Monday, January 31, 2011

167!

day 167..last day of january! it doesn't feel like january should be over yet..i don't know if i'm only saying that because january is sale month at the shops in belgium or because time is actually going fast. one of the two. no no just kidding, but the beginning of january seems like it was forever ago yet also feels like yesterday at the same time. i think everybody can relate to this feeling somehow. moving on to today! this morning i had dutch class..i'm finding it easier and easier and its all thanks to my family helping me so much with my dutch. what a skill i will have at the end of this year! after getting a D+ with senora something or other at BHS, i never thought i would be the type to learn a language..but look at me now, its all just great. but in dutch class it turns out my schedule once again has changed, and now i have class only in the mornings again which is easier for everybody. that way i can keep a somewhat normal school schedule and the rest of the class can do their normal adult things like jobs, immigration classes, and getting their kids from school. or at least that was the logic they told us this morning. makes sense to me. watched some people from my class practice singing while i ate my lunch. and for the record, i'm not sick of bread yet. its something close to a miracle. i'll try to take a picture someday. like i said before, i'm sorry i suck at taking pictures of things..i will work on that in the month of february! today i had english class, and i forgot to bring my papers for it. oops, not like i actually need to be taking english class anyways. luckily i didn't have to read out loud, but we did talk about american politics...in fact, the whole lesson was about american politics. they have absolutely no idea what they're talking about, but i sat and smiled anyways. again i find it ironic that they're studying things such as macbeth and american politics when they cant say the past tense of swim or pronounce the 'th' in "thank you". i guess that's just english class in belgium for ya! actually, i've been told by multiple people on multiple occasions that i shouldn't assume what happens in my school and my classes is normal for belgium. the school gives me the heebie jeebies sometimes. i could now expand on all the negative aspects but i wont. if you cant say anything nice don't say anything at all. i wish i could live by that. i've probably contradicted that quote multiple times just in this post alone, but thats ok. in my last class we played a song where you use your hands and feet and things to make rhythms by clapping and stuff. reminds me of one song my dad always used at music camp! on that note, i must mention that its a very new feeling for me to be following music here at school and nobody knowing that i come from a "musical family" at home, or what have you. i've always had some baggage and expectations because of who i am, but here i dont...its both refreshing and confusing for me. tonight i made fried rice with the leftovers from yesterday. it was pretty good, i suppose. after dinner i went with my host sister to a movie! we saw "the tourist" which wasn't bad but also wasn't as amazing as i had anticipated. it was nice to go to a movie though..we even got popcorn! :) so i guess that's all i have for today. i have had a pretty bad headache the whole afternoon and tonight too, so i'm going to go to sleep and hope it gets better! goodnight and thanks for reading!!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

166!

good morning/afternoon/evening reader! lovely lazy sunday in belgium. well, it wasn't that lazy, but its become sort of a habit to say lazy sunday. i woke up a little later than normal this morning, i guess i slept pretty heavily last night..or i feel like i did. one of those nights where you blink and its morning. hmmm so about today. i'm finding it harder and harder to remember what i've accomplished in the day. either im doing so much i cant think of it or i'm just not thinking so hard about everything i do. both? i went to the small grocery store on the corner a couple blocks away with my host mom this morning. there i got everything i thought i needed to make my ramen/cabbage salad. turns out we didnt have the right oil and some fresher almonds, so i walked with my host sister (who is now home from france, cool right?!) to a turkish store that is open on sundays and we got some. i watched american idol on my computer at some point today as well. dinner tonight was this thing/process called "raclette" which is like a more personal version of fondue. here's a pic from google images so you get the idea..a bunch of different types of grills for it. maybe i should bring one home, haha not enough room in the suitcases...already have a waffle machine which is awesome!

sorry i didn't take a real picture. camera was in my bedroom and i had no energy to go and get it..plus it gets annoying always taking pictures of things. especially food. haha. i did this one other time at my rotary counselor's house..its super fun! you can melt your own cheese in a little pan and eat it with a bunch of meat and vegetables and stuff. blogs like this make me wonder why i would ever even consider a career outside of the food industry, ya think? haha i guess that's all i have for today. besides the fact that i had 4 cups of coffee and have no interest in going to bed...great. goodnight!

165!

hi all! day 165...saturday january 29, 2011. thats so weird..first of all, 2011-crazy. secondly, almost february!? that just can't be possible! but indeed it is a fact, its the end of january 2011. so i will tell you what i did on this lovely day in belgium, i hope thats what you're here to read about. after breakfast i took a shower, but things like that aren't really important i guess. whats important is that after lunch..my host mom took me to antwerp! it was great, a whole part of antwerp that i haven't seen yet. i can't begin to describe how much i love antwerp..and i love it even more after today! normally i just take the train, grab a starbucks at the station, then walk the main shopping streets with my friends. but today we went by car and walked around all the cute side streets. lots of boutiques and vintage shops. the town just bleeds with culture, its incredible. the old buildings with their amazing architecture, shops you would never even dream of seeing in america, and an atmosphere that i haven't felt anywhere else yet in belgium. a couple noteworthy things (or things i remembered take a picture of) is a crazy wood building that you cant see very well because it was dark...and the smallest bakery in antwerp! we got some cookies there, and they were really good! the worker lady said i could come back any time and take pictures, but i better do it in the morning when theres actually stuff to take pictures of!


i bought a couple things while we were there too. i dont know if thats something i should take a picture of or not, but i did. it felt like a good idea at the time.

i'm actually a little sad i left my big camera at home. i see people with their canon rebel's and want to say...hey, i have one like that with a giant lens and flash, but i forgot it at home! i could do a lot of fun things with that camera here in belgium. i hope if my mom comes to visit that she can bring it and i can have it for a couple months. i always forget to take pictures with my little one, and i just feel like i'm not taking enough good pictures. whatever, enough about my thoughts now. we got home and ate dinner...and after dinner my host brother and i made some american cookies! peanut butter blossoms, to be exact. like the kind at christmas! we're trying to use up things from my american food stash. i think tomorrow i'm making ramen noodle salad too! haha. well that's about all for today. thanks for reading!

