Thursday, October 25, 2012


I know I said I was going to update earlier, but I've been pretty busy, as you can probably understand.  Plus I keep forgetting that I haven't done this yet, because I keep starting and not publishing the post.  I guess I don't want this to finally end my exchange

One thing that was surprising to me when I got home was the amount of stuff I had - after living on what I could lug around with me, seeing all the JUNK I had at home was amazing.  My awesome friend Beede helped me like the first few days I was home by bringing me dinner (Taco Bell~), and then helping me clean.  We threw out so much, gave things away, rearranged my room - we even took my closet doors down!  I know I still have too much stuff, but I'm too sentimental to throw it all out.

And I forgot what it was like to have the dogs around all the time.  Sure, two of them would cuddle sometimes, but if one starts barking, the other two join in and just run around the house and jump and generally just make noise.  I can't say I miss the quiet of my houses in Belgium because I love my dogs, but sometimes I wish we only had 2 :P

My cuties: Meg and Edgar on the bed, and Skeeter on the floor

Driving the first time was pretty interesting too.  I forgot how the pedals were, so it was a bit speedy at the beginning.  But after the first trip, it seriously was just like riding a bike - it was completely natural.  I've driven a few thousand miles since coming home, so obviously I'm used to it again.  Same with riding horse - I've ridden over 100 miles on horseback since coming home, which is great.  I missed it last year.  My mom clocked us going 37 mph, and we could have gone faster had we had the space (we had to slow down right away because of a road crossing).

A typical day at the Ace in the Hole Ranch
Of course, now I'm back at school.  I'm taking a full courseload, which is pretty difficult at times.  Luckily it's already halfway through the semester, and next semester should be easier.  I forgot what it was like to actually do schoolwork!  I also started working at a gas station in September, and it's going okay.  My coworkers are pretty cool, so at least we can complain about work together :P  It's really not that bad, just tons of busy work, and doing the same thing every day.  It's not that fufilling, but really, what entry level job is?  Hopefully I can find something better next year (which is not apt to happen, considering I'll be in a college town).

Anyway, life is basically the same as it was before I left.  I go to the same university, I drive the same car, I have the same room, I have the same friends.  But, I also have friends from around the world.  Some I'll see again, some I won't.  And I know a bit of another language, which is new.  I may not know much, but it's nice.  I still think partly in it from time to time, and some of my notes are in Dutch.

I think the worst part of exchange, actually, is knowing it won't be the same when you come back (saying goodbyes at the airport is a close second).  But I mean, I can go back to visit, but I won't be part of the social fabric there.  I can go visit the fanfare, but I won't be sitting at the repetitie and playing a song we've had for months.  I can visit the CVO, but I won't be sitting in class with Marcela, Santi, May, Carol, Begona and all the others talking about what we were planning on doing after class.  It will be fun, sure, but it won't be the same.  It's really sad to think about.

Everyone, thank you so much for following this blog over my year - it really made my day that people cared enough about me to read what I was doing.  Seeing new pageviews always made me happy :)  I hope you enjoyed reading about my year as much as I enjoyed the year.

Exchange students, especially those going to Belgium, I hope this helps you out even a little bit.  I hope you realize that exchange is absolutely amazing, but there are days that, like in your home country, are just normal days.  You go to school, you go home, and that's about it.  If you ever have any questions, even if it's been a while after this post, feel free to contact me!  I'd love to help in anyway possible.

Iedereen in België, dank u voor het lezen van deze blog.  Ik hou van jullie, en ik hoop dat je naar Amerika komen.  Hopelijk kom ik naar België in een paar jaren.  Iedereen in de fanfare, bedankt voor alles.  Ik hou van jullie, en ik mis jullie elke dag.  Als niet voor jullie, zou ik niet een leuke jaar gehad.  Ik zal heel hard proberen naar Bad Schelma te komen.  En jullie moeten naar Amerika komen!  Mijn vader mist jullie ook :P  Hij praat over jullie elke tijd wij over België praten (of waneer wij een drankje hebben~).  Ik zal jullie nooit vergeten.  Ik zal proberen om mij Nederlands te oefenen, ik weet dat het helemaal niet goed is :P

Tot de volgende iedereen!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Day 361 / Day 1

Donderdag, 2 Augustus 2012

This was the worst day of my exchange, by far.

First off, I didn't sleep. After the last entry, I went outside to watch the coming storm, recieved the CD from the fanfare concert we did in December, laid in bed trying to sleep, and then I just ended up watching BBC for like an hour or two. When it was time to leave, I was feeling so sick, like I would just  throw up everywhere.  Not fun.

Bart, Heidi and I got in the car and left for the airport.  It was a great morning, not too cold, not too warm, no rain.  One of the most painful car rides of my life.  It was pretty quiet, so I just had thinking time, which is never good.  Imagine the most painful sensation you've ever felt in your life.  Now multiply that by 10, and feel it everywhere in your body.  It's not like a broken wrist where you can isolate the pain.  It's just everywhere.

No one tells you about that when you sign up for an exchange.  Sure, they say it's 10x harder to leave your host country than it is to leave your home country, but those are just random numbers.  It's so much more difficult to actually feel it.  They never say that making amazing friends (especially so many of them) makes it that much harder to leave them.  Sure you can come back to visit, but you won't have the same day to day contact.  It hurts.

I held it together though.  Didn't cry on the way to the airport, just felt like someone was repeatedly punching me in the stomach.  Dropped my bags off, and then Marcela showed up.  We split my Mountain Dew and went to get her bags wrapped so they wouldn't break open, chatted, and just reminisced.  It really couldn't be a year ago when we both arrived.  I'm so glad we could arrive and leave on the same day - it would have felt weird to do it any other way.

Marcela's family showed up, and Marcela gave me a Kinder Egg since it would be my last legal one until I could get to Canada :P  We walked to the gate, said our goodbyes.  Well, I said it to my family and to Marcela's, and then she walked as far as possible with me to the passport check.  It just felt... unreal.  Like, I'd go on a little trip and then we'd be back together having fries in Turnhout with Santi.  I think my mind just made it so I couldn't comprehend what was going on.

Went through security, got to my flight (delayed, OF COURSE I found it out after I was through security D: ), and then sat on that for quite some time.  I tried sleeping, but it didn't work.  I read my book as soon as I took off, and I was crying by like the second letter.  I'm going to miss everyone so much.  And I like having the notes in Dutch so even if a friend steals the book to read it, they can't understand :P  I ended up crying for the like first hour of the flight.  And then I did something stupid (which only Collin would probably understand) - I read "John Dies at the End" while listening to Yeasayer and being both physically and mentally exhausted (remember, my last "real" night of sleep was Sunday night - woke up early on Tuesday and Wednesday counted more as passing out than sleeping).  Combining those three things made me SUPER paranoid.  Like, I thought I would hear plane noises, or if I tried to sleep I would feel like I was gone for like an hour when it really was like a minute.  Seriously, don't read that book if you haven't slept in a long time.

After landing I had to pick up my bags.  This is where it gets interesting.  So, as soon as we started descending, I started crying.  Not like bawling, but my tear ducts were just leaking.  I went through homeland security, and then picked up my bags from the thing.  So, imagine a 19 year old kid with red eyes from no sleep, crying, hair a mess from the plane, wearing cowboy boots, and carrying two LARGE suitcases and then a carry on, a backpack, and a rotary blazer.  I was quite the sight to see.  Luckily, around the corner was the next baggage drop.

Or so I thought.  See, the lady there said, "Do you have a connecting flight?  Then put your bags back on the strip."  So, my exhausted brain was like, SWEET, that was easy!  I have a connecting flight, and now I don't need to carry my bags.

Wrong-o.  Dropped the bags, and then checked the sign.  No flights to Minneapolis.  I asked the lady, and she's like, we don't fly to Minneapolis.  Oops.  Forgot I had to change airports :P  Went to baggage services to tell them I made a stupid and please fix it for me.  Then outside I just kinda broke.  Like, everything was real.  The airport was only in English.  When I'd hand someone something and say "alstublieft" I'd get weird looks instead of it being normal.  It didn't feel like Belgium.  I missed everyone so much.  My bags were gone because of me being stupid.  And I had been awake for like 35 hours.

So then the real waterworks started, probably scaring even more people around me.  Luckily on the bus to LaGuardia ($12.50?!) a nice lady started talking to me, making me have to control myself to answer.  We started talking about other things so I could calm myself down.  Very thankful to her.  It took like 40 minutes to get to LaGuardia (note to self - never book flights with an agent again), and then when I got into the airport I say a pub and I was like, Man, I could really use a burger and a drink right now.

