Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Liege, December 13th

Please pray for the people that lost their lives in Liege yesterday. I was not there but some exchange students were and they witnessed the bombs going off and the shootings. It is very scary to think about and I hope everyone is staying safe!

Here is a link with the info:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Final Exams

I just got home from my French exam. My teacher had me write an essay on Christmas in America. So easy! I'm beginning to really like exams here :)

Last Friday I had my English exam. I read two different articles in English then replied to questions in French. After, I had my oral exam where I spoke in French about taking a gap year. This Wednesday is Geography. I have been studying and last night my host mom helped me with the concepts that I couldn't understand. It's a little difficult when the book is in French ;) But actually I find this subject to be interesting and I'm looking forward to see how I will do on the test. Friday I have another oral exam for English. I will be speaking about some topic in French. Next Monday will be my last exam! It's English again, I will read articles and write about them in French.

Christmas break is almost here! I'm going to Euro Disney in Paris on the 20th, hanging out with exchange student and school friends, and spending time with my host family before I switch families in January!

My class at school :)


This picture just made my day :) My parents went to San Diego and Los Angeles over Thanksgiving break with Ohm, the exchange student from Thailand that is living at my house. Whenever I hear from my family it makes me feel not so far away....Love them so much!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Great Weekend

Last Friday night was the Soiree des Rheto's at my school. (Rheto's are the name for the students in the last year of high school here, like "seniors"). Basically a huge party with dancing, drinking, and hanging out with friends. It was a lot of fun and I danced all night :) It's so crazy that kids can drink at a school event...and the teachers were the ones selling the drink tickets at the bar! Haha not like America at all.

On Saturday morning I woke up really early and went to Brugge with my host mom and exchange student friend, Kamo. Brugge is in the Flemish part of Belgium, in the northwest of the country. I have been wanting to go to Brugge for a long time so I was happy that my host mom invited me. It is a beautiful city and everything was already decorated for christmas so it really put me in the holiday mood. I bought some Godiva chocolate that was so delicious :) It seemed like every other shop on the street was a chocolate shop!! My favorite. Next time I go to Brugge I would like to rent a bike and explore the city that way. Oh and it's so interesting to hear another language other than French. The main language is Dutch in the Flemish part of Belgium.

Sunday was a Rotary event in Brussels, called The Exotic Dinner. All the exchange students got in groups and made a dish from their country. I brought hot dogs, very American. Of course I ate the Mexican food though! Pico de gallo and guacamole mmmmmm. I miss it so much. I enjoyed the Australian food too...meat pies and pavlova.

Now it's another week at school. Time to get ready for the exams! Rotary exchange students only have to take four exams at Christmas so I chose French, Geography, and my two English classes. I will do the English exams in French though! Students here study so much for the exams and they take them so seriously so I can't really hang out with the Belgians on the weekends. So I think this Friday I'll go over to Maisa's house, my friend from Finland.

I will update soon with information on Saint Nicholas Day, a christmas holiday celebrated in Belgium on December 6th.

Bye for now :)

Soiree des Rhetos with Claudia :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Trois mois!?

I've been in Belgium for three months already! So crazy. Oh and sorry I haven't been updating often but I can never find the time. I will try to be better from now on though :)

Here's some things I've been up to recently:
London, North Sea, Liege, Anvers, Brussels, Ypres, Tintin museum, Namur Nature Film Festival, Oxfam breakfast, Kraft mac and cheese for my host family, chocolate chip cookies for my english class, french lessons, crepes for dinner, Pizza Hut, seeing movies in French at the cinema and trying to understand what's going on, cheerleading exercises for my gym class, meeting amazing exchange students, becoming better friends with the Belgians, watching Grey's Anatomy and Glee with my host sisters, trying not to be depressed that I'm not going to have a Thanksgiving this year, receiving letters and packages in the mail :), eating some of the best food I've ever had in my life, buying lots of scarves and gloves, improving my french everyday...

The weather here has been beautiful lately! My host mom said in November it's usually gray and rainy but it's been clear skies and sunshine! I feel so lucky but I still want snow! Hopefully for Christmas :)

I hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving and think of me when you're eating! XOXO

Take me back to London!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Time needs to slow down!

Hello, my followers! This Monday will mark my first month in Belgium. Time is going by way too fast, but at the same time it feels like I've been gone for 10 years.

