Friday, April 29, 2011


hey world! well, today was officially a GREAT day! since my dutch schedule keeps changing from lessons mon-tues-wed-fri to mon-tues-wed-thurs blah blah blah, my host mom and i just went and had some fun instead. its not my fault they switch the schedule every time the teacher gets sick and we have to move to another class! anywho, today we went to Leuven, which was a little over an hour drive. Its a big university city in belgium, and it was really fun! the weather at first was a little questionable, the sun really wanted to come out of the clouds and finally it did! not like last week when i was laying out in my bikini, but when you didn't feel the wind it was really nice! hey south dakota is your snow melted yet? :) hehe! sooooo besides finding lots of cute shops (i may or may not have bought two scarves and a skirt..who knows..yes, more for the suitcase to go home, oh crap!), we also meet up with my host brother (who also rode home with us, because university students go home EVERY WEEKEND!), and ate lunch. could you follow that sentence, because it was a little choppy, sorry! we went to this lunchy type place and sat outside and i had an ammmmaaaazing salad! i think i could eat salad everyday for the rest of my life. especially ones like this with bacon, apples, feta, grapes, and some other random things.

deeeelish! but, there was a downside to my lunch. although the salad was fantastic and it was nice and quaint to sit outside...a gosh darn bird POOPED ON ME! and on my host brother. like literally ORANGE gooey stuff on my back and hands, absolutely disgusting! but whatever. i did my best to get over it, and it was actually quite an annoying sort of "a bird just went potty on me" sort of way. then we walked around a little more and eventually got tired from such hard work (shopping, walking, whatever) "just like two grandmas" said my host mom..and so we sat outside to drink something.
there is me! and there is the city hall. faaaaancy!
so thats about all for today! tomorrow another busy day, going to something with the rotary in the morning and then to the opera tomorrow night. lucky lucky me. goodnight! thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


hello world. nothing special thursday going on here...hate to say it, but yet another blog for today i think! i went to dutch class this morning, where we learned (AGAIN) alllll about weddings, then had to write a story about a wedding that you've been to in your life. boring. i dont know if the point of the lesson was to use past tense verbs, or just to learn about weddings? i guess its quite relevant if i was going to get married in belgium (like many from my class) or if i needed more vocabulary words such as courthouse, bride, ceremony, certificate, blah blah. anyways, it was sort of lame. i'm getting more and more disappointed in my lessons, but i'll do my best to stay positive for my last couple weeks eh!! after that i came home and had lunch (which included a hard boiled egg leftover from dying easter eggs on sunday, hahah i think my family is afraid to eat them because they're...colored), then went to my other school for a few afternoon lessons. today i had jazz band then a class where we normally learn about art and history and blah blah blah but today we learned about jazz, so they were actually two nice lessons! in jazz band we got to play new songs for the first time in what seems like forever. i feel in my arms that i'm not as good as i used to be, but hopefully this summer i can get that back to normal. but still i had fun and did my best. i guess on the 15th we play for this open house thing which will be nice to still participate in a school activity right before i leave. hmmm..lets see, what else. then in the next lesson we learned about big bands and listened to "take the a train" and then started talking about charlie "bird" parker and the teacher asked me what was supposed to go between charlie and parker and i said bird and then he told me that i could stay for the rest of the lesson, haha odd teacher. tonight we had quiche for dinner, with leeks and bacon. nobody uses leeks in america, or from what i know they arent that popular. here they are in everything. especially soup. that and fennel. weird white and green vegetables that we always ignore. hmm...well thats all for today, sorry i'm so boring. goodnight!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


hey world! happy wednesday..and in my case, waffle wednesday!! every wednesday school is done around noon, so we always have pancakes or waffles for lunch or dinner and "real food" for the other. other than going to dutch class this morning and hearing ALLLLL about weddings in belgium, morocco, iraq and whatnot..the most exciting part of my day was eating a waffle and taking a nap. yeah thats right, i took a nap! and i'm still really tired. i think its something with the weather, or i'm getting sick..because unless i'm super tired i never take naps. and i wasn't that super tired today. actually, i just never have enough time for naps. so here's a series of photos that you'll hopefully like. the life of a waffle before it enters my stomach..

awww cute little heart shaped waffles! eaten warm with nutella and/or peanut butter of course. i can't wait to make them at home with my waffle maker from my first family!! it was such a good christmas present. maybe i should have a waffle party when i get home? hopefully i still have friends that will be able to hang out with me, weird to think about. ah there i go again, talking about home. stop that jamie! haha. but time to go to sleep early tonight. thanks for reading, and sorry if you're craving a waffle now....

