Friday, September 28, 2012

i'm going to catch the black plague.

I've been here a month. It feels like forever... but it also feels like I got here yesterday.

I still remember walking to the car with my host family for the first time, and my host dad asking me, "Tu as faim?" I had no idea what he was saying to me. Not because I didn't know the French, but because no one had ever really spoken French to me like that. It feels so good that I can *almost* speak French now. A month later I know that, No, I am not hungry. 

I still don't understand a word my teachers say and when people try to say something to me at school, it's almost always followed by a "Quoi??? :O" from me and a sigh from them before they repeat what they said.

I find it so interesting that it's only taken me a month to fall in love with the country. I love the winding roads and how nice everyone is. I love the cows and God, even the copious amounts of bread. I love the view from my window and although I hate the cold I'm becoming partial to the way the air is always a little crisp.

I'm definitely starting to figure out the routine. Tuesday is Crepe Tuesday. My host mom comes home late and so my host dad makes crepes for souper. Yesterday I had five (two with nutella, two with Ohio maple syrup ;), and one peanut butter and jelly -- that combination always gets me odd looks and I love it.) But I justify this by reminding myself that I also had to jog for an hour. Wednesday everyone gets out of school at noon and Zephyr comes over.

It feels good to settle in. It still blows me away when I think that I'm actually in Belgium, that it's all actually happening, but at the same time, it's starting to feel like home, little by little. Even if I desperately miss our blue kitchen, Agave burritos and my mom's cooking.

I guess I'm just going to try and re-cap everything that's happened, my punishment for letting it go so long without a blog.

First of all, I went Belgian folk dancing with my family. There was this whole huge festival (that is apparently tradition for my family) that vaguely reminded me of pioneer days scaled down and to a Medieval theme. So not really pioneer days at all. There were these Flame Thrower guys who were super stressful to watch, but impossible to ignore.

I got to meet my AFS liaison for the first time and also got to see Guillemans (the big train station in Liege) and part of the University of Liege campus.

For the most part, nothing has been so culturally shocking that I've be unable to wrap my mind around it. Except one thing: nose blowing and coughing. Belgians are reckless and they never wash their hands. And as a result literally everyone in school is sick. Including me.

Tomorrow is a holiday here, so everyone in Liege with AFS decided that we're going to Brugge. I promise there will be many pictures from that. And I'll do a better job of updating more regularly.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

beaucoup de fromage

I promise the beaucoup de... trend will end soon, but this was just too perfect.

I went to a cheese party today at my host mom's aunt's house. The way it was explained to me, I thought it was going to be like, fondue. But it wasn't at all.

Literally, plates of cheese that you tasted and -- the hard part, I'm told -- remember which ones were the best ones. I tasted four! One was brie, I know, but I don't remember the others. (I failed, hahaha). There were also boxes of wine, which I found very humorous. Then after we had pie... I had rice pie. So weird! Good though.

So I've been in Belgium a week, and I think I've officially met the entire family.

In other exciting news, Zephyr (one of my older host sister's son) now knows my name.

After all of this, we went on a walk. (See pictures below.)

beaucoup de photos

Saturday, September 1, 2012

beaucoup de mouche

I'm sitting at my window right now, which is an incredibly pleasant view. HOWEVER, my host family has horses and there are tons of cows in the area. So naturally, there are tons and tons of flies. I suppose this is how people feel when they come to Oberlin in the summer, but really, I'm going to lose my mind.

I'm homesick for the first time today. It's sort of weird. I really, really, really miss American food. Belgian food really isn't all that different, honestly, and it's really good! And I find myself wanting not only the best food from home, but also the crappy food that I get when I'm in a hurry, like the Chinese food from the mall or Agave. I dunno... Maybe that's just how my homesickness is manifesting, but I really want wings from the Feve or my mom's spaghetti.

I also think it's because I'm at the end of a couple of really busy days, and I don't know when I'm going to see the friends I've made in Belgium yet.

I think that I was in sort of a grace period, where I got to go to Liege for a French class and speak English with other AFS students that I already knew. Now I have to face the actual facts of my exchange, that I don't really know anyone at my school (except Eva) and all my classes will be in French.

I still feel optimistic though, because the French gets easier every day, and I know I'll be able to make friends one way or another.

Anyway, in other exciting news, I finally had my first gaufre (waffle) and my first frites! Tres bon! The first time we got frites, we made the mistake of getting ketchup, which is NOT the same and as a big fan of American ketchup, I wasn't into the weird Belgian stuff. The next time, we did like the Belgians and got mayonnaise and a mustard sauce that I could pick off a list but trying to spell it would be impossible.

I keep telling myself that I'm going to take pictures of all of this stuff but when I'm in the moment it just doesn't come to my mind... But others DO take photos, and I'll steal them :p