Friday, January 28, 2011

164!

oh reader, how can i possibly express how bad i feel for ditching you yesterday...i felt extremely bad looking at all my page views today, seeing all the numbers go up...and all you got to read were a couple sentences saying how tired i was, haha! so i promise to try and commit better to my blog, because i find it an extremely important component of my well being. well maybe thats a little extreme, but i enjoy it and don't like letting people down..especially myself. so here we go, about my friday. yesterday (yeah, yesterday was friday..its all confusing, especially if you read this a couple days later or something) was a weird day because it was my first friday WITH language class in the morning thus NOT going all day to real school. i loved it! i had dutch in the morning, which first of all i must say i like the morning class because it starts at 9:15, and if you get there anytime before 9:30 you're fine..so thats always nice. then i ate lunch with a couple girls from my class. they decided it was a good idea to try a new place, not the normal tea house or sandwich shop, okay fine with me..some place with lots of gelato and hot chocolate i guess. lately we've been staying in school a lot to eat our packed lunches but somedays we go out and you either buy something or just drink something with your lunch that you have...i find this method the most practical, because buying your lunch every day is a bit excessive. but little did i know the meaning of excessive would soon get a new meaning. three words: italian hot chocolate. have you ever had it!? if not, you should try it. add that to your bucket list: have an italian hot chocolate. thats a pretty practical goal. you don't even have to go to italy to do it. although that would be nice. but anyways! its like warm chocolate pudding..wow. at first it was super super good, then it was way to heavy and too much and i would be surprised if i finished half of it. lesson well learned...drink water. the last lesson of the day was choir instead of geography for some reason! guess what, i actually sang in choir..yay! and guess what else..I HAVE A SOLO! actually its a speaking solo, got ya on that one didn't i? there's randomly one sentence i have to say while everyone is humming..but i feel pretty cool and awkward about it at the same time. of course i only got chosen to do it because i speak english, and its in english. seems to be that everything is in english in this world. after school i went with two exchange students that also go to my school to a movie. we saw the 3rd chronicals of narnia movie and it was such a disappointment! the first one was SUPER GOOD, the second..pretty good, and this one..what a let down! i still have hope if there is another though. last night i actually spent an hour or more learning how to KNIT with my host mom...it was great! i might even try to make a scarf. im not very good at being consistent, but with practice and patience i think i could actually make something. its surprising how much interest i have in it, actually. i took sewing class and made a couple quilts while back home in the USA, but that was a few years ago and i haven't had much interest since i quit while making my 3rd quilt. knitting is a hobby i've always wanted to learn, and maybe this is my chance eh? seize the day seize the day... thats all for yesterday!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

163!

hello world! i think this is the second time in all my posts that i'm not sitting here typing from my bedroom..weird! this is what i'm doing..quick webcam pic for ya.

bones = almost better than csi! its great. anyways, time to talk about my day. what do you enjoy more, my comparisons and opinions about life here or me talking about my mundane daily activities? hmm. so today i had real school all day. its my first full thursday and i can honestly say it was a lot better than a full friday, thus i'm looking forward to having half language class half real school tomorrow. i slept in a little bit and came to school after the first hour and it worked in my favor because i caught the french teacher after class and talked to her about my schedule for the 2nd hour. my options are really limited at the school, i could take english with the lower level music kids or pick a random class and most random classes study their directions pretty heavily in the times that i have free..so since my new dutch lesson schedule is only till the next level, i temporarily can come to school two hours later on tuesdays and thursdays. or i can come to school and go to the library! yeah...don't think so. anyways, i really enjoy all of the classes i do have so thats great for me. today during my jazz band hour after lunch we got to play for three different classes of little kids. it was so cool! i really like that class. its a really good teacher and i get to play for a while. (real dad, if you're reading: we played freddie freeloader, groove merchant(?), and summertime). later in the afternoon we had to go to a guy reading some kind of poetry because i guess today is poetry day in belgium or something like that! after school i walked home and decided it was really cold out. under 40 degrees fahrenheit, sad! i had soup after school, then watched american idol. its actually not bad with the new judges! well now i leave you with a poem, because i guess its poem day, whatever that means. this has and always will be my favorite poem..probably for lots of other people too! but for me its sort of special, i feel as though the fork in the road was graduating high school..a noteworthy point in my life. graduation came with many responsibilities and choices, all different roads of life to take. my two roads were college and belgium. i sincerely feel as though i took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. :) thanks reader!

The Road Not Taken


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

162!

day 162! over 23 weeks in belgium, cannot begin to describe how surprised and pleased with myself i am for making it so far. the half way point seemed impossible sometimes, but now i'm here and theres no looking back. so! about today. this morning i had dutch class, which i really enjoyed. living with a family that speaks with me a lot makes the lessons so much better. not that it was difficult before, but i think its one of those things that once you get the hang of it and keep yourself motivated then its not as hard as it first seems. maybe i'm wrong, who knows. so that was class. after that, manuella (the other exchange student in my town from brazil..i feel redundant sometimes but i don't expect you to keep up with names and such) and i went to the frituur (fried place...again with the redundancy) and i ate almost half of what is pictured below for lunch.

although it looks bad, i can honestly say it was not as bad as it looks but wasn't anything great. here they call the tossed cookies looking stuff on top 'stoofvlees' and i can only describe it as gravy and meat..it always reminds me of the turkey gravy they served at home for school lunch, haha! i'm sorry that i am such a foodie...maybe it gets annoying. so after eating that junk for lunch i quickly came and got my wallet then went shopping with manuella for a few hours. i ended up buying a couple tee shirts and a sweater, only the sweater has short sleeves which is one of the dumber inventions the world has ever thought of, but i fell for it and now i have a blue one. so. on my walk home from shopping i took some pictures of my street, it is super cute!



tonight i went to a rotary thing, but not a normal meeting. it was a casual banquet sort of thing to raise money for some good cause, i'm not quite sure. manuella and i tried our best to help, because we were invited on the basis of helping but after being commanded a few times we gave up and just did the easy jobs. the easy jobs included making sure there was a nice selection of salads out and then eating a lot of dessert. here's a few pictures, there was a band and fyi the chocolate mousse was the best of the four. tehehe.





so i guess i dont have much else to say, only that i'm really tired and not looking forward to going a whole day to real school tomorrow. oh i absolutely loathe school. i like math class now, and dutch isn't bad either. jazz band is okay too, but its one hour a week. i shall make due, no worries. tomorrow i'm going to try and work my new schedule out. wish me luck! maybe i can even add a few new classes. goodnight readers.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

161!

hi all! wow, two days with three comments each...i feel special! so today i had to get up early because i had normal school in the morning and dutch after lunch. i really don't enjoy getting up an hour earlier, but it shall be fine i guess. the first two hours of school i sat in the library. while i was there i talked to a couple other exchange students from another program, and one of them showed me how to get on facebook at school. facebook is normally blocked but apparently the french exchange student told the spanish speaking girl who told the cute chinese girl who told me. i probably shouldn't share this information with you, but i find it a nice fact about my day. so my first two hours were fine. the third hour i had CHOIR! i guess they are taking some trip on the 11th of february to go to a church by the sea and sing and they wanted me to try along with them. i just sat there nodding my head and listening, we'll see what comes of that. i quit singing in school when i entered high school and haven't had any interest in starting again, but it will all work out i'm sure. after singing there was dutch, but i mean the dutch thats in school not the language class. at lunch i went with a couple of my friends to the frituur (fried place!) where innocently bought a bottle of water and ended up learning a valuable lesson. for starters, here is a picture of some of my water bottles at home.

