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|
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!