Saturday, December 26, 2009


Merry Christmas everyone! It was pretty weird not being with my family for Christmas and seeing my friend over the holidays but that didn't stop me from having a good time, it was just different.

So a few days before Christmas, my host siblings and I went to my host grandmother's house out in the country. There wasn't a lot to do but it was nice and peaceful. I spent most of the time reading but I did get out a few times. On our second day there, Gwenny, Valentin and I made a snow couch! I know you're probably wondering what that is. Well, it was a totally legit couch (perfectly carved, unlike those messy couches you sometimes see), but made of snow! I wish I took a picture, but since I didn't bring my camera, you'll just have to take my word for it.

Then then the next day, Gwenny and I went for a long walk to look for animal tracks in the snow. It was really
fun and we saw prints of pretty much everything! (Cats, dogs, deer, foxes, squirrels, rabbits, boars, weasels, dinosaurs, etc...) Gwenny is really good at identifying them and we also had a book to help. We were out for a good two hours, it was pretty fun.

On Christmas Eve we all (including my host parents) went over to my host aunt/uncle's (mom's brother and wife) house for the big Christmas dinner. The food was delicious and the company was warm and friendly; all in all a good Christmas. Oh and they also had a huge great dane who was absolutely wild the whole time! I was covered in dog slobber by the time I left but whatever, haha.

We didn't get back to my host grandma's house from the dinner until like 2am so we basically all crashed. I woke up at 9 and the only others that were awake were Dider and my host grandma.... everyone else in my family likes to sleep in, and I mean REALLY sleep in, until noon or later. K
nowing this, the three of us decided to go for a drive. It was really nice. We just drove around in the country and actually went into France (literally 5 minutes away from the house) and then we went to a little fortified town called Rocroy. My host grandma said it was built by Napoleon but now that I look it up it actually wasn't... haha. It's actually much older and I don't think Napoleon even had anything to do with it... anyway, the layout is really neat and it's completely enclosed by a huge stone wall with a moat. Here's an aerial picture that I found online...

So after our drive and when everyone woke up, we opened presents. Everyone liked that gifts that I got them so I was happy about that. From my host parents I got these slippers that are shaped like sheep and a little set of ESPRIT (very popular here) perfume/body wash. And I got a pair of earrings from my siblings. After that we ate and drank....BUTTER BEER! haha, yes Butter Beer from Harry Potter! It was so exciting. Amandine found the recipe online and we made it the day before. It was good, but a little different than I expected. Though it's very comforting to know that my host family is as Harry Potter obsessed as I am. :)

So that was my Christmas. It was weird though, you know that feeling that you get when you finally get home after being away for a while? Well, when I got back to our house in Malonne and went up the stairs and into my room, I was overcome by that comfortable "I'm home" feeling. I guess Belgium is working it's magic on me. I'm finally starting to feel like things are right here. It's a little difficult to explain, but in simple terms, life is pretty good here.

So my mom and sister will be arriving tomorrow probably in the early afternoon and I am so excited to see them! We've never been apart for this long (over 4 months now!) and I'm dying to see them again! I'll keep you guys posted on our adventures.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Here's the pictures I promised....

Decorating le sapin de Noël. That's my little brother, Valentin.

My house in the snow!

To the left of my house in the snow!

...more snow...

Malonne in the snow!

...uploading pictures to the blog is kinda a pain in the butt, so I made a flickr account and will be uploading pictures soon. Hope you enjoy, Happy Christmas, I think about you guys everyday! :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Hello all, sorry it's been so long. A lot has happened since the last time I wrote but I'll try to make this short and sweet!

Let's see... the biggest thing that's happened so far has probably been St. Nicolas. Man, oh man, I wish we had this in Oregon!! Well first there's the traditional holiday part: St. Nicolas (different from Santa Claus/Father Christmas) is the patron saint of a lot of things, but in Belgium, he is known as the saint of children and students. There are a lot of different legends about him but the big one here is him traveling on a steamship from Spain to the Netherlands/Belgium (even though he was originally from Turkey) to deliver gifts to children. The night before St Nicolas day, the kids put their shoes in front of the fire place and if they were good that year, then St Nicolas puts little gifts and chocolate inside... Santa Claus is modeled after him, I think.

Anyway, so I didn't think we were really celebrating St. Nicolas day because nobody said anything about it. But the morning of, my little brother came and woke me up, saying to come downstairs and the entire floor of the living room/dining room was covered with candy! And the table too. I mean COVERED! I've never seen so much candy in my life. It definitely made up for their lack of Halloween here.

So that was pretty fun...but even better was the friday before. "St Nicolas des rhétos". This is when the seniors (rhétos) all dress up in crazy costumes and literally ambush the rest of the school with silly string, shaving cream, confetti, hair gel etc, etc! It was insane! At first I was a little hesitant to attack strangers, but I'm really glad I did it because I had a blast!

So other than St Nicolas, not a lot more to tell you about... Last week was finals week and that (and a few other things) kinda put me in a little depressive funk.... I'd rather not talk about that though, as I am feeling loads better now. It's amazing, the difference talking to great friends can make...

Here's some pictures! (I'll put them in a another post)