my mom sent me the green one last month, on the right side with the straw. back home i take one to school every day, not sure if its because i like to drink water or i just like to have an excuse to roam the halls filling it up and going to the bathroom. (that probably wasn't a very classy thing to say, but what i mean is that you can use a water bottle as an excuse to get out of class anytime at bhs..drank too much, sorry! or i have a cough, sorry have to fill it up!). sooo i poured my water from my newly bought water bottle into my camelback. BIG MISTAKE. ever since moving to my new family i've developed a habit of drinking the sparkling water...the water with the bubbles in it. for those of you that don't know, its like the hyvee flavored water coolers without the flavor. its just a habit, its way easier to drink that water than normal water. normal water is boring now. so with the water bottle function it just didnt work, ended up spraying water all over myself and laughing at myself the whole walk to dutch class. this afternoon dutch class was ok. i was a lot less motivated and way more tired, but i shall make due. after school i came home and i really don't know what i did...ummm...probably nothing. i do know that after dinner i watched the tv show "bones" with my host brother, and its actually a really good show! but the last thing i have to share with you is this awesome picture. one of the many great things about this family is that dessert is a common statement at the dinner table, or it has been so far. today we had some leftover cupcakes from my class and also something really cool..BREAD PUDDING! my host mom made it today and it was sooooo good! theres something very comforting about coming home from school and smelling something freshly baked from the oven, ya think? not to mention the extreme generosity my new family (the first too of course, read back to days 1-150 to hear more about the wonderful 1st family, hehe) is showing for me. not only did i get to have dessert, my host mom made me hot chocolate AND gave me some coasters to add to my collection. where is america again? ;) no no just kidding. goodnight all!

Monday, January 24, 2011

160!

hi everyone! hope you enjoyed the french fries blog..i really enjoyed the comments, its always nice to have words of encouragement and things to make me keep blogging and such. (so, thanks hodges! and other random fries commenters). so about today! stared level three of dutch today, its crazy! the teacher is a lot better, oh wow. but she talks really fast and uses big words, which will take some getting used to. i think we will move at a lot faster rate and probably get a lot more homework, but being at a half way point in my time here, i'm okay with that. i think now is when i start realizing that i will never get to do this again in my life. when am i ever going to learn dutch again, eh? (not to mention when am i ever going to actually USE this crazy language again, but let's not get negative now). after that i ate my lunch with my class in a music room. you wouldn't believe this, but i actually enjoy my sandwich/bread lunch every day now. change of bread or packed with love, but actually i even eat it in the morning too sometimes, can you believe that!? maybe its because i'm always in a hurry in the mornings now, because i shower in the mornings and blow dry my hair, which adds a lot more time that necessary to my mornings. i could go on forever comparing morning and night showers, but i wont. speaking of going on forever (or really, not)...but today in english class the teacher first of all gave me the only 10/10 in the class for acting out this play and speaking well, but secondly at the end of the class she was like...okay, now there is fifteen minutes left and jamie is going to tell us about american politics. get real, teacher! seriously, is she picking on me or does she really care?! of course i had to read out loud AGAIN today, this marks the like..5th week in a row. i would normally take this as a compliment except i catch her looking at me strangely sometimes and the tone in her voice when she asks me is a little snippy. but like i've always said, i don't let it get to me..but its awfully entertaining. i proceeded to tell the class i'm a registered democrat, and explained the whole Obama hype that everyone is so poorly educated on here. that was about it for school! after school i came home and chilled out for a while, ate dinner, then went with my third host mom to a cupcake class! it was so cool..we used fondant and cookie cutters and such and decorated cupcakes. i really really enjoyed it. i love hands-on creative things..cupcakes, cookies, tetris, texting, those sort of things ;). but seriously it was super fun and really nice of her to take me, so here are some pictures..up close ones of my favorites!





well thanks for reading, catch ya'll tomorrow!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

159!

hello you faithful reader you. how was your sunday? i like my sundays lazy. like a potato. a couch potato, or something. oh hey speaking of potatoes, we had homemade french fries for lunch!!! if i've learned anything from being in belgium its A) that i appreciate my life in the USA a lot more then i ever thought i could and B) I LOVE FRENCH FRIES. so being a food lover that i am, i documented every step of the french fry making process. i hope you enjoy! a day in the life of a belgian potato....

peel...

slice...

fry once..

bubble bubble...

after once fried..

fry twice...and tada!! FRENCH FRIES!!!

other than eating french fries, i talked to my dad on skype for a little while and watched american idol on youtube. that was my sunday, i hope yours was nice too!

158!

today is day 158! i did a lot of sleeping today. we got to my friends house around 6am, slept till 11...then my nice new host dad came and picked me up. oh gosh, have i mentioned how nice they are to me? theres really nobody that is not nice to me in belgium, but all my families have seemed to go the extra mile and it makes me very happy. so i got home, had some breakfast/lunch and then went to bed for a few more hours. after dinner we went to a concert. a guy named Arno, he's this crazy belgian rock guy. it was a nice concert, lots of lights and sound. its a pity i forgot my glasses though. every time i wear my glasses i feel like belgium is a whole new world i've never seen before. that could also be metaphorically too but i mean it in the literal sense. we had quiche and spinach burgers for dinner. i feel like mentioning that, i guess. probably because i don't have much else to say because i am really tired. but of course i'm not tired enough to leave you without a picture. here's me, self timer style with my exchange student business card. thats all for now folks, goodnight!

Friday, January 21, 2011

157!

friday was day 157 in belgium! it marks a week with my new family and actually is (almost) a half way point in my (almost) year long journey here. its actually a couple days off, but either way that time has gone very quickly. yesterday (yeah, yesterday was friday right?) i went to school. i was a few minutes late but it didn't matter because the teacher that took attendance didn't notice. i am such an invisible student, and i'm okay with that. so i spent an incredibly boring day at school and nothing eventful happened. after school i watched desperate housewives on my computer. it was so good. i love that show! also, i hear theres a new season of american idol started..wondering if i should download that one too or not? so i spent last night at a friends house because it was her birthday. we went with a group first to her house then to the reflex, which is the dance club thing i've talked about before. before i mention how late we were there, i'm going to say that for the first time since i've been here i felt extremely confident about my ability to understand the conversations. granted, i didn't know 100 percent of everything but i felt as though i was fluently understanding. my brain wasn't constantly translating, or struggling to keep up. although i didn't really care to follow the conversations, and thats usually when i understand the most. when i'm not trying. when i'm just sitting, thinking to myself. now, when somebody asks me a question and i know i have to respond then i get nervous, translate every word, and end up not understanding as much. i think this is normal. my responses are bad, but i think my listening skills are growing at a super high rate especially since in my family now its a lot more dutch than the first. so after a long long night of dancing and expensive cola's, we got home around 6am. don't worry folks, this is not a common part of my year here. i'm perfectly aware that i am not in belgium just to party, but i do believe that to a certain extend its part of the whole experience. this year is like baking a cake. first, you read the recipe, usually included is a picture of your end result. for me, this was reading all the information about an exchange year and reading/hearing comments from people who have done it. after reading the recipe, you collect your ingredients. this can be going to the store, digging in the cupboard, or asking your neighbor for a cup of sugar. for me, my ingredient collecting was packing, repacking, stocking up on american hygiene products, and asking people for advice as well as buying a good rain jacket. while making a cake, you add ingredients one at a time. if you throw everything in the bowl then in the oven right away, your result will be something like mush with a couple baked eggs on top. (i could have used without describing that, but since i am a food person i felt like being descriptive. now, if i were to publish my comparison in a legitimate article i would leave that part out. just kidding here.) For me, adding my ingredients is what i'm just finishing up with. i feel as though i've found my place in this strange land. learning and adding a little at a time, i've created a mixture i call my exchange year. The last thing you do before your cake goes in the oven is mixing. Usually with a mixer, such as my KitchenAid 90th Anniversary Edition Mixer with a glass bowl. Thank you, Aung Gigi..it was the best graduation present ever. Anyways. Since i didnt bring my mixer to belgium with me, i have to do my own sort of mixing. Mixing: mix, blend, put together, unify. To bring my life here and home together, so to say...to make everything come full circle. Then you put your cake in the oven. Oven = summer. I'm hoping it will heat up around here, so i can get a tan just like a cake. So at the end, you have a cake. maybe not a perfect cake, but a cake nonetheless. A cake is not a cake without frosting, but if you're anything like me then you can spend the rest of your life decorating. To sum things up, I'm Jamie, and i'm a cake. Goodnight world :)

