Tuesday, November 30, 2010


day 105 and the internet is working so far! hope i didn't frighten anyone with no blog post yesterday, but i made it this afternoon in school so it's all good! so today i took the bus to school and i think it was a lot easier than biking. at first when i woke up i thought, oh no i am just lazy by wanting to take the bus but then i opened the curtains and this is what i saw..
no, i am not lazy by taking the bus! i think it would have been too complicated to bike, considering the seat is all the way lowered and my feet still don't touch the ground! my host family says it is not normal for there to be this much snow so early in belgium..lucky me eh? but a noteably funny part was when i asked if it was difficult to shovel the snow on the cobblestone..because sometimes in brookings i can barely shovel into a crack of the driveway, you know? then laughed then replied "we dont even have a shovel" because they just brush the snow away with a broom! how funny is that? i guess we won't be having a snow day any time soon! language class keeps getting more and more boring. lately i switched positions in the class, went from the girl in the front who took too many notes to now the girl in the back that doesnt bring her notebook and just talks to the british guy. but don't worry i'm still learning, especially since my real school is always in dutch. i think i just need to cruise through level two and pass the tests and hope that the next teacher is better! so i went to school and spent about an hour in the library then decided i didn't want to spend two more hours in school doing nothing so i took the bus home. seriously i think i am going to talk to the school after christmas, tuesdays are the worst for me..they consist of absolutely nothing!! but when i came home there was a package, from america..yahoo! you must be thinking, wow she gets a lot of boxes but this one was socks, a scarf, a jacket, a hat, and a few other things. look how many socks i have now, warm eh?
oh and the hat and the scarf too..i'm ready for the winter! bring it on, belgium.
so then i took a nap for a couple hours, ate some more leftovers for dinner (they're actually almost better than the first time..or the second!), watched some ultimate survival on tv, and now i am going to bed. i will leave you with a pretty picture i stole from my host mom katrien's facebook page (hope you dont mind!)..this is the Kerkstraat today..winter wonderland! at this moment i think i actually love the snow...goodnight!


hello! yesterday was day 104, but due to some technical difficulties with the wi-fi at the house i could not blog...sad right? so now i am at school in the library on the computer and i really hope the internet works when i am home or i will be really bored haha. yesterday was a pretty normal monday by my belgian standards. i had a test in dutch class and it is a lot different with the new teacher than the old one. our old teacher made us be quiet and clear our desks, while this teacher let us talk, keep our books open, and i even texted someone a question..hahah. i was confused with the test because in dutch a cousin is called the same thing as a nephew..its really confusing! after that i went to school where i had two hours of english and two hours in the library. during english the teacher was laughing at me and calling american english lazy english because of our tenses again. whatever lady, not my fault. i find it strange that at the beginning of the year the teacher insisted that this was ENGLISH class so everyone must only speak english all the time but for the past three weeks or so she has been speaking barely any english at all..i really dont understand her teaching. then she gave us a test which she explained in dutch and i was double checking that i undrestood the assignment with the person next to me and she yelled at me!! what the heck lady..first of all this is english class so shouldnt you be speaking english, secondly i have been here barely over three months and i think i have the right to double check the instructions that i had to reluctantly translate because your version of english class is not in english? i find it all extremely frustrating, shes really a nice lady but i guess i take things too personally haha. then i spent two hours in the library..it was supposed to be only one hour but i got a little carried away talking to other exchange students so i just stayed another hour. turns out nobody really cares when the exchange student is missing, these girls said they hang out in the library or leave school all the time..i find that cool but not really my style, although i completely understand not wanting to go to school haha. after school i went with manuella from brazil to buy myself a bus pass..thank goodness i did because on the way home it started snowing!! the snow here is actually quite beautiful..such an upgrade from the rain. the snow also makes it not such a wet cold feeling but more of a south dakota cold feeling which is good news for me. needless to say but i took the bus this morning and it was much nicer than trying to bike in a couple inches of snow..crazy!! other than that not much happend yesterday i dont think..we had some leftovers from thanksgiving and my host brother was still kind of sick..but so far i am still healthy, weird! well thanks for reading and hopefully the internet works tonight so i can write about today..although i dont think it will be that exciting. i have two more hours in the library at school right now and i think i might just take the bus home..can you blame me?

