Monday, July 9, 2012

Update (with pictures!)

I got my visa information earlier this week and am now working on getting that done (it's a long process, but very worth it). I have just 43 more days until I catch a red-eye to JFK International Airport and meet with all of the other exchange students. In 46 days I will be in Belgium. This doesn't even feel real! I can't believe my dream, the one I've been waiting three years for, is now only 6 weeks away.

I realized I didn't include any pictures in my previous posts about my placement, so here they are!

This is the town I will be living in, called Vedrin. It is 5km north of Namur. It's described as suburban, and from what I've seen on Google Maps (I'm not creepy, I promise!) it's a very pretty, green town. It has a population of 6,163 which is VERY different from the closest "small" town I live by which has a population of 155,937! I think my high school alone had over 2,000 students so this will be very different for me. My host mother offered to invite me along the walks she takes around the town, so I will be able to become familiar with it and also bond with her as well!

This entire area is the region of Namur, known for the two rivers that intersect at the center. Vedrin is the red area.

I don't have any pictures of my house, but my host sister told me it was three stories tall. It is really close to a bus stop, so I'll be able to access Namur very easily.

Speaking of Namur, this is what it looks like.

It is the closest city to me. It's also the capital of Wallonia, the French region of Belgium. I'm glad I'm close to a city but also glad that I'm living in a small town. It seems like the perfect mix.

My host sister also told me that I would probably be going to the school she and her sister (and the previous exchange students they hosted) attended, Institut de la Providence Champion, and that my neighbor would take me to school, which is very nice of them! I must remind myself to include a thank you gift for them as well.

The school is very proud of its gardens, and from the pictures I've seen online, they have every right to be because the school and its grounds are beautiful!

Besides school, I think I will try "scouts". Both of my host sisters have done it and though they found it difficult to explain in English, they said it was a great way to make friends.

With all of this information, my new life seems more tangible, rather than just hopes and dreams. I now have a vision, an idea of what my life will be like and who I'll be around. I've even started packing. It's harder than it sounds, I've already packed too much and yet not enough. How do you fit a year of your life - a life in a year - in a 44lb suitcase? I guess I'll figure it out somehow. I'm very excited for everything to come. My last month and a half in California (in the United States, even!) is going to go by very quickly, and I want to enjoy every minute of it.

À bientôt,

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