readers: hello/hola/hallo/bonjour/aloha/ciao! my impressive list of hello's. i will start by telling you that today was nothing important or significant, really. i started packing because we leave for our ski trip very early (4-5am) saturday morning. we had some cheese-ball type things for dinner. i'm restraining myself from going downstairs and drinking hot chocolate then coming back upstairs to blog. that was today. now, since tomorrow's blog is going to be more about my upcoming trip and how i spent my last day of 2010, i will take the time to make today a recap of my life in 2010. or better, how 2010 has completely changed my life. (sometimes i'm too cliche for my own good). i'll take you month by month, along my last few months of high school until my christmas in europe. the evolution is incredible. so here we go. january: 2010 came in with a bang, and by bang i mean party with a few of my friends where my asian friend yang brought his mini-claw machine. at this point the dollar store where i was working had just closed for good, so naturally i bought lots of stupid new years decorations and had people over to watch a movie. theres not much to say about february, i believe at this point i was having quite a few board game nights with my clan of friends from band, some of my fondest memories of high school. bananagrams and apples to apples are our go-to games. march, when "senioritis" really starts kicking in. march was filled with not much homework but definitely many baked goods. i there is no better excuse for cookies (other than christmas) besides st. patrick's day. at this point i seriously started to think about a career in the food industry. i specifically remember baking cookies and thinking, i could do this every single day for the rest of my life and never get bored. april: one month left of high school and i'm not going to college..yet. this was the month i found out i'd be coming to belgium for a year, instead of going straight to university like most of my friends. figuring out my post high school plan was really stressful for me, due to the fact that almost all of my friends knew by early march where they'd be going the next year, but i had to wait until april to go out on a limb and apply to be an exchange student. actually, there was really limb to go out on. i was pretty confident i'd be accepted, and belgium seemed like a sure bet..but it was the waiting that killed me. april was also a nice easter with the family at our house, spring started to show and graduation was right around the corner. with spring comes more cookies, of course. i also went to a john mayer concert with my friend katie. i felt really grown up going to a hotel and a concert (in fargo) without my mom. little did i know, "growing up" would take on a whole knew meaning when you're flying across the ocean alone embarking on a 1 year adventure in a place you can barely locate on a map. may: one more thing and i'm done with school: all state jazz band. nothing, i tell you NOTHING, has ever stressed me out more than all state jazz band has. for three years in a row i made a tape, got accepted, then procrastinated practicing until the last week. you think i'd figure out by the last year that crying to my dad doesn't make me a better drummer. but i felt oddly nostalgic about that last time playing. it was the first time i looked at myself in the mirror and said something like.. "shit, time to grow up now". finally..graduation from brookings high school. even after much controversy at school, i gave the welcome speech and compared life to a giant playground, and graduation nothing more than a never ending recess. i still have yet to come up with something as wise as that. touche, self. june, the beginning of my summer job at the pool. selling candy and admission tickets has never been so...hot. i also took a trip to the black hills with my dad, my friend adam, and a foreign exchange student from norway to show him Mt. Rushmore. it was a nice trip, south dakota is a lot more beautiful than we'll ever be able to think of it. it was also my moms 50th birthday, and i think i made two of my most beautiful cheesecakes for her party. july: between working my butt off at the pool, we went to a waterpark with a bunch of friends in sioux falls and afterwards discovered "silly bands", the shaped rubber bands that are now too popular forwords. i also took a couple trips to the lake along with baking as much as i possibly could. august: visa is here, clothes are spread all over the floor, looks like i'm going to..Belgium? one last trip to the lake to say goodbye to family and europe here i come! at this point my brain was still in a little denial of the whole thing..could i really be doing this? am i brave enough, smart enough, good enough for this? here goes everything. both my parents drove me to the airport, i cried like a scared puppy hugging them goodbye. collected my thoughts on the flight to chicago, paid too much for airport wifi, ate my last hamburger and fries and boarded the plane. i'm seated by a little girl and her mom..and they're speaking dutch. it hit me, i'm leaving absolutely everything i've ever known and flying across the ocean to meet a mystery family waiting for me. needless to say, couldn't sleep very well on the plane and was immediately exhausted and overwhelmed upon my arrival. august was a quiet month for me here, not comfortable enough to say much. then september started and so did school. yet again, immediately overwhelmed by all the differences and the intensity of school. september still remained more a month of observation for me. god gave you two eyes, two ears, and one mouth. quietly enjoying all the new pastries and bike rides to school. october: feeling less like a tourist, but not like a belgian. went to some markets, visited a few towns and pushed my comfort zone beyond what i ever thought was possible. a few homesick times, but perseverance and a little shopping will get you through anything. november: starts out extremely homesick, wanting to throw my entire belgian experience away and fly home before my birthday. didn't happen. instead, went completely randomly with just my backpack from school to Ypres for Remembrance Day. absolutelya turning point in my experience here. i felt my two worlds finally starting to come together. my dad telling me the flanders fields poem, and finally getting to see it for myself. my brain was finally not stuck in the ocean. a glimpse of hope just appeared after a night in my first hostel and a torrential rain storm the next day. i could make belgium work for me. so my birthday came, had some exchange students celebrate with me..and felt okay about everything. even made my host family thanksgiving dinner, yum. december: nothing much to say i guess! easily survived christmas, and here i am now. missed my family, but skype made it easier. there's always next year. its all just weird to think that 2010 is almost over, and a little nervous to see what awaits me in 2011. excited for all the new adventures to come but also scared for some reason. so i guess what im trying to say with this blog is like..to understand how i am now, and to see how far i've gone so far..i felt like you needed to know where i came from. or better yet, a comparison of my two lives; and how they're slowing coming to one. damn, by the end of this whole blogging experience i will be writing inspirational quotes or something? who knows. thanks for reading if you got this far, congratulations. goodnight, and enjoy your last day of 2010!