Sunday, November 28, 2010


day 103. sunday..my thanksgiving day with my host family. i spent most of my day cooking, seriously! i think i started around two and just kept cooking till we ate. but i think it was worth it, or i hope so at least. we set the table special too!
i made everything as close to we do at home as i could. green bean casserole, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, a turkey (duh), gravy, cranberry sauce and a pumpkin pie! most of it tasted pretty similar, except the sweet potatoes. maybe because there was no brown sugar here? i even used marshmallows on top and my host dad called them "artificial tasting", hah! green beans are way better at home, from a can, and then even better when my mom lets me eat them for breakfast. turkey was fabulous, extremely good looking, moist, and just perfectly cooked.
pumpkin pie looks horrible but tasted about the same. i blame the springform pan and the pre-made (not pie but) tart crust...
i felt really bad because my host brother is extremely sick with the stomach flu i think. so he didn't get to eat with us. if anybody out there knows me then you know the one thing i hate the most in this world is being sick! so i feel bad because of that. i hope i don't catch it..wish me luck! other than that, today was fine. i honestly have nothing to complain about, although i could go on and tell you how having a fake thanksgiving just made me homesick, but i will spare you the details and let you admire my pretty pictures. goodnight!


today was day 102 in belgium! i slept in really late, due to lack of sleep and some alkaseltzer night time medicine the night before. then i spent most of the day on the computer looking up how to make things for my thanksgiving tomorrow. have i mentioned that i am cooking an american thanksgiving for my family tomorrow!? i am really really excited!! i made the pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce already today, doesn't seem quite as perfect as home but i'm still extremely excited to make the rest of it tomorrow!! on friday night i skyped with my cousins, aunt, uncle, and mom and it was really nice to see all of them together for thanksgiving! hmm what else happened today..we had spaghetti for dinner, does that count? then i went to a party thing a long cold bike ride away and it was not too terrible. the only terrible part was the coldness outside, absolutely freezing! but now i am home and i need to get some sleep, must rest up for my thanksgiving dinner tomorrow! goodnight world.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


day 101 was yesterday, friday! i was still with my class at our three days thing for most of the morning and part of the afternoon. i think friday was my favorite day of my time with the class, because we all wrote notes to eachother withcompliments and advice. i got so many nice notes, it was really nice. the compliments were all about how i am nice, learning dutch quickly, and things like that..but would you believe it if i told you the advice i got was to be less shy and be more sure of myself!? my friends in america would never say that. but i'm so happy that everyone things of me as nice and a little shy, the shyness will rub off after my language skills improve i think. but nonetheless i really enjoyed writing and receiving cute little notes!
after lunch my host mom came and got three girls in my class and i and brought us home, it was very nice of her. after dropping the other girls off, we stopped by the butcher and got our TURKEY for me to make on sunday! it was so fresh that there are still some baby feathers in it, isn't that crazy!?
i told my host mom that it was very nice to have a such a fresh turkey, because ours at home come frozen like a giant ice cube of turkey. then i started talking about turkey bowling, and she could barely believe it! sometimes we just take stupid things for granted, don't we? turkey bowling..hmm. then we came home and i didn't do much because i was really tired! so that was my friday. nothing special, but it's good enough for me!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


day 100! thanksgiving day!! happy (late, now) thanksgiving, america!! yesterday i was still with my school trip thing, so i didn't get to blog. but we basically just continued what we started the day before, more talking, more activities, more bonding things! i found myself missing all the typical thanksgiving things about home, but i pushed through it pretty successfully. sometimes i just forget to live in the moment, i think. but i guessi will just take this opportunity to say what i'm thankful for, because thats what thanksgiving isreally about now isnt it? i'm extremely thankful to be in belgium, first of all. i'm thankful that everyone is very accepting, helpful, and understanding to me here. i guess i just appreciate the fact that almost everyone i've met so far is so willing to get to know me and help me out with anything, its pretty great. secondly, i'm thankful for my life in america! my family, friends, possessions..car in particular (ugh biking!), and just brookings in general. i truly believe you need to lose something just to see how much that something meant to you to begin with. its not that i've lost brookings, i've simply misplaced it for a while. but nonetheless, i'm thankful for my life here and my life at home..they all make me, me...and i really like being me! oh here i go again with the weird sentences, ahhh man, so tired!! but wow, 100 days..lets see, i will be here about 11 months, which is..around 330 days, i'm almost 1/3 done then, correct? times fun when youre having flies..oh wait, time flies when youre having fun! haha, told you i was tired...thats all about day 100, hope it wasnt too difficult to understand!

here are some pictures from the little trip with school. a not so beautiful picture of myself outside of..the abbey, maybe? i really am not sure, sorry about that. then a couple pictures of my room! it looked like the hostel we stayed in before..only with crosses and weird paintings on the walls!


hi all! wednesday was my 99th day in belgium. i went to town with my host dad, had some coffee at his office and then walked to the market to meet a girl from my class' boyfriend and another girl from my class..then we drove and picked up two more girls and finally made our way to where we were going. i'm sorry, i'm making really weird sentences right now because i am so tired!! i went with my class and another class to this "3 days" thing where you basically just bond with eachother and have somewhat deep conversations. i really liked it because i got to talk more with people not just from music. i love my music class but its nice for me to meet other people too, no? if you have ever seen the mtv show "if you really knew me" then you would understand what we did! i took a few pictures and i will try to post them tomorrow, like i said..way too tired now. but basically we did a lot of activities and talking, and a lot of it was really hard to understand but i tried my hardest! everyone was so nice and helpful to me, i think i am really lucky!! well..thats about it for wednesday, sorry!

