Thursday, September 20, 2007

Blog Maken

I chose to entitle this blog "blog maken" because this website is in Dutch and it cracks me up. I spent last week trying to pass Dutch and it was honestly a joke, because Dutch is hard and I am terrible at it. It is a combo of German and English, but it is not pretty like Italian, Spanish, or French. It is like you're coughing something up whenever you speak. So anyways, I am just sitting here passing time before I get ready to go out to an Alma party, which is basically another orientation party here at KU. We have had endless gatherings going on in town where we meet other students, which is really nice, because there are just so many people to meet here. However, I do feel like a freshman all over again, which is really weird. On the other hand, it's nice because nobody knows anybody, but there is no feeling of exclusiveness here so far. I guess that's what happens when a bunch of internationals are thrown into a foreign city. Last night I felt sick, but I went out anyways, because I remind myself every day that I am in Europe and that life is short, haha. No excuses here. In Leuven there are faculty bars where you can gather and hang out with people from your major. I went to the faculty of the arts bar and it was amazing nicely decorated with quotes all over the walls. I love the bars here and the social scene; its so laid back.

This morning I went shopping for a short jacket, and ended up getting a cheap black one from H&M. I just hate going shopping here though becausethe dollar is so weak, and everyone is so damn fashionable, so I immediately want everything in the stores. However, I am always quick to remind myself that I am a student and that I must strictly adhere to a student budget. It is so hard to budget over here, by the way.

As for trips, I went to Antwerp and Brugge recently. Brugge was by far one of the prettiest places I have seen in my life. The canals and winding streets were outstanding. I think that I might ake my parents there when they visit me in November. They call Brugge the Venice of the North---and that it is. My calendar is so full here. Cookie and I were planning more trips today, and we were looking into a tour around Scotland right before we go home for Christmas. Her friend took a tour there last year for 4 days and saw most of the country. Also, we want to visit her cousin in London, because he has a penthouse flat overlooking the city...awesome! I also think that I am going to London and Bath with my parents when they visit. From Oct 31-Nov 4 I am going to Ireland as well, which should be absolutely outstanding. We have been thinking of taking a weekend trip to Germany admist all of our other trips, but it is just so hard, because we barely have any free weekends as of now. We are going to Amsterdam Nov 16-18, so along with that, my parents vcisiting, Ireland, and Thanksgiving, Nov. is basically full. I have one free weekend in October, so I may go to Germany then. Classes start this Tuesday...ugg. Actually, I am kind of excited to see what the classes are like here...should be interesting. I am going to take 5 though, which sucks. Oh well. I will be on time with my credits when I return to Loyola, which I'm sure I'll be thankful for. I am so glad that I am staying here for the year! I just want to see so much, and because I'm taking a full course load here, I'm going to need the whole year...without a doubt. I got pretty excited today when Cookie and I were looking into trips. We were also talking about what we want to do at the end of Jan/beg. of Feb. when we have our long break. We will probably go backpacking through Prague, Munich, Vienna, Salzburg, and Budapest, which will be amazing if it works out that we get 2 full weeks! As of now, we only have 9 days, but if our exams end a week earlier, we will have possibly 2 weeks. Also, we will have a few days to go to Greece after our Italy trip in the spring, and then I have two weeks to go to Spain, Switzerland, and south of France at the end of May/Beg. of June. Wow! I can't believe that I am getting to do all of this! This just is amazing and i smaking me excited just typing it.

So anyways, I must be on my way because I need to get ready for the Alma party. I'm excited to meet more internationals, although it's been rough trying to break the language and culture barrier with the people I have met so far. At first it was hard with my roommate, because she speaks little English, but she is already getting better at communicating, and she is a dear!! She is so cute. I absolutely love her and she always looks so cute. Last night she went out salsa dancing and came in at 4 am. I woke up and she told me that some guys were following her and that she is always paranoid. I told her that I am the same way...ahaha. She is so affectionate and always seems overjoyed to see me. Being the german person that I am, I find it difficult to embrace this sort of thing, but I find that I am growing accustomed to it as time goes on. Soon I will be hugging and kissing all of my friends, as well as holding their hand inpublic...jk. It really is cute though how the Spanish and Italians are so affectionate. My roommate also thinks that I have bad taste in men. She thinks that Spanish men are the epitome of manly and is quite convinced that I need to come to Spain to find a man. She is not interested in anybody here, which is funny, because I swoon over anyone with an accent. She jusr doesn't get that lol...don't expect her to either. Well, time's up, gotta go...this blog is very rushed and is probably ridden with poor with it. bye/hasta la vista/tot ziens/ourvoua (sp)/ciao--i am trying to learn like 5 languages joke. its hard.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Viva La France

