Thursday, April 3, 2014

Okay... I'm a procrastinator so I haven't posted since December... So here is JANUARY!!!

First off; I went to Brugge with the Rotary (again, I know I already went there...) so here are just some pictures of that adventure... Brugge is technically nicknamed "little venice" (that is the translation in French) for the canals, as you can see in the first picture.




Here I am feeding a horse made out of jeans... It's not really that big of a deal but I really like horses and this thing was looking pretty cool so I had to take a picture with the horse :D (you gotta admit it turned out pretty cool!)




We went on a walking tour and ended up going through this brick wall barracade type of thing only to come out on the other side and find.... HOUSES OF NUNS!! These little white houses used to house nuns (and some still do) way back in the day, they really were quite beautiful (especially with the trees) but they do all look the same, so that's a drawback I would say...



Before I changed host families (I'll get to that part) Alain and Isa took us to one last place, which just happened to be a castle!! The castle was pretty neat, we toured all of the rooms and learned a lot about the whole thing (because it was a tour; so there was a guide to talk about all of the features of the castle, I love it when that happens).



This one is a tear jerker (not really, I didn't cry). However this is my last family photo with the Hubins, I miss them dearly but my new family is quite nice (they really are great). But I will always have my first mom here in Belgium along with all my sisters and especially my dad Alain... I will (or am I guess) really miss my sisters (after all I have none in the USA and my sisters here are the greatest!!). They were the best family an exchange student could ask for and I am so greatful to have been able to be a part of their family, even just for a short time! 
(Olivia, Alain, Isabelle, Me, Maurine, Laurie)

Let's admit it, you can't have a blog post without a picture with your best friend eating waffles covered in chocolate (because this is what we are doing here)
Just thought I would share the delishiousness!
   (this is also in my new home!)




My Rotary club is always taking us on these wicked multiple hour hikes up and down hills and all of the place only to be followed by a weird meal. So this next picture is from one of those times, we hiked for probably four hours. I lost my shoe in the mud (my legs were covered in freezing mud because the ground thawed while we were walking and it was just a wet disaster). But at the end of the hike we walked some more and then climbed up this huge lookout tower only to find the most amazing view of Belgium (and some Germany). Anyway, the hike, the climb up the tower (it was deadly because of the stair/ice combination) was all worth it to get this great picture. Looking out in the picture (if I remember right) on the left there is this huge cloud of white... smoke... that doesn't look natural, yeah, that's a nuclear power plant, then to the right of that would be Brussels, more right Li├Ęge and eventually Herve, then wayyy to the right would be some Germany. That just gives you a slight idea of how high we were (I think Philippe said that we were at the highest point in Belgium, so that makes sense!).


Alright; there is more to come soon,because this is just a little bit of what I've got to share, but for now, goodbye!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

December


I wanted to come up with a super witty title for this post, since it's going to be ridiculously long and I've got a ton to say right now. Anyway... let's just go through some stuff I did this month... 

 So I went to a water purification center with the rotary as a Wednesday activity. OKAY, So not a lot of people went, but it was still fun.       Basically we were taken on this huge tour showing us all of the facilities and the guy was cracking jokes the whole time and comparing bacteria to spaghetti (I still don't see why). The whole process is kind of a 5 step process (or a three depending on how you look at it). All you need to know is that the waste water goes in, and clean, non-potable water comes out so it can be returned to the river (which is right next to the facility). And, of course it being a Rotary activity, they fed us waffles and orange juice at the end (they really need to be more creative with the snacks, I know). okay, next thing...



This was the first "Marche de Noel" that I went to. It was on a Sunday in my village and my host parents took us. The thing I'm eating is this... Pizza... type thing that has (I think) cheese and lard (?) on it... or something like that, it tasted like bacon pizza, so either way it was delicious. Plus when we were there some friends saw me and asked me to go drink hot wine with them (which, I have to say, is NOT the greatest drink offered here in Belgium, it's really... yuck). THE POINT IS that I have friends!!!! Friends that are like "Hey come have a drink with us!" So, I'm totally cool with that. 


This ---------------------------------------------->
Is a picture from the Rheto Soiree (#1) for my school (CRMT). Which was REALLY FUN (partly because I am rheto) because all of my friends were there, which was great! (from Left to Right: Gabriel, Sacha, Paulina, Jessica, Me, Laura, Karen, Benoit, some guy I don't know)




St. Niiiiiccccccccc!!!!!!!!!This was one of THE GREATEST days of my life here in Belgium (and my life as a whole).  Basically before this everyone got a lab coat and you had to draw/pain/whatever a dessin (I mean drawing) on the back (mine had a mustang painted as an american flag saying "Born in the USA") then throughout the week leading up to the St. Nic day you have all of your friends and teachers or whoever you want to sign it, and a lot of them are heartfelt messages, which is nice (especially for an ES). So then the day came, it was great, and we went to one class (my teacher wasn't there, so we didn't have to go) then after that you go to a spectacle put on by the Rheto class (which is a bunch of skits and stuff, and a talent show), then we returned to school for a lunch (paid for by the school, because they will feed us when we drink my friend said) then everyone went to the Melo (a bar) to drink the rest of the day. Did I mention that throughout the whole school day people were drinking? like even at school! Some people came to school wasted, and I'm like, YOU DO THIS HERE? WHAT? 


