Nikki, outbound to Belgium
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Literally a year ago I turned to my friend and said "I don't get what people are talking about with the whole "I didn't have time to do my journal thing, I would totally write one like every week."" Evidently, I'm fake and also a liar because that didn't happen. No. No I totally get it now.
So what better time to fill in my journal than the start of a new year, 2017 ! :^) This is really me saying, I said I would do it after Halloween, then after Thanksgiving, then after Christmas.... But whatever your favorite neighborhood slacker is back.
Exchange is busy - really busy. In my case, I was late (carrying my habits - oh so smart), so I had even more loose ends to tie up. And after that... all I wanted to do was run around and explore. So I did and promptly forgot all about "journaling," oh no, my life was explore discover eat.
But anyway - it's been wild here, in a good way of course. I've learned a lot of Belgian things, Belgicisms if you will. Like, if you try and call frites "french fries" you'll be lectured for an hour about how France is faux and definitely did NOT make french fries. Or the mildly terrifying driving here - my first host family found my screaming hysterical. Or how most Belgians have the ability to blow their nose anytime, anywhere, meanwhile if I want to cough I'll literally exit the room. Amazing. I envy their courage.
Anyway. Belgium is a small country. Which maybe sounds like some kind of con, but no, it's totally actually super great. Everything is literally just a train ride away, and gee howdy if I ain't taken advantage of that. Bruxelles, Liege, Antwerp, Bruges... those are the big ones but I still have more exploring to do.
And eating - Ya'll know I like to eat. I would be some kind of fiend if I didn't help myself to the food they have here - and boy it's g o o d. Waffles, two kinds, Bruxelles and Liege. Both great, but better with chocolate, whipped cream, and bananas. Chocolate. I don't think I've tried enough but I can make a sound judgement : it's delicious. Stoemp is essentially mashed potatoes with more vegetables which frankly is delicious and I can live with it. Mussels, of course delicious. And frites - literally why I live and why I exist and before you get weirded out about the mayo with the frites, it's not that bad I promise (but FYI, good luck finding normal yellow mustard here - it's all dijon ! Another FYI, gaining weight is so faux here considering you walk literally 60% of your life away. It's balanced).
Oh my gosh no speaking of chocolate let me tell ya'll about CHOCOLATE HANDS. They're chocolates shaped like hands that are popular in Antwerp because apparently... there was this legend about some giant named Antigoon (???) who essentially accepted a severed hand as a payment for crossing I think a river. So they sell chocolate hands. Wicked.
Oh let's talk about the people here too ! I love them. I love my friends at school they are literally the best and I adore them. At first it was one person and then it multiplied into five and now we're this clique of six that is in direct opposition to the other clique of six in our class (not really but I'm being dramatic). But no I'm so thankful I found good people here they're terribly kind and have great humor and gosh I just :,) They're good. I'm in the sixth (last) year here so we also ! have a cool end of the year trip for the "Rhetos," which for us will be in Greece ! I'm super excited to spend time with them there. My Rotary Club is also frankly super cool and I actually enjoy going to meetings so much I usually go two times a month. They're all very sociable and patient with my ugly French and I'm very thankful and lucky to have them with me. Even though the meetings are literally five hours long and death is knoc king on my door after them it's okay because we all have fun. And also shout out to my girl Valentina who is the only other Rotary exchange student in my area and club she's from Argentina and I adore her and her cool Argentinian knowledge. It's good.
Uhmm non sorry this is literally so disjointed I think of things as they come but I promise I'll find the time to add in some little stories because ! I have some good ones. Hopefully I'll find the time to tell them because I'm either doing something or I'm dead asleep with no in between.
Also bisous to my Rotary team and my family and friends back home I miss ya'll and think of ya'll everyday ! I'm doing my best to make the most out of the great opportunity you all gave me here in Belgium !
(Side note no pictures my phone force updated and restored itself so all 5000 of my photos have hit the road ! :,( I'll add some when I get some good ones !!)
A la prochaine ;^)
Posted on Fri, January 6, 2017
by Terri Wescott