ahh and here are a couple pictures i finally got around to uploading. first one is a blurry version of the class pretending to look like the people in the last supper picture, weird! then the next is umm..i dont know exactly, but we went inside and sang with monks!!


hello all! day 98, obviously. lets see..what happened today..umm. i went to the dutch lesson and was extremely bored! i was hoping the new teacher would improve on the second day but no such luck. then i had lasagna for lunch with the music class at this place we always go for lunch when we are not at the teahouse drinking hot chocolate! i burnt the roof of my mouth pretty badly if that counts for anything..ouch. then i had an hour in the library followed by two hours with a guy that is apparently a famous musician in belgium? i didn't know that..his name is Kris Wauters and he helped the class with their song they wrote. i just sat there and played the drums a few times, then there were people from the paper and everything (publicity for the school? making it seem not as ghetto as it really is?) and i just sat in the background and giggled as my class ooh-ed and ahh-ed over this guy. what can i say, it was better than math class. or was it? at least in math class i can take a nap or read my book. then we had an hour of expression and you should know by now that it is an hour of reading my book again! then i went tanning, bought a sweatshirt, tank top, and a traded in my scarf that i bought yesterday for one without a hole in it. i really wanted another dark green one but they were out, so i settled for mustardy yellow..even though i already have one. the one i have kept shedding, and luckily this one doesn't..so it works. plus i'm wearing it now and it is extremely warm! i guess i'm also wearing a hat and slippers..have i mentioned how cold i am here!?
speaking of which, i woke up with a sore throat this morning..frustrating! i hate sore throats! i hope it doesn't get worse the next couple days or i will be angry. speaking of which, i have some terrible news for you folks. tomorrow i am going with my class to some Abbey (monks? nuns? whats an abbey, exactly?) and we stay there two nights and apparently do some kind of bonding activities, games, or something. we'll see how that goes. i could have just stayed home and gone to the dutch classes and no school the rest of the day, but i try to say yes and participate in everything of course! so who knows, maybe it will be fun. but the terrible part is that i won't be here to blog!!!! so i will write two "fake" blogs tonight just so i can come back and edit them later, is that a good plan? so warning: when reading the next two blogs anytime before friday night the 26th of november, they are fake and made ahead of time, kapeesh?!! tonight has been a lazy night, i am throwing random things in my bag and hoping they work out for me. we'll see i guess! thanks for reading todays post!

Monday, November 22, 2010


hi world! today was day 97, its really crazy actually. i can't believe that i've almost been here 100 days!! naturally today was extremely boring because it's a monday. it was also extremely cold, but go figure on that one. we have a new teacher in the language class now because our other teacher had to get surgery, and can't come back till march, but by march we will be in another level and thus have another teacher anyways! the new teacher is from turkey and has lived here 14 years, but still its not her native language, which is fine but maybe a little complicated for us? our other teacher was also extremely animated, warm, loud, and funny..we will miss her so much! i'm not sure if i would have survived all the dutch lessons without such a good teacher. the one now is a lot quieter, has almost no expression at all, and doesn't quite know howto handle discipline when she's half the age of some of the students, haha! but it was only the first day so we will see how tomorrow plays out. for lunch i sat in a room and watched some people practice singing. it was about as exciting as it sounds, you think? no it wasn't that bad..plus it was sandwich monday so that helped too. then i had two hours of english, an
d i in fact DID learn something today! after being sent to the library to play some stupid "fill in the correct tense of the verb" computer game, i decided i was cool enough to take the "online test" (not an actual graded test..but at the end of all the practices you could try it for fun) and i got A 67%??!!! i thought, WHAT THE HECK, and re-read it and still couldn't figure out what was wrong. after some googling, the teacher and i came to this conclusion: (thanks wikipedia!)

Traditionally, BrE uses the present perfect to talk about an event in the recent past and with the words already, just, and yet. In American usage, these meanings can be expressed with the present perfect (to express a fact) or the simple past (to imply an expectation). This American style has become widespread only in the past 20 to 30 years; the British style is still in common use as well. Recently, the American use of just with simple past has made inroads into BrE, most visibly in advertising slogans and headlines such as "Cable broadband just got faster".
  • "I've just arrived home." / "I just arrived home."
  • "I've already eaten." / "I already ate."

