Monday, May 28, 2012

Voyage, Voyage, Voyage!

That is my advice for exchange students or any people spending a year, semester, trimester, or any other extended period of time in Belgium.  And do it with other exchange students!  C'est trop bien!

This weekend I met up with two of my favorite Bolivian AFSers (who have dubbed me an 'honorary Bolivian' because I often crash their outings) who were showing around a Bolivian girl in Germany who came to visit them in Belgium.  We all went to Antwerp on Saturday afternoon, which was a very different outing from the one I had with my Belgian friends.  We did a lot more "touristy" things, like visiting the 'Grote Markt' (Grand Place) and the port, which was really beautiful.  It was finally hot in Belgium, so I enjoyed wearing around a summery dress and soaking up the sun.  I even had to wear sunscreen!

After a few good hours of walking around the city and a stop for a refreshing drink (at a thai restaurant... something that one of the others knew), we went back to the house of one of the Bolivians to swim in the pool (which also had plants on one end and fish!) and eat dinner.  We all four managed to fit in one bedroom, even if we didn't get much sleep; we had spent a lot of time in the pool trying to touch the fish, which were always far too fast.

The next morning we went to Brussels: saw the Grand Place, Manneken Pis, the Royal Palace, one of the big parks, and of course ate a waffle.  We also took after some other AFS students we had seen in Antwerp and went around offering 'free hugs.'  It was a lot more fun that I thought it might be, and we got all kinds of reactions: strange looks, people taking photos, one British family even told us that Jesus loved us for being so kind.  It was also quite surprising how many people said no to a hug and changed their mind when we said "but it's free!"

In Antwerp train station

So excited!


That evening, while the others continued to Dinant, I split off to join a few other Americans in Arlon for a festival there: MaiTrank.  I'm not entirely sure what it's all about, but it seemed to be the whole town getting together to celebrate the end of May with music, games, beer, a big "beach" in the town square, and general merriment.  We all crashed at one of the nearer-by American's houses (I love how so many exchange students and host families are willing to let me randomly spend the night!) after the party.

I don't have school today, thanks to Pentecost, a holiday which I don't entirely understand, but which worked out well for me beaus it meant I could go through all my photos today!

Only one more week of school before exams!  It's crazy how much time has gone by so fast!
À la prochaine!

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