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


hello! well, gotta warn ya blog writing inspiration for today is really low, so i might ramble or it might be really short. we'll see. anywho. today! happy tuesday, first day after a looooong easter break. today was MY first day of the next level of dutch class...level 4! i'm so proud of myself. but the bad news is that my teacher will be sick for another month, so we're all stuck in the class of another lady for this week and hopefully they will find someone else to teach us next week..we'll see. so for now our class is big, loud, and still easy for me. interesting! today after dutch class i went to the rotary meeting. no meeting next week, then the tuesday after that is when i give my presentation...and then i'm gone. soooo weird! i could swear it was just yesterday when i got here. but, i can't keep talking about my feelings about leaving because that makes for one boring blog right? well..i don't have much else to say, so i'll go back and talk about something that i didn't mention about yesterday. yesterday as we were sitting outside drinking cola and whatnot, these funny looking people approached us and it turns out they were tictac people! yes..tictac people. or..people dressed in white with a tictac box backpack.
so anyways, we all got free tictacs. then i shared them in dutch class this morning because i'm so kindhearted. and that is my funny ending story for today. sorry i'm so boring! thanks for reading. goodnight!

Monday, April 25, 2011


good day, blog reader! i think today was my favorite day of my exchange so far. i would say my favorite day in belgium, but it wasn't in belgium! this morning we woke up early, ate breakfast, then hopped in the car to go to KEUKENHOF! assuming you don't know what that is, it is the WORLDS LARGEST FLOWER GARDEN..full of millions of pretty flowers, and mainly..TULIPS! first we drove to my first family's house and then we all drove a couple hours to get there. it was absolutely amazing weather, beautiful flowers, and great company. we walked around, ate lunch, and took lots of pretty pictures! enjoy..

all of us!! lovely isnt it? there are so many more pictures but that's all i'll put on here. after looking at the flowers at keukenhof we drove about halfway back home to a city in the netherlands named Breda. it was nice, and just really nice to be with everyone all together.

after walking around a bit we (and the rest of the town, it was so nice outside) sat on a terrace for an hour or so then went to an awesome turkish/moroccan restaurant for dinner. look at the yummyness we all ate..
dutch/turkish version of applebees appetizer sampler platter? ;) but i'm really tired, and unfortunately i have school tomorrow again...but i must say that this has been an amazing "spring break" with Italy, cookies baking, speech writing, beautiful weather, and a lovely day in holland. i am so lucky, and sooo thankful! love you readers!


HAPPY EASTER, WORLD! hope you all had a wonderful day, i know i did! yet another beautiful day in belgium...starting to feel spoiled here. such nice weather, nice people, nice things to do..hmm. this morning we (mainly i) got up a little earlier (meaning before noon..shocker eh) and we ate breakfast then went to church. i found it pretty neat to see how church works here, considering i've never seen the inside of the pretty church that's right on the market. here's a couple quick pictures i took as i was trying not to look like a tourist...

