Realizing that most of my recent blogs have been to commemorate trips or big events I’ve experienced while abroad, I decided to craft this post to give some insight in on a ‘typical’ week in Brussels. Below are a few synopses into my past week- Enjoy!
“No Car Day” in Brussels- all citizens in Brussels are prohibited from using their cars unless they apply for special permission from the government (and you can get a fine if you don’t!) While the public transportation systems do still run, it’s very limited! Downtown, there are huge street fairs, and in the suburb neighborhoods like mine, everyone rides bikes, goes for walks/runs, and visits outside. What a great way to help the environment!
My host family’s home is 35 minutes away from the university: a 23 minute bus ride, a 2 minute walk to the transfer station, a 7 minute tram ride, and a 3 minute walk. That is, it’s a 35 minute commute on a good day, typically meaning that I either arrive 10 minutes early, or (more likely) at least 15 minutes late. And while I factor in delays when determining what time I leave for school in the morning, it doesn’t always work out as planned. After arriving 40 minutes late to class, I nervously count down the minutes to our class break where I know I’ll have to approach my professor (COUNT DRACULA, I’m so serious) and explain my tardiness. 90 minutes into the class, however, not one, but three students enter the classroom tardy. I was off the hook, and my professor assured me that, while those students’ grades would feel the delay, mine was safe J (plus I got pain au chocolat from my host mom for breakfast, so solid morning!)
My boss called me a genius… twice… for developing interrogative, uncomfortable, challenging questions for a magazine article, focused on interviewing the owner of a new company that will allow Belgians to order American beer online (yes, this is a real thing)
Press Conference Day! Tuesday I attended two press conferences on behalf of (A)WAY magazine. The first one was to celebrate the one year anniversary of Pink Ribbon: Amie pour la Vie, a non-profit that works to raise awareness about breast cancer by encouraging prevention and screening. Funded through the King Budoin Foundation, the organization promotes projects, including clinical research in the areas of quality of life, information on all aspects of the management of breast cancer, and improving quality of care for patients. Suffering from a serious Relay withdrawal, this press conference was exactly what I needed to channel my passion towards learning more about various resources available in my new home to help caregivers and victims of cancer. The second press conference was to honor women scientists in Belgium who have done extraordinary work; as you can imagine, the feminist inside me was smiling J I thoroughly enjoyed my press pass, being introduced to new people, and enjoying the complementary drinks and snacks. J
French test and oral presentation on Jean Paul Sartre- if you think philosophy is difficult in English, think of how hard it is to explain existentialism in French! Hopefully I did okay!!
The first night all semester that I didn’t have homework- in the words of my host mom ‘it’s a miracle.’ Spent the night catching up on my American TV shows, plus some good ole Boy Meets World. It never ceases to amaze me how even when I take the very last baguette at the Delhaize down the street, the bread and cheese I have for a midnight snack is so so so good! That honestly may be the hardest part about returning to the states… Dad- bring an extra suitcase for snacks!
Fun filled, busy day! Didn’t have classes, so I slept in and then met Caitlin and Ben for some exploring/ clothes shopping (got a beautiful cream knitted sweater and a new earring for my cartilage) and sushi, then met up with Emily and Elizabeth for drinks. We tried to make our way downtown for a concert taking place in the Grand Place to celebrate the French holiday, but it was blocked off – too bad, I love Stromae! We ended up getting fries instead, and turning in early for our adventure to Antwerp!