Thursday, April 26, 2012

One month/Un mois

This year has seriously gone by way too fast! How can it be that I only have one month left in Belgium?! It seems like just yesterday I was getting on a plane in Sacramento and heading to Brussels. When I look back on that day...and my first few months in Belgium, I feel like I'm thinking about another person. I've changed so much during my time here...and I'm very sad to know it's coming to an end.

Even though I know I only have one month left, I'm going to try not to be too sad or emotional. I will try to make this month the best! Make new friends, see new cities, eat more chocolate and waffles ;) This weekend I already have so much to do! Friday night I will be going to a party with my host brother, Saturday there are some activities to do with my host family in Namur and after a Scouts dinner for my other host brother in Dinant. Sunday is a Rotex organized day in Walibi! Walibi is Belgian's theme park, which means lots of rollercoasters and I'm hoping for a ferris wheel too :) I will get to see about 150-200 other exchange students. Thankfully Monday and Tuesday are vacation days...I need time to rest! Monday my friend from school invited me over to her house to hang out with some of our other friends. How sweet!

But now that I'm thinking about being home in one's going to be so GREAT to hug my mom and dad!!! Ahhh I really miss them so much. Sadly, my sister will be studying for her finals in Santa Barbara so I won't be able to see her till June at her graduation. I hope my flight doesn't get delayed because I really want to go to In-N-Out for dinner!! :D

Have a nice weekend!

Living the Belgian life ;)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Italia April 2012!

Ciao Bella!! I was lucky enough to spend my Spring Break all around Italy with 70 other exchange students and a few Rotary chaperones. We left April 1st and returned April 11th.

Day 1: Driving to Rome in two different buses. One for the English speakers and another for the Spanish speakers. The drive took us about 24 hours, but I loved it because we got to talk, play games and watched a couple movies.
Day 2: Roma! When we first arrived we had a yummy group lunch. Salad, pasta, chicken, and dessert! I miss Italian food already :( Then we walked to the Vatican Museum for a guided tour. There were so many tourists! But the weather was perfect and Rome really is a beautiful city. Also I enjoyed some delicious gelato that day, Limoncello and Nutella :) We left at night and headed to our hotel where we had another delicious meal of pasta, meat, and dessert.
Day 3: the morning we had a tour of the Colosseum. I really enjoyed it! In the afternoon I had delicious pizza for lunch followed by gelato at the Trevi Fountain! I made sure to make a few wishes :)
Day 4: Rome and Montecassino. Nice day...visited some ruins and moved into our second hotel.
Day 5: Almafi Coast and Sorrento. Beautiful places!! Sorrento is the town known for Limoncello, and it is quite delicious! Amalfi had great views and I enjoyed a great pizza lunch that day (Pretty much everyday I had pizza for lunch :) )
Day 6: Capri and Anacapri. My second favorite day! These two places are breathtaking....beautiful blue water, colorful houses, great views. I wouldn't mind spending some more time in Capri later on...
Day 7: Pompeii. It was raining this day so it wasn't the best but I still had fun :) We went on a tour of the city...
Day 8: Pisa and Sienna. Raining again...but took some great pictures with the Leaning Tower of Pisa! Sienna is a really pretty town also...ate some pizza then looked at a church.
Day 9: Murano and Burano. Amazing day! These are two little islands, Murano is known for glass making and Burano for the brightly colored houses. We got to watch a man blowing glass. I bought some really cool souvenirs that day :) I would love to love in one of the bright pink houses on Burano!
Day 10: Venice....MY FAVORITE!! This was our last day and I absolutely loved Venice. It's just so magical. There were so many gondolas but they're so expensive! 70 or 80 euros for just 30 minutes with 6 people. But we had a lot of free time to explore and all around it was a memorable day!

I hope to go back to Italy soon! It is an amazing country....friendly people, beautiful cities, the best food you will ever eat!! Take me back!!

In Rome :)

Capri with some lovely exchange students!

Pisa! With Sravya and Jane :)


Gelato in Venice!

Group at the Colesseum

Sorry it's taken me so long!!

Hello everyone! Wow, I haven't updated my blog in awhile. Things have been really hectic lately...I went to Italy for Spring Break and when I returned to Belgium I changed host families. I finally got wifi to work on my computer today so I decided it was the right moment to write my blog :)

I am enjoying my third host family, I am back to the same town where my first host family lived. It's strange but it brings back a lot of memories to me. I feel like I've been living here for ten years but at the same time these past eight months have gone by way too fast.
So in this host family I have three younger brothers and a cute dog named Noisette :) I plan on making them pancakes, red velvet cupcakes and peanut butter and chocolate cookies before I leave. I've already introduced them to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and I think they like them :)

So I officially have my return flight back to California. I will leave Belgium May 26th and arrive in California that night. That means I have about a month left in Belgium. It's going to be so hard to say goodbye to everything; my host families, friends, school, food, cities, buses and trains. I love Belgium so much and everything that comes with it. Although I have decided to continue some of the Belgian ways back in California. Including eating waffles, nutella and croissants for breakfast, and riding my bike more. My mom actually found Belgian waffles at Costco! Yay!
At my first Belgian soccer game with Mayuko!

At the Liege train station going to meet the International President of Rotary!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I AMsterdam!!

