Episode 3: Fun in Belgium

Reference: https://www.ryese.org/outbounds-2014-2015/

J’ai beaucoup d’amusement ici en Belgique et je sais que je ne veux pas partir. Je crois que je vais avoir plus d’amusement. Mais, les mots ne peuvent pas expliquer toutes mes expériences et émotions. Quand on ne comprend pas quelques choses, on pense que tous est difficile mais après comprendre, on pense que tous est facile. Comme moi, il y a deux mois, j’ai pensé que le système de bus était très difficile mais maintenant, je le pense que est très facile.

I am having a lot of fun here in Belgium and I know that I do not want to leave. I believe that I will have more fun. But, words cannot explain all of my experiences and emotions. When we do not understand something, we think that everything is difficult but after understanding, we think that everything is easy. Like me, two months ago, I thought that the bus system was difficult but now, I think that it’s really easy. (My LIFE depends on bus 738 and 138).

I have done so much throughout these past two months. Everyday is a day full of adventures. I have made a lot of friends and connections. Everyone is either familiar with my name or my acquaintance. I believe that everyday I am positively impacting at least one person whether if it’s the bus driver or a person I say “Bonjour” to on the street.

School is going well. I attempted every test and I am passing most of classes. At school, my schedule has changed three times already and I am not exactly sure if it’s definite yet but I love every class. Even though I already learned most of the material, I am actually learning more than I expected. At School, I have communication and relations, religion, English, French, gym, history in 5th and 6th year (equivalent to junior and senior class), and math. After school, I have additional French classes in Verviers, which is a twenty minutes bus ride from my school in Herve. It’s not as rigorous as to what I was used to back in Florida but it’s strenuous because I have to do three times the work.

At school, the seniors (rhétos) have to a TFE (Travail Fin d’École), which is like a senior project. My subject is on the how humans can understand and interact with more than one languages. At the end of the year, I will find the answer and give a presentation. Personally, I believe I already know the answer but it is not valid without factual evidence. Being an exchange student has amazed me daily because it is eye opening getting to see people in Europe switch from one language to another. Where do they store all of this?! But I can see it in me too; I switch from French to English to Vietnamese. Since I live really close to Germany and Holland, I am also picking up from words in those languages too. It is truly a wonder how we are created and our abilities to soak in another language.

Outside of school, I have Rotary events that I get to attend along with my Rotary meeting once a month. There are 55 Rotarians (male) in my club of Herve and I get to give a bisous (kiss on the right cheek) them whenever I go the meeting. I believe a bisous can take a person far because it is the fastest way to make a connection with a person you don’t know. Through the bisous, I was able to play golf in Belgium for a Rotary event. Let me add that golf is not a cheap sport. I have made such a solid connection with my family and Rotary club that I get to play golf for free and had clubs provided for me. While golfing, I met a wonderful German couple who would love to host me one summer for me to learn German. I believe that being an exchange student is one thing, but it’s also what you want to make out of your exchange.

Just last weekend, I went to Paris for three days and was able to see many wonderful monuments that I would never believe in my wildest dreams that I would see. But I did all thanks to Rotary International and the Rotarians for helping me get to where I am. I fell in love to the Eiffel Tower and the boat ride down the Seine River to the museums and let’s not forget the Louvre. Besides sightseeing, the friendships I have gained are invaluable. The friends and memories I have made will be with me for the rest of my life.

Since Belgium is literally situated in the middle of Western Europe (not precisely, but to me it is), I got to go to Maastricht (Holland) just yesterday. I just hopped on two buses from my house to the train station and then take the train to Maastricht with my Belgian friend, Aurélie. The transportation system here is a miracle worker but sometimes it can go the other way. Like how the bus comes late to one place and I miss my second bus home.

I love my host family. I have accepted them like my real parents because my host grandmother (on mom’s side) asked me about my family and I thought she was talking my family here in Belgium and not in Florida. I believe is a great thing that I am accepting and adapting but to my family in Florida, I mean no harm, trust me. I love you all but being here, I have learned that I can have more than just one family. I know for sure that leaving this family in January will leave me in tears so let’s not talk about that. I am sharing my Vietnamese and American cultures to everyone here In Belgium. I have made both Vietnamese egg rolls and chocolate chip cookies for my family and friends. Everyone loves them!

À tantôt et bisous