basically, a lot different looking than at home. hmmm well i must say, we had lots of tasty food today but my most favorite was by far the following..
a giant basket of chocolate...deadly. i love chocolate, but belgian chocolate is like..even better than normal chocolate. ridiculous! and look..i even got a special little chocolate chick alllll for me..adorable right? it's so difficult not to rip him apart and eat him..chocolate addiction maybe?
but as for the rest of was 80 degrees again, so so beautiful! you won't believe this (but my host mom has pictures somewhere..uh oh) but i was laying outside for over an hour in a SWIMSUIT! bikini for that matter, but with all this chocolate layin around it probably wasn't so attractive. i think i'm a little tan now, maybe? i have visible tan lines, anyways. mostly from italy still..but a little from today! then i felt lazy laying there and asked if anybody wanted to go on a little bike ride with me..and my host parents said they would, but "a little bike ride" here is like...20 miles? so we compromised and did about.....6 or 7? enough to enjoy the day. afterwards i wanted to dye easter eggs still..because i bought little color tablets the other day at the grocery store. so my host mom made a couple and i made like 8. nothing compared to the 12 dozen my family in america apparently made!? but yeah..its crazy, when its such nice weather you don't even notice that it's all the sudden 8pm, haha. it really is like summer. fiiiiine for me! i'm more than happy to spend my last weeks here with warm belgian-summer weather, considering there's still snow at the lake house where my mom's at celebrating easter. ridiculous! i can't imagine it warming up that much within the next 3+ weeks for when i get there. burrrrrr! so after biking we came home and had chocolate cake for dinner. hahahhaa. that was a great sentence, but seriously! too full for dessert when we ate just eat it for dinner. awesome. with warm weather and chocolate, whats not to love about Easter 2011 :) thanks for reading, have a great day!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


hello lovely reader :) hope you're enjoying your day! i know i enjoyed mine..but how could you not with 80 degree weather! skirt, tank top, sunglasses, sandals...AMAZING! i think we finished eating dinner at like..9:30pm and we were still outside not even close to cold. not normal eh! sadly next week it goes down a bit again, but still nothing like how it is at home right now. today, i actually got a lot done for my presentation. i would say i'm about half way done, and with a little more work next week then hopefully it will be good and ready to go by the 10th! i feel like everything is going so quickly, let alone when i go back to school next week then time will just fly away. so many mixed feelings, literally a feeling of everything and nothing at the same time. i don't think about it though, theres no time to think about silly things like that when i can be enjoying the beautiful weather (and working on my presentation..argh)! so since we made just so many cupcakes last night, and since it was such nice weather, my host mom and i biked to oud-turnhout to drop off a few cupcakes/pigs to my first host family! it was nice seeing them..its always nice seeing them! we sat outside for over and hour and never ran out of things to talk about, i don't think we ever will, haha. its great. but here's a couple pics from biking there, just to get the effect of biking and how warm it was today!
bike bike bike...
shall i buy a new one when i'm back in brookings? i think that would be a good idea! but thats about all i have for today folks. tomorrow is EASTER SUNDAY! we're going to church and eating with the family and stuff. i'm excited! i can't believe that its already Easter though! but like i said, no more talking about how time flies and whatnot. love you all, goodnight!


top o the morning/afternoon/evening to ya, reader! today, i actually got a little bit of progress done on my presentation! but..first i woke up really late again, whoops. otherwise maybe i would have gotten a little more done, but thats life eh. i love sleeping. i could do it 24/7 if i wanted to..but theres no time for that now is there? just think how much of your life you spend sleeping. ahh, what a waste of time that is! but nonetheless i'm super tired tonight from working REALLY hard with my host sister and her cousin on some super cool cupcakes! yes, another baking day! i love it. i could never say no to fun colored edible things. so we first wanted to make rainbow cupcakes but thats too easy so check out what we made instead..

hamburger......CUPCAKES! nifty eh? sort of weird to see in a picture, but in person they look like cute little burgers...makes me want nicks hamburgers...ahhhh
and then some lil piggies!
and gulp gulp gulp....FROGS! just fun to play around, but we started around 8 and finished at midnight, so i'm tired now and i shall go to sleep. thank you SO MUCH for reading, talk to yall tomorrow :)

Friday, April 22, 2011


hello all! day 247..yet ANOTHER beautiful day in belgium :) today i got up late (of course..what else is new eh?) and then had lunch and made lots of cookie dough! cookie dough..random you say, but it was because my host mom and i went to her god-childs/niece's house to make cookies/give a sort of cookie lesson. it was suuuuuper fun! i loved making cookies and speaking dutch with the kids. i think they enjoyed baking them and especially decorating them and of course eating them..yummm...
a couple things surprised me today! first, that all the kids speak perfect dutch and french..because they speak one language at home and one language at school, it was unbelievably cool! and second, how they live in such a beautiful part of belgium! i mean, i find all of belgium nice but this part had scenery (TREES! wow i've missed trees) and a different feel that made it seem like we were somewhere else. check out their view!
combine cookies, a view, and super great weather and its perfect! oh..and what more, blooming trees!
pretty eh? and last but not least..take a look at the cookies! colorful!
but thats all for tonight...afterwards we drove through Leuven and i've decided its like the Sioux Falls of Belgium. i'm also proud of myself that i didn't feel carsick driving there and back, because it was like an hour and a half to their house! tonight i skyped with a couple friends from home, and it made me feel a lot better because sometimes i think everyones forgotten about me. woo. so yes, it was a good day. thanks for reading, goodnight!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