But oh yeah, back in the US.  No drinks for Kelsey :(  So much culture shock already!  Went through security just to get to a place to sit and have internet.  Of course, then the stupid pay-internet wasn't loading, so then I was just sitting crying over my computer, swearing at it in 3 different languages (YAY being multicultural!)  Finally got it to work, called my dad on google voice, let him know what was up.

Had my first meal in the US (Auntie Ann's pretzel and blue raspberry lemonade), changed clothes so I would look presentable back in MN, and then got on the flight.  It was like 3 hours, and I couldn't sleep.  I tried.  I did everything from laying my head on the table to curling up in my seat.  Nothing worked.  So that really sucked.  Got to MN, and it was like OMG I'M HOME.  Got super happy.  Crying stopped.  I basically ran from the gate to where I would see my family.  My parents and brothers were there, so that was really nice.  My brothers gave me a Mountain Dew and a Reese's because they just knew I would need it.

We drove to Applebees, them basically just letting me talk the whole time.  The roads felt HUGE!  And no people on bikes!  Anyways, at Applebees, a few of my friends were there already.  Hugged, said hi, and just hung over.  All in all, over 20 people were at Applebees for my party.  It was so nice.  The menu's even said "Welcome Back"!  Around 11.30 (so around 40 hours awake or so), I was just dead.  We went home, saw the dogs again, got a mini tour of what we've changed in the house.  They kept pushing me to go to bed, and when I got to bed I found out why - my brother and my friend put a giant horse head mask under the covers.  It was pretty awesome.

Home just felt weird too.  Like, it was the same, but different.  It wasn't like how "my" house was in Belgium.  The door handles were knobs, not the pull down ones.  The counter in the bathroom felt lower.  There was carpet (and now that I think about it, I don't ever remember seeing carpet in Belgium...).  My room had WAY more stuff in it than I was used to.  It was just... different.  We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 360

Woensdag, 1 Augustus 2012

Wow.  My last full day in Belgium.  I don't want to believe it.

I woke up around noon, which is understandable after last night.  Had a long breakfast, and then Bart and I went shopping.  Well, we first went to return my Belgian ID, but the town hall wasn't open so I'm just going to keep it.  That's what they get for closing at NOON.  Bought a bit more candy for back home, beer glasses (2 for me, one for the family auction in the end of August), and Bart and Heidi bought me an amazing little tea thing.  It's so cute!

Got home, didn't want to pack.  Showered, went online, read - anything so I wouldn't have to pack.  After dinner (last kebab...), I finally decided I should pack.  And it's good I did - the tea thing and the glasses added a bit more weight than I thought, so I had to do some shuffling around.  And man, I have so much junk I forgot about!  I would think I was done, and then there would be something else to add in.  Quite a bit of stuff in my carry on bags which I'm not excited about, considering I have to lug it around the airport.

And speaking of, I had to change airports in NY.  I fly into JFK and I fly out from LaGuardia.  So, that I think that means I have to go to baggage claim to get my stuff and then change.  So I have to carry everything myself, whilst wearing my blazer.  Not cool.

Heidi's parents came over for cake, we hung out a bit, I finished packing, and then we watched a bit of a movie.  Good way to end the year.

I just can't believe it's over.  How has it been a year?  Where did all the time go?  Was it really a year ago when I was having a last movie night with my friends?  Even though I love Minnesota, this little corner of Belgium has part of my heart now.  I may not move here, but I will always remember my time in Lille (and Meerle) fondly.  I've made so many friends here, both Belgian and otherwise.  I've lived life the way it should be lived - having a lot of adventures (especially when it came to public transit with Marcela), eating new things, playing cymbals and trumpet, and being with people I love every Tuesday :P

If it's not obvious, I would probably consider moving back here just to be with the fanfare.  They were with me the whole year, and I love all of them.  They were SO patient and understanding with me, and they're some of the kindest and most genuine people I have ever met.  I think every Tuesday for as long as I live I'll think about them.  They honestly made my exchange - if not for them I think I wouldn't have had even half as good of a time.

It's hard to process that in 7 hours I'll be leaving the house to go back to America.  I don't know what it will be like - I know I've changed as a person (in what ways, I don't know), and I don't know how I'll react to being back.  Real life will have to start again.  It scares me talking to some of my friends that are already home - they say Belgium feels like a dream to them.  I don't want that, I want it to stay real.

I want to thank everyone who's been reading this blog over the past year.  I loved seeing the pageviews every day and knowing that someone was seeing my adventure.  I know I wasn't always on time to post, and sometimes I are super verbose (like now), while other times I would just put a single sentence.

To anyone considering to become an exchange student that may have found this, do it, it will change your life in the best ways possible.
To any Belgians I know that read this - bedankt.  Ik hou van dit land en ik zal zo snel mogelijk terug komen.
To anyone I know irl in the US reading this - I'll be home soon!  Swing by for a chat (and help cheer me up!)
To anyone I don't know reading this - Thanks!  I don't know how you found this, but I'm glad you read it.  Hopefully it helps to give a good day by day guide for what exchange is, hard parts and all.

I will write an entry tomorrow (I say that, but it'll probably come up on the weekend), and probably a few more during August to talk about coming back and reverse culture shock.  I know that some people don't view this with a feedreader, so I'll be sure to make it obvious when it's the last post so you know when to stop checking for updates.

Lots of love to everyone.  I'm going to try to sleep now (try is the key word), because I know I'm going to just be sobbing like a baby and that takes a lot of energy out of you :P

Day 359

Dinsdag, 31 Juli 2012

Last day of July, last fanfare rehearsal - what is this?!

Woke up early to get the train to Genk.  Hung out with Ben, had lunch, did a little bit of shopping.  Didn't feel the greatest, so I went home pretty early to sleep before the fanfare.  And oh god, the fanfare.  I was so close to crying the whole night.  Someone did a little thing at the end, basically saying how all good things have to come to an end and that they'd miss me.  Almost lost it there.

But yeah, last fanfare night, which meant I stayed late.  I also got a lot of free drinks, which probably wasn't for the best - we'll just leave it at that :P  I'm going to miss that group so so so so much.  I didn't want to leave because that meant it would be over.  It can't be over, I still remember the first time I actually rehearsed with them and felt SO awkward standing with everyone, trying to hide the fact I wasn't drinking, and trying to get out of it quickly because I felt so out of place.  Now, that is my place.  If there was ever a reason I couldn't live in the US, I'd move to Lille in a heartbeat.  I think I just need to get rich and get a vacation house there :)

So yeah, sad night.  It can't be over.  It's too soon, I can't leave them :(

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day 358

Maandag, 30 Juli

Did my last full day in Antwerp.  Got up, got the bus, and then just walked around.  Bought all my chocolates, visited the sights one more time, and just generally chilled out.  Went back to the house, did as much packing as I could (just gotta buy one more thing and I can finish), ate, and watched the Olympics.  Later in the afternoon the four of us went to get coffee/tea/dessert, hung out a bit, watched more Olympics, and then I went to sleep.  Time is moving too quickly now :/

Day 357

Zondag, 29 Juli 2012

Obviously, I didn't get much sleep at night considering I woke up around 10 to get ready for the day.  Luckily we watched the Olympics for a bit longer than I thought we would, so I could rest up in the sofa, but I was still awake.  We then loaded into the car and drove to Gent to look at Femke's dorm for fall.  They measured the room and did housekeeping things like that while I took a little nap on the couch in the room.

Afterwards we looked around the city a bit, and then had Pizza Hut!  No unlimited refills at this one, which is bull, but it was still pretty good.  Waaaay too full for icecream (there's a Quetzal in Gent), but they all got frozen yogurt.  Then drove back to the house, watched the Olympics more, and then went to bed.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 356

Zaterdag, 28 Juli 2012

Wow, great great day.

S, the day started with the fanfare biking to Scherpenheuvel.  It's like 35 km, so of course there was a break halfway :P  I didn't bike there, but got a ride with someone else.  Which was probably for the better, because it was raining almost their entire bike ride.  Since I got there a bit earlier than everyone else, the guy who drove me and I walked around, looked at the basilica there, and had a drink.  Once everyone got there we went to church.

Afterwards, we had a lunch there, which was pretty fun.  I like hanging out with everyone like that.  On the way home I actually biked, because one girl didn't ride back for some reason.  Considering going home was the downhill part, it was pretty fun :P  Back in Lille, we had a BBQ which had a bunch of good foods (potato salad~).  I brought the cookies over, and then from like 8 or so on the BBQ was done and they held a going away party for me.