156.

i'm going to blog tomorrow. thanks for checking though! ok..well its no longer tomorrow, its actually the day after tomorrow. but here i am and i'm going to tell you about my thursday! i slept in and then went to my dutch school to sign up for the 3rd level. 65 euros later and they gave me my new schedule that has me in a sort of tizzy now, because my lesson times are different. normally that wouldnt be a big deal, but going to two schools makes everything a little complicated. instead of every morning mon-thurs, i now go monday morning, tuesday afternoon, wednesday morning, thursday not at all and friday morning. now i have to switch some lessons at my other school which is a bit awkward because i lucked out before and missed almost all the french, science, singing and so. i shall figure it out on monday i hope! i just dont know what options i have i guess. i can take classes with the 13-14 year olds, but something about being 19 in a class with instruments and younger kids just rubs me wrong. i can take some classes with the more technical directions, but i've heard they arent so friendly. (yes, im referring to the klinkstraat). i can also just sit in the library a lot too but i think i need to find some other options. i could maybe even find a third school or some kind of lessons to follow one day a week maybe. we shall see, it will be fine. luckily im already graduated at home so i dont need to worry! thursday night my host parents, manuella, and i went to a concert. it was a portuguese singer who sings "fado" music. it is sort of a type of music that sounds like it has a lot of emotion in it, but then the second half of the concert the sang some songs in english too so that was neat! i think manuella really liked it because she can understand portuguese. i just liked it in general, but i think listening to actual music just makes me feel better. its sort of relaxing. i also found myself giggling because thought it my head that i felt like i should be eating chips and salsa at guadalajaras or chevys in sioux falls. hahaha. so that was my thursday, and i'm sorry it took so long for me to tell you that!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

155!

day 155 and I PASSED MY EXAM! goody goody...now i can move on to level three, which is actually level 2.1, but they call it level three..its weird. i'm done with 1.1 and 1.2, i think it has something to do with the names of the books. so this morning i got to wake up a little later because my speaking exam was later in the morning. i was home alone, and took a shower...must have been a little too warm because when i opened the bathroom door the smoke alarm in the hallway went off, and i giggled to myself for quite a while. that always used to happen to me in the USA, and i'm guessing the smoke alarm is still not fixed from when i hit it multiple times with a shampoo bottle. (i'd bet money that my mom is going to look upstairs now). sometimes you just have to laugh at life. i always love starting my day by laughing at myself. it usually ends up being a good day after that. this theory can also work in reverse though...if i wake up and drop something, stub my toe or something, then usually my whole day is the same. i definitely have to find a balance between the two! so during my speaking exam the teacher told me that she notices that i live with a belgian family, because i learn and speak faster than everyone else and so does the other exchange student in the class, manuella. neato! that was good for my confidence, haha. hmm. after the exam i came home (home? politically correct? odd) and ate a panini then met manuella and brendan from canada to go to the mall! we caught the bus just on time and less than an hour later we were at the mall. shopping centers are so commercial, it annoyed me a little today. but the worst part about january is that almost everything at almost every store is on sale..its HORRIBLE! it makes me want to go in every store and just see what i could possibly need. its not spending money thats so bad, although thats not good either, but its having room to bring these things home. so i only bought like...a dress, scarf, hat, and dress. no big deal right? we'll figure that out when the time comes. it was a nice day. my canadian friend is all about being spontaneous, so we decided to get ice cream at a gas station right as we got off the bus. i actually used to hate strawberry ice cream, and was never so fond of white chocolate..but i got a strawberry and white chocolate ice cream bar anyways. i ended up throwing like 1/3 of it away though. no time to eat, must shop.
beautiful picture, i know..hahaha. but other than that nothing much happened today. i could tell you what i remember from my dutch test scores but i will just say that i got a perfect score for reading and a not so perfect score for listening. give and take, eh. ya win some ya lose some. well now im really tired so i'm going to bed. thats usually the case after blogging...bed. so thanks a ton for reading, sometimes i feel like my blog will always keep me going this year. i love blogging, i could do it for the rest of my life. hey theres an idea...anybody want to pay for me to travel around the world and blog about it? didn't think so. night world!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

154! 5 months!

hi readers! either someone keeps refreshing the page over and over, or i'm actually getting a lot of page views. either way, thanks for tuning in now! today i had my exam in dutch class! yesterdays practice exam was pretty easy, so i wasn't worried at all. but when we started doing the listening part of the exam i started to second guess my nonchalant approach to the test. if you've ever taken a class in another language, you know exactly what i'm talking about when i say that there are always the same voices talking on the recordings..the same characters, same voices, same situations..things like that. i can specifically remember back to freshman year spanish things like "me llamo Juana, soy de Puerto Rico" or something. so today, instead of the usual characters Dorjee and Dalia, it was like a recording of the teachers talking or something lame. it was fast and not so clear, thus i don't think that was my strongest part of the test but (i'm hoping) i shall pass still. today at lunch we had a rotary meeting. after walking around in the rain for about 10 minutes with manuella, we found our ride and got to the meeting. the meeting was fine because there was no fish and there were french fries. i can never complain about getting french fries two days in a row, oh no sir..all is good when there are fries. so after a long meeting i went to school. turns out i was only at school for one class which was math since we didn't have a last class and i had missed the other two thanks to rotary..but i would have normally been in the library so its okay. hmm what else about today...i still find it weird that i can just walk to and from school so quickly. and i took a couple pictures of my new bedroom for the next 3 months! not everything is quite unpacked or clean but better than no pictures right?

so yesterday i cant believe i forgot to say IVE LIVED IN BELGIUM FOR 5 MONTHS! wow! i guess its a good sign i forgot it, but still...how do i forget to mention that!? time is going faster than i think. and although i'm sad to have to miss half my summer, i guess things are looking up. spring will be here soon enough and i really want my mom to come visit me! plus there are my two trips and it will be great. you know my trips, right? barcelona with my family in march and italy with my school in april. tehehehe! well i guess the last thing i have to mention tonight is how much i enjoy apple mousse..or um, homemade apple sauce, actually. the belgians always eat it with sausage and potatoes, or so i've seemed to figure out. i may even like it more than french fries. my host mom told me to tell her if there was anything special i liked to eat on my bread at lunch, so she would make sure to have it at the house..and instead i jokingly asked if i could just eat apple mousse every day. haha i dont know, something about apples grown in belgium, made into apple sauce by belgian people, eaten by belgian families in a traditional belgian way...just nothing like that in america. or maybe so with cows. we are pretty good at eating meat in south dakota. well my point is that its something i enjoy in belgium, and i really think i need to study food science next year. decisions decisions. thanks for reading, feel free to comment. goodnight!