hey world! happy wednesday! hopefully your day was a little more productive than mine, because i've been absolutely lazy today..but to my credit, its my first lazy day since before going to italy, so i guess it was necessary. i tried so so super super hard to work on my rotary presentation, but i find it really difficult to find the words i want to say and come across as still myself in another language! if i have to make a presentation with a powerpoint and stuff in school at home, i usually gather all the information, write an outline, make a powerpoint, then make some notecards and use them while i speak..but here i think i will be too nervous to just read off an outline and explain each slide in front of so many people! my language skills are good, i'm really confident about that..but its weird because usually i'm not a nervous person but when it comes to speaking dutch and TRYING to GIVE them the impression that i know what i'm doing instead of just doing it naturally then it troubles me. hmm. hopefully (hopefully!!) tomorrow i will get a lot more done with it. i ended up cleaning my room a little bit today instead of writing my speech like i should have been. normally its my computer and facebook that distracts me from doing something, so cleaning was actually a better alternative of procrastinating but still not good! haha. we ate lunch and dinner outside today, i'm not sure about breakfast because i slept till like..a little before noon. (hey now..its easter break). other than that i don't have much for you today! i'll leave ya with a picture my mom emailed me the other day, and one i took like an hour ago with my webcam. stupid collage, i know..its all i could find quickly on the internet eh! little american jamie and big belgian jamie..haha some things never change. love you all, thanks for reading!!


hello reader! hoe gaat het met jou? another happy, beautiful day in belgium here! well, actually..half of it wasn't in belgium. this morning/afternoon i went with a friend from school with the bus right across the border in holland to go to a theme park, haha! yes normally they are for little kids..but it was a pretty one, and a super pretty day as well so it was nice to to do! when i say pretty day i mean tee shirt and shorts all day..nice eh? here are a couple pictures from some little kid rides..

and then there was even a 4-D movie..oooo...where they blow wind on you and have fake rain in the theater..things that i get sick in most of the time, but this one wasn't long or fancy enough to matter haha
anywho! it was fun. then we came home and i had to get ready and go to a rotary meeting tonight. one of my last rotary meetings then i suppose! three more probably..and for one of them i have to give my presentation..scary!! i'll probably spend most of my day tomorrow attempting to work on that, wish me luck. well thanks for reading, talk to you tomorrow blog people!

Monday, April 18, 2011


hey reader :) absolutely beautiful day in belgium today!! you south dakotans have it rough over there, because i was in a tee shirt and jeans today and i was almost too warm! crazy eh. i remember freezing my butt off for prom pictures the past few years around this time! but anywho, about my day! this morning i woke up early to catch a train to meet another exchange student friend in Ghent! it was about 2 hours on the trains and 2.5 hours or so total travel time. i say that just to give you a relative idea of how long it takes to get somewhere in such a small lil country! so anyways, after meeting my friend who super ironically has THE SAME LAST NAME as me (maybe i've mentioned this before?) we walked from the station to town and just hung out in Ghent the whole day. since its monday and we aren't smart, we forgot that most of the museums were CLOSED. typical mondays in belgium..seriously NOTHING is open on sunday and like half of everything is closed on monday. so we decided to get soup...i had mushroom soup! :D
there's just this soup place that has 4 different kinds of soup every day, and then you get little rolls and an apple with it and i think its a SOUPER (haha get it. super..soup..yeah) clever idea! you get it all for 4 euro ($5.50) which isn't super bad if you consider that its all fresh and you're not wasting your money on mcdonalds or something. anybody want to open a soup shop for me to eat at in brookings? ok enough about food. but because there wasn't much to we sat by the water, then drank beer on a terrace, walked some more, found a cupcake shop (cupcake pictured in the little white box that im holding below, and went to the shopping street and i bought shorts! look how pretty it is!
around 5 o clock we found our way back to the train station and i came home but first i had to take a picture of the RIDICULOUS (i dont know why im capitalizing so many words today) amount of bikes on the way to the station..
they went on forever and ever! pretty neat. so overall, it was a nice day. now i'm super tired, and i think tomorrow will be a busy nice day too so i better get my beauty sleep! goodnight and thanks for reading!