And man, it was awesome.  I can't believe they did it.  At first it was a lot of sitting around, talking, and drinking, which is fun by itself, but it kept getting better.  We moved inside after a bit, and then one of my friends came from this "army camp" thing he was doing on the weekend.  He did a little thing with a rifle which was cool, but then 3 BAGPIPE PLAYERS came into the room and played.  It was just incredible.  I couldn't stop smiling.

They played a few times, and then hung around.  As the night went on we just had more fun, including doing limbo with a music stand, and I only managed to get home around 430 because I had someone else do all the talking and convince the others that we needed to leave.  Just went straight to sleep when I got home.

But yeah, besides the bagpipe players, I also got some cards (one that was signed by the entire fanfare), mountain dew (yay!), beer shampoo, and handkerchiefs to use when I get sad that I'm leaving the fanfare :P  I have to say, this was by far the best day ever.  I can't believe it happened, and it just shows how many great friends I have here in Belgium.  I have to start planning my next trip to Belgium.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Day 355

Vrijdag, 27 Juli 2012

Another quite chill day.  Got up, chilled a bit, and then made cookies.  They didn't turn out perfect ( not enough shortening, etc), but they were okay.  Watched some movies after, said goodbye to Senne (he left for 2 weeks in France with his friend), chilled out, and watched part of the Olympic opening ceremony before I decided to just go to bed.  This weekend will be pretty long, gotta get all the sleep I can.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 354

Donderdag, 26 Juli, 2012

Marcela couldn't make it out to Antwerp today, so I just slept in.  Chilled out online, and then Femke, Heidi, and Senne came up to my room to give me a beginning French book in Dutch, which was super awesome.  Now I'll be able to keep up Dutch a bit easier at home.

Really spent the majority of the day reading things online.  I read a lot of articles on Cracked, which was HILARIOUS because later that afternoon it was mentioned on a Belgian TV program.  Watched some movies too.  And for dinner we went to a frituur, which was awesome in itself.  Bart actually asked the guy working there if I could make my own bicky burger, and surprisingly he said yes!  So I got to go behind the counter, put the sauces on my burger, and put the burger on.  It was pretty awesome.  I'd put pictures up but I can't find my camera cable :P

Home, ate, watched more movies, and then went to bed.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 353

Woensdag, 25 Juli, 2012

Another quite long day.

We woke up around 11, watched some videos online, ate, and then got the bus to Antwerp.  There we met Gert, from the fanfare.  He gave us a tour of his diamond company, brought us to "Diamond World", and then we talked and had a drink.  Then, obviously, he had to go back to work, so I made Kate finally try a Bicky.  Then we walked around Antwerp a bit, saw the Chinatown, and then walked through the station to the back (where I've never been).

Kate then had to leave, so I went around Antwerp a bit by myself.  Got a few more gifts (Collin I found you something!), and I was going towards the cathedral area to get the rest (I know the shops there very well), and there was a little dance troupe performing!  So naturally, I sat down and watched them, before looking at my watch and realizing it was time to get to the Irish pub.

Got down there to watch baseball (WHOOOO!), but it turns out the time I had read was an hour early so I was there just chilling.  They put up Sports Center for me to bide my time with, and I talked a bit with the bartenders.  Got to watch part of the game before I had to leave for my last bus home.

At home, I was pretty tired so I went pretty much straight to bed.

Day 352

Dinsdag, 24 Juli 2012

Loooong day.

Got up early, and then spent around 3 hours traveling until I was at Kate's house in the French part.  We basically just hung out - went swimming, went to the local castle, played cards, and then we were talking about how sad it was that it would be our last chance meeting each other in Belgium.  So, we decided she would com sleep at my house.  It took like 4.5 hours to get back (yayyy waiting times and buses), dropped our stuff at the house, and then we went to the fanfare.

That was pretty fun.  We got there almost an hour after rehearsal ended, so everyone was pretty good into drinking already.  We had some drinks, Kate got to meet everyone, and we just had a blast overall.  Got home a few hours later, talked a bit, and then went to bed.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 351

Maandag, 23 Juli 2012

Chill day.  Woke up late as a result of the movie marathon, watched some TV and movies, napped, messed around on the computer, and went to bed.  Nothing too much of note.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day 350

Zondag, 22 Juli 2012

Pretty chill day.  I left around noon to meet some girls from my Dutch class in Turnhout, but only one of them could make it since things happen, but it was fun.  We talked a bit, and as she's planning on staying in Belgium for good (she is from Bulgaria, and have lived in Russia and Greece), we'll probably see each other again seeing as I know I'm coming back at least one more time to visit.

Desi and I
Went home, but as it was Sunday, there were no direct buses from Turnhout to Lille.  When I was waiting for my second bus, I noticed it was in like 50 minutes.  So I did what I like doing, and just started walking towards Lille.  I'd rather walk than bum around.  Made it quite a few stops further before I stopped (because the bus was coming in like 10 minutes to that stop, meaning I probably wouldn't have time to make it one more stop).  That was fun.

Once home, Senne, Bart, Heidi and I went out for Chinese food.  Pretty good, but the food reminded me a bit of the Chinese place on the drive up north that doesn't ever stock up on the lunchtime buffet (Dad, you should know the one I mean).  But there was fresh fruit (AND WATERMELON!!!!) so that was awesome.

Back at home, watched a movie with Bart and Senne, and then Senne and I had a Rush Hour movie marathon.  That was pretty fun, considering I think I had only seen the first one before.  After that, went straight to bed.  I really don't know how I managed the Star Wars one this last summer...

Day 349

Zaterdag, 21 Juli 2012

Happy National Day of Belgium!

Anyway, when my phone alarm went off this morning it nearly gave Marcela a heart attack (says she) because it was right next to her foot and it has a pretty strong vibrate :P  Her host mom was nice enough to drive me to Hoogstraten at like 7.15 in the morning because on holidays there aren't any buses out of Meerle.  Just took the bus to Antwerp because Marcela said she had problems with the train at Noorderkempen if it was before 10 in the morning (which I can believe - I had enough problems with that station).

So, had almost an hour to wait in Antwerp, just got some breakfast and choco and chilled.  Can't believe pretty soon I can't just go into a little coffee shop in central station.  Met the family (sans Bart) on the train when it passed through Mechelen.  Turns out he forgot the tickets at home, so he was getting the next train :P  Spent the morning chilling out in Brussels with everyone, doing little games and things - Senne and I did a crash test thing, where we were in a simulated 10kph car crash.  And man, it was quite a bit stronger than I thought it'd be.

Had some food, and then around 2 we went and got our seats for the parade.  Which started at 4.  Fell asleep in my seat, so that was pretty nice.  The parade was pretty cool, all military based, but it was weird to me that the bands used flip folders.  I mean, this is a big deal, just memorize the music.  If I could do it when I was freshman, they can do it as adults.  Afterwards, we got a drink and then went on the train.

The train was packed, so we couldn't all sit next to each other.  And who did I sit next to?  A Canadian!  We talked the whole trip about why were were in Europe (they were traveling after graduating from college, just doing a Euro-Tour).  Pretty fun - I love random encounters like that.  We got back home, watched TV for a bit, and then I went to bed.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 348

Vrijdag, 20 Juli 2012

Well, Marcela and I were going to meet up in Antwerp, and then around 9 we texted each other saying we were too tired to, so that plan was out the window.  Chilled a bit at home, and then went to Turnhout to get a bus to Meerle.  Got to Marcela's house around 6, and then we spent the whole night basically packing her bags and talking.  It was really fun - we haven't had much time like that since we lived together, so I missed it.  Her family is going to be at the beach from Saturday until we leave Belgium, so yeah, she had to pack EVERYTHING and then she has to live out of her suitcase while at the beach.

But, like with all the other exchange students, I got a few things of clothes that she was going to leave behind.  It's like I'm getting a whole new wardrobe this year!  But besides the clothes she was leaving behind (the kinda grody ones that she'd throw anyways, or a few that didn't fit), everything fit in her bags.  Granted, she had 3 suitcases, but still, considering the amount of shopping she's done it was pretty good.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 347

Donderdag, 19 Juli 2012

2 weeks :/

Woke up pretty early and got bus to Turnhout.  Helped Santi clean out his room and bring his stuff downstairs, had some breakfast, and then we drove to the airport.  We were there pretty early, so the baggage drop wasn't ready for his flight yet, so we had something to drink.  I just kept talking the entire time, because as I told Santi and his host mom, when I talk I don't have to think about how sad I am :P

Then it was time for the baggage drop, and a bit after that was done Marcela made it to the airport.  We got to chill for a little bit, but then Santi had to go through security.  Man, that was sad.  Marcela was crying, Santi was crying, I was about to start crying.  Not fun.  But he made it through, and then his host mom drove Marcela and I back to Turnhout.