Monday, January 17, 2011

153!

oh boy, it was a busy monday! normally i don't like mondays but today was nice. i'm wondering why i have been so tired the past few nights and i've decided its either from having coffee in the mornings again, speaking almost always dutch with the new family (of course words i dont know are always explained and translated, but if not written out i tend to forget them), or because im still in christmas break mode. it could be all of them. i promise to put pictures on the blog sometime this week, but like i said im so tired and pretty busy so time seems to get away from me. my suitcases aren't even fully unpacked yet, hehe. today i had a review in dutch class because we have our writing and listening exam tomorrow! i'm excited to take the test so i can hopefully move on to another level. crazy to think i might be in level 3 next week..fast! today i actually had bread/sandwiches for lunch, you would be proud of me readers! its so cute because my host mom makes them for me in the morning..hey american mom, did you hear that? there's also an awesome coffee maker here too. oh the little things in life..haha. hmm so in school we had english class and we did more stuff about macbeth. i'm sorry, but if you don't know the past tense of "thinking" do you really need to know macbeth!? ridiculous class. the teacher made me read out loud and i dont understand why! she does it EVERY WEEK! then at the end she'll say a comment about my accent or pronunciation or that maybe its difficult even for me or ughh just something that i don't understand the point of even saying. why make me read, when i already know how to speak english? a couple times i understand but every week, just to continue to comment on it? i'm not going to worry about it. after school i came home and eventually went to a little grocery store with my host mom. theres lots of grocery stores here, lots of big ones too. but we went to a smaller one and it was cute. tonight we got to eat french fries! its not even friday and i had fries and a bicky burger. i've explained it before and even posted a picture i think. the past couple nights i've watched "bones" with my new host brother and its actually a good show. its no csi miami, but just as interesting. and in english! so that was my day, and now i'm super tired and going to go to sleep. goodnight world!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

152!

day 152. sundays are easily the weirdest days of the week. i never know if i'm supposed to be productive or not. my blog seems to be becoming more of a note pad than a play by play, i'm not sure how i feel about that. as you can tell, i'm unsure about a lot of things. i really really think too hard, trust me i'm trying to quit. today i woke up, had rolls for breakfast like real belgians do, and afterwards i read a book about a cat in dutch. cats like to sleep, they can jump from very high heights, they like to chase mice. my level of reading and speaking are not very high, but i understand quite a bit. i'm hoping that the fact that we're trying to speak only dutch here will help me with my exam this week, because i really dont want to have the same teacher twice if i have to repeat the level! but last time i got like a 95% and i only have to get 50% to pass, so it shall be alright! i think learning another language is not about being smart enough or wanting to do it, but for me its the confidence and practicing that will make me the most successful. being a perfectionist is sometimes a curse. i want to do everything my best, which is good..but sometimes its to a point where i drive myself nuts. hmm. so whats different here is that it was a warm meal for lunch and a cozy bread and cheese evening. i don't know if i should be listing differences on my blog but you all know how much i love talking about food. oh my gosh i almost forgot..i made cookies today! peanut butter cookies, i think they were really good. granted, i used brown sugar and peanut butter my mom sent me so most of the ingredients were the same (eggs and white sugar can't be that different, haha) but then again my real mom and i LOVE peanut butter cookies. the concept is actually weird, but not as weird as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! every person i say that to thinks im absolutely crazy! but jelly and cheese is normal, which most americans would find weird. i guess we eat brie with a sort of jelly, but thats pretty advanced south dakota food. today we also talked a lot about history after dinner. my new host brother is really good at history; they got out books, a globe, a national geographic and everything. the conversations are pretty intense but also educational. actually it started because i was saying that for us good cheese is really expensive, because its imported. like how american brand clothes are expensive in belgium. but it got me thinking about our education system, and how i'm done with school and can't tell you ANYTHING about the roman empire, mayans, vikings, ancient greece, all those things. my level of education is maybe pretty low compared to a someone my age here. weird feeling, because coming from the top 1/3 of my class at home i felt pretty confident with my diploma haha. but so is life..and so is the usa. to each country their own. on that note, i must go to sleep so i can wake up ready to tackle the difficult belgian education system tomorrow. in english we are studying macbeth, have i said that already? we studied that at home last year, and WE ACTUALLY SPEAK ENGLISH! i rest my case. goodnight!!!

151!

hello everybody! first full day with my second family and it is going so well! i was nervous that it would be like coming to belgium all over again or something, but its actually much much easier than that. i never took in to account that i've lived in here for almost 5 months so there would really not be any culture shock as with the first family..duh jamie! not that being with the first family was hard or anything, all my families are so kind and welcoming, but when absolutely everything was new it was a bit overwhelming. thats good because it made me close with the family, but they also had to do the most to help me adapt..i think adapting is something i will take out of this year. amongst a small number of other things, my adaptation skills have definitely improved. its a very generous and committed thing for these families to do for me, and i guess i'm just really thankful i get the opportunity to do this. sometimes i forget that, but it doesn't take me long to wake up and realize that this is the only year i will ever have to be here, and i should really take advantage of every day i have. actually, i think i still have a little bit of emotional baggage i should find a dumpster for. sometimes i feel like this year is just a distraction from reality. and sometimes i think i think too much. actually, i always think too much, talk to much, and write too much rubbish on the blog. don't take me too seriously, or at least don't think i'm too weird. i think of my blog as my online diary, or journal. sometimes the interpretation of my posts are probably a little strange. but aren't we all. well now that i've officially babbled too much, i'll tell you what i did today. (note: i find it funny that in english we say "babble", because it is so close to the dutch word "babbel", which translates as...chatter, or..babble. neat?). this morning after a shower and some bread i went with my new host mom to the saturday market! oh golly i love the market. as i've said before, its like our farmers market in brookings only on steroids. cheese, clothes, candy, coffee...not everything starts with a "C" but thats just what first came to mind. it was crazy close to the house though! it will be so weird to go to school on monday and be there so quickly. in a way oud-turnhout was like sunnyview, not in town but not extremely far away. i can even hear cars outside my window! i'm such a rural south dakotan after all. so we went to the market and i watched a guy at the fish truck slice a whole salmon right in front of us and the fillets we ended up eating for dinner! it made me want to go fishing at the lake back home a little. i haven't used my waders in such a long time!! we also went to the library today. there is quite a big english book section, but i still have a few books from home to read first. actually, i have a christmas novel to read still but i ended up reading one by chelsea handler first, and i can't put it down! although i've never seen her tv shows, but i can tell by her writing that she is hilarious. granted, the book is titled "my horizontal life; a collection of one-night stands", so its supposed to be funny. and stupid. i think you, as the reader, can tell when i'm in a good mood because i start to ramble and give you a lot of details. thus, today was a nice day. i had a nice talk with my two new host parents, and i think that always makes me feel better. or maybe better is not the right word, but good. hmmmm what else. went to a party thing from a friend for a little while tonight. it was interesting. didn't stay very long because the people i were with had to wake up early tomorrow, oh well! so now i shall go to sleep. i will probably add a couple pictures to this tomorrow. also, no comments about the new layout!!!!!!!!?????? goodnight.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

