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