I was pretty hungry by then, so I got a durum, but it was at an italian place so it wasn't that good.  Marcela and I just spent a while talking about the year and how weird it was.  Before, we thought it was so cool that we were the first and last ones here.  But now, with everyone gone, it's sad.  We know our year is ending, we know it's basically done, and now we can't hang out with a lot of our good friends and we have to pack alone and just have 2 weeks to think about how sad it is and don't have much to do to distract ourselves.

Anyway, got a bus home, and then decided to start packing to see if I could get everything in underweight and in the bags I had.  Got the first suitcase filled to a kilo under weight, and it's got a lot of my heavy junk in it (notebooks, books, binders, shoes, etc).  So I should be fine.  It's weird that I have to start this already.  Skyped a friend during it so I wouldn't get sad thinking about leaving.

Then, Wim came to pick me up for Rotary.  It was a pretty fun meeting - they made me do a little speech which I was kinda unprepared for, but it went okay.  We stayed kinda late, so I was pretty exhausted when I got home.  Talked with a few people quick, and then went to bed pretty fast.

I know I've been behind on entries lately (which is why they're so short - I can't really remember everything).  Haven't felt like writing because so many people are leaving, and it's weird to see how many days I've been here just getting bigger.  How did I get this close to 350 days?

Day 346

Woensdag, 18 Juli 2012

Actually got out of the house, so that was nice :P  Woke up, watched Wolverine, chilled out, and then went to Turnhout to hang out with Santi.  He had to finish packing, so just went to his house.  Marcela came over too, and we chilled in his room, helped with packing, talked, etc.  Pretty fun.  He needed another suitcase (a carry-on one), so the three of us went shopping and got him one.

Had dinner with Santi's parents, packed more, Marcela left, we chilled a bit more, and then I had to leave.  Can't believe that was our last day of hanging out.  Started to watch a movie with the family, but it was a horror and since I think those are silly I just went upstairs and watched the first X-Men movie instead :P

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 345

Dinsdag, 17 Juli 2012

Woke up pretty late again, which was nice.  Read quite a bit for the first time in a while, so that was nice.  Did a lot of chilling out again seeing as I'm super tired lately.  Watched the X-Men: First Class and Liar Liar, so it was a pretty fun night.

Day 344

Maandag, 16 Juli 2012

So, didn't really do much.  Woke up pretty late (whooo afternooon!), and then chilled out and watched movies or played some video games most of the day.  It was nice to relax and just chill.  Notable movie watch of the day was the 3rd X-Men movie.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day 343

Zondag, 15 Juli 2012

So, even after that much sleep, I managed to sleep through my alarms.  I was supposed to be up at around 7.45 to get the buses and trains to Kortrijk - ended up sleeping until like 10.30, and I only woke up when Heidi came to my room to see what was up.  Rushed through the morning, and then Bart and Heidi were nice enough to drive me to Dadizele for the drumline BBQ.

Basically just ate, talked with people, said goodbyes.  One of the girls was leaving for the US later that day to work on the foodtruck for Scouts (where her boyfriend is marching), but my friend is marching there too (actually is one of Stijn's good friend's from what I've heard), so I wrote her a note to send to him quick.  Got a ride back to the station with Marc, whose's an older fellow that has a huge interest in drumcorp and goes like every summer to help out one or corp another (or both - a lot of SCV and Bluecoats it seems).  But first we stopped at Floralux, which is a HUGE flower store around Dadizele, which reminds me of a giant crafts store (and oh god I can't remember the name of the store I was thinking of to compare it to).

Got home around 6, ate a bit, and then slept, read a bit, and then slept until morning.  I swear I have sympathetic jetlag or something, I don't know of any other reason why I'd be this tired.

Day 342

Zaterdag, 14 Juli 2012

So.  Jenna set her alarm for 5.45, because my alarm at 6.20 was too late for her.  Well, it went off at 5.45, and she did the usual, I'm going to fall back asleep for 5 minutes.  I guess that didn't work.  When my alarm went off, she still didn't move.  I started just like saying her name, like, JENNA GET UP, which didn't work at all.  Stood up, turned on the light, and then Jenna slowly sits up in bed, looks at the time, and just starts swearing.

Then we had to run around packing the last of her things (hair things she needed today, clothes from last night, etc), but luckily we managed to get everything done.  I stole a few things she was going to leave behind  (bottle opener, oreos, etc).  Oh yeah, she gave me a present last night (Avengers pins and chocolate), which was super sweet of her :)

Lars came, and we ate quick before setting off for the airport.  Got there, and it took a while for her host parents to figure out the parking :P  Let's just say it was an adventure and pretty stress filled for us in the back seat.  Finally got to the airport, got her stuff to baggage claim, had some hot choco, and then put her through security.  Thankfully it was the last one this year, I don't know if I could keep doing it.

Jenna's parents drove us to Antwerp which was awesome (didn't pay for the train at all!), got a bus home, and then just slept.  For quite a while.  Ate, watched some TV, back to sleep.  That's about it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 341

Vrijdag, 13 Juli 2012

20 days?

I slept in a bit, exercised, did some stuff around the house, and then started talking to Sofia online.  Turns out there was a mis-communication last time we talked, so I thought she was just getting to the airport when she was actually going through security.  Meant that I wouldn't really have time anymore to go see her off at the airport :(  She said it was fine, but I still felt bad, seeing as how I had to miss her goodbye party.

Then Santi texted me saying him and Marcela were having drinks with Bella in Turnhout for the last time, so I got the next bus I could for that.  Of course, it was a while away, so by the time I got on the bus Bella had already left.  Terrible timing for me the whole day.  Decided then to just go to Mol straight away.  Got to Jenna's house and talked with her host parents until she got back (she was shopping with a friend, getting some last minute things).  I then helped with packing some stuff that was left over, and going around the room to make sure we got everything.

Basically, the rest of the night after that was just us hanging out at the BBQ with her family and the neighbors.  At midnight we went upstairs, talked a bit, and then finally got to sleep.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Day 340

Donderdag, 12 Juli 2012

So, woke up at like 630 after very little sleep - turns out Sravya still hadn't packed her carry-on yet :P  So she was scrambling around to do that.  Didn't eat anything because I was too tired.  Since her 3rd family had to work, Sravya's second host dad came to pick us up to bring us to the airport.  Slept a bit in the car, which was much needed.

But the airport was really weird.  When she was in line, Jenna and Lars showed up, with a Monster for me because she's a sweetheart.  We were all chatting and we saw Sravya getting really upset with the lady at the baggage drop, which we thought was because her suitcases were over weight (she could have up to 25kgs per bag, and she had exactly 25kgs per bag).  But no, apparently her ticket was a standby ticket so she had to go through security RIGHT AWAY to claim her seat.  So that was really dumb.

We ended up saying our goodbyes and hugs in the line, and then poof!, she was gone.  Jenna and I knew there was another exchange student leaving, so we walked around until we found her, said to have a good trip, etc etc.  Then, hung out at the arrivals gate because that's what we do to cheer up.  This is where something funny happened.

See, there's a festival going on now (Dour, which I wanted to go to, but I decided it's more important to say my goodbyes than to watch a festival), and one of the bands playing is Against me! (the "!" is part of the name).  And they're a favorite band of Jenna.  And during our arrival gate time, we saw a group of people wheeling huge carts that had drum and other music cases with "Against Me!" written on them.  So Jenna starts freaking out, looking like a complete stalker (staring, walking slowly closer and then scurrying back to where I was, etc), and so I told her she should go up and just say like "Hi, I love you guys and I have your picture in my room", and then walk away, just because it'd complete the creeping she was doing.  She then informed me she does have pictures of them in her room, and I couldn't stop laughing - I actually had to walk away.

I finally just forced her to go talk to them because, as I said, she's leaving in a few days and it's not like they'll remember her if she's a creep.  So she did, and ended up getting their autographs, which was pretty cool.  She was freaking out for sooo long after.  Anyway, we got a train to Antwerp, she stayed with Lars and then I got the bus home, and then basically slept for like 5 hours.

Got up, had some food, and then watched a movie on TV with Senne.  After that, it was an acceptable time to go to bed, so I did just that~

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 339

Woensdag, 11 Juli 2012

Had to wake up (so hard - why did we only get 4 hours of sleep?), ate a bit, and then we drove to Brussels. Jenna met us there, and we checked Bernardo's bags, and then went to have a coffee with his host family upstairs.  Stayed there for a bit, and then the three of us kids went down to the departure level to find other exchange students.  And on the way down, who did we see?

