November 11, 2011

11/11/11 and Belgium Waffles

Two very special days have come and gone. One was the much anticipated 11/11/11. If you're a superstitious number freak then this day would have been pretty huge for you... same goes for if you're just a die-hard 11:11 wisher. I'm with the latter, so I was pretty psyched. But I actually didn't do that much on this day. Of course I made my epic wish at 11:11 (on 11/11/11)...

Unfortunately, my clock is in military time so it says 23:11... but this was really at 11:11 on 11/11/11 :)
In the afternoon I went over to the Robalo's house to hang out with Clothilde. Two of her friends came over too and we played some board games and ate cake together. Later in the evening Clothilde, me, and the neighbors went to go see a movie. It was called "Les Intouchables" and I can proudly say that I understood it and thought that it was really funny. It was one of those times where I sat back and listened to the French around me like it was my native language and like it was just another way of communicating– instead of just focusing on translating and letting all the word jumbo float past my head. Of course, I had to ask Clothilde to explain a lot of the jokes, but it felt really good to understand them by myself and be able to laugh with all the French people in the theater. So yeah. I've seen three French movies in theaters now and the last one was definitely the best out of the other two. Third time's the charm... all over the world.

And then Saturday was the other special day. I went to Belgium!!! It was so much fun. We went to a beautiful, touristic city called Brugge with Anne-Soizic. It was hard to imagine that in two hours we had driven to a completely new country, but the culture shock really hit when we were walking around the train station and I saw weird gibberish looking words all over the place. That would be one of the Belgium language: Flemish. It sounds like German mixed with English and it looks like a toddler just played the drums on a keyboard.

The one word of Flemish that I learned: Pickpocket=Zakkenroller
More people there speak English than French so in the stores that we visited I got to speak English. Every single one of the shop owners spoke at least three languages: Flemish, English, and French. It was crazy. When we were waiting in line for our Belgium waffles (yes, I got to eat Belgium waffles in Belgium!) the lady spoke Flemish to one person then switched to French at the next, then English, then back to Flemish, etc. etc. Mad skills. Oh, and Belgium waffles are absolutely delicious :D

For lunch, we ate at Pizza Hut. It was actually my first time eating there. (Haha remark that my first time eating in an oober American restaurant was in Belgium with a French family...) It was yummy, but obviously not the classic European food. We got a pizza buffet option so we had no limits on how much pizza we could get. So American. The others didn't really like it... and I don't blame them. American cuisine doesn't really cut it with all this French food everywhere.

So then to work off all that pizza, we walked around the beautiful town while I took pictures. There were tons of canals, pretty buildings, and horse-driven carriages. Here you go:

Belgium chocolate :)

My new friend.
Like a little Venice...
At the Grande Place :)

And then... we hit the shops! I love shopping in Belgium. Well, I just love shopping. Everything was outrageously expensive, but I found a Bruges pin to put on my blazer. Now wherever I go, I have to look for pins. In any other situation a blazer covered with hundreds of random pins would be considered extremely odd and not exactly "à la mode" but for a Rotary exchange student... it's normal ;)

Everyone was super exhausted by the end of the day and I totally crashed on the carride back. But good news is that I'm going back to Belgium next weekend to Bruxelles for Anne-Soizic's birthday. Whoo! 

Then that Sunday I stayed in all day. I found the time to work on my Thanksgiving presentation that I have to make for English class and I also Skyped with the folks back home. Sundays are normally chill days to relax a bit after the hectic week. So then Monday came and I learned in music class that I'm not going to sing... but on the other hand, I'm going to be the presenter of the show! I'm going to be that person who talks between performances, introduces everyone, makes jokes that no one laughs at, and is supposed to be somewhat memorable...Yikes.

So yeah... It's almost my three month anniversary here. I can honestly say that this experience is going to stay with me for the rest of my life. I'm going to remember all the people that I've met, all the things that I've learned, and all the little things in between. I've adapted faster than I thought I would have. I think that no matter what happens on these exchanges, it's still going to be an unforgettable experience that will change you as a person. Now I'm not trying to change things to make every situation ideal; I'm just accepting things as how they are and realizing that every surprise and disappointment is just part of this crazy year. It's my experience and it's going to be different from anyone else's. Sorry to go all zen-like on you, but being an exchange student makes you really think sometimes.

All right, I'm done for now. I hope you are all doing well, wherever you are in the world. A bientôt et bisous :)


  1. My jaw dropped at the gorgeous pictures. Your writing has gotten a lot bigger (this is pretty big considering you were already a really great writer :). That's so cool that you got to go to Belgium! Oh yeah! Skype! Yeah, my memory hasn't improved much. :) . . . I'm having trouble signing in, so I'll fiddle with it some more when I'm not tired. :) You'll do great as the presenter. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. I meant that you're writing has gotten a lot better.

  3. Thanks Brynn :) I miss you. Yes, figure out Skype soon because I want to talk to you!