Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like christmas!!

Last weekend I went to Lille, just across the boarder in France for a christmas market with my roommates. When we arrived it was blizzarding and the market was not open yet. So we hid from the snow in a warm cafe until it opened up. The market was nice, got some good gifts for the family. It is always fun to just walk around and drink the hot wine looking at all the christmas things. It really gets you in the christmas spirit!
That night we returned home to quickly get ready and go out for our friend's bachelorette party! Erin was a new hire with us so we got to know her as soon as we got here. Her and her fiance moved here together and are getting married over break. So we did it up Beligan style! It was a great night. We started with dinner at a nice italian restaurant (her fiance is italian) and i have the best goat cheese filled pasta ever!! Then after a very long dinner we followed the belgian tradition we had heard of and had her burn a pair of panties in the street. After that we continued to dance clubs and danced until the first metro at 6am! It was lots of fun and a night she will not forget I'm sure.
School has been very busy lately in the holiday season but lots of fun! I love working i a place where so many cultures are celebrated. Just in the past few weeks I have had more sweets than in my life. We celebrated St.Nicholas day (which the dutch celebrate), Hanukkah and this coming week we will celebrate Santa Lucia and Christmas!So much fun. Teachers are also turning in there contracts for next year so there has been buzz about who will be staying and what will be open for next year. I change my mind daily but we will see where I will be next year. Who knows.
This weekend Heidi from Lesley came to visit! It was so nice to have her visit and we had a great time. Friday night we went to the christmas market in Brussels and walked to the christmas light show after getting a pita! We saw the magical light show and then went home to bed because we are all tired and getting sick. The next day I had tickets to Koln, germany so she tried to get tickets but it was too expensive the day of. Knowing this might happen she stayed and explored Brussels while I went to Germany. This market was so big since Germany is where they started. There were 6 markets throughout the city and they had lots of good stuff. We ate our way through the market with things like a half meter of meat on a stick and gingerbread cookies. We spent the entire day there and were exhausted when we returned! Sunday morning we got up early to head to my favorite market. Heidi , Andrea and I walked around buying some fruit and warm leggings! After the market we went to go get noodles at a new place andra had discovered. It was so amazing! They made the noodles right there while we watched and the noodles and chicken I had was so delicious! When e got home we were pretty tired so we just hung out and read cosmo. We made some tea and turned on the TV to discover how amazing rugby is!! What a fabulous sport! I am watching right now so there may be some errors in this blog. It is just so crazy intense and a wonderful combination of all sports. There are fights like hockey, lifts like cheerleading a little soccer and lots of football. I love it! Needless to say it was a well spent sunday and a great weekend.
I leave to go home in less than a week and am getting very excited! If I don't see those reading this blog (Donna) I will talk to you on the phone when I get back to the states and I hope you have a wonderful Holiday season!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mom and dad visit!

Last Saturday morning I met my parents at the aiport and a week of adventures began! Right after we dropped their things off at the hotel we headed to the trainstation to visit a town nearby called Waterloo. This is where the battle of Waterloo happened so we climbed (I tried to run) up a very high monument for the battle. This town also had a christmas bazzar going on so we went to that. It was nice to see another town and begin to get into the christmas spirit!

The next day we went on another adventure to Amsterdam. This was a packed but fun day! As soon as we got off the train we saw signs for Boots (or boats heh) and knew we had to take one! We got tickets for the next boat tour through the canals. This was a great way to start our tour and see the sites. After the tour we were on a mission to find the I Amsterdam sign! We found it and saw much of the city on foot on the way. After many pictures and more walking we went to the Anne Frank museum. It was so amazing! I had complained earlier that day about not seeing the sun in Brussels because of the clouds but after seeing where she lived I cannot complain about that again. She lived in such a tiny space and had to have black coverings on the wall. Not only could she not see the sun she could never go outside in the fresh air. It was absolutely incredible to see where she lived and even the things that were left of hers on the wall! My parents and I were actually able to compose oursleves through most of the museum but towards the end we heard a mother explaining in the most amazing way the story of Anne Frank and answering their questions. When the children were asking what a prisoner was along with other questions we all started to get a little teary eyed. The mother was starting to choke up as she talked with them, but still made sure to help them understand. It was so sad but what a wonderful mother! After the museum we realized we had not had much of a real meal so we stopped for pancakes on the way to the train station. :)

Monday I met my parents after school and we went grocery shopping for Thanksgiving! Thursday I had French class so we moved Thanksgiving to monday. We had a delicious dinner with my roommates including sweet potatoes and homemade apple pie! Yum!

Tuesday I met my parents at MiniEurope. It is a very touristy park at the outskirts of the city, but still fun. All of the major monuments of Europe are there in mini version with stories about them. So we travelled all around Europe in just over an hour! Then we went to the Atomium. This is a giant atom that you can go up in that was built for the world fair in '58. It was fun to go up to the top ball and see the atomium lit up at night.
That night we went to a nice french restaurant near my house for a delicious meal and amazing creme brule!! After dinner we walked back to my house for some Christmas belgian beers and cards. 
Wednesday was my dad's birthday! They met me at school to see where I work and then we went to the market together. At the market we got the best waffle I have ever had, followed by crepes. We walked around in the chilly weather eating food and trying hot wine. Since it was so cold we ducked into a bar to warm up. I got my dad a birthday beer and my mom had some hot cocoa. After the bar we were not really hungry for dinner so we headed back to my house for some cards with wine, bread and cheese.
Thursday I walked around the city with my parents and we saw the grand place being set up for it's christmas market and light show! We had a short day because I had to go to French class. The next day after school we headed back to the grand place for the first night of the music and light show. The grand place was so beautiful and christmasy! I loved it and it really got me in the christmas spirit! We even got to see the show in during one of the first snow falls which was a nice treat.

Saturday morning my parents left, it was sad to see them go but we sure did have a great week! It was so nice to have my parents over to my place and to be able to pay for things! It was a very different experience but a wonderful one. I felt like a real big kid :). It was so wonderful to have them here for a visit!!
Things have kept busy since they left. Saturday I went to my friend Jess' for another thanksgiving dinner with friends from work. We had a great dinner then played lots of games! We started with the ovenmit game, which was lots of fun and will be at my next family get together. Then we played a series of games from minute to win it. That was also lots of fun. The girls and guys played each other racing to do tasks like move and orea from your forhead to your mouth. We all had a great time and laughed a lot!

This week has been good at school, not too tired after the long week and lack of sleep. It has been very cold and there has been a lot of snow this week! I am currently in my inside-out pajamas and hoping for a snow day!! :)

ps- Sorry for any typos the spell check is in Dutch...