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!