150!

hi everyone! oh man theres just so much to say about today! i'll start by talking about school. well, on fridays i go to normal school all day. it was actually pretty boring, but i did what i could. this morning we had a "winter ritual" or something, which basically means we walked a few kilometers in the misty, windy, cloudy morning..along the river/canal thing in town. the walk would have been okay, had i not worn the completely incorrect pair of shoes. i now have a blister the size of a silver dollar on my left heel- well done self, well done! easily the biggest blister i've ever had. painful! i'm half tempted to throw the stupid h&m sale rack shoes out the window, but that's illegal so i shall restrain. oh my! i forgot to mention that i RODE MY BIKE to school today for what seems to be the last time here considering my new family and the next are only a few blocks away.

it was fine except the warm wind made it slightly uncomfortable. i may or may not have skipped gym class because my tennis shoes were already at my second house and my blistered feet didn't feel like going...but thats only a maybe, eh. school was over and i went to my oud-turnhout home for the last time. i packed everything except my tiny little converter, which i left in the wall. i think theres another here, but i'm too lazy to look until my computer is almost dead..which shall be sometime tomorrow i'm sure. it was weird and exciting walking away from the bedroom that had become my own over the past (almost) 5 months, where i've spent quite some time blogging, being homesick, and everything in between. but as the saying goes... "change is inevitable, except from a vending machine". so after eating at the thai restaurant on the market (which was so good may i add) my family brought me to my second family! oh man its like i was an orphan or something..some talking, hugging, and then they were gone. except i don't feel anything like an orphan, orphans usually don't get a pretty bedroom, an extremely lovely family, and surely not a kriek before bed. that was probably a bad example. but what i mean to say is, the room is cute if i don't ruin it with all my luggage i've collected, the new family is very nice and i can tell they genuinely want me to feel good here, and anybody who offers me a cherry beer on my first night in their home is just wonderful don't you agree? so going back to my quote. "change is inevitable, except from a vending machine".....while i was (maybe) not in gym class, i made myself a new layout for the blog. do you like it? i might play around with it more in the next couple days, but to celebrate my move, almost 10,000 views, and 150 days in belgium..here is my blog, remixed. i love you all, and thanks for reading :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

149!

hello! wow, almost day 150..and wow, almost moving time! i don't know what to think of all of that. i've accomplished a lot in 150 days, and that means i'm almost half way done. i'm also excited to switch families tomorrow but nervous too. of course it'sa completely natural feeling to be nervous when moving into someone's house, but i'm also really excited too! it seems like time shall fly by now that christmas is over. today i packed, packed, and packed some more. i have WAY too much junk oh my goodness! the picture is from yesterday's things..only yesterdays.
so it is about half of what i have in total. never let me complain again about not having something or the other, because i'm sure i have it. it actually makes me feel bad when i think that i have brought more with me for one year than normal people have in their normal lives..not even including how bad i feel if you take third world countries into mind. oh man, i am surely a poor example of materialistic american. well, at least i threw them all off with the "fat" stereotype. one time a kid in my class asked me if there "really was a mcdonalds on every corner"...wow. anywho. tonight we had ice cream after dinner. i was really excited. tomorrow i am going to eat dinner with my first family then they will take me to the second one after that. oh man! i hope there is wifi, and if so..i hope i figure out the password so i can continue to tell you all about my travels. can you believe i'm almost to 10 thousand views and 150 days..thats like 66 views per day, granted some of you may be refreshing the page just to get me more views but i hope thats not always the case. anyways, thank you for reading...and i will hopefully be writing again tomorrow :) goodnight world

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

148!

hi world! and by world i mean world, because there are really people all over the world reading my blog..crazy. so first of all, thank you for reading. and secondly, thank you for listening. i don't think i could have made it this far without having a blog. saying how i feel and sharing what i've done keeps me leveled, or something. this morning i had a test in dutch class, and i am very thankful i woke up early to study for it while eating breakfast! ever since we got a new teacher we learn almost nothing in class, so without looking over the book and my notes i think the test would have been even more impossible...which is a lot different than with our old teacher, where everything came so naturally because she was just that good. but life goes on, and with any luck i will pass my exam next week and move on to the third level with another teacher. i should probably study a little for my exam, but with all the dutch i will maybe be speaking with my second family it looks like it should come fast. haha no just kidding, but we definitely speak a lot (too much, but i like it) english in my first house. even if we try and say okay, today is always dutch..it fails after ten minutes. the belgian people have an incredible adaptation to languages, which is to my advantage is so many ways..until it comes to school! anyways, since it was wednesday school was done after lunch so thus proceeded to come home and eat sandwiches with chocolate on them. its actually really weird. i've mentioned sandwiches before, but i will say it again..in america we would consider it a hot dog bun. and the chocolate, i'm not referring to nutella, i mean like..a thin chocolate bar kind of chocolate. it has to be the tastiest thing to put on a sandwich since peanut butter and jelly! after that i went to the store with my host mom to get things to make food for tonight. i made white chili this afternoon and i think everyone liked it, which was nice. it was nice to have all three sets of host parents all together, kind of a nice transition. they are all so nice and friendly, its wonderful actually. i'm scared to move but that is normal, and especially after tonight i know it will all work out. the only thing i think i'm nervous about is all the dutch...my self esteem is not so high with that! but i must keep trying and practicing, then i'm sure the confidence will come. well i'm not sure if i've said everything but i'm super tired and need to get to sleep. so again thanks for reading, thanks for listening, and thank you for caring. ;) goodnight

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

147!

hi world! going to be another short note tonight because i'm really tired. i've spent most of the night packing because it turns out my second family wants some of my luggage tomorrow, which is actually a good thing because i don't think i could make it all fit in a car for one trip! i have so much..especially lots of shoes and scarves but it makes me feel more comfortable so thats okay. nothing notable about school today other than i payed attention for my first time in math class! too bad they didn't do anything. i only learned the name for a leap year in dutch..it is a "schrikkel jaar" which i find a really funny name. and yes i learned that in math class! next time i think they are going to start on "financial algebra" and i might try to join them, all the formulas are the same of course but the letters are different which makes it seem impossible at first glance. who knows. i went to a rotary meeting at lunch. we had some really soft white fish and manuella and i tried our hardest to eat it. i don't care if we had to eat fish, it was way better than being at school! soooo thats about all i have about today. i hope i'm not boring you by being short lately! goodnight :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

146!

good evening readers. day 146 and its my last monday with the first host family, odd. school again today.. not used to that at all! i've had almost a month free or with not much school so that was a reality check. bought a couple things after school because january is the month of sales in belgium, its neat but sort of chaotic and junky at the same time. hmm what else is there. had worstenbrood for dinner because its some special day where they only eat that, i have no idea how to explain it and every time i try to google it, its in too complicated of dutch for me to understand. any belgian readers care to explain it in a comment? haha, well. tomorrow is tuesday. lets hope i don't catch all the sickness thats going around school... :S goodnight.