I made it through my second week of school. I absolutely love it! Everyone is so friendly and I feel like I belong there. Most of my teachers understand that going to school in a foreign country and speaking in a foreign language is difficult, so they aren't too demanding. My French teacher assigned L'Alchimiste (The Alchemist) for me to read instead of a more challenging book the rest of the class has to read. Thankfully I read The Alchemist a few months ago so I know what it's about :) I'm still going to read it in french though because it's good practice. Oh and I was actually able to complete my first math assignment, with a little help from my friends :)

This weekend is the Fete de Wallonie in Namur. There are various shows and some pretty famous Belgian singing groups performing. I went last night and hung out with some friends from school and other exchange students. Tonight I'm going back to watch Suarez perform, a Belgian group :) I can't wait!

A few nights ago I made dinner for my host family. I made penne pasta and a tomato sauce with sausage, onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers. Also I made a salad with different kinds of vegetables, croutons, and cheese. They really enjoyed it. Next time I'm going to make them grilled cheese :)

All in all, I have had a wonderful first month in Belgium. The chocolate, waffles, beer, fries, people, and sights are amazing. I feel so lucky to be here :) Time needs to slow down though. I still have so much I need to do! I hope everything is well in California.

Bisous bisous

Fete de Wallonie avec mes amis :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Last Thursday I was able to spend the day in Brussels. It is such a fascinating city with plenty of historic buildings. All the exchange students toured the Royal Palace and the Federal Parliament. There were so many of us! I love getting the chance to meet people from other countries and sharing this wonderful year abroad with them.

For lunch, we went to a restaurant where they served us meatballs and fries (frites). It was yummy, but my host mom made frites the other night for dinner and they were much better :) Francoise is an amazing cook! Speaking of food, Francoise wants me to cook dinner soon so I can share how I eat in America. If anyone has suggestions of "American" food, please email me recipes at Merci!

On Monday, I spent the day in Namur with Camille and Helene. Namur is the capital of the Namur province of Belgium. I saw the Namur Citadel, Theater, and even went into a bar! A few of Camille's friends were there so we went to say hi. They ordered beers while we chatted for a bit. It was crazy sitting with three 16 year old boys who were able to drink beer! Camille, Helene, and I chose not to drink anything. I would much rather save my calories for chocolate ;)

Oh and while we were shopping in Namur, we went to a store that sells Abercrombie and Hollister clothes. I saw the same Hollister sweatshirt that I bought in California a couple months ago on clearance for 30 or 40 dollars. However, here the sweatshirt was 99 euros!! I couldn't believe it.

I went to my school yesterday to choose my classes and get a short tour. It is beautiful!! I'm actually excited to start school on Monday :) It was built in the 1780's as a castle, and now it is a school with about 2,000 students and there's even a church! It sure is a change from my high school in California which was very modern. I will be taking Religion, French, History, Geography, P.E., English, Math, Science, and Social Science. Wow.

Okay well I'm going to go practice my French :) Au revoir!

Namur--my home :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

My First Week

I have made it a week in Belgium! It's wonderful here, the landscape actually reminds me a lot of Northern California. Very green, plenty of open space, and farms with cows, pigs, and horses. The weather has been fantastic; in the high 70's! I wasn't expecting it to be so sunny and warm, so I've been sweating in my jeans and sweaters :) Perhaps a little California sun traveled with me...

For the past week, I was in the town of Sprimont, near Liege. School hasn't started yet so we were able to go on a vacation. My host mom, two host sisters and I stayed in a lovely cottage. During our stay, we watched movies in french with english subtitles, went to a zoo, and went to a large pool with slides. My french is improving, it definitely helps to be immersed in a french speaking family.

So I think my new favorite things are Melo Cakes and little gauffres (waffles) that my host mom buys at the supermarket. So delicious!!! However, Francoise (my host mom) is very healthy and so she doesn't let her daughters snack too much on chocolate or other sugary snacks. I'm so happy I'm staying with this family :) They don't sit around all day eating chocolate, fries, and waffles. We went on a 12 km walk (about 7.5 miles) and Francoise gave us each a gauffre in the middle of the walk for energy. Thus, I don't feel guilty about enjoying my yummy snack when I know I'm walking 12 km. Food definitely tastes so much better when you have it in small qualities and savor it :)

While we were driving to Sprimont, I saw a sign on the road that said Paris- 298 km. Paris is about 3 and a half hours from my house!!! I'm crossing my fingers that I will be able to go there soon :D I love living in Belgium and being so close to everything!