Let me begin this blog by saying that: 1. I appreciate people reading and liking my blog in all of its ridiculousness. 2. Paris is overrated. Anyways, Paris was great...saw pretty much all of it, but at the same time, it was way too touristy and dirty. I spent so much time walking that my legs almost fell off, which was another downside to the whole thing. However, I am glad to have visited Paris in my lifetime, I know that I sound like a spoiled brat by whining, but really, I am appreciative to have seen it. I really enjoyed the artwork int he Musee D'Orsay, and I loved the Rodin Museum. I also loved our night boat tour of the Siene. Two french men wearing only boxers flashed us as the boat went by...that was amusing. That brings me to my next topic-- French men. French men are insane. They will seriously do anything to get with a lady. I think there must be something in the water over there haha. All of the girls had numerous run-ins with French guys, but the most memorable one was when a limo full of guys drove by us, as they screamed out the window and told us to jump in. Me, being the mother-like figure that I am, did not allow my friends to get in the limo with these men. Yeah, I have to admit that I wanted to run with the spirit of carelessness, seeing as I was in Paree and all, but I also didn't want to be raped, haha. This homeless guy came up to us on the bridge one night and counted us, and then proceeded to follow us, in which case, we ran for our lives to the metro. He was drooling everywhere. We just couldn't escape creepy men the entire time...and people blame that on me, which I accept. I have been known to attract odd types. Following these escapades, we bought some cheap wine and drank by the river, in addition to visiting the Latin Quarter, which was an adventure. We wanted to go to a nightclub, but our only true free night was on a Tuesday n ight, and we were running out of money anyways. Oh well.

St. Malo and Normandy were gorgeous. I really loved St. Malo the best. It was right on the sea, and we took alot of walks along the beach and climbed the rocks. It was nice to breathe some fresh air after the crowded, insane city. It was also nice to be back to cheap food. I tried some cidre when I was there, which is their famous was pretty decent. It was only 2 euro a bottle. We went to Mt. St. Micheal one day, which was absolutely breathtaking. It is on this huge mountain that juts into the sky, and is surrounded by sand, that is occasionally taken over by the tides. I just couldn't believe how beautiful it was. Normandy was the same way- breathtaking and unbelieveable. The cemetary really got to me though. I just felt like I was pretty spoiled, being on this expensive trip, when these guys died on this beach at my age fighting in a war. It was all just really haunting. On a lighter note, we spent 4 nights total on the beachs of Northern France, and that was just amazing. However, we were all ready to get back to Leuven after being on the road for 8 days. I feel like we barely had time to settle in here in the first place. I'm not complaining though, because I saw more places this past week than I have seen in my lifetime. I am definately grateful for this opportunity, and that Loyola has such an amazing study abroad program. Leuven really spoils its partcipants, so I can't understand why we only have 11 kids this year...weird. Highlight of the day: I found some awesome trails with cookie today that are on the edges of town. We were running them, when all of the sudden, I tripped over a rock and flew to the ground hahaha. It was hiliarious. The fall was totally worth finding the trails haha. We passed the engineering building on the run, which was cool, because its this big old castle looking thing with swans around the water. This is just another reason why I love Leuven!! It's great to be back.

Just wanted to mention this as well- I planned my first trip today! I booked a flight to Ireland for oct. 31st- nov 4th. We have a long weekend, and I figured that this would be a perfect time to go visit some friends and see Dublin/Cork as well. We are going to stay in Dublin on Halloween cool!! and then take a bus to Cork the next day. I hope to see the coast while I;m there. I'm also planning a trip to London to see my friend Andre and just see London in general in October. We have two daytrips around Belgium coming up, and then we also have a trip to Amsterdam, which is paid for by the school, in November. I might go to Brugges and Germany with my family when they come in November as well...lots of exciting stuff coming up! Well, time to visit with some people and then head to bed...more blogs to come!