Caroline, outbound to Belgium

I've been in Belgium for a little over two months now and I have experienced so many things that I feel like it's been so much longer than two months, but at the same time my exchange is flying by and I can't believe two months are already gone...This is such a weird feeling!

I just recently had the opportunity to go to Paris with my host family and London with an exchange friend (plus his host family). Paris was just as beautiful as I had imagined it, the food was so good and I even got to see a show at one of the oldest theaters in Paris; which was so amazing even though I couldn't understand everything that they were saying!

London was also so much fun and so charming (I got to stay just outside of London for four days living in a mobile home! Whaaaat :D), but I have to say that the people are definitely nicer in London than in Paris. They are just so much more open and polite about everything and they have the most amusing personalities, its great. I feel like we have so many stereotypes about British people because of Harry Potter and other movies, and it was so surprising to learn that for the most part (I think) they are so TRUE haha. For example, the British accent and slang is not exaggerated at all in the movies, in fact I wouldn't be surprised if they bring it down a notch so that more people can understand it. And I know I keep referencing Harry Potter (I'm really sorry) but for the last time I promise, I went to church in Canterbury and I swear it looked like Hogwarts. There was even a gold phoenix podium for Dumbledore and the lady sitting across from me had Harry Potter glasses on and the little old man sitting next to her totally looked like a goblin from Gringotts. Ok I'm done xD

In the end I just couldn't get over the fact that even though everyone was speaking my language it felt as if it may as well have been a completely different language. I think it's so cool how much variation can exist in one language and how much culture affects those variations. To wrap it up, I'd say that was a vacation well spent and I can't even begin to explain how thankful I am to Rotary and to two completely AMAZING host families who made these trips such a fun and interesting experience for me. It always makes me so happy meeting and getting to know people who are just so loving and upbeat, are troopers when you make them try "crazy" American food and don't ask questions when you come home with Coca Cola flavored doughnuts. So, to anyone who is out there thinking of becoming an exchange student but caught up with weighing their options, seriously just DO IT. This is so cool :) (sorry that my journal is late Scott), but hey better late than never right!?