*Young House Love reference. They’re sort of my favorite.
Monday and Tuesday were about meeting deadlines and staring at a computer screen until I actually felt dizzy, so let’s make some fun lists instead of recapping work!
Things I didn’t expect to do in Belgium.
- Eat raw meat. One of the other interns introduced me to the “American sandwich,” which you would think, you know, is a peanut butter and jelly or something. Nope. It was this literal RAW MEAT PASTE mixed with chopped onions and topped with lettuce (usually topped with fries). And you know what? I ate the whole damn thing. I think I had skipped breakfast that day.
- Ice my ankles. One weekend-day of wandering around with my reef sandals on, and boom. Elevated, iced, drugged. Seriously, none of my shoes are comfortable enough for long term walking, and I don’t even see tourists in sneakers. The young ladies of Europe must be trained from a young age to walk on cobblestones in heels, because even with a few years of stumbling through Quincy Market under my belt, I’m doomed here.
- Develop a sense of direction. It may be limited, but for those of you who know me and how easily/frequently I get lost and/or use my smartphone (even when I drive to the same place every week for months), this is something of a Big Deal. Mayyybe it’s because I don’t have a car, or GPS, or any support besides a quick Google Map check before I go somewhere. And it’s not like I can always ask for directions (see next list).
- Use my phone! If you have Viber or What’s App and my number, I can text you and send you absurd emoticons anytime. Expect something like this (Roo is another favorite blogger).
- Feel weird about telling people where I’m from. Not weird as in sorry-I’m-from-the-US weird, but my whole life the answer has been Boston or New England. Now it’s like, I’m from the US. And I’m a minority here. That’s weird.
Things I learned in my first two weeks.
- Just because I can ask for directions in French doesn’t mean I have a darn clue what they say back to me.
- Dresses > skirts > dress pants > jeans > shorts with tights > shorts > sweatpants.
- Calcified water is the devil, and my hair is pretty sad.
- Quality Belgian chocolate has a similar cost/weight ratio to printer ink.
- Stay updated with your news, always. People will ask America questions and say sorry for America things and you need to know what they are talking about. So far that’s been Snowden, Keystone XL, fires in Arizona, and Obama’s visit – I was the happy one to share the news about DOMA. 🙂
- Always carry an umbrella. As long as you have it, it won’t rain.
Things I thought I could live without but really miss. (Or, things I took for granted in the US.)
- Sweatpants. Disregard above statement. I need warmer sleep clothes but I want to spend money on nicer things to bring home… so I found a cheap blanket or two instead.
- Please excuse the moment of vanity but the other 90% of my makeup and hair products. But I only need like two or three more things.
- Sunshine, but this is getting significantly better. “In Belgium, the summer comes on Saturday.”
- A clothes dryer. It’s frustrating to have to time your clothes washing appropriately with the weather, so I haven’t washed things often. Fortunately I brought more than enough to wear, and if I’m stuck I can bring them to a laundromat.
- More books in English! They’re expensive here, so I’ve been trading/borrowing for reading in my free time.
Things I’m OK leaving behind.
- Eating dinner before 830 PM.
- Leaving work before 6PM.
- A smartphone. Really.
- Expensive wine. 🙂
- My car (but only in this context, because I love and miss you Leopold and don’t you forget it.)
To finish up with my crazy amount of pictures from the Netherlands, these are from Annika’s adorable little city Utrecht: