Monday, October 17, 2011

Half-Way Point

Today marks the half-way point of my trip to Europe... I arrived here on August 17 and leave on December 17. It is weird to think about because I feel like I haven't been here much at all and at the same time I feel like I have been here forever. Honestly, I think I will be ready to come home. But I know I have already learned so much and there are things here that I will hate to leave. So as my midway reflection, I thought I would list my likes and dislikes of Belgium and Europe.

-Speculoos Spread: My favorite thing in possibly the entire world! It is like peanut butter made of cookies! The best way to eat it is on crepes!
-Waffles: Totally cliche, but really Belgium waffles are amazing! I often eat them from little packages and was eating one per day before I realized that I really need to cut back!
-Using public transportation: Although sometimes a pain, I love the hustle and bustle!
-Taking long walks: My favorite is my walk through Brugge to my internship in the park with the canal on one side and medieval buildings on the other. I also love walking in Brussels with gorgeous houses all around.
-Getting to know people from all around: Among friends that I have made include Dutch, Polish, Belgium, Turkish, Kazakhstanian, Mexican, Guatemalan, and others. Classes are especially interesting to hear all the different perspectives.
-Dressing fashionably: I like that everyone dresses up here and that looking cute is pretty much required. (Although sometimes I wish I could just wear sweats).
-Playing games with my host family: Teaching my family Dutch Blitz and playing Settlers of Catan are becoming some of my favorite activities.
-Cheese!: So many good cheeses that are inexpensive and great on sandwiches.
-Having random conversations with people: The other day on the bus in Brugge, I had a great conversation with a Flemish fourteen old boy who had never met an American before.
-The "liberalness" of Europe: I love how socialist the society is and Europeans seem to care about their people and even people of other continents (although this might seem more so to me since I am working for the UN).

-Bread and cheese molding long before I can eat them: Oh how I miss the preservatives of the US! (Never thought I would say that!)
-Mean train ticket takers: Not all are mean, but mostly they are grumpy.
-Lack of smiles: I believe I mentioned this in my first blog entry. Though I have become used to it and now I really notice and appreciate it when someone smiles at me (which really does happen). So maybe this should be a like, since I notice and appreciate smiling more.
-Lack of privacy: As much as I like my roommates and host family, sometimes it would be nice to have some space of my own.
-No Mexican Food!

These are just a few that come to mind, but I will expand the list as I think and reflect this week. Blessings to all!

1 comment:

  1. Julia, reading your blog makes me really miss being on cross-cultural and the different pace life seems to move at when you are constantly getting to experience the new and the different. I hope your "likes" continue to outweigh your "dislikes."