EMI!  It was sooo funny - she was on the way to Mexico with her family because an exchange student who lived with them 15 years ago was getting married and wanted them there.  That's so cute, and I love how they stayed in touch :)  We talked for a bit, and then ran into the other exchange students and basically chilled with them until everyone left.  Bernardo was the last of them to leave, so we stayed until around 11.  I had been carrying his ukelele around for him, and I said I'd only give it back to him for the flight if he serenaded me.  So, he played a little song in the airport :)

Yeah, said goobyes, and then Jenna and I got our trains home.  I went to Antwerp, got the bus home, and dropped off my gifts from shopping + the clothes from Jenna + other things.  SO NICE!  Got a shower, a short nap, and then I was off to Sravyas.  I ended up taking a really, REALLY roundabout way to her house because of how I had set up the day (long story), which ending up having a lot of mess ups and so I got to her house around 830.  The tl;dr is bus to leuven was 30 minutes late, my train was delayed but it was okay, none of the toilets worked so I played DS to distract myself, missed my stop, had to get a bus to Bokrijk (still no bathroom time), bus didn't go to the station so I had to walk, and then a 10 minute walk to Sravya's. Yeah.

Anyway, at Sravya's we talked for a bit with her school friend (she was spending the night too), and then we went down for dinner with her host family.  Her host mom's mom and brother were there too, so that was fun.  I talked about computers and such with him, and then I had to show them a drumline video because they were trying to understand why I came to Belgium :P  Then watched two movies with Sravya and her friend because she didn't want to sleep.

Around 4am we finally got to sleep (we meaning me and her friend) while she finished writing notes and packing and such.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 338

Dinsdag, 10 Juli 2012

Really fun day.  Woke up and made MAC AND CHEESE for breakfast because Jenna had some boxes left.  Then I got to steal some clothes she wasn't taking home, and a nice bag (mine is all ripped) and some baking soda, so that was awesome.  Then we got on the train and went to Antwerp.  Of course only Bernardo was there right away - Sofi, Sofia, Flavia and Marcela weren't coming, and Sravya and Santi were coming late :P

So the three of us went shopping and checked out the gift shops around the cathedral.  I started with my gift buying, and of course I bought a gift for a friend that doesn't have anything Belgian on it and I probably could have gotten it back in the states, but it was perfect so they'll have to live with it :P  Sravya met us at the icecream place, where they all had their last icecream.  We signed each other's books, and then left around 130 to do some more shopping and such.  A bit later Bernardo and I went and met Santi at a pub (after a long time of figuring out where he was and then finding a cheaper place to drink), and Jenna and Sravya met us after they did some more shopping.  Had a drink, then Bernardo and Sravya had to leave.

I thought I still had this thing for 5 free tickets at the movies, so Jenna, Santi and I went there.  Turns out it expired like over a month ago, even though it was supposed to work for like 90 days after my first use (and I never used it - and I think I got it less than 90 days ago...).  But since we were there, we decided to just watch the movie anyway.  It was the new Spiderman - it's a remake of the first movie, and it actually changed quite a bit.  I liked it.

Santi went home after that, so Jenna and I went out for dinner at Pizza Hut because it was right next to the station.  And they have free refills!!!  It was super amazing.  Split up at the train station, and then I got a train to Bernardo's city.  Went to his place, ended up talking about music and showing each other funny videos most of the night instead of finishing his packing :P

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 337

Maandag, 9 Juli 2012

So, first of many days away from home.

I got to wake up late, which was wonderful.  Spent a few hours after cleaning up my room, packing for the week, and just relaxing.  Got a bus to Turnhout around 4, bought some phone credit (last time!), and bought Jenna's going away present.  Which was an American flag scarf - she absolutely hates it when people wear them, or when people mistake her for an American, so it was only appropriate :P

Walked around for a while, got some food, and then got the bus to Mol.  I was just going to hang out in the station, but there was this creepy drunk guy there (he wasn't dissuaded by me speaking Spanish - which means saying the few phrases I know and hoping he doesn't speak Spanish - and pretending to not understand English or Dutch) so I left and went to a pub to hang out.  Jenna's friend was going to meet me there, but he didn't show, so I just chilled by myself until she came (she was in Brugge).

Hung out there for a bit, gave her the gift (she was pissed but said she loves me so it's okay :P), and then went to meet her friend at a pool bar in a different part of town.  Hung out there for a while - I just watched because I know I suck at pool - and then walked back to her house.

Then, the packing began.  Not counting all of the clothes that are getting washed right now, I managed to fit all the rest of the clothes + chocolates + gifts + books + shoes + makeup and bathroom stuff in her 2 suitcases and a backpack, and she fit all the papers and other things in her laptop bag/carry-on.  There's still about a collective 8 kilos she can still fit in the two suitcases, so she'll be more than fine for the weight limit (I hope - I don't know how much she has in the wash).  I'm such a master packer~

Anyway, probably going to eat or just chill out a bit more, and then go to sleep.  Slaapwel everyone!

And to whoever asked what a Bicky is (I assume you're an American), it's a fantastic burger.  It's got a lot of different toppings that made me hate it the first time, but now I absolutely love it.  It's hard to explain - it's not really hamburger meat, and I don't even know what's in some of the sauces.  But it's delicious and I eat it entirely too much.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Day 336

Zondag, 8 Juli 2012

Long, long day.

Had to get up early, eat, and then Bart had to drive me to Herentals because buses don't go that early on Sunday (around 7.45).  Got my set of trains, ended up in Kortrijk.  Only, there was a mix up and I hadn't gotten a ride from the station to Dadizele yet.  So, while on the train, I ended up texting everyone from drumline that I had the phone numbers of - only one person answered to say he was in Antwerp.

So I ended up waiting at the station for like 30 minutes until David called and said he just read my text and he'd be there in a few minutes.  By the time we got to Dadizele the bus was basically loaded so we just got on and headed for Saint-Martin Boulogne for the parade and show.  Basically slept on the bus drive there, so that was nice.

Got there, changed into our uniforms, and then started the most boring parade of my life.  It was seriously like a ghost town - we didn't really see many people.  The only time we did, it was a bunch of older (and I mean OLDER) people, and they stole one of our snare players and gave every person his drumstick (one after another) so they could play on his drum.  He looked SOO confused, it was great.  But yeah, pretty boring.

Then, had to go in the gym, play one of the street tunes, go outside, change, wait, wait, wait, then play Sirocco (for the last time, THANK GOODNESS), go outside, load the truck, wait, wait, and then go back into the gym for a little awards ceremony.  Bertje took the award for us, and when they gave it to him he held it up in the air, really triumphantly.  Pretty great.  Then we had to play one more street tune and go change/load the bus.

I finished changing and went outside to ask David when we were leaving, when suddenly like EVERYONE was outside and around David.  And he started to do announcements (or what I thought were announcements), but in English, so my first thought was "why is he speaking in English?"

Then, he gave me this nice little wrapped present, and said it was from all of Drumspirit to me, and that they hoped that I enjoyed my year with them, yadda yadda yadda.  Opened it, and it was a photo book of me, with photos from C*fest, the theatershow, rehearsals, and the super bowl.  It was sooo sweet of them.  Really great book.  I had to page through it with everyone looking at it, so that was nice.

Then, got on the bus, talked with some people, showed some people the book (they kept coming to ask if they could see it), played some DS, and slept.  We made it back around 830, so David was able to drive Thomas and I to the station to get the last train (which I didn't think was going to happen).  Thomas and I went out for a bicky (he just got back from the US on Friday, and he leaves again on Thursday - bit of a story to that), and then hung out until our train time.

Well, our phones said like 9.43 so we decided to go back to the station (less than a minute away) so we could get to our trains in time (9.48 and 9.50).  Well we get to the waiting room in the station, and the clock there says it was 9.47.  So we just look at each other and book it to our platforms, saying our goodbyes while running.  I feel like I'm going to have a lot of goodbyes like that :P  We ended up getting our trains, so that was good.  Heidi and Senne picked me up in Herentals, showed them the book, and then went to sleep.

Warning:  I'm basically not home until Saturday if everything pans out well.  So, unless I can acquire a computer at someones house, I won't be updating until Saturday or so.  Just letting you know, no updates doesn't mean that I'm dead.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day 335

Zaterdag, 7 Juli 2012

Pretty calm day.  Slept in, chilled out, and then went to Turnhout.  Met up with Bernardo at the station, and then we walked to Santi's house for his going away party.  Only, he wasn't answering his door or his phone, so after ringing the bell for a while we went to get icecream, and then came back and tried again.  This time, he answered his phone, and told us it was at the bar next to his house :P

So yeah, just chilled out there for a couple of hours.  Played a lot with the puppy (so cute~), chilled out, talked with his host siblings.  Pretty fun day.  Went home, and as soon as I was home the bbq was juuuust finished so I got to eat that too.  Had to figure out drumline - I have one more show/rehearsal, but of course it's far away and means I probably won't get home tomorrow night.  Ugh.  And then I'm spending all week away from home, so it's going to be a looong week.

