Saturday, July 14, 2012

Returning Home


I woke up this morning and made sure that I had all of my things packed before eating breakfast. I spent about an hour with Paige, Rasma and Marcus watching tv and playing with Petey the gerbil. I know I’m going to miss everything about staying there and it was nice to have a little bit of time in the morning to enjoy it before leaving for the train station. I had a great time being in Brussels and my favorite part was my homestay family. I feel like I got the best homestay family and I will miss everything about staying there. I thought about all of the fun things that I did in Brussels while I was traveling to the airport. I got a lot of great experiences and some amazing friends that made everything worth it. I am ready to go home and see my family but I already missed Brussels while I was on the plane. We flew from Brussels to Amsterdam, from Amsterdam to Detroit, and from Detroit to Nashville. The flights weren’t too bad, I tried to stay awake for most of the time because I got back late at night. It was good to see my parents again and as soon as we got home I was able to show them all of the souvenirs that I had gotten and tell them stories about my trip. My shift from Belgium to America was very easy and I didn’t feel too tired. I’m happy to be back home and to sleep in my bed at my parent’s house now.

Last Day in Brussels


Today is my last full day in Brussels; it was raining a lot outside almost the entire day so Paige and I stayed in most of the day. We had a good time watching movies and eating all of the remaining food that we had gotten from the grocery store over the past few weeks. In the afternoon we took a break to run to the grocery store and get some chocolate. It was nice to have one last day to relax at the house and just enjoy being there. Later on, we ate dinner together for the last time and we had chili with tortilla chips again which was very good. For dessert, we had some homemade ice cream with raspberries in it and we also set up a chocolate fountain with strawberries and bananas. It was a great last meal to have at Rasma’s house. Then Paige and I went out to meet with a few friends for a couple of hours. We had a good time talking at a café for a while and it was nice to be able to see some of my friends before leaving. We didn’t stay out really late and when we got back I went to bed.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Botanical Garden and Spiderman


Today I got up, ate breakfast and then left with Rasma, Paige and Marcus to go to the Botanical Garden. Rasma rented a car for us to take so we wouldn’t have to take public transportation the whole way there. It was about a 30 minute drive; we got to walk around and see many different plants and trees both outside and inside. There was a huge green house that we went in to that had plants from a lot of different countries. We spent more than 3 hours walking around looking at everything. I enjoyed walking around especially in the green houses. Afterwards, we drove back home and then I went to the grocery store with Rasma. I was able to get a few things to take back with me and then we went back home to start cooking dinner. We made some chicken that was rolled up with sun-dried tomatoes inside and some roasted potatoes. As soon as we were done with dinner, Paige and I took Marcus to the movie theater to see the new Spiderman movie. We had a really fun time and the movie was very good. By the time the movie was done it was pretty late so we got back home as soon as possible so that Marcus could go to bed. I stayed up a little while longer watching tv with Tyler and then I went to bed.

Me in front of a pond filled with giant lily pads

Inside the largest greenhouse at the botanical garden

Our sun-dried tomato chicken

Souvenir Shopping Day


Today was my big shopping day to get all of the souvenirs that I wanted. First, I went to the college to turn in my final exam for class and the report that I wrote for my internship. Afterwards I took a bus into the city center and I spent about 5 hours going to all of the tourist shops that I could find. There was one shop that I went to where the owner talked to me and he wouldn’t believe that I couldn’t speak Mandarin. But other than that I was able to get everything else done without a problem. I used all of my energy walking around the city though and my backpack got very heavy. By the time I got back home it was time for dinner. I unpacked all of the things from my backpack afterwards and I started my process of packing so that I could see how much would fit in the bag that I’m going to check at the airport. It didn’t take me long to put the majority of the things in my bag. I’m sad having to leave but I am also happy to be going back home. I worked on my computer and watched tv with Paige and Rasma the rest of the night before going to bed.

Going to the Asian Pavilions and Mini Europe

Today was a free day for Paige and I we started by taking Rasma out to lunch as a thank you gift for housing us for more than a month. We found a nice restaurant near the house and it was very good food. The restaurant was a fancy place that served a 3-course meal. I ate some dim sum which was filled with shrimp, curry chicken and crème brûlée for dessert. After our lunch, Paige and I decided to go and see some of the sites in Brussels that we hadn’t seen already. We started with the Chinese and Japanese Pavilion; it turned out that it was closed on Mondays but we were still able to walk around and take photos of the outside of the buildings. We walked through some of the streets and we found the Royal Palace and a Monument to Leopold I. Then we went to see Mini Europe which is a place that has replicas of the most prominent sites around Europe from every country. I was a little disappointed that there was only one site that was focused on in Hungary and Greece. The only thing from Hungary that there was a model of was the Széchenyi bath house and it Greece they only showed the Acropolis. I felt like there were so many other things in both countries that could have been shown. We spent about an hour walking around to all of the different sites and I really enjoyed it because the models were very realistic. Then we went back home to eat dinner together. I had a really fun day and I walked around a lot so it was nice to relax at home during the evening. Paige and I worked on the giant puzzle and we finally finished it. Then I stayed up watching tv with Tyler for a while and then I went to bed.

Dim sum at the restaurant

Chicken curry

One of the towers at the Chinese and Japanese Pavilion

Palais Royal (the Royal Palace)

The monument to Leopold I

The replica of Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium

The model of the Széchenyi bath house

The model of the Acropolis

The giant puzzle that Paige and I have been working on

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Another Day in the Center of Brussels

I got to sleep in late today after such a tiring weekend. In some ways it’s nice to be at the end of this trip because I have more free time but I’m not looking forward to leaving Europe. This was a free day for me and Paige so we did a little bit of souvenir shopping and walking around in the city. I plan to do the majority of my shopping very soon so I can pack my luggage. We spent a few hours in the city; I saw the St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral and a fun statue of a cat riding a bicycle. We came back home soon after that; I didn’t want to do too much walking because my legs were sore from going everywhere in Budapest. When we got back home we cooked some pasta for lunch and watch Despicable Me. That’s pretty much how the rest of the day went for me. I spent time relaxing and enjoying myself at home, ate dinner and then relaxed more before going to bed.

The St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral

Monday, July 9, 2012

Leaving Budapest


This morning we woke up pretty early again so that we could go into town before our flight. Our plan was to go to the House of Terror which had exhibits about Communist Regimes but it was more expensive than we thought so we decided to walk around in the area nearby. We walked around and looked at a few markets that were near there and then we found a place to eat lunch. None of us had tried traditional Hungarian Goulash so we found a restaurant that served it for a reasonable price. Afterwards, we tried some Lango which is a type of Hungarian fried bread and it was very good. I was really happy to be able to try Goulash and Lango while I was in Budapest. Once we were finished eating we went to the airport to check in to our flight. We had some waiting time after going through security but it wasn’t too long. We boarded our plane back to Brussels and I stayed awake the whole time. Then when we were back in Brussels we took a few buses and a tram to get back home. By that time I was very tired; I relaxed for a little while and ate some dinner with Paige before going to bed.

Hungarian Lango

The clay oven that the Lango was cooked in.

A guy chopping wood to keep the clay oven hot.