Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blood, sweat and tears

Oh yes the children have started at my school! The blood has been minimal, but very traumatic none the less. The sweat has also been minimal since it is Belgium where the sun hates to shine. There have been lots of tears however!

I am fully oriented and it is time to start working now. The way that the school brings the children into
 the school at the young age is very helpful. They started last Wednesday with 15 minute individual meet the teacher blocks for parents and kids. Then Thursday and Friday were two small sessions for one hour. This week is all of the children but only for a half a day. It has been an interesting week, but lots of fun! Many of the children do not speak a word of English and some of them have been having trouble leaving mom and dad. The other day I had a conversation with a little boy without understanding a word he was saying. We carried on as if we understood though, I presume we were both talking about how the ball was rolling. It is great to see the children interact with just gestures and usually just staring at each other. They are too cute for words!

Last weekend I went with a group of friends to Ostend, which is on the coast. The weather was great for Belgium standards! No rain and even some sun. Not quite beach weather but it was great to go see the water. The water was actually pretty warm so I enjoyed playing in it with my pants rolled up. It was a great wonderful day trip and pretty cheap!

This past week I got my first big kid pay check! It was very exciting and I made a great trip to the Sunday market with my earnings. I bought lots of fruits and veggies! The market is near school on Sunday's so after shopping we stopped at school for the welcome back BBQ! They really go all out for this thing it was very impressive. They had a DJ and a bunch of bounce house things. The playground was barely used because of the other fun things.

The other day I also signed up for french class! I am starting next Thursday. :) I get reimbursed by school so I figured why not try it. My days will be very busy though. Monday and Wednesday I will not get home til around 6 or 7. Tuesday and Thursday I will be getting out of school doing my after school activities, working out at school then going to french. I will not get home until after 9! It will be worth it though. I sure am keeping busy. More people keep making plans to come visit as well which is very exciting and will keep me busy! :)

Miss you all back home. Talk soon!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Exploring Belgium!

This past weekend was very busy but lots of fun. Friday ISB took us to Brugge for the day! We had a guided walking tour of the city followed by lunch and then a boat tour on the canals. The city was very beautiful with small streets, lots of churches and cute buildings. The lunch that work got us was very impressive. We had the whole top floor to ourselves with a three course meal. We ate at a brewery and tried the beer they made there. It was delicious! After the tours we all stayed and walked around the city some more enjoying more beers and french fries. I tried my first true Belgian fries...they are served with Mayo! It was actually quite good. I also tested my British accent out on co-workers of mine from England. They said that it was good and believable! :) That may have been the highlight of my day hehe. Then we headed back and had an early night because we were all pretty beat after that long day!

The next day I got up early and explored the city on a run with Ashlee. It was great to get up and be productive early! After that my roommates and I met up with people from work to see more of the city. The flower carpet festival was happening in the city so we went to see that. In last weeks post I had a picture of Grand Place marked off, this week that area was all full of flowers! They lay flowers and grass to look like a carpet it was beautiful. They even had a fountain in the middle.

Next we walked over to the park to sit for a bit since it was the first warm day in a while. It was nice to sit and enjoy the sun. We were sitting next to the palace so we decided to go take a tour inside. This is no longer where the king lives but where he works. The line outside was very long but there were free Ben&Jerry's samples while we waited! This is not standard at the king's work it was because of the festival, but what a great day to wait in line! Also that day they were setting up for the Brussels summer festival and doing band sounds checks. The band we heard while waiting in line was so good we decided to buy tickets. We now are attending a concert every night for this ten day music festival.

We went to our first concert last night. The bands were really good. My roommate and I listened to the bands online all day today. Tonight we went again and stood through the cold rain. It was not quite as enjoyable because of the weather but it was still good.

It was a very busy and fun weekend here. There has been a lot going on at home too, babies being born and kids growing up! Thank goodness for Skype :). Jackson started to crawl and said no the other day! I sure do miss the kiddos. I am very excited to start and meet my little ones here! This is our last full week of orientation before school starts. This week we have workshops with all of the teachers so I get to meet the teacher I will be working with. It should be an interesting week. :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

This is starting to feel real...

Last Saturday ISB took us on a tour of the city. The first part was bus then we walked and ended at Grand Place. It was great to figure out where things were and know what we were looking at. In the Grand Place we had a beer tasting! Work bought us six drinks. I think I have tasted them all now. :) The rest of the weekend we spent resting and getting to know the city. My roommate and I went for a 2 hour run/walk. We went all over the city and discovered what we were near! It was really exciting.
We are still having meetings for orientation and the most exciting one was yesterday morning with the head of ISB. It was a professional development and for the first time I was officially on the staff! It was so exciting, I felt like I was right where I was supposed to be. Thanks Lesley!! I was able to contribute and be right on the same page as everyone. The school's philosophy and way of doing things seems so amazing and ideal! I am so excited to be a part of this school and I am not sure how I will ever work for another school. :)
Today school took us to IKEA for some things we needed for our place. It was a fabulous trip and now I feel like this is a cozy home. I have a blanket, real pillows, slippers and a rug. :)
Despite the rainy days and distance from all of those I love I am really enjoying it here! I miss you all and hope to talk with you soon. :) Bye for now!
Le Grand Place
The middle is blocked off because of a festival next weekend.
My new and improved bedroom!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Getting settled :)

Well sorry for the delay but I am back and still very happy here! Today the interns and I went to meet with our department head. She showed us important things in the school and on our new computers. She also gave us our first tasks. We have to start with some typical intern jobs like taking photos and making boards. After our meeting she took the four of us out to lunch near school! We went to a place I had actually wanted to go to because it looks so cute. They had a delicious, and expensive, buffet then I got creme brulee! I was sooo good...

After such a great day and a great nap I felt very motivated to clean and make the place look nice. I finished unpacking the little stuff that was still in bags then vacuumed and mopped my room, bathroom and living room! The places looks so great I love it.

Here are a few pictures of the place that I call work...
This is the chateau, which means castle. This is where all the offices are
Rock climbing wall!
Well I should really get to bed now, but just wanted to show some photos. More to come later!  :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

First Day!

Hello Friends and Family!
My friend Donna inspired me to do this so that you can all know what I am doing while I am away. I don't know why I chose to start at 1:30am here, so it will be brief with no pictures. I will add more later..

Today was my first day on the job! It was just orientation so no one has really called me Miss Arnold yet. It was a great day though! The school is so amazing. We had a campus tour and saw the classrooms, huge libraries, tennis bubble, fitness center, rock climbing gym and much more! The people that I work with are fabulous and most of us went out for drinks right after orientation and then met up again for dinner. We all mesh very well so far and like to travel. It should be a very fun year.

I live with three other girls, all of us are interns in the Early Childhood Center. We all get along well, but it is still early :). I think things will be great though. We have a very nice place with a lot of space. It is three floors and it is almost as if I have my own apartment because I have my own floor pretty much. I love my little balcony it has a view out to the back of other apartments but there are gardens and it looks so European.

Brussels itself is also so beautiful. The weather is funny one minute it will be hot, the next cold and then it will rain so that will take some getting used to. The buildings and streets are so gorgeous here. The people have also been very friendly and helpful to us poor English speakers.

That is all for not as I must try to sleep. I will blog again soon with pictures :)