our exams the 20th of December - then we didn't have school just until we had a half day the 24th to exchange secret santa (in french that's called "cacahuetes" which means peanuts, I'm not sure why!) presents and got our report cards. My report card certainly isn't perfect, but I'm confident I'll pass by the end of the year.
Christmas with my host family was bittersweet - only because I wasn't home.
Christmas Eve, family came to our house and we had a Raclette (melted cheese on all sorts of things - super yummy!). And then, Christmas day we all went to the Grandmother's house to spend Christmas with the other half of the family. It was certainly hard, but everyone was incredibly nice and understanding.
Since Christmas, I've gone cross-country skiing twice, once with friends from AFS and once with my family. I also made Eggnog and Chocolate Chip cookies! They loved the cookies (and I'm planning on making another batch soon), but they were kinda iffy about the Eggnog - I think the raw eggs kind of scared them!
And for New Years, I went to Bruxelles with some friends from AFS and Rotary. It was a lot of fun! Unfortunately we could only hear the fireworks, because there was too much fog.
But, that is pretty much where I am right now. After a little more than 4 months here, I'm already starting to feel like the time is going way too quickly! Also, last night we had sauerkraut and sausages (traditional for the new year) and we put a little piece of money under the plate, so we'll have good luck throughout the new year.
So Happy 2011 to all of you!


So, being not incredibly technically talented, I'll put up the slide show in one post, and then I'll write in another post.
So, here goes, I hope it works!

Monday, December 6, 2010

And let the Holiday's Begin!

Well, we have officially entered the holiday season. I made a thanksgiving dinner for my host family - which went well, even with my complete lack of turkey-cooking experience and the changes in ingredients.
And, in Liège, there is a "Marché de Noel" - lot's of little shacks with gifts, food and drinks, and holiday music playing through the speakers. It's very festive and awfully cute! There are decorations throughout the city, it has been snowing on and off for almost a week now - there isn't a lot of build-up, but there's enough snow to make everything shimmer a little bit and put you in the holiday spirit!
There's also enough snow and ice to make the stair incredibly scary - especially when you're late for school! I haven't actually fallen yet, but I've come very close...
It's St. Nicholas right now - which is a little bit like Christmas in America, but not quite. Only the children receive gifts, and it is a huge event for University students. They all wear their white lab coats (which are never washed, and accordingly are cleverly decorated and smell horrible), and ask for money on the streets and at the entrances of the schools - and if you don't give them money, they throw flour, eggs and/or beer on you! Luckily, I didn't get hit - but there were a lot of white faces at school.
And, in slightly less festive news - exams start thursday!
Happy Turkey Day and Happy St. Nicholas!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


So I haven't tried this yet, but this is supposed to be a public link to my photos on facebook!
Hopefully it works!
Everything is going very well, and I send my love from Belgium!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


So, when before I arrived here I thought I would constantly have to deal with a general dislike of Americans. Thankfully, that is not at all the case. So far, I have found nearly everyone to be incredibly kind, helpful and interested! However, there are some people who have some interesting ideas of what life is like in America.
  • I do not eat at McDonald's every day or even often, and I don't watch tv all the time. In fact I watch more tv here with my host family than at home!
  • Life is not like Gossip Girl.
  • I do not spend my life playing beer pong and going to football games (although, I have realized that my high school is really a very stereotypical small-town high school with homecoming, prom etc.).
  • I do not live in New York City.
  • I do not live in Los Angeles.
  • I have never been to California ("7 hours on a plane! But it's just one country!")
  • Not everyone has new cars.
  • Yes, Obama is really cool.
And most of the time, I find that people are honestly curious. And everyone thinks that an American accent is cute. Every once in a while I feel like I should say "sorry" for America, but honestly, I think that's mostly me.

And in other news:
It is starting to get chilly here, and it really feels like fall. And of course, it's still gorgeous!
School is going well. My classes are hard, but I believe for the most part, I'm passing. Which, for the first time in my life completely satisfies me. And I know that my french will only improve!
My teachers are all very nice and very understanding.
I made pancakes for my host family this morning. They turned out a little different from what I'm used to, but they loved them. Who knew that baking soda and baking powder would be so hard to find? So I used yeast instead. And rice oil instead of butter or vegetable oil. And we ate them with the maple syrup cream my family sent as a gift to my host family. It was really great!

And I just tried to upload some photos, but it didn't work very well, so I'll try again later!