145.


you give what you get. you get what you give..

Many of lifes failures were men who didnt realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

Never forget what is worth remembering or remember what is best forgotten.

Homesickness is nothing. Fifty percent of the people in the world are homesick all the time.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

The best way out is always through.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

144!

long driving day today! but finally back in belgium now, so that's good. i don't remember a whole lot about today because i took a lot of dramamine so i wouldn't get carsick. i think it shuts off part of my brain, because i slept the entire way home and was extremely clumsy when we finally arrived. i believe my host family referred to me as "a zombie" hahah. i'd believe it! i can tell you that there was more traffic than on the way here, but not that bad i guess. what i remember from the car ride was getting lost in switzerland, zurich maybe. then eating lunch at one of those big european gas stations/rest stops in france. i had a sandwich and a chocolate muffin, because i know you were wondering..or maybe not! oh man..it was almost 60 degrees fahrenheit in france while we were eating lunch..thats so crazy! according to my computer it was 1 degree in brookings today..and 50 degrees in turnhout. i find that interesting! as we were just getting to the belgian border it started raining..go figure right? a lot of the snow is melted though which makes me happy and sad. the snow is so beautiful here, but when its melted it means that it's warmer and i guess i'm okay with that too. maybe it will start to be more of a normal belgian winter, since all the snow that was here was really not normal! and apparently the snow in austria is normally a lot higher. global climate change, anyone? so eventually we got home (or more like.."home", because technically this isn't home i guess), unloaded, unpacked, started on laundry, and ate french fries. weird to think that this is my last saturday with my first host family! when should i start packing? nervous, exciting, and all those other feelings combined. wednesday i get together with all three of my host families for dinner..just to get a little more comfortable and tell them things about me such as my horrible carsickness, cereal for breakfast, and occasional discomfort around large animals. i'm going to make chili...white or red? haha well i guess thats about all i have to say about today. i'm a little sad i have to start school again on monday. it seems like school can either bring me up or down, depending on the day. its very mundane but the people are nice. thank goodness i have some english books to read..yesssss. well goodnight, thanks for reading, and i hope you enjoyed all my rambling tonight :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

143!

lets see...where to start about today. last day skiing! or in my case, not skiing..but don't fret, it was still a good time! my host dad took a wrong turn this morning so we ended up going through a really long curvy tunnel twice so i was really really carsick and we even stopped for a while after going through it once haha. so when we got to the ski place it was cold, snowy, and i felt like throwing up..thus, i was stupid and decided not to ski today. instead, i chilled out in this restaurant place drinking cola, eating schnitzel, reading my book, and playing on my ipod. it took me a solid two hours to not feel so sick anymore so it really wasn't a horrible decision anyhow i suppose! hmm lets see what else happened..we went to a bar again tonight before dinner, one last time with everybody. i experienced my first (and last) "flying hirsch" aka jagerbomb..weird! jagermeister and red bull..yuuuucky cough syrup taste. after that i had some water, i have some standards ya know, haha just kidding. so tonight i packed up my stuff because we leave tomorrow. i'm hoping theres not a lot of traffic because i really don't ever want to feel as carsick as i did today :( ..it took us less than 7 hours to get here but everyone else took like 13 the next day..wow! so wish me luck and i will be writing some more on the blog tomorrow night of course :) love you all and thanks for reading

142!

day 142 and i'm still in austria..cool stuff. not much to say about today i guess. i skied down a giant hill a couple of times this morning then gave up till lunch time. i can't seep to push myself enough to make it actually fun, its kind of a problem. i think i make everyone feel bad when i don't ski, because they think i'm not enjoying myself. but truthfully, i'm totally enjoying myself whether i'm skiing or not!! to me, a vacation is a time of relaxing and i guess skiing is more of a sport and as with all sports you can't really enjoy it and let go until you're comfortable with it and that seems to wear on my patience haha. so thus, i probably enjoy myself more when i'm not skiing too much but i am trying, trust me! i love it here, please believe me when i say that okay reader? i didn't have anything for lunch because i felt bad for putting everybody in a weird situation by stopping early. but after lunch i went sledding down the steepest scariest sledding path of my life! it was so crazy..i kept falling because it was so fast and when i tried to stop with my feet snow kept getting in my eyes causing me to crash and lay in the snow laughing by myself. it rocked. then i went down the same red piste as yesterday and i was done. a hot chocolate and a bus ride later we were back at the hotel. tonight we had dinner at our hotel with everybody that was here in our group..like 17 people or something? we finally ate spatzle! amazing..in case you're a food person like i am, here's a wikipedia link. somebody should attempt to make it at home and let me know how it goes ;) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spätzle so i guess that is all i have to say about today! thanks for reading and wish me luck/courage to ski some more tomorrow..woooohoo

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

141!

hello! day 141..and i actually went skiing today! i think i was even doing okay at it too. my right foot kept calling asleep even when i loosened my boots, but whatever. here are a couple pictures from when we took a break at around 11. i had a radler..the half beer and lemonade thing. mmm..beer and a view, my crazy life.
and here are a couple pictures from lunch. another radler! and a club sandwich.
after lunch i sat in the sun with my host mom and her friends and had a hot chocolate. our seat was heated and the hot chocolate was probably the best in my life. all i talk about is food, sorry. after that i skied down my first red piste...really not that hard but kind of icy. i think i did the pizza about 75% of the time. i'm getting pretty good with my parallel stuff on the blue runs, but red is difficult. i don't want to imagine black! so we came down the mountain and go figure time to drink something again. radler number three, enough for today! then we took the bus and came to the hotel. here's a picture of the town we were in today. its important and really popular i guess. i will figure out the name tomorrow. royalty comes here i guess. nice.
when we got back we showered then had dinner and now here i am. as i type this, i'm laying in bed in my pajamas drinking a glass of wine. haha, wow. livin the life i guess. well time to stop livin the life for today and go to bed. goodnight all!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

140!

day 140 and i wimped out and didn't ski today. you guessed it..not enough sleep + chair lift = absolutely not. immediately upon seeing the scary two person chair lift go all the way to the top of the (beautiful but) really high mountain the anxietyset in and i couldn't force myself to push through it. so i took the bus back to around this neighborhood then walked for like a half hour to the hotel. fun times. although it was good to have some time to myself, i really needed to think i guess. so i will share with you some pictures from yesterday, and hopefully tomorrow will be better. i find myself yet again feeling lucky because tomorrow is always a new day!
beautiful mountains..you can only imagine my fear going up there on the lift!
speaking of lifts, heres a lift i actually liked because ITS ENCLOSED! well it was nice until it stopped and let us swing there for five minutes..
awesome host family number one!
nail game..no of course thats not my hand with a beer..hehehe. but seriously, half beer half lemonade.
sliding down a hill after "apres-skiing" haha...love you all and thanks for reading.