Anyway, that's about it.  Did some reading after that because I was really comfortable in my bed, and then fell asleep.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Day 334

Vrijdag, 6 Juli 2012

Sad day :(

Woke up at 7 (uuugh), and then met up with Jenna in Herentals before going to the airport.  Apparently Allen and Sam had been there for over an hour by the time we got there (the cab was haulin), but we hung out a bit before checking his bags.  Then, met some other rotary students (weird how that happens) who were leaving, talked, and said our goodbyes.  I would put the pictures up, but I don't wanna see them because it's so sad, so I haven't even put them on my computer yet.

Allen is the first student I've been close to that's left.  I mean, Daniela and I were friends, but we never hung out outside for normal events.  Allen and I were bros.  We hung out a bit at the airport after waiting for our train - we actually hung out at the arrivals gate.  It was so sweet (nice meaning, not legit meaning) to see people meeting up with their loved ones - a lot better than seeing everyone waving goodbye at the floor above.

Grabbed some food in Antwerp with Jenna, and then bused home.  Slept until dinner, and then discussed my plans for next week with Heidi.  Doesn't look like I'll be home much :P  Went upstairs, and worked a bit on my rotary speech for at home.  Checked through my blog to remind myself what I did each month, considering I want to set up my speech in segments of a month.  I love how I just get more and more vague about how late I leave the fanfare as time goes on.

So yeah, that's about it.  Got a bit this weekend, and then from like Monday until Saturday I won't be at home, meaning this won't be updated.  Which means I'll probably be really vague about those entries, which sucks.  Looking back, my favorite entries are ones with little specific events I wouldn't have remembered without writing them down.  I need to remember to do that from now on.  TIME FOR LONGER ENTRIES.


Day 333

Donderdag, 5 Juli 2012

So, not counting all the times I got up to put water in my eyes to help my contacts out, I got up around 10.  Sam and I ate with Allen's family, and then chilled with him when he finally came down.  We then watched a movie (Hanna) because we were all tired and wanted to chill before going to town.  So then around 1, we got the bus and left for Genk.  And of course, Sam picked the wrong bus again (wrong direction), so we had to get off a few stops later when we noticed, and then wait for a new one :P

Got to town, and then had to do errands.  Turned in Allen's ID card, walked around, got some food, shut down his bank account, shopped a bit, and then went to buy chocolate.  He got like 4kgs of chocolate, and we thought up some good ideas for which to buy, so now I know what to do when I get home.


I was then told about an American clothes store in the mall that sells MOUNTAIN DEW.  Sam said he told me before, but I think he's a liar because if had had told me before, I would have already went there.  So I went, got a few cans (cheaper than the store in Antwerp), and some Reese's.  AWESOME.  I was gonna go home then, but then we started talking about getting Allen to the airport the next day.  You see, his family couldn't take him.  So, we were like, you could either do a cab or the train.  But cabs are super expensive, so the train would be best.  THEN we realized it'd be difficult for him to get all that luggage on the train by himself (2 suitcases + carryon + backpack + blazer), so I said I could meet him at where the train transfers.  But then we just thought he could spend the night at my house since it's closer to Brussel, and then I could pay for his train ticket with my GoPass because it'd be cheaper than him having to buy a ticket.

So, I called and made sure it was okay, and then we decided to get going.  Stopped at Sams for a minute for him to shower and change clothes, and then ended up missing the bus by like a minute.  So we're sitting at the station freaking out because we'd only have a few minutes to grab his luggage and then get the bus back to the station so we could still get a bus in Herentals.  Decided we could just get a taxi from Herentals and thus take a later train, so freaking out was minimized but still there.  We got off at his bus stop and saw his mom biking home, and we started freaking out like "WE NEED TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT TOMORROW, WE HAVE TO HURRY HOME" and she was confused, so we started talking about it on the walk back.  It went something like this:

Allen's mom: What's wrong?
Us: We need to hurry and get Allen's stuff ready, there's so much to do!
Her: Wait, why?
Us: Well, we were talking about Allen getting to the airport tomorrow and-
Her: Oh yeah, the cab is already set up, it'll be picking him up at the house at 7 tomorrow.

Allen's face just froze, and then Sam and I just started laughing.  Allen kept apologizing to us, and we kept saying it was no big deal, that makes things a lot easier.  I then had to look up train times at his house, and his mom offered to drive me to the station.  So, I had dinner over there - it was his host sister's birthday, so we had a nice dinner with the family and his sister's friend.  Had to say goodbyes after, but I promised to still come and see him at the airport before he left (no one should see themselves off).


So yeah, got home super super tired, and went to bed pretty much immediately.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Day 332

Woensdag, 4 Juli 2012


So, seeing as it was the 4th of July, I planned on going to Allen's, since he's the only other American in the Dutch part.  Slept through my alarms, so I ended up hurrying to get to his place and only grabbing the bare essentials (this is important).  Managed to get some good trains and buses and ended up in Genk around when I needed to be there even though I left an hour late :P

Met Sam at the bus station, and then we took the bus to Allen's.  Or, Sam said it was the bus, but it turns out it was the wrong direction so we had to get off, wait, and then get on one going the right way.  Allen met us at the stop, and then we stopped to get a pita and went back to his house.  His last pita in Belgium :(

Watched some funny videos online (that's what happens when geeks hang out), and then Sam and Allen went swimming when I tanned.  Played a lot of stupid games, had some drinks - just hung out overall.  It started to get cold (to them, I was warm), so they changed back into real clothes and we went to get some spray paint for Allen to make a big sign for his host sister's birthday.  When he painted, I covertly got him a game on Steam as a going away present, with Sam's help.  Pretty awesome he didn't notice.

He's so legit at tagging - notice my name on the left :)

Then we biked to his first family's house (aka, Ben's house) for him to say goodbye.  It was really sad to see - I can't believe it'll be me doing that soon.  Biked back to his house, and then we had to go straight to his last Rotary meeting.  He had his blazer, but since I wasn't expecting it I didn't have mine, so I repped my club by showing up late (we were running behind), sweaty (biking + humidity), and wearing kinda grungy clothes (again, wasn't expecting to go to a meeting).  We had fries, so that was pretty fun.  Allen had to give a little speech, and gave me some great ideas for mine.

Stayed after for a bit, and then biked back to his house.  We had basically agreed earlier that I would spend the night since there were no more trains, but I didn't have my contact solution or clothes, so that sucked.  I then proceeded to fold all of his clothes (I amazed both the guys with how good I am at that), and packed one of his suitcases - totally kept up to my promise that I could get all the clothes in 1 and a half.  Allen then noticed that I bought him the game, and he turned unresponsive for a few minutes.  Like, he wouldn't answer when we asked him things, and kept starting sentences and then stopping.  It was pretty hilarious :)  Let Allen pack all of the none clothes things because you can break those, so went to take a shower and changed into a pair of sweats I decided not to pack in his stuff :P

Watched some stuff online with Sam when Allen finished, and then around 2am or so we went downstairs to eat some noodles.  Had those, and then tried to get my contacts to stop drying out.  It completely didn't work, and I think it was worse for my eye than doing what I was doing before (aka, using a LOT of eyedrops).  Started to watch a movie in the living room after that.  Allen fell asleep, so when he woke up he just went back upstairs.  I was exhausted and had seen the movie, so I fell asleep then (I woke up every like 2 hours because my contacts hurt, but that's another story).

Day 331

Dinsdag, 3 Juli 2012

Woke up pretty late again, chilled out, watched some stuff, etc.  Normal stuff.  Then, got ready and left for Kermis Rock around 630.  That was loads of fun.  Had some drinks, watched some live music, and talked with a bunch of people.  Basically everyone from the fanfare was there so no matter where I looked I saw people I knew :)  It was a great feeling.

Heidi came a bit later, so I went and hung out with her and people she knew for a while.  Then I introduced her to a few people in the fanfare that she didn't know yet, and we left around 11 or so since I started feeling a bit sick.  Watched a bit of a movie with Bart when we got home, but went to bed pretty quick after.  Great day.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Day 330

Maandag, 2 Juli 2012

Didn't do terribly much.  Slept in until like 12, and then watched "Sleepy Hollow" and "The King's Speech" with Femke.  Ate afterwards, and then we found out that Senne's DS charger WORKS WITH MY DS!!  I guess the one my school friend gave me just wasn't working.  So now the DS's are charged!  And I can charge them both for the flight!  EEEEE!!!!

