Thursday, February 21, 2013

An Overdue Update

Now that I have time to write, I'll try to update you on what's been going on. 

The first Saturday of Carnaval I went to Namur with my friend Kaari. We went shopping and then to a bar to get some beer. 

On Sunday I talked to another Belgian who lives about 5 minutes away from me. We did his at home interview so he could go to the Philippines next year. It was a very bizarre experience because I remember my at home interview very well, and to be on the opposite end of it knowing all that I know/experiencing all that I have experienced, it felt like I had come full circle. I remembered how nervous I felt, and though I knew my life was going to change, I wasn't aware that it'd change this much. I was so glad I went though, and I'm looking forward to being an AFS volunteer in the future.

On Tuesday I went to Binche with Madeleine from Kansas. The city is famous for its parade on Carnaval, and has been proclaimed as a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO. They've been holding Carnaval there since the fourteenth century. Anyway, we got there a little bit too early and didn't see much throughout the entire day. We did see the Gilles, the costumed men who walked around the city throwing oranges at people. And yes, they really did throw them at people. I was warned ahead of time but it still caught me by surprise. Apparently it's good luck if you receive an orange, but bad luck if you throw them back. I think that's just so people don't throw oranges and the guys... We left around 4 because we were freezing so we probably missed the big parade, but I don't regret missing it.

On Thursday, I invited a few of my friends over for a Valentine's Day Pity Party. We made homemade pizzas (as homemade as you're ever going to get with me), cookies, and other delicious things. We drank wine and watched Titanic and Amélie, so basically the typical girls night in. I was so glad I did it because I didn't want to be bitter over missing my boyfriend, and I always have fun with them! 

On Friday I went to Namur with Claire and Skyler and we went window shopping and we grabbed lunch. It's always great to talk with other exchange students about our experiences and thoughts about being here, because not many people can understand. I don't know what I'm going to do at the end of this experience when it will no longer be plausible to meet up for some lunch or something. 

On Saturday I went grocery shopping with my host family because we were going to celebrate Chinese New Year. We were a week late, but we figured it wouldn't matter too much.

On Sunday I woke up at 8 am and after skyping my mom for help, I started cooking. I made tea eggs, fried rice, miso soup, noodles, and Chinese hot pot. Most of it was just a mix of my favorite things. My host mom invited close to fifteen people so it was extremely hard to cook for all of them. I don't even cook for myself so that was definitely challenging! I ended up messing up a few times, (including buying the wrong kind of rice for fried rice) but they ended up loving what I messed up on anyway. I was incredibly exhausted after the end of the day, but was so grateful to eat some familiar, flavorful things that I had missed. I think I'm going to try to make sushi with my host sister next, because I really miss Mikuni sushi.

I'm back at school now. I got sick after Chinese New Year (NOT from my cooking, I think I overworked myself and I had a cold) but I'm feeling better now. It snowed today after a few days of "nice" weather, but I'm getting used to the cold. The days are getting longer as well, which is great because I hate coming home when it's already dark. 

That's all for now. I'll update you when exciting things happen.

À tantôt,


Thursday, February 7, 2013

AFS Mid Stay Orientation

Hi everyone!

This update isn't going to be very great, but there's not really much to talk about anyway. I had my Mid Stay Orientation last weekend, and it was okay. It was absolutely wonderful being able to see people again, and the volunteers kept us pretty busy. The activities are never as great as exchange students just talking, but I had fun. My friend and I were talking about how weird it is that we haven't seen some of these people in 5 months, and the next time we'll see them is when we go home. Very strange.

Anyway, here's some pictures from that weekend.

My last day of school is tomorrow and then I have Vacances de Carnaval, which will be a nice break. Over the weekend I'm going to talk to a Belgian in the area who wants to go on exchange. A few girls are going to come to my house on Valentine's Day and we're going to throw a pity party with pizzas and pastries (there's some alliteration for you). I'm also going to go to Namur for a few beers with friends towards the end of the vacation.

As for what's been going on since my last update... It's been snowing every day. Not a lot because it's Belgium, but enough for it to be annoying. I miss blue skies so much I took a picture of a sliver of it after it stopped snowing. I've gotten used to the cold though, so that's good. I've also been reading the Harry Potter series in French, but it gets kind of difficult to get into it when Hogwarts is called "Poudlard", Snape is "Rogue", wand is "baguette de magie", Hufflepuff is "Poufsouffle", Ravenclaw is "Serdaigle" and Tom Marvolo Riddle is "Tom Elvis Jedusor". Yes, Elvis.... it's just not the same. It's great though because it gives me something to do and I can understand everything. Well, not every word, but every idea.

I think that's it for now. I promise my next updates will be more entertaining than these past two. School is the same everywhere and doesn't leave me much to talk about. Okay well I'm going to go eat dinner!

À la prochaine!