How time flies!
So guess what? I've been in Brussels for almost 5 weeks now! Time is just flying by! In two weeks we'll have our mid-terms, and a week later fall break! I am really enjoying my stay here. Any second thoughts I may (or may not) have felt at the beginning have long since disappeared. This is my second study abroad trip (the first was July in Paris) and that may be part of the reason it has been a relatively stress-free experience.
There have definite differences between my experience here and my experience in Morris. I think a list is the best way to describe it.
1. There is MUCH less class time here. Classes are only 2-3 hours per week. There is also much less work, really only one or two tests. Maybe a paper as well.
2. Time is different over here. Not anywhere near to the extent of Southern Europe, but if you need something quick, it's probably not going to happen.
3. Hot showers do NOT exist here. Luke warm? Consider yourself lucky.
4. There is more of a fatalistic approach over here. How things happen is how they will happen--you're not so much in command of your own destiny.
5. Bureaucracy is king here. Something one person can do, 6 people are assigned to it in 4 different departments.
6. Nothing is open on Sundays. And I mean nothing. No chain stores, few restaurants.
7. Belgian beer and chocolate are the pride of a nation. Both are rather tasty as well. (Umm, don't worry because I'm 21?)
8. The lunch breaks are fabulous. Think you're lucky if you get a 30 minute break? Try 2 hours!
9. Politics over here are CRAZY. Think the US election is nuts? Try not having a government (we've been without for 2 months).
10. Language is more important than any American can understand. To speak French to someone from Flanders, or Dutch to someone in Wallonia, is quite possibly the biggest insult you could do; and being in Brussels, a bilingual city, it can be a tight line to walk.
I'm sure my list will only increase as the semester progresses, but I look forward to the challenges and adventures to come!
Tell them I remember you
I remember too a distant bell
And stars that dwell
Like the rain out of the blue
When my life is through
And the angels ask me to recall
The thrill of it all
Then I will tell them
I remember you
~I Remember You