Monday, October 24, 2011

2 months?!

I've now lived in Belgium for just over two months, which is really hard for me to believe most of the time.  Either it feels like I just got here (how can it have been this long already? ahh I don't want to leave yet!), or it feels like I've been here forever (what?  I used to live in the States?  I used to not speak French? weird...)

Other than my family and friends, and of course, my dog, I don't really have a lot of things about the States that I miss.  Today, however, during the break, some of the girls in my class asked me what things they don't have in Belgium that I miss.  My first response was to say that there wasn't really anything (it's mostly true-- there are a lot more things that Americans don't have but Belgians do), but they talked me into thinking a little harder.  I came up with the following list (which has been supplemented since, on the bus on the way home):

• Peanut butter
• Bagels
• Soft Pretzels (not that I ate these like, ever in Maine, but I suddenly got a craving)
• Pat's Pizza
• Skim milk / milk that has to be refrigerated
• Seedless grapes
• Maple syrup

(and since foods were a bit too constraining):

• Wifi at school
• Automatic transmissions
• Having all the 8-year-old girls be less fashionable than me
• Thrift stores
• Not having to pay for public bathrooms

Fortunately, there are plenty of great, Belgian things that make me forget about the things I miss:

• The waffles and the fries (of course)
• The beautiful pastries
• Bread (Everyone here tells me that Belgian baguette is nothing compared to French baguette, but it's sooo much better than any American baguette)
• Nutella in abundance (and Speculoos spread-- apparently in the same way it's possible to transform peanuts into peanut butter and hazelnuts into Nutella, it is possible to turn Speculoos cookies into a butter)
• The chocolate
• Belgian versions of M&Ms, Oreos, and pretty much every American snackfood/candy except Twix
• Paprika-flavor chips (and odd Doritos flavors... fajita, olives (note: haven't actually tried it, but seeing it in stores makes me laugh))
• The so-much-better mayonnaise
• Demi-baguette sandwiches

• Seeing lots of little dogs in coats in random places
• Public transport
• Having a long lunch (it's still weird to me that my "break" here is as long as and at approximately the same time as my lunch used to be in the states)
• Bisous (I thought this was going to weird me out, but I actually like it)
• Getting to try weird-- ahem, different-- foods (I have become so much more adventurous since arriving; some foods I've tried so far: raw beef, raw salmon, snails, oysters, crayfish, mussels, frog legs, pickled onions, bone marrow, foie gras and other pâtés, and a variety of vegetable purées.  Ironically, the raw beef is called a filet americain, or "American steak...")

So in short, Belgium is amazing.
Being an exchange student is incredible.
La vie est belle.

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