Dear my dear dear friends,
Err…I guess I’ll start out with I’m sorry.
It’s been a month! I’ve reached a half-way point of my exchange. This makes me sad.
Here—I’ll skip a long, heart warming introduction for a LIFE-CATCH-UP.
December 30th marked the last day with my first host family. We went out for a HUGE Italian meal the night before—I got a pizza the size of a plate. There were also these odd little un-salty pretzel sticks in packages we ate as appetizers, and tried to dip them in olive oil and herbs. The olive oil was so spicey I swear to god it made my host father’s eyes water. We went home and watched a classically depressing Belgian movie about a boy who’s life was stolen by his neighbor. Belgian movies are strange and gloomy, but good.
I spent the day lazing around. Jerome and I went for a drive to a music store, and then returned to a quiet house, where we joked around. He helped me carry my huuuuge suitcase down the stairs—it was a lot like coming full circle, since he was the one who carried it up the stairs in the first place.
After we went to my third host family’s house to drink an aperitif and eat little snacks. All the girls and families were there. It was like a yankee swap of exchange students. I brought my whole life in one car, chatted, and put it in another car. I left one home to go to a house I’d never been to before.
I was nervous, to say the least. My host mom is intimidating- she was wearing high heeled boots, very well dressed and make-up’ed with stylish hair. I WAS SCARED. Even more, she had driven a really nice audi sports car, which had trouble holding my stuff. But dinner that night was steak and fries, and breakfast the next morning was pastries…so it couldn’t all be bad.
I have a host brother named Pierre, who’s 14, that I get along with really well. Lots of jokes and laughter. A host sister, Virginie, who’s 18 and is extremely nice. We go out a lot together, which has been a lot of fun. My host mother is very outgoing and has a lot of strong opinions, and my host father is stern but in an ironic kind sort of way.
Changing to this family has made me realize WHY we change family in Rotary. Nothing could be more different from my first family of almost zen-like attitude and vegetarian meals, to a very loud house with a hectic schedule, which seems to be in constant movement. I fit in here, though. We get along quiet well, and I feel like I’ve already started to be adopted into the family.
Today, for example, was the biggest train failure of my life. I RAN to catch my train to school (I have to take one now, because I live further away) and still missed it. It being one of the coldest days we’ve had in Belgium, I sent a woeful text to my host dad. My host mom picked me up right after her night shift to get me to school on time. There was no tension, we just joked and talked. I felt like I wasn’t asking for a favor to be indebted by—I felt more like I was asking for a family member to pick me up. No worries.
And then, after I got out of school, what do you know, every train going to my town has been canceled for the rest of the day. I have to call AGAIN, and my host father picks me up this time. They really didn’t seem to mind.
SOME IMPORTANT EVENTS
There’s a Belgian holiday called The Day of the King, where you buy a sweet bread and a crown and everyone eats it together. Just cute and little. Anyway, in the bread there’s a figurine hidden, and whoever picks the piece with the figurine is the Roi or Reine (king or queen). Anyway, after my host brother talking about how he was going to win all day, I won! I get to be the queen of the New Year!
I became a real adult on January 23rd when I went to Antwerp and saw the Black Keys.
Most amazing concert! I navigated the craziness of the public transportation system in Antwerp, and the next morning had the best breakfast from McDonalds ever. I ordered Pancakes AND an English Muffin. Just like home!
I visited my old host family for a big family get together in honor of my host sister's 25th birthday. It was so awesome to see everyone again--I still felt like part of the family!
I served drinks over the weekend for rotary at a Dinner of Boudin. Which is an icky sausage.
I also went to Namur for a district meeting! It was fun to see everyone--but I still haven't met my newie! (someone who just got to Belgium)
SOME LIFE EVENTS COMING UP
-I joined a Frisbee club
-My host brother is helping me GET INTO SHAPE
-For Carnival, I’ll be going to the festival de Binge. Biggest in Belgium!
-I might be going to Dublin, if all works out….
I’ll try to write more frequently!
With much much love, can’t wait to see you!