so thus, i did really poorly! but not a problem, live and learn. then i had another hour reading alone in the library then an hour of watching the people in music class. then after school i went to the winkelstraat and bought myself a late birthday/early black-friday present. i know its really bright for winter, but i don't carry many books to school so i might as well put them in something bright and fun, right? plus why not spoil yourself every once in a while..you're only young once, right? ;)
oh and for the record, the bruise on my hand is blue now, cool right?
so this was my blog for today..i hope you enjoyed it, because now it's time for me to take a shower and go to bed. burrrrr cold night under the covers!!! goodnight all!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


day 96 in belgium, neato! nothing much to say about today. woke up really late, made some eggs to go along with the usual sunday breakfast, just like home almost..except not really! i sincerely mean it when i say that i did a whole lot of nothing today! i would have done a whole lot more of nothing but i decided to go to the harry potter movie with people from another class, or i think i would have literally sat around all day on facebook! the movie was not bad, but would have been so much better if i would have seen the rest of the harry potter movies or read the books. if i accomplished one thing today, it would be that i've officially decided its a necessity to wear gloves while biking. i biked without them todayand i could have sworn that my fingers were about to fall off!! i think the most exciting thing of today was either skyping with (both! together!) my parents or the goldfish dying. it was really nice to talk to my parents of course!! but here is the story of the fish...when i got here, they introduced me to the whole family which included also the cat and the goldfish. the goldfish was to remind them of their daughter who is in Taiwan on an exchange herself, and finally after over 3 months the little guy died! the poor thing had been swimming sideways and laying on the bottom of its bowl the past 4 days or so, something wrong with the swim bladder. so i googled the solution and we were supposed to give it the inside of a FROZEN PEA! but sadly it did not eat it so thus it died. did you know that they don't flush them down the toilet here like we do in america!?! i mean, if Nemo can go down the toilet so can anybody else, right? anyways.. for today, bloggers, i will leave you with the image of the poor little fish. rest in peace, lil fishy. oh and speaking of fish, i had pork for dinner...it was good. hahahah goodnight all!


day 95, and my birthday has been done for five minutes already here in beligum..sad! today was what i would call a perfect day. i woke up sometime around noon, took a shower, then had a cupcake and some coffee with Selly (from Taiwan) for breakfast!

Eventually we woke up the other american and the canadian too and we finally set off to go to town. after walking about 45 minutes we finally got some lunch. mmmm perfect belgian lunch, what i would call a grilled cheese with ham and spaghetti sauce..had to take a picture of course!
by that time canada had gone home, so the three of us girls walked back again, had another cupcake, then got a ride to the station with my host mom. have i mentioned the weather was great today? probably about 45 degrees and sunny, although i will admit we got pretty cold without jackets after a while!
tonight my wonderful host family took me out to eat for my birthday. we went to the chinese place on the market, and it was really good! they made us special food and everything (duck and lamb included, and i liked it, real MOM!).
not only were they nice enough to go out to dinner and let me have 3 friends sleep over last night, i got a present too! ever since i got here i've wanted one of these amazing watches..my host mom had one and i've always been so jealous of it, so for my birthday they got me a beautiful blue one! is it not the coolest thing you've ever seen!?
this birthday has definitely been one to remember. i feel like it was a boost in my perspective on everything here. a much needed break from the normal activities or something. it's also nice to see all the notes on facebook from people wishing me a happy birthday, and all the text messages too! just gives me a little reassurance that i'm doing the right thing for me at the moment, that brookings hasn't forgotten about me, and that i am making some good friends here. i feel so special and so incredibly thankful!!!! thank you everybody for keeping up with the blog!!
ps: one more thing, i have this terrible bruise on my hand, it hurts really bad too! i got it at school on friday when i tried to shut a door and failed..and it keeps looking worse and worse! kind of funny, so i thought i'd share. actually i lied, i'm really getting beat up here in belgium, when i'm not being taken out to dinner and given presents. :) just kidding!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


day 94 and happy birthday to me! well it is already my birthday here, not sure about in the usa considering everyone reads this at a different time! all morning real school, lots of time reading and in the library. plus there was a concert from the oldest two grades, and that was a nice change from going to gym class! last class was geography, where the teacher was mad at me for not taking her test. i felt kind of baduntil she said "jij bent slecht" which is like..you are bad, what the heck lady, what did i do to you!? so then i biked home, hung out for a little while, and got dropped off at the train station and waited for mythree other exchange student friends to come with the train. trains were being weird today so they were all late! we walked back to oud-turnhout, had some cupcakes, and eventually walked back to town. actually, i took the bus back to town..for the first time ever! as we were tandem biking, i saw a bus, ran really fast,and hopped on..it was like 2 euro for two miles, but way better than having my friend bike with me on the back! then we ended up walking around town most of the night, eventually celebrating my birthday a little...hooray for being 19!
but look how many cards i got! thats almost more than at home! paper cards from china, a picture of a castle and pony, a package from hartz, a stress ball cube from my canadian friend, a card from my host aunt/uncle, a card from my dad, and a card from gabby from america too. i didn't put pictures of the two boxes from my mom and katie, but they were also really great!then while we were in town, two girls from my class gave me the cutest present ever! they are so nice, i feel so special! lots of candy and chocolate, even a chocolate duck!!how cool is that? so thank you belgium, for the nice night, the not so boring day, and the awesome start to my year being 19. can't believe tomorrow is still my birthday, so many fun things have already happened today! well thats all for now, really tired..hanging out with the other exchange students! goodnight and thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