And I sang the cup song for the spectacle (during the Belgium's Got Talent part)  so there's a video for that that I will upload in a different post (for some reason it won't load here,sorry).


This month I also turned 18 (which means in Europe you can then drink hard liquor I guess). So being the amazing person that I am I made over 100 peanut butter m&m cookies from scratch (they tasted SO GOOD). And having the best host mom ever, she let me invite like, more than 10 friends over to celebrate. Not only did she let me have people over, but she also amazingly served us food and drinks and didn't freak out about having a bunch of rowdy exchange students (and a couple Belgians) going crazy in her living room (not really...). Plus she then helped clean up the next day (she did basically all of the work) so I obviously have the best host mom ever, right?!
So there's my birthday cake---------------------->
The crazy Mexicans conned me into "taking a bite" out of the cake because "it's a tradition" being my gullible self I fell for it and ended up getting my face shoved in cake... Which I have to say out of all my 18 years has never, ever, happened to me. Everyone sang happy birthday of course, but then it was so awesome because someone started the Belgian exchange student song (you don't want to know) and it was the best birthday ever (that not only included skyping with my mom, but also putting just dance onto the tv and watching everyone try to dance, which was hilarious).

(to the right) One of the only pictures with more than, like, two people in it taken at my party because we forgot to get a group picture before everyone left so... yeah. Anyway, the guy is Benoit (Belgian), me, Frida from Mexico, and Nathalia from Brazil.







These next three are from when Rotary took us all to Aachen, Germany to the Christmas market to see the market then give us hot wine, or in my case, hot chocolate. It was really fun, not to cold, and my friend Jessica and I ended up going into a toy store where we found a slide which we (of course) went down and almost freaked out because we didn't realize how long it actually was (and super fun). 





 
The next two are from when my host family took us to Maastricht to another Christmas market (I went to like, ten Christmas markets, very festive, and very fun). So we had some hot wine (hot chocolate) and a waffle and then when we went to leave for some reason none of the cars could get out of the parking garage (we were all stuck) and it took forever to get out (there's a more embarrassing part to this story, but that's for me to know, and for you to wonder forever about). Eventually we made it home.

 So, As you can see, I got a haircut this month (which is a big deal for me). I THOUGHT the lady was only going to cut it to the middle of my back (she obviously didn't) so at first she had it where the back of my hair was to the middle of my back but the front of my hair was really short (I about freaked/almost cried when she just chopped the front pony-tail style). Basically, it looked really really weird (honestly) so I was like... umm.. can we fix this? so this is what it turned out to be, which isn't that bad at all. In fact, everyone (hopefully) loves it, at least that's what they've been telling me, but it will grow back (thank god).
This is just a really good dessert that I had with my family. It was like a brownie filled with hot fudge and then the pink stuff was strawberry flavored whipped cream. DELICIOUS.

 So one week on a Tuesday I went to Liege to ice skate with this girl (Disney obsessed Floridian Jessica) And it was super fun and then we had lunch so over all greatness. After that, for the end of the exams, all of the people from my school were going to the square to get together and celebrate the end of the exams (it's sweet that they do this here).






  Here's a picture my friend Thomas took with his fancy camera. We were in the old west type bar (in Belgium, I know right? what are the odds?) and the stools are saddles (haha). Anyway... That's Jordan, Valentine, Benjamin and me :)
 
After Tuesday was Wednesday and my original plan was to go to Brussels but that was a bust so I went to liege instead and this is basically the only picture from that day/night that turned out non-blurry for some reason so here ya go, me and Meaghan the Canadian on the train home (we couldn't stop laughing, if you were there, you know why hahaha).
The next seven (I think seven, or six and a video) are from when I went to Brugge.
These first couple are from the Brugge Ice Sculpture festival thing, I guess. Anyway, it was Frozen themed (the Disney movie) so they had a bunch of Disney sculptures and sculptures from the film.
Here (this is for you mom) I'm pictured with Cinderella, she was giving me the cold shoulder though...



 Here I'm ordering a beer with a 20 euro note but, again, the guy from Frozen gave me the cold shoulder so I went beer-less, oh well!



 






Of course we took a group photo!! Here's Ana-Lucia from Mexico, Me, Luisa also from Mexico and Olivia from Colorado!

Oh, also, here's a video of me going down the ICE SLIDE. YES I said Ice Slide!!!! :D  video


Went with my host family to Spa, they took me to a cafe, I got a gauffre mikado (waffle). It's basically a big waffle with ice cream, melted chocolate, and whipped cream (no wonder exchange students gain so much weight!)