So yeah, played DS.  That was basically the rest of my night.

Day 329

Zondag, 1 Juli 2012

It's not July already, right?

So, Lille Kermis!!

Got up early (not my strong suit in the summer), and made it to the fanfare in the whole outfit - thank goodness it wasn't hot out.  I also didn't think and wore my normal fanfare black shoes, which are wedges, but we were marching so that was a bit of a pain :P  But whatever, it was fun and really made me miss summer marching.

Us marching

Afterwards we took group and section pictures - they got a picture of me with every section, which was so sweet, along with a photo of me with the Wims, and one with Wim and Werry, who I always stay late with.  It was super fun.

The fanfare

Then had to change quick, and when to Heidi's mom's house for the traditional Kermis activities.  We hung out with the extended family, and then we all went off to the Kermis.  Walked around, saw all the things to do, had a drink, and then went on a few rides.  Well, the 9 and 13 year old did, and I was the one responsible for them.  The little girl kept clinging to me and talking to me the whole day - it was cute, but I was pretty happy when we went back from the Kermis and we split up a bit.

Me with the kids

Had dinner at the grandma's house, and then I left to go to the Kermis by myself.  Did a shooting game (people were ragging on me, saying that I should be good at shooting because I'm an American :P), and then met a girl from a few towns over.  I had met her at Bart's military thing, so it was fun to get together for a drink and just hang out.  She left, and I did the shooting game more, and won myself a little stuffed toy (his name is now Crinkles because his ears have this annoying crinkling sound when they move).

Went back home, and went to watch a movie in my room but I just ended up falling asleep.  Oops :P

Monday, July 2, 2012

Day 328

Zaterdag, 30 Juni 2012

Well.  I'm bad at updating this.

Basically chilled out at home until around 3, when the Boeckx family came to pick me up for the fanfare concert.  The last one.  :(  It was just a small thing a few towns over.  Played our pieces (pretty decently for no one warming up...), stayed for a few drinks, and then went back home.  Funny story - after my first drink I switched to cola, and when I ordered it someone just turns to me and in the most confused voice ever just asks "why?  You're not driving".  :P

Was going to go out with a few of the people after, but decided to go home to relax and such (and it's a good thing too - they told me that they stayed until midnight, and it was around 6pm when they got there..).  But yeah, just chilled out at home.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 327

Vrijdag, 29 Juni 2012

Nothing too much to say.  Got up, did some homework, played some video games, did some more homework, and then we left for Heidi's graduation ceremony.  It was quite different than in the states - each person wasn't called up to get their diploma, it was just speeches and a group of teachers singing (LIKE FOUR TIMES).  Made me think back to my graduations.

Stuck around for a bit after for a reception, went to a "5-star restaurant" on the way home (Miccy D's), and then I did my test.  DONE with econ!  Talked with Collin and a few of his friends online, and then played a few video games.

Oh, and back home it' the rodeo right now - this is the first time since it started that I've missed it.  It's a weird feeling.  There's a new event this year that seems really fun, so I'm hoping my family remembers to get some videos of it.  I can't wait to be back up north and to visit all of those guys again.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 326

Donderdag, 28 Juni 2012

Woke up before noon, which was weird considering I got to bed fairly late.  Did some notes before it got too hot, and then went downstairs and watched some movies and TV.  Back upstairs, more notes, and then down to watch movies again.  Finally just brought my computer downstairs because my room was too warm, but since I couldn't concentrate on notes during Transformers, I ended up half watching and half playing some Final Fantasy on the comp.  Did some more notes, and then went to bed.  Only one day left of econ!

Day 325

Woensdag, 27 Juni 2012

Went to the Dutch school for the last time.  Got my diploma, talked with some classmates, and got my teachers to sign my book.  It was weird leaving, because it was my first real goodbyes for this year.  I mean, I know I'll never see Suvad or Maria or some of those classmates again, and it's not likely I'll see Greet or Dorieen or Bie either (though they said to visit the school if I ever come back).  It reminded me of my first goodbyes last year, when I went up north for the last time and said goodbye to the Wojo's and Booky and all them.  Can't believe I'll be up there in less than two months.

Went home, slept until dinner (yayy being tired), and then did econ most of the rest of the night.  Some friends were online, so I joined in this massive skype call to try to stay awake (I wanted to finish my notes), only to get distracted by some LP's.  Oh well.  Haven't done that in a while, it was fun.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 324

Dinsdag, 26 Juni 2012

Slept in, which was awesome.  Basically spent all day reading econ, napping, or reading.  Very lazy day.  Went to the fanfare, and as per usual, had a great time.  Lots of laughing, lots of fun times.  Got home pretty late, went to bed.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 323

Maandag, 25 Juni 2012

Full day of Rotary.

Got the train from Herentals, and then found Santi on it because I had to pay for his train ticket (he didn't have a GoPass).  Chatted for a while, split the food I brought (he hadn't had breakfast and I hadn't had much), so that was nice.  Ended up getting to Brussels a bit late seeing as how the train just decided to stop in Central and not move.  Met up with everyone in the South station (sans Marcela and Jenna, both of whom didn't come on time), and took the metro to Mini-Europa.

Considering the Belgian students don't get the EuroTour option most other European exchange students have, it was great to see all the monuments of the different countries.  I got a bunch of pictures of Mr. Smiley around, usually making Santi or Allen put him on the model so I wouldn't be the one that got yelled at if we got caught :P

Jenna got to where we were right when we were leaving, so she just had a drink outside while we rounded up the rest of the students and took the metro to Central.  Went to the Grand Market, and as Santi said Marcela was there, we all started wooping until she found us :)  Jose and Heidi (not host mom Heidi, Rotary Heidi) paid for a last get together drink at what I think was one of Brussels oldest pubs.  Really cool place.  A lot of us got out flags or notebooks we're having everyone sign - I for one am not going to read anything from my book until I'm on the plane home, so I'll be bawling like a baby.

Stayed for a while, and then left with Jenna to go home.  We stopped off in Antwerpen-Berchem for pita (only 4 euro and it's fantastic!), and then I got the train to Central to get a bus there.  Well.  I was waiting, and the electronic sign SAID the bus was coming, and then the bus disappeared from the sign, and it was the last scheduled bus of the day, so obviously I was pissed.  Got a train to Herentals, and then had to get a bus from there.

And you know what?  When I got to Lille, what bus do I see go by?  That's right, the bus I had waited for.  Only it was suuuuper late.  Stupid buses.  Got home, watched some TV, skyped with mama, did some emailing, and then went to bed.

Day 322

Zondag, 24 Juni 2012

Aaand another long day.

Woke up pretty early, because I had no idea when we had to leave for Rotary.  Left around 10, got there, and then finally figured out what was going on :P  It was the last day for the newies in the district (1630D), so they got the whole "the 5 D's are really important, we're serious here" speech, even though they served wine afterwards.  Then Bernardo played some songs on his ukulele, and then Marc gave out the awards for "Outstanding Student" for us oldies.  See, notice I say awards.  We all thought it was just one, so we know of course it would be Bernardo.  But nope, there were two, one male and one female.  And who was the female?

Me.  I was super surprised.  Like, really confused.  And then Marc went on giving this spiel about why the chose me, but it was SO BAD.  He kept messing up things.  Like first he said something about me loving animals, and then asked what I did about that.  I said "went over to your house", because I thought he was talking about the puppies.  Nope.  So that was weird.  He meant me skyping Reggie at the beginning of the year :P  And then he was saying I played cymbals in the fanfare, and that I went to Norway with the drumline and I played trumpet there (I don't know how he got trumpet from drumline, don't ask), and then saying that I was studying math online with this one website (which wasn't a website - I swear he just said a made up word).  It got funnier each time he messed up - everyone in the audience was cracking up.  Santi even corrected him once, and I just started laughing so hard then.

See:  me laughing and Marc looking at Santi like, "really?"

Afterwards, we learned where the other kids were going - one is coming to Brainerd!  And one is going to Marcela's city in Brasil!  When the kid said he was going to Minnesota, I did this really obnoxious fist pump and was like "YES".  Pretty sure they wanted to take back my award after that.  :P  But yeah, after all the Rotary things, just stood around talking and having a drink with everyone.

Then, left with Heidi and Bart (who were at the Rotary thing with me) to the Belgian Cycling Championship in Geel.  That was pretty cool.  We had VIP tickets, so we got to go inside this huge tent and eat and drink for free.  Unfortunately, we didn't know about the eating for free, so we had left to get some fries and brats at a stand a ways away.  It was a pretty cool thing though - I've never seen cycling before.