day 93 in belgium, hip hip hooray! today was another day where i just didn't want to wake up. again because of the cold temperature and because i am sooo tired! i think its half lack of sleep and half not speaking english at school..makes me extremely tired!the only exciting thing about dutch class was that i gave everyone their waffles, and then the teacher made me stand on her table while the class sang the dutch birthday song to me..it was really funny! then i had some noodles i brought from home for lunch (way better than bread..trust me) and had an hour of jazz, hour of nothing with my class...literally sitting in a room watching them sing, hour of library, and an hour of sitting there watching them do some play time thing. SO BORING!! i talked to two other exchange students today while i was in the library, i always see them in the library speaking spanish and it turns out they are actually exchange students that don't go to class (or don't have class) either, so that made me feel better. it also made me feel better (or bad) that they are only half way through dutch 1.1, while i'm almost 1/4 through 1.2..silly non rotary exchange programs! so then i came home from school to find a box from my friend katie had come in the mail! it was really exciting! she sent great american food of course and some funny pictures and notes from middle school. along with a hemp necklace that i'm going to try to wear till i see her again..but i also said i was going to grow my hair out and you all see how that turned out..! she sent ramen noodles, awesome! you would think i am from china or something??
don't mind the fact that i look like a hoodlum, i was walking around with slippers and a hat on all night..it was warm. then i made cupcakes because a couple of my exchange student friends are coming tomorrow night! hooray for yellow cake and funfetti chocolate frosting! so i will end tonights blog with a nice picture, all the food i have had mailed to me and a little i bought at the american store. i feel a little bad, thinking that they in fact could have mailed it to the starving kids of the world, but then i feel special..because they mailed a little bit of home to me. its weird seeing things so familiar in belgium, because i really did leave my entire life behind in america.. so its almost as weird as seeing a person i know or something! its like..bam chicken noodle soup, woah that is normal!?? but i'm extremely thankful and appreciative to my mom and katie..i miss you america!!!!!!!! goodnight all :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

92-three months!

the day has come, i've officially been in belgium for three months today! i think i've done a lot so far, and i hope to continue to have smooth sailing in belgium for the next 8 months. like i always have said, time here is going fast and slow all at once. when i am bored out of my mind in school things cant possibly go any slower...but when i'm out exploring with my friends or doing something interesting time seems to fly by. belgium feels a lot more like reality now, but now its more like home is the fantasy world. i guess if its not one thing than its the other, right? but other than that i think it really is crazy how much you can learn in a short amount of time. not just with the language but with your whole perspective on things. i'm only 3/11 done here so i guess i still have a lot more thinking to do eh?! so about today. this morning i found it nearly impossible to wake up, and when i finally did i couldn't find the energy to put onany make up or do my hair or any of the normal things. i think its because i have not had a good nights sleep since last friday. it could also be because i think my bedroom is absolutely freezing! these crazy belgians like to keep everything cold, plus the radiator in my room doesn't work. two pairs of pants, two sweat shirts and some socks help keep me alive. i am so used to mama mary back at home cranking the heat up in the house along with cranking the air conditioning down in the summer. just ask any of my friends, its either really warm or really cold! so maybe here it is just a normal temperature and i am not used to it..who knows. i think i lost track of "normal" anything a long time ago!! so language class was really boring today. i think i learn quicker than the other students or something because i'm the only one always yawning and working ahead in the book. that or i'm just a tired multi-tasker maybe? after that i biked home as fast as i could because belgium was absolutely freezing today. high of 43 degrees! needless to say, i wore the warm north face jacket my mom sent me in the mail yesterday. THANK YOU MOM, IT WAS WARM! although its not the most fashionable, my upper body was not freezing to death on the bike. my feet were also warm thanks to my uggs so that was nice! but on the way home i stopped at the grocery store to buy my language class treats for tomorrow. since its my birthday saturday i will give them waffles tomorrow..most of the time when its your birthday you bring something for the class at break time. it is kind of fun and i thought waffles would be sort of clever. i wanted to get juice boxes too but since there are like 30 people in my class my backpack would be too heavy!! then i came home and had some bread for lunch, and i have been meaning to mention how sick of bread i am. I HATE BREAD! i'm sorry belgium, but ahhh it is so redundant to have it every day! i'm sick of carbohydrates in general. thus i made spaghetti tonight (i like to contradict myself can you tell)! i used a packet of mccormic spices from america and it was really good! i think vincent the host brother liked it too..great! it was only us tonight because the host parents are somewhere doing something, i didn't really pay attention. today i was lazy and watched desperate housewives and supersize me on my computer. in desperate housewives they showed thanksgiving and it made me a little sad and happy at the same time. i am excited to cook thanksgiving dinner for my host family, it will be fun!! but i am also sad i cannot be home with my family (no matter how not fun it seems at the time) and make my grandma her favorite pecan pie, make whipped cream or go to the children's museum with my little cousin, and watch my other cousins dirt bike races or something. but life goes on, and certainly there is always next year! for those of you who have never seen "super size me" you are missing out on a great film about american culture, NOT! its entirely based on how fat, lazy, and selfish americans are. a guy eats mcdonalds for 30 days straight, 3 times a day, and always has to supersize his meal if they ask him. he pukes a few times, gains weight, then complains about healthcare, fat people, and mcdonalds. no wonder people think so highly of americans. all in all it was a good film for me to see actually, and i definitely won't order chicken nuggets any time soon!! then like i said i made some spaghetti and now i'm extremely tired and going to bed. i feel like i forgot to mention a lot of things but thats the basics of the day i suppose! oh and i just had a glass of alka-seltzer night because i definitely feel a cold coming on after these cold bike rides! cant leave without a photo so here is one of me laying in bed cold yesterday with my jacket fresh out of the box from america! goodnight world thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


