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

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