hello! today started out VERY early..5:30 am, so 10:30pm at home!! woke up, showered, and got ready to head to Brussels for a Rotary Youth Exchange "welcome day". the chair-woman of our district picked me up at 6:30 and we drove over an hour to Genk where we met other exchange students and caught a TRAIN(!!) to Brussels. the train was so cool, felt like harry potter or something. you can pretty much get anywhere in this country by train and/or bus, its neat. once we arrived we met the other 250+/- exchange students from all over..all of which will be in belgium for the year! actually, a lot of them have been here since july due to the backwards school year/seasons in the southern hemisphere. first we toured the royal palace, which was very pretty and was basically a european version of the white house..but it wasn't so great because there was no tour guide, and nobody explained anything to us..just kind of plowed us around like cattle, just kidding. then we went to some random old building where each student gave their rotary chairman a banner from their home club, it took a long time! then we split up into countries and went to eat lunch. there are so many students from the US here in Belgium on exchange, its incredible. almost 100, maybe. the other majorities would be from most of the south american countries: brazil, argentina, mexico, etc. weird fact though, there are only 14 Rotary exchange students in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium, what the heck!!!
almost everyone we met was on the french side, it is crazy! makes us more of a tight-knit group of students though, which is fine. anyways, after lunch we toured the Parliament and the Senate building..it was very beautiful and historic but the tour guide spoke great french, haha! his heavy accent made it nearly impossible to understand his attempts at english.
then it was finally time to catch the train and come back, so here i am, writing to you! i think my favorite part of today was at the train station..seeing BEER, in a ...VENDING MACHINE! this country is crazy. i enjoy it! (the country, not the beer) goodnight!