243..8 months!

my dear, dear readers..good evening. today is a day of many mixed feelings here in belgium, but before i get to the heavy stuff let me first tell you what i did today, because thats how this blog thing is supposed to work, right? today was an absolutely lovely sunday in belgium! i must have brought the sun back with my from Italy, because we had lunch outside and it was pretty much a perfect temperature in the sun! although i'll admit, it took a little getting used to after it being super summer warm in Italy. but anyways! other than that i unpacked my suitcase from Italy and then tonight i went to a movie with a friend from school. i must say, the movie theater in Turnhout is a big step up than ours in Brookings. but the down side is that they get most of the movies later than we do in the US, and now that its Easter vacation and a sunday night, almost all of the movies were in dutch for little kids except "just go with it" with adam sandler and jennifer anniston. it was decent! but now back to the news of the day. 8 months in Belgium today! well thats not quite fair to say, because i've done some traveling to other countries in between, but i've been here for the last 243 days and i have never been more proud of myself in my life! the dictionary definition of proud is the following. Proud–adjective
1.feeling pleasure or satisfaction over something regarded as highly honorable or creditable to oneself (often followed by of, an infinitive, or a clause)...and i can completely agree with this copy and paste from! i'm very pleased and satisfied with my time here. all the things i have seen, learned, experienced, observed, tried, accomplished, and all the words in between! but all good things come to an end, and to everything there is a season (although that makes it sound like somebody died or something, but i dont mean it that way at all). anyways. i have never wanted it to sound like i am "counting down" on my blog, because thats not the point at all! and although there have been some bad days in the blog posts as well, i can say that up to this point i've successfully managed to count up the days that i've been here! today is the exception! today i'm informing the world that i have chosen my return date to the United States to be May 17th, 2011. exactly one month from today, making my exchange a total of 9 months. no need to worry, i'll be sure and blog every day (i hope!) up until i leave, which is also something i'm proud of myself with! i've thought a lot about what to do with all my blog posts, all 243 days worth..and the best thing i can think of is print them all off and read it when i'm an old granny! i don't know if i could ever make a real book/novel out of it, my writing skills are definitely sub-par, but who knows. this year has given me so much more than what i could try to write in a book, its even hard to describe on my online journal aka blog. (dutch readers: aka =also known as...een andere naam voor?hah). well anyways! thats the news for today. and since i feel like this was sort of a bummer of a blog post, i'll leave you with something you can maybe laugh at. it's definitely one of my favorite photos i took in italy.
have a great day/night/week/afternoon/whatever! love, jamie marguerite

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Italy! (days 231-242)

hey world! guess who is back from italy...your favorite blog writer jamie of course! hope you all didn't miss me too much while i was gone. i had a ton of fun going around italy with everyone from school, i'm super glad i made the decision to go with them! i guess i'll sort of give you an overview of what we did along with some pictures, but in general i can that we saw TONS of things, ate LOTS of gelato, pasta, and pizza, and especially ENJOYED the sun and atmosphere of historic, educational, beautiful italy. so here we go!
day 1: left belgium after dinner time and got on the bus to head to italy! basically slept the entire night on the bus, took a few rest stops and noticed that one rest stop was the same one we went to with my first family on ski vacation..odd?
day 2: arrived in italy mid-morning..lots of italian traffic after our breakfast stop, but eventually arrived in PISA! who knew that there is more to Pisa than the leaning tower? we saw the tower, toured a church and some other important buildings that i don't remember..but most importantly, i got my typical tourist photo i've always wanted :)
after pisa we rode yet again with the bus to Montecatini where our hotel was. this Montecatini place is where i enjoyed my first italian gelato...a deadly start to my ice cream eating filled adventure...
day 3: Florence, Italy! saw just about every important square, church, building, and statue (david included) or as many possible things as we could in one day. pity that we were only there for one day, i think it was my favorite out of them all!
had to walk up so many stairs to get to the top of some church and see this view!

