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I leave in 5 days?!?!

Hey all!

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written, and I apologize. The past few weeks have been kind of busy around here. I leave on Tuesday (the 16th) and have my last final (yay!) tomorrow morning. It’s really weird to think I’ll be leaving Belgium already. In many ways it seems as though I have just arrived.

This morning I received some WONDERFUL news. I have been accepted into St. Thomas School of Law. It was my first choice of law school, and although I’ll think it over a bit first, I believe that’s where I will be attending. I really wanted to stay in Minnesota, and St. Thomas is the ONLY law school in the country that has internships for their students every year. As much as I learned on my internship in one semester, I can’t imagine how much I will learn in three, each being a year. It will give me a better idea as to what area of law I will want to pursue, and will also give me all the practical experience that you need, but don’t really receive in the classroom. I am very excited.

My overall experience studying abroad has been AMAZING. I have met amazing people (both European and American), made some great friends, learned more about myself and others, and truly grown as a person. In many ways I think this was important to leave the US for the semester, so I could really figure out who I am while not under the guise of people I know. In many ways it was like going off to college for the first time (again).

On the other hand, it has been very difficult. You can’t just call people up whenever you want (you must factor in international charges and the 7 hour difference), or see them, for that matter. Also, many of the friends I have made over here I may not see again, and will only be “facebook? friends. Those that live closer I may be able to see, but then what about after graduation? It’s kind of a curse to get to know people and then never see them again (or not with any regularity).

I also had a very interesting experience with my host family. In many ways it was more like a boarding house, ie I rented a room, and they cooked meals, but that was it. It was also interesting to live with a fiery Spanish woman and her quieter, Belgian husband. Belgian people in general were interesting to meet. There were more cultural difference than I expected between the US and a western-European country, but that was fine. The biggest was probably that Belgians expect perfect manners, but are also brutally blunt. It’s nothing to tell a person they’re fat, or that shirt doesn’t look good one them, so long as you say hello and goodbye, and ask about each other’s health. Very curious.

All in all, they study abroad time for me has been worth every penny (and it has been pretty costly). If someone would have told me when I first got on that plane back in August how I would feel right now, tonight, I probably wold have laughed them off as a crazy. But it's true. Studying abroad really changes a person, all in different ways, and probably not all for the best, but for me this has been an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I'm so glad I didn't pass up because I was afraid of missing people back home too much. Thank you to everyone who pushed me to do this!

It's been a long long long time,
How could I ever have lost you,
When I loved you.
It took a long long long time,
Now I'm so happy I found you,
How I love you.
So many tears I was searching,
So many tears I was wasting,
Oh Oh now I can see you, be you,
How can I ever misplace you.
How I want you,
Oh I love you,
You know that I need you,
Ooh I love you.
~ Long, Long, Long