Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It's been a long time, I know

Thanks to all the people who have reminded me to update my blog. Once again, it makes me glad that people actually read this thing :-) haha. I can't believe that it's been a month since I last updated my writings on Europe...I need to stay on top of things here. Ever since classes started ( Sept. 25) I have been caught up in classes, reading, errands, and well, traveling and partying too. It's really gotten a lot busier lately because of classes, even though free time is more than abundant. I only really have a full day of classes on Thursdays. Mondays I have two classes spread out from eachother, and on Wednesday I have one class from 8-10 am. The other days I have no class. I calculated the amount of hours I am spending in class, and it is the same as I spend in class at Loyola, except that it is condensed into one lecture per week per subject. It is hard to sit through 2-3 hour long lectures ( especially when the teacher has a speech impedement, turns off all the lights, and reads from slides), but let me tell you, it is worth it to have almost 3 free days as a result. However, even though I do have a lot of free time, I usually end up using it to read or get other things done. I have sooo much reading for my classes! The hard thing is that they give you everything at the beginning and basically you're on your own, and the final is your only grade. It's very independent over here and if you cannot take care of yourself you are in a difficult situation. So far I have been fine though, and I have been able to keep up with reading and learning. I just keep reminding myself that I basically have all week every week to complete things. It's just a matter of motivation and organization.

Well enough about schoolwork! Leuven has been lots of fun. We have stayed here for the most part, with a few daytrips here and there. We went to Brussels for White Night, which was disappointing and unorganized, Ghent, Oostende, Antwerp, and Brugge, which were beautiful. I have seen pretty much all of Belgium over the past month, which is nice. It is definately a cute little European country that is not as explored as it should be. Tomorrow ( Thurs the 25th) we are celebrating Halloween in the Huis, because many of us will be gone for Halloween, as it is right before our fall break. Each kitchen decorates and is judged. The winner gets a prize haha. Everybody is going to dress up and then go out as well. Our unit is being Belgian beers... I am Westmalle ( my favorite beer here...a trappist). It has become a tradition to do Halloween here, as Europeans find it fascinating that we celebrate it this way. In regards to the house, I love everybody here and am growing a lot closer to the internationals, especially the ones in my unit. I am going on a trip to Prague, Budapest, Vienna, and Salzburg in February with my roommate Luisa, her friend Andrea, and my friend Cookie. I never thought that I'd be planning a trip with people from a different country! It is going to be so much fun traveling with them! I really lucked out with my roommate situation. Luisa is the best.

On Saturday, we will be going on a daytrip to Aachen, Germany, which is paid for by Loyola. Then, on Halloween, me and 6 other Loyola girls depart for Dublin Ireland!!! We are staying in Dublin on Wednesday night, departing for Cork on Thursday, going to see the cliffs on Saturday, and then staying in Dublin on Sat. night again. On November 7th, 3 days after we get back, my parents arrive! They will be spending 3 days in Belgium ( we will see Brugge and Leuven) and then we will head off to London for 3 days! I am so excited for them to come. I know that they will love it here and I cannot wait to see familiar faces. On Nov. 16-18, we will be departing for Amsterdam with Loyola. Besides the obvious nightlife that we will encounter and will not be talked about in a public forum such as this, we will be seeing the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank's House, and a famous World War II Museum. I am super excited for that trip as well. The end of November and beginning of December will consist of me "getting my paper/study on". I have 3 big papers due in December, as well as a Dutch final. I take the rest of my finals when I come back from Christmas ( boo).

Sooo to wrap this blog up (because I have to read some Low Countries history and a 500 page gothic novel woo hoo), I am loving Leuven, but missing home. I know that I will be as busy as ever in the upcoming weeks, but I am actually really excited for Christmas break. It will be so great to see people and stay in my own home for a bit. I think it will help me gain the energy to come back here and take godforsaken finals in the month of January. Although I do miss home, I really feel like this house is becoming my second home. Everybody's door is always open and people are always wandering about ready to sit down and talk. This is a bit distracting, but so much fun. It kind of reminds me of freshman year at Loyola when everybody would stop by eachother's rooms in Hammerman. It has been easy to get to know people here, which I love. I'm not going to lie, there have been some times where I have gotten pretty homesick, but for the most part, I am loving every minute of this year. If anybody is thinking about going abroad...DO IT! It will change your life.

Until next time, keep it jammin' in the states ( or wherever you are out there).