Monday, January 3, 2011

139.

my dearest blog readers, hello. skiing today was very nice, and i think i actually enjoyed it. this morning i went with a ski teacher and a couple other people and i found it not so scary and not so intimidating after all. go figure there! but i must say that the chair lift at the very top of the mountain was the scariest thing of my life! having your feet dangle down while heading up to the top of the giant mountain is quite intimidating. although, i do believe it was also one of the most beautiful (if not THE most beautiful) sights of my life. but the lift was after lunch, before lunch we just did easy stuff which was fine with me. so let me tell you about lunch. we all met at this crazy lodge type place at the bottom of the mountain for lunch and at the end of the day. i had something that i would describe as...a giant hash brown with cheese, bacon, and a fried egg on top. weird eh? but so good. so after lunch we first took a normal (enclosed!) lift up the mountain which ended up stopping leaving us suspended for like five minutes swinging around...didn't enjoy that at all! so after skiing more than enough we met at the crazy bar place again. since we were standing outside my host mom suggested that i drink another warm wine like yesterday but i really didn't feel like it, so the guy behind the bar suggested another warm thing...which was basically like apple cider with some alcohol in it. okay can't complain, haha. eventually we went inside and i finally figured out the definition of "apres ski". basically, its the party after a day of skiing. for me, it was drinking a couple "radlers" (half beer half lemonade..really ridiculous actually), pretending to dance to loud german music, and playing a drinking game. the game was this giant tree stump where you hammer nails into person by person until your nail is all the way in..and the last person to get theirs in buys everyone drinks or something. so after some partying we came to the hotel and had dinner. i came to my room to blog after dinner and sad news awaited me on the computer. a perfectly young, creative and loving friend tragically died in a hiking accident. it's really sad, and i feel beyond horrible for the family. but with faith you can get through anything, and the family is the most faithful and inspirational family i know. my trips to utah won't be the same without his witty comments. so rest in peace josh, you are an inspiration to everyone. becca and i would have never dared to dance in front of the middle school for the student council elections without you leading the way and doing crazy things the year before. thanks for reading guys!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

138!

day 138, first day on the slopes, and the blog has also reached over 9 thousand total page views. yippity doodah. well, today started nice and ended nice, i will say that for sure. for once i didn't mind eating bread for breakfast because they were some classic Austrian rolls that i've expected to see in Europe since the day i got here..along with some hot chocolate made with really real milk...or, 2%? who knows. then it was time to ski. i wasn't that scared actually, but let me start by giving you some background information about myself. if i do not get enough sleep or if i have had a bad nights sleep, i am a wreck. i'm usually not an angry, emotional, or bitter person..but with the improper sleep, anything can happen with me. last night we slept with the window open because my host mom is used tothat. okay, i'll try anything once. hmm, not so pleasant. thus, i was fine going up the lift, which i thought would be the hardest part..but i had no idea what was to come. we got out of the lift and all the sudden i look down and see the steepest slope i could have ever imagined i would start with. okay, have no fear..i can do this since i've practiced on the moving carpet, right? absolutely not! fight or flight...hmm, lets see..little sleep, steep hill..FIGHT! i got down the hill and never wanted to do it again in my life. but lucky me i have five more days of it, hoorah hoorah..lets get to it. no, actually it wasn't as bad as imake it sound. apparently i was actually not so bad at it either, but i can't say that it was at all enjoyable. thats how i am though, if i am uncomfortable with something or feel like i'm not doing it perfectly; i will "dislike" it. that is something i am really really striving to i
mprove in my time as an exchange student. i've come a long way so far, and this skiing nonsense is going to make me hard as a rock, or...my legs at least. here's me pretending to be happy doing "the pie/pizza/plow" down a hill. i was a lot less giddy than i appear to be.
next is the map. the finger is pointing to what we did. it took me like two hours, an hour of which was complaining. my fear of heights really doesn't help me with the steep winding slopes of Austria..shucks!
and this is the warm wine i drank after my failed attempt at skiing. it tasted like warm wine with apple cider spices. i could only finish half because i wasn't feeling 100%, but i'm glad i got to try it.
so we finally came to the hotel after what seemed like forever. everything seems like forever when your head isn't in the right place. we had chicken for dinner. last night was schnitzel, best thing ever! but like i said, morning and night of today were fine. skiing is just another thing i need to push myself through and learn some valuable life lesson crap from, i know that. please believe me when i say that i will try my hardest again tomorrow, but it really is the fear that gets me. a switch in my brain must flip and say, "so what if i fall over that giant cliff..i'm here to ski!"..and that switch will probably not be flipping for a couple days. so thanks for reading, and here are a couple stupid quotes i found about skiing.

The sport of skiing consists of wearing three thousand dollars' worth of clothes and equipment and driving two hundred miles in the snow in order to stand around at a bar and get drunk. ~P.J. O'Rourke,Modern Manners, 1984

There are really only three things to learn in skiing: how to put on your skis, how to slide downhill, and how to walk along the hospital corridor. ~Lord Mancroft, A Chinaman in the Bath, 1974

haha, i think they are kind of funny. last but not least, a picture of the blanket in the hotel room. a heart! aww. goodnight!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

137!

good day bloggers! i have now officially written my blog from three different countries. usa, belgium, and today austria! we finally left around 6:30 this morning and i took two dramamine and was out cold sleeping most of the way here. the drive was only about 7 hours because nobody was on the roads...partied too hard to wake up and drive in the morning maybe? so we arrived at our quaint hotel and then went to rent our ski equipment. apparently i got lucky and have some brand new boots and nice skis..nice! so tomorrow will hopefully not be so bad..wish me luck with the falling, or better yet wish me luck not to fall! but seriously its really beautiful here. when we were driving in i thought to myself that its like..utah and the black hills combined, only better. i also bought a new hat today, its pretty cool. i'm sure you'll see it in pictures later. i don't know why i'm so proud of my hat, but i like it. anyways, i'm very happy the hotel has wifi, although it won't connect in my room so i have to sit in the lobby. now i better go get ready for dinner. i'm very lucky to be here! i genuinely feel special. hmmm. hope your first day of 2011 is fabulous! thanks for reading :)