I will update my blog soon about my day in Brussels and other exciting things that are happening around here.

Bisous <3

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I'm here! I'm here!

Hello everyone! I made it safely to Belgium! I arrived on Friday afternoon at the Brussels airport and found my host family because they were holding a sign for me. It was such a great feeling to know that I finally made it...and I can officially start my Belgian adventure :)

After about an hour drive we made it to the house. It's very cute and made out of brick. The oldest daughter is on an exchange to Pennsylvania for the year so I get her bedroom. There is a window that overlooks the garden. I love it that they have a's pretty to look at and they grow vegetables for us to eat. Yesterday, the sun was shining so we were able to eat our lunch outside. Speaking of lunch, I love the food! It's fresh and delicious, and the bread seriously smells so good.

My host family is nice, and there are two daughters who are very sweet :) Helene, who will be 12 on August 31st, and Camille who is 16. They love the Hollister and Abercrombie sweatshirts I gave them as gifts :) I'm so happy to be living in a house with host sisters!

Yesterday, I went to the administration building with my host mom and Helene, and then I made crepes with Helene. It was my first time but I was actually pretty good at it :) Around 5 we went to visit my host dad's parents. We sat outside by the garden and ate little waffles and drank iced tea and water. At 7, we went to a birthday party for a couple that is friends with my host parents. From 7 to 10 it was a cocktail hour so there were people walking around serving drinks and appetizers. Then, around 10, we ate! Not used to that! We left around 12:30 and came home. I was very tired and looking forward to my bed :)

Now, I'm sitting downstairs while my host mom sets the table for breakfast. The two girls are still sleeping. My host mom told me she doesn't want me to use my computer in my room because she doesn't want me to be alone so much and get homesick. I'm fine with that though :) It seems like the more time I'm on facebook, the harder it is for me to speak French. For right now, I need to be perfecting my French :)

Speaking about the language, my host family doesn't exactly know too much English but I can understand almost everything they say to me. It's just hard to reply...but I met the Rotarian in my hosting club and he said he will get me a tutor :) Thank goodness!

Well, it's almost time for breakfast. Then, we are leaving for a little vacation in the Ardenne region. We are staying in a cottage. I can't wait!!!

I will try to post a blog next week and maybe some pictures! I hope all is well in California :)

Au revoir,

Crepe making :D

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Last Day in the States

Wow, I never thought this day would come! It is such a surreal feeling to know that I am leaving my town, family, friends, and house in a few hours. I am feeling excited and anxious, and I am pretty sure I won't be able to sleep tonight.

Today I went out to lunch with my friend, Kelsie. She is so sweet and funny; I'm going to miss her! Then I went around town to purchase some last minute things. I also went to the gym with Ohm, the Thai foreign exchange student that is living in my house for the year. My bags are packed and they better not be over the 50 pound weight limit! Right now my larger bag weighs 49 pounds... :)

My dad and I are leaving Palo Cedro at 3:30 a.m and I fly out of Sacramento at 8:30 a.m. My sister and my best friend will be there to say their goodbyes. I keep thinking of how to say goodbye to my parents, sister, and close friends and I am at a loss. Thank goodness for Facebook and Skype!!

My host dad emailed me yesterday and told me that their bathroom is getting renovated so when my family picks me up from the Brussels airport we are going to stay in a cottage in the town of Ardennes. It is really close to Luxembourg and France :) I was very happy to hear this news and I can't believe after all these months of planning and getting everything ready I will be in Belgium!

Well, when I write my next blog I will be in Belgium! Hopefully enjoying some waffles and french fries :)

Au revoir my fellow Californians and à bientôt Belgium!

My two favorite people <3

Friday, July 29, 2011


It was in late February that I found out I would be representing the United States as a Rotary foreign exchange student in Namur, Belgium for the 2011-2012 year. When I heard the news I was extremely excited and I started dreaming of Belgian waffles, the beautiful French language I would be speaking, and this life changing experience that I would soon embark on.

Since February I have applied for my Visa, attended orientations with other exchange students, and started packing all my beloved belongings and souvenirs from California :) I cannot believe it's almost August already! My tentative itinerary shows that I will be leaving from Sacramento, California on August 18th and arriving in Brussels, Belgium on the 19th! That means I have a few weeks to pack my bags, say goodbye to friends and family, and soak up the California sun.

This blog will be my way of communicating to everyone what I have been up to in Belgium :)

Belgium, here I come!