apparently some known little shops on a bridge? cute!
legend says touching this thing gives me good luck..we'll see about that
day 4: Siena, Italy! two hour bus ride there, the another 7 hours in the bus later that afternoon! we weren't long in this town, but it was cute. saw an important square and a church then had a picnic in the sun (fresh mozarella and tomatoes included...mmm)!
apparently my shorts were too short, because i had to wear this silly throw away skirt that they gave me to go in this church..haha trade off for such nice weather!
day 5: Pompeii, Italy! this is the place where Mt. Vesuvius totally demolished everything way back when, but everything was somehow preserved through the ash and then they found it we spent most of the day looking at all the ruins, it was interesting but very warm..good thing there's ice cream to fix that!
wooo for old ruins from houses! check out the cool main bedroom i'm in..haha
more ruins and the volcano. so then later in the day we rode the bus about 4 hours to our hotel in rome..boring bus.
day 6: Rome, Italy! lots and lots of walking, some bad pizza for lunch, lots and lots of churches, buildings, statues, fountains, but the best part it that it was SAW THE POPE!
check the vatican and whatnot in the background..nice eh?
and theres the Pope! coming out of his office to say hello in so many different languages!
throwing a coin and making a wish with girls from my class in the Trevi Fountain!
and finally the spanish stairs.
day 7: Rome, Italy. saw everything dealing with "old rome" lots and lots of ruins! as the main attraction you would automatically assume the colosseum, right? but NO! it was (*&%$ing) CLOSED! because there was an exhibit inside or something. so we only saw the outside. guess that mean's i'll have to come back again in my lifetime, eh? but for the rest it was just old ruins, churches, and a museum..

day 8: Rome, Italy (still..). all we did was go to the Vatican Museum then sit on the bus to ride to Assisi that night. i did get to see the Sistine Chapel though, so that was cool..check out Michelangelo's neat ceiling!
followed by St. Peter's Basilica..such a big place! it was huge!
and then some gelato and some newly bought sandals. sort of fitting for rome, isnt it?
day 9: Assisi, Italy! Nice relaxing day in the quaint yet touristic town of Assisi. We saw St Francis Basilica and the Basilica of St Clare. The afternoon was really relaxing, we walked up a big hill to a castle looking thing then laid in the sun drawing the whole afternoon.
day 10: Ravenna, Italy. left our hotel in Assisi and rode 3 hours with the bus to Ravenna, where we visited yet another church and then had really thick noodles(or worms?) for lunch. actually, pasta is just an appetizer in italy...don't even get me started about how i never want to eat spaghetti, pizza, or ice cream ever again! ah!
day 11: Venice, Italy! we stayed in a super weird hotel on the sea, so the following morning we didn't have to sit in the bus forever to get a boat to venice. when i say super weird, i say that because the entire bathroom was a shower..there was a shower head/hose in the bathroom and no actual shower. so odd! but anyways, for our last day we went to Venice. This was my 3rd time in Venice and i've decided i really like it. The other two times were in the heat of July and it was just a lot more pleasant without smelling stinky warm canals and sweaty tourists and pigeons. We did a walking tour around a few important things then we had the rest of the day free. i went with a few girls from my class and had a panini for lunch, bought a few things, ate some ice cream, then stopped in the hard rock cafe for some ice tea before we left to get the boat then go back on the bus.
day 12: back in belgium! we rode the whole night with the bus back to Turnhout, Belgium. we got here this morning but what made my morning (besides eating belgian french fries again...that was more like afternoon though) was what was out the bus window this morning as i was just waking up. hot air balloons! and lots of them! there were like 12 in the sky all over and it was just so pretty! aww...
A part of me will really miss Belgium when i'm gone..things like hot air balloons are just things i don't see much of at home, haha. but i'm content with knowing i've seen and experienced so many things this year that i will never forget and will always be thankful for! and met so many people too! ah! it has all been very nice. so that was my trip to Italy. i hope you read to the end, enjoyed the pictures, and didn't miss me too much while i was away :) goodnight!