91 days in belgium and i've finally seen FOG! it was really crazy actually. i woke up this morning (reluctantly), opened the curtains and BAM! tons o foggy fog.
so i naturally just assumed it would go away by say...10:30 or so but no sir, it stayed allll day! who knew that fog only goes away when there is SUN which belgium apparently has NONE of these days!? so after a foggy, groggy, boring day at dutch class my classmates and i went to the frituur for lunch..sooo healthy, i know. then i spent two hours in the library and it was just about as boring as it sounds. did some dutch work, read a little bit, then sat there with my head down for a solid 30 minutes. during that time the english teacher walked by and said (with her lovely british accent) "are you bored?"..haha of course i am bored, i am sitting in the library for two hours and i don't even have a blackberry like i do at home..thus, no facebook creeping, no brick breaker, and definitely no twitter.i actually didn't say that, i politely responded "yes, extremely" and then we proceeded to discuss how the boy from argentina is struggling to find his place as an exchange student. at one point i think she asked "why does he walk around during the lessons alone"..seriously kid, even the teachers notice something is up! sorry sorry, that was a little harsh. but it all comes back to the simple fact that you have to embrace absolutely everything. thats why i've tried my hardest for two days now to speak only dutch at school. i know what i'm saying is not correct all the time, but if you try..people will try too. everyone wants to help you just as much as you want to learn. YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE, WHO KNEW!?!? so anyways, after that i had an hour of math and i can honestly say i didn't"give" anything in that class, so thus, i got nothing..and i tried to read and ended up just daydreaming. after school i cycled really quickly so i could go pick up my birthday box from the post office! i probably looked like such an idiot walking with it on my bike on the way home, but it was only a couple blocks so it was no big deal.it was so exciting to open it, i will put some pictures on the blog tomorrow because i have enough already for today plus the uploader is not working so i will try to add pictures to this post tomorrow! i'm sorry!!! tonight i went to a rotary meeting. it was...nice..but always kind of boring. you have to sit and kiss everybody and pretend you know who they are, speak some broken english with them, and wait while everyone finishes their 5th round of drinks. food at the rotary meetings is either really good or really bad (such as the mini shrimps that i loathe) but tonight it was some random fish and i actually enjoyed it, goooo team jamie! but although it was boring, the pancakes with chocolate and ice cream definitely helped us get through! (yet again, really healthy, i know)! so after at least an hour of sitting there creating our own entertainment i finally got to go home. now here i am, its almost midnight, and i'm going to go to bed. who knew these rotarians could party so hard? just kidding. anyways, i hope you had a nice day along with a nice evening, and i also hope you are jealous of my pancakes and french fries. love you readers, thanks for keeping up with the blog.