Well, I had a wonderful three day trip to Amsterdam with 47 other exchange students! We left early on Thursday morning from Brussels and started out by going to the Johannes Vermeer museum in Delft, where I saw the Girl with the Pearl Earring Painting. It was so beautiful! Later we arrived in Amsterdam and had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and after walked through the famous Red Light District. It was a little disturbing...and the hotel we stayed in was so great! I shared it with girls from the U.S., India, Japan, and Argentina.

Alright so Friday morning we went to the Jewish Quarter of Amsterdam and went to a synagogue and museum. In the afternoon we got to visit Anne Frank's house. It was very emotional but I feel so lucky to go there, I read the Diary of Anne Frank a few years ago and it really was so unreal to get to see her house...and the bookshelf that hid her secret room. She was trapped in that house for about two years! Friday night we went to the Van Gogh museum and I got to see his famous painting of the beautiful.

Saturday was unfortunately the last day but at least we had beautiful weather! Sunny with blue skies...perfect for our canal ride :) After we had free time to look around the city a little more and buy souvenirs.

So I really enjoyed my three days there....and I hope to go back one day! :) And if any of you are planning to visit just make sure you watch out for the many bike riders!!

Now I am counting down the days till my next trip...Spring break in ITALY! :) But for now I have a lot of things to keep me busy in Belgium!
Cute shoe :)

Exchange students!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Vacances :)

Ahhh vacation is here...I slept in this morning till 10. I love it, I feel like I never have the time to sleep in. I spent the weekend in the North of France with my host beautiful :) We just went to the sea and walked around and enjoyed the sunny weather. Although it was still cold! I was wearing jeans, socks, boots, gloves, a hat, a scarf, two sweaters and a big jacket. Gotta love the European coldness :) I want it to be summer already so I can wear a bathing suit and get a tan! ;)

Last weekend I was lucky enough to go to Switzerland and see my mom. Wow, it was a much needed break. I was so happy when I saw her arriving in the Zurich airport...and when we hugged and began to talk it felt like no time had passed between us at all, even though the last time I saw here was 6 months ago. We stayed in a perfect apartment in the town of Fribourg...and spent our days shopping, talking, and eating :) She was amazed at how much European's eat bread! By the time we left on Monday I think she was looking forward to returning to California and eating a huge, healthy salad and I was looking forward to returning to Belgium for the chocolate, waffles, and fries :) Really nothing in this world can compare to them....

Tomorrow I will be spending the day in one of my favorite cities, Brussels, with my Belgian friend :) I think we will go to the cinema and do some shopping. I am so excited because I haven't been to the cinema in foreverrrrrr! Even though it's in French I still love it :)

This Thursday I will be leaving for Amsterdam with about 40 other exchange students. Looking forward to it....I am so addicted to traveling now! I will write another post when I return from my trip and explain how Amsterdam was.
The beautiful North of France :)

Mommy and I in Fribourg, Switzerland
View from our apartment
And also I wish everyone a Happy Mardi Gras!! 

"So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."-Mark Twain

Monday, January 30, 2012

Il neige/Vive la greve!!

Bonjour mes amis! I am so happy today because I don't have school and when I woke up I saw SO MUCH snow falling outside my window :) Today is a national strike day in Belgium so there are no buses or trains running. That is the way most students get to school so my principal decided to make today a holiday for us. Thank goodness! I need some extra sleep and I don't like my class schedule for Monday's: French, Geography, English, History, and Religion. I really don't understand anything in Religion class.

This Wednesday I will be leaving for a three day retreat with the rest of my class. It's basically to just get to know one each other better and to have a chance to build better relationships. I am looking forward to it....and we will go on hikes and do yoga too!

Well I hope it continues to snow like makes everything look so magical! Tomorrow I will give English lessons at lunch so I need to prepare a topic to talk about. It's so fun teaching :) And in 11 short days I will be in Switzerland! Yaaaaay so exciting!

There is so much to be happy about...and I hope that all of you can find happiness in your life as well.

So beautiful :) This is the view from my bedroom window!
That's it for now!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Over 5 months in Belgium!

Hello everyone! Wow, it's been so long since my last post. I enjoyed my Christmas, New Year's, and 19th birthday here in Belgium. It was a little hard being away from my family and friends from California but at the same time it was AWESOME because I was celebrating these fun holidays in a foreign country!

New Year's Eve I went to my friends house with about 30 other Belgian friends from my school. We danced all night and drank champagne. I have a feeling that 2012 will be a great year :)

For my 19th birthday my host family took me to a yummy Italian restaurant where I ate penne pasta and tiramisu. My friends at school made me a birthday cake and Saturday night I had some friends come over for dinner and a sleepover! We also went to a karaoke bar and sang "Lady Marmalade" Haha such a great song :)

Right now, I am living with my second host family. It was hard to leave my first family but I will be able to see them again soon and I still see my sisters at school. I am leaving for Switzerland in a couple weeks and after that Amsterdam! Can't wait :) I love traveling...and I get to spend my spring break in beautiful Italy! So ready for pizza, pasta, and gelato!

So basically my exchange year is halfway over and I am really depressed. I don't want this to end. Who knows when I will ever be back in Europe and especially Belgium? What am I going to do without this delicious chocolate and fries? And beer and cuperdon's and taking trains to different cities whenever I feel like it? And speaking french and shopping at amazing stores and meeting people from all over the world? Ok well I am just going to enjoy the rest of this year as much as I can. I LOVE YOU, BELGIUM! And all of my readers too :)

Making a special wish for my 19th birthday :)

New Year's Eve with my friend Kamo!

Euro Disney in Paris with Nana, Kamo, and Tiarna! Such a beautiful and memorable day.