Oh, and this one guy kept hitting on me, and then asked me out while I'm sitting between Heidi and Bart, and he knew they were my host parents.  He was so far gone.  It was pretty funny though - after he got turned down him and his friends left.  Afterwards, only his friends came back :P  I almost got a picture of the guy who won, but of course people had to fist pump RIGHT WHEN I TOOK THE PICTURE, so you can't see the guy :/

Remove the arm on the left and you'll see the winner

After that, we walked back to the stop where the bus would come pick us up, and it never came.  So we waited.  And waited.  And then it started raining.  And then Bart and I just decided to walk to the car, and we came and picked up Heidi.  Went home, figured out times for Monday (Rotary!), redid my Econ test.  Got a better score this time, thank goodness.  Then, went to bed.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Day 321

Zaterdag, 23 Juni 2012

A lot shorter day than before.  Slept in (you have no idea how nice it is to have my Saturday's back after like the whole year of drumline), and then spent basically the entire day locked in my room studying econ.  And then doing my econ homework.  And then doing my test.  I skyped with my brother during it, so that kept me mostly sane, but I will now think twice about thinking I can do three chapters (and they're BIG CHAPTERS) of work in two days.  Especially if I want to understand it.  Test was a lot of "oh, that wasn't good".  Thankfully we get two shots, so hopefully the next will be better.

Day 320

Vrijdag, 22 Juni 2012

Whew, long day.  Had to go to the Dutch school, got to look at my points for my exam and ask questions.  Then left really quick, met Senne and Heidi at the train station, and then we went to Gent.  Studied a bit on the train.  Went to Bart's work, which is a military school thing.  Changed into our nice clothes, and then went down to the bar to hang out.

Then, after a while, we went outside for a military parade.  They were, from what I understand, "closing down" the military part of the school, so there was a huge ceremony of handing over the key and such.  It took forever to start because the Minister of Defense was coming, but he was late.  The band had to keep playing, but the instruments and feet angles were all wrong and people had flipfolders and it was all so distracting I didn't pay attention to the music that much.  And they had a marching bassoon - got a picture.

So, the parade thing happened, and Bart was the one basically in charge, which was super cool to see.  There was a whole ceremony and exchanging the key and whatnot.

Bart being awesome

Afterwards, we all went into this big room to have drinks, talk, and have snack foods while someone else made a speech and we waited for it to be dinnertime.  While there,  I got to talk with the Minister of Defense, which was SUPER COOL.  He looks like a skinny Bill Clinton :P  He was a super nice guy.

I should go into politics - I have the same stance as him

Then it was time to, but it was called a walking dinner, which means there were no chairs.  Like, at all.  After the first two dishes my knee was killing me, so I took my main course and sat on the stairs eating it because I didn't want to stand anymore.  After doing that, I realized how much nicer it was out there (the room was HOT), so I stayed out on the steps and read some of my econ book because I still had notes to do (NERD ALERT) until it was time to go back to the hall.

There, had some more drinks, and kept trying to get a chair (they were limited there too) because I didn't want to dance or stand.  Ended up talking to this really cool chick, and she lives in Herentals, so we're going to try to meet up before I leave :)  Around 12am or 1am or so (I can't remember), Heidi, Senne and I left the party and drove home, and then immediately went to sleep.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day 319

Donderdag, 21 Juni 2012

6 weeks.

Woke up at like 7 after very little sleep - do you know how hard it is for two people to share a one person pillow? - and sat there talking with Jenna until around 8.  We ate, got ready for the day, watched some stuff online, and then I dropped her off at the bus stop.  Back home, took a nap, had lunch, napped and read a bit, and then started my econ.  I was still really really tired, so a combination of energy drinks and guilt finally got me to study for this week.  Also talked with a few friends, so that was nice.  Got about a chapter and a half of notes done, so still about a chapter and a half left.  And the homework assignments.  And the test.

Sooo, Saturday is gonna be another big study day.  This is an example of a) why I shouldn't let myself procrastinate like this - when I studied a few hours a day it was SO much nicer, and b) why I took a summer class.  If I jumped right into my Fall Semester (yay 16 credits) this upcoming August, I would die.  Besides Dutch school, which really doesn't count, I haven't had to worry about school.  So, I haven't had to worry since May 2011.  Getting used to studying and learning and school again will definitely give me an edge up on other exchange students come school starting up again.

Anyway, I was gonna study more but after I ended up just staring blankly at the screen for 10 minutes straight, I think sleep and trying to do it on the train tomorrow is the better bet.  So, slaapwel, and don't expect an update tomorrow - gonna be in Gent till Saturday.

What my view was for quite a few hours today

Day 318

Woensdag, 20 Juni 2012

Got up somehow, and went to school for my English final.  I, of course, didn't study at all, and I even managed to get the right answer when the teacher asked me about a book I hadn't read (yay context clues!) Then instead of asking me the other exam questions (to see if I knew past tense and such), we just talked for a bit about the difference in the education system, what I think about gap years, etc etc.  I don't like thinking about that - that means that I'm looking back on my year, which means that the year is almost done.

I mean, yes, I do want to be home again, see my animals, be up north and finally in the country again, meet up with friends and eat all of the things I miss, I'm still going to miss it here.  There are things I don't like, that's for sure, but there are things I like.  I think I'll have to work for a job with bases in Belgium and the US so I can juggle between the two places.

Anyway, after my test I had over an hour until my bus, so I went out with Bella, Marcela and Santi.  Just hung out, talked about our remaining plans, the usual.  Got home, ate, napped a bit, packed food, and then went to Antwerp.  Met Jenna there for a little date.  We walked around, had a picnic by the water, and just talked about how it's the end of the year already.

Got back to Lille, I showed her around a little bit.  Dropped her stuff off, went to a little cafe for a drink, back to the house.  Just chilled out, watched funny videos online, did my econ homework, watched a movie, talked, etc, until around 4am.  By then the tired hit us and we just kinda fell asleep.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day 317

Dinsdag, 19 Juni 2012

Got up, had to go to the school for my Dutch speaking exam.  Felt super sick, so I got off the bus early and walked around.  Got a bit more to eat, drank my last Mountain Dew, and then promptly took a nap at the castle.  Went to the Dutch school, did the exam, studied some econ when I waited for Santi to do his.  Then he went to Rotary, and I went to the castle to study and lay down.  Jenna came around 1, and then we got a bit to eat, and went to Santi's house.  They got a new puppy - it is ADORABLE.  We played with it for like 2 hours :)

He's so small!!

The older dog


Left Santi's, had a drink, and then we both went home.  Had some food, put the dog pictures on facebook, and then napped/studied econ until the fanfare.  It was my first time going for three weeks (as I was sick), so of course I stayed late.  Only two rehearsals left :(  Well, slaapwel!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Day 316

Maandag, 18 Juni 2012

Dutch exam today!  Listening/writing/reading.  I think it went pretty well, except for the thing I forgot would be test was there (of course, after I studied everything else on the bus), and the thing the teacher said would FOR SURE be on the exam wasn't.  Went out to a pub afterwards, and then Bella and Marcela came later.  It was nice just sitting out by myself in the sun with a drink people watching.

 Got a bus home, watched an episode of the Daily Show when eating lunch, and then went to sleep until dinner.  Went to download some podcasts to exercise to (how else am I going to get my baseball news here - I just noticed there are so many places [Trout, Harper, etc] that everyone is talking about that I have no clue about, so I need to change that).  Did some exercise, did a little econ, watched some TV.  Speaking exam tomorrow, and then I'm done with Dutch class!  YAY!  Slaapwel!

edit:  Oh, I totally forgot to say, funny thing happened with the exam.  For the listening exam, we had to listen, understand, and answer the question below.  Usual stuff.  However, one of the started with like the potato crop somewhere froze so the supply was down, and as soon as that was said I switched to economics mode.  I made a little supply/demand curve to figure out whatever needed to be answered, and then I realized it was a Dutch test.  And that the economics side of the question had nothing to do with the answer.  Thankfully the dialogue was repeated twice, because otherwise I would have missed the actual answer :P

Day 315

Zondag, 17 Juni 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Got up, chilled for a bit, got ready, watched some TV.  Then, went walking with a girl who's going to be going to the U next year as a teaching assistant for the Dutch classes!  Did a short walk around her area, saw a castle (nbd), just talked about Belgium and Minnesota.  T'was nice.

Home, read a bit, and then got PITA!  YAY!  Unfortunately, after a week of being sick my stomach couldn't take that much food, so I had to quit before I finished.  I'm so not ready to eat Khan's or Chipotle right now.  Went on the crosstrainer a bit, watched some WKUK, chilled out more, watched some TV with the family, went to bed.  Good day all in all.