aww...day 90, how cute! het was een leuke dag! AHHH! THAT WAS NOT ENGLISH! i tried to speak only dutch with my classmates today, but considering we had english class for two hours after lunch it was kind of difficult. it was like...listen to english, make comments to my friends in dutch, speak english for the class, talk about this weekend to my friends in dutch..extremely complicated for my already language-limboed brain. other than falling on my way up the stairs to dutch class nothing exciting happened there. have i mentioned that now that we are in level 2 in language class, we are on the top floor of the building? granted there are only three floors total..but thats like 4 flights of stairs! (i'm not sure if that quite made sense, but nonetheless i still fell going up them this morning). then i had some coffee at the tea-house place for lunch with my sandwiches since it is monday, and if you are a regular reader you would know by now that every monday vincent and i have sandwiches for lunch (hot dog buns..i'm serious!). sooo then were the two hours of english...then i went home early because my class had a meeting about their plans next year for university, and it really wasn't necessary for the american to sit there bored considering i do enough of that on a regular basis. the school owed me this one. when i got home i found out the mail man had come earlier, but host mommy was not home so we got a note that said to pick it up tomorrow at the post office. well we decided it would be a good idea for me to see if it was there today instead, but sadly it wasn't. i think it was probably still in the car from the mailman, so i will for sure go tomorrow after school and get it! i am excited because it is my birthday box from my mom, and it is 22 pounds (10kilo)! i will look like an idiot carrying it home..especially if i take my bike, haha! but it was a nice walk to the post office because its not far away and it was surprisingly nice out today. no rain, only a few clouds, and over 50 degrees. at one point i was sitting in my bedroom with the window open and a tee shirt on, and only a little bit cold! maybe i am getting used to it? it's hard to believe that there is snow on the ground sometimes at home these days...seems to early because not all the leaves have fallen here yet. belgium is so pretty in the fall! all the cute little crowded brickhouses, the cobblestone roads, and the orange/brown leaves..quaint eh? so tonight i went to our rotary district person Emi's house for dinner with courtney from south africa, her mom, her host parents, and manuella from brazil. it was nice..we had this cheese thing that i wish i could remember the name of. the actual cheese itself is not the name, but the concept has some name that i should know and i forgot. apparently it is done in brazil too! we each had a little pan and you put some cheese in it, set it under a heater and let it melt, then poured it on your potato along with some ham and pickles and stuff. it was like a grown-up easy-bake oven or something! along with a couple of glasses of french white wine i'd say its a lot different than the get togethers we would have with our rotary people, you think? in brookings it would be like some burgers on the grill and a mt. dew...that being said, eating south dakota beef is my number one priority upon my return in 8 months. at one point we were talking about the differences in crime between our four countries..and boy is it really different! south africa sounds like the bronx, brazil sounds like chicago, belgium is like minneapolis, and brookings is comparable to..nothing. south dakota is such a wholesome safe place (knock on wood)! that is definitely something you can only gain respect for by not having it every day. like not having the convenience of leaving your car unlocked outside wal mart for an hour or something. i'm guessing most brookings-ers don't even think twice about it! so now i am home and its pretty late. i took a shower because i smelled like swiss cheese. i tried to explain my night to my host parents in dutch, but i didn't find it that successful. i'm getting really good at "flinglish" or "dinglish" (flemish/dutch english) and i frequently add english words to my out of order dutch sentences. but..i'm trying, and thats all that counts. my host dad said tonight that my dutch was "incredible" compared to about a month ago. can you believe that, incredible?? all i can say to that is...well, ik probeer. (i'm trying)! and since a blog is not complete without some sort of picture, whether it be stupid or beautiful..here you go. this was my fun tonight with the gummy vitamins from home of course.
so goofy! goodnight!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


world, hello!! happy sunday day 89! today i woke up rather early for going to bed so late..around 10, maybe? so i sat on my computer for a few hours then decided to be productive and go to the bakery, since it is sunday after all. apparently today was my lucky day, they were out of croissants AND she didn't speak english. so it was time to put my broken dutch to work. we ended up with a large assortment of rolls and pastries..not to mention the pancakes we made too! every good day starts with a good breakfast, yes? so brendan the canadian eventually left and i started being even lazier. at one point i think i was watching tv, on facebook, and skype-chatting at the same time. rainy sundays...i'm not sure if i miss the snow back home yet or not. the first snow is always really exciting but i seem to be having mixed feelings about missing it. it's an all-around weird experience to be missing the first snow, my birthday, and thanksgiving. those things are undeniably comforting to me. but, clearly, i'm surviving! and you know what, i think i'm happy about it too..for now anyways. so eventually the host parents came home from their birthday weekend thing in holland and we had dinner. i tried lamb, go jamie! one whole bite! it wasn't half as bad as i was expecting..but i always think of the little lambs i had when i was a little girl for easter. my parents let me keep them in the dog kennel for a few days when we borrowed them from a farm..and we fed them from bottles, so cute! but i think i'll just stick with chicken from now on..usually a safe bet. so that was my day, thanks for reading and have a nice day/night/afternoon/evening..wherever you may be :)


hello everyone! day 88 here in belgium. it was overall a nice day, as long as you tune out the stupid rainy weather! the only notable thing about this morning was some leftover chinese and laughing about my father getting facebook..now both of my parents have facebook and they each only have me as a friend, so goofy! so yes, slept in theneventually went to the train station to meet my canadian exchange student friend brendan. from there we got on the bus and went to a shopping mall! yes, a real indoor mall..not just a shopping street, it was pretty cool! there were over 200 stores and even a big santa play going on for children..so sort of like the mall of america minus camp snoopy and half the stores. nonetheless it was sort of comforting to see a mall after almost three months being deprived of the good ol sioux empire. for some reason i was feeling quite anxious about the mall, annoyed of all the crying babies and busy feeling of the whole place so i did the trashiest thing i could think of and GOT A HAIRCUT! its always a curse to get your haircut in a mall, and i'm sure people back home will be ashamed, but it was a spur the moment decision and lately those seem to work in my favor. so now at least 3 inches are gone and there are a few layers, it hasn't been this short for a couple years now, crazy! heres a little before an after for you..hmmmm...interesting...
other than that i bought a hairdryer and thats all. i was reluctant to buy anything due to the fact that my birthday box from my mom is coming (hopefully!!) on monday and i think shesent a few things i will like..i am really excited for it! boxes from home have definitely helped me getthrough these past few months..i really appreciate them! anyways, after the mall we caught a bus home, and i made him take my picture because it was my first real belgian bus experience, yippee! but it didn't turn out that well so heres one of us at the bus stop..woo rain!then we walked home and had some kebab for dinner..my relationship with this particular food is about the same as mcdonalds, can't live with it, can't live without it. then we biked into town and listened to some quality karaoke at the irish pub and after that went to a really weird 70s-80s-90s party thing..also known as a bunch of drunks and bad music. but it was courtney from south africa's birthday so we were there to support her of course ;) after each of us getting a bit lost on the way home we rewarded ourselves with frituur..what a horrible decision. 60-year-old-high-colesteraled jamie will hate me for this year!!! but what can i say...when in belgium, eat fries..yes? so that was my day, it was pretty nice..and i should probably get to bed because it's almost 5am and it seems like a good idea...

Friday, November 12, 2010


day 87 in belgium land. weather was terrible, but the day wasn't too bad. woke up way too early this morning and grabbed a poptart (yes, american poptarts..from the american store in antwerp!) and got in the car with my host mom and brother. we went to the grandma's house for a few hours, had some coffee and i tried my hardest to understand as much dutch as i could. i think i did a fairly good job, but then again, everyday conversations aren't that difficult to understand. after that we went to Hasselt and i was extremely car sick! stupid motion sickness, never fails to ruin my day! first we went to the top of the raddison hotel which was really scary because between motion sickness and an 18 story elevator ride, the view was pretty but it made me dizzy. so i had a coke and tried not to look down. i think at this point i was also a bit irritable and possibly even negative due to my motion sickness, lack of sleep, and possible head cold. after that we had lunch and walked around town a little and looked at stores. nothing too exciting, and normally i would elaborate and make it sound extremely fabulous but i'm far too tired and too lazy right now so thats all i have for today! as always, thank you for reading!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


let us pick up where yesterday left off, yes?! after a solid 3-4 hours of sleep on the top bed of the hostel bunk, i somehow managed to make my way to the breakfast area and enjoy some bread along with some tasty hostel-fresh coffee..mmm mmm lekker, hah! two cups of coffee and some jelly packets later, we were off andon our way to Ieper(or...uh..Ypres)! i think it was like a 15 minute walk and a 15 minute train ride away from where we were staying..so..not bad. we sat on the ground due to the crowded train...thanks, "wapenstilstandsdag" (don't worry, i can't pronounce it either)! that's veterans day in america, remembrance day, or armistice day as well.. its all the same! now let me say this..i had absolutely no clue where we were going when we told Brendan that we would go with him, i think i was more concerned about finding a tooth brush, so when i found out we were going to FLANDERS FIELD i was nothing more than giddy with joy. before coming to belgium, my family tried to enlighten me with their belgian knowledge..which included my grandma talking about "the pissing boy", my mom making constant references to "waffles", and my great dad rambling on about "the flanders fields poem". so after a few hard homesick days, the thought of seeing something my family has told me about made me really happy. i had no idea today would be such a big deal here in belgium! i think i was just in the right spot at the right time, so i got to see what seemed to be an important thing at an important place. (sorry, that was a vague sentence..i think i'm a bit delirious from my lack of sleep right now..) anyways, saw some ceremony thing with a band and flags and military people.
..but it made me feel kind of funny, actually. sometimes i forget how much history this country has..how every building is so much more historic than something like the brookings courthouse..not that i'm trying to discredit brookings county or anything! so since it was raining cats and dogs we decided to go to the "in flanders fields" museum..it was really cool! all about world war 1 of course, but it was definitely 1 euro well spent. then i bought some post cards and a POPPY pin in the gift shop. thus, leading me to my main point of the night. poppies. who REALLY knows why they give out poppies when you donate to the veterans at, say, hyvee? personally i had no clue. even with my dad trying to quote the poppy poem, i'm pretty sure neither of us have ever put the two together. so my bloggers. i challenge you to take a look at the linked website. you'll never think of belgium, poppies, or memorial day the same way again! goodnight readers.