Monday, December 26, 2011

Madrid, Paris, St Nicolas, and CHRISTMAS!

I really am trying to write more frequently, but I've been so busy lately!! Here's what I've been up too...

P.S. photos are on facebook, it takes too long to upload them all here!
December 2-5 I went to Madrid with Kayla and stayed at my host cousins house. She lives right in the center of Madrid, and it was amazing! To fly from Brussels Charleroi to Madrid and back was only about 70 euros, and since we had someplace to stay, it wasn't that expensive. I plan on becoming a professional couch surfer, that really is the way to live life.

The day we arrived, we were kind of a disaster. We don't speak Spanish and no one would speak English with us, even though we know they know the basics. We went sightseeing a little that day and saw the Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, the Royal Castle, and a really impressive Cathedral. Then we went to Flamenco dancing, which is a lot more like tap dancing than I thought it would be. After that we found this American Diner that had a menu in English and served all sorts of American food, I was in Heaven!!! I had a club sandwich and Kayla had a real hot dog (they don't have hot dogs in Europe like we have hot dogs back home) and then we had Apple Pie, it was the best thing ever. After we paid they gave us a gumball. It was just like back home <3

The second day we were supposed to meet up with Kayla's friend from Argentina that lives in Valencia (about 5 hours away from Madrid), and in typical Latino fashion we didn't meet up til about 2 in the afternoon. They don't speak any French (obviously) and a little English, but we made it work and had so much fun with them. We went to Parc Retiro and saw the Crystal Palace and all sorts of cool parks, then we ate tapas for lunch (they normally eat lunch at 3-3:30 here and dinner at about 10) and then we went back to Puerto del Sol and shopped at this massive place called Cortes Ingles. After that we left Kayla's friends and went to find somewhere to eat, and then we went bar hopping. The first bar we went to we paid 8 euros for a daiquiri. We decided pretty quick that wasn't going to happen all night long, but luckily for us, we're girls. In Madrid if you're just with other girls, people that work at the bars will give you coupons to entice you to spend time at their bar and bring the boys with you. Someone told us we could get two drinks for 5 euros. Then after that, the bartender made us another drink. And then they gave us two more. It was ridiculous. Then we heard about this club that apparently was really good, so at about 2 AM we headed to the club. It was 7 stories, and each story had a different theme. There were dance floors, bars, smoking rooms, hookah rooms, and even half naked go-go dancers on the stage. IT WAS SO COOL. We ended up getting home at about 5 AM, but it was definitely a night to remember!

The next day we wanted to get an early-ish start to go to Toledo (really old city just outside of Madrid) but that plan completely failed. We got there at about 3 and looked around the city (more like hiked around the city, it's super hilly) and got tickets for the train at 8. At about 7 we had a panic attack because we didn't know where the train station was, and let me remind you WE DON'T SPEAK SPANISH, so we started full out sprinting to get there in time. We got there with about 5 minutes to spare, but our tickets wouldn't work and we got kicked out of the line. They didn't work because our original tickets were for the train at 10 but we didn't want to get home that late so we changed them. The ticket person finally got it figured out so we made the train but it was a very, very stressful time.

Our last day there we went shopping!! My host cousin showed us this street with a bunch of cool shops and we bought Christmas presents and purses and then ate a long lunch and ended up running in the airport to make our plane. Kayla and I end up running a lot. We need to learn better time management skills. Overall Madrid was an awesome trip where we met lots of cool people and learned enough Spanish to get around! I can't wait to go back for Easter Break :)

The parents and brothers of the host cousin I stayed with in Madrid invited me to come stay with them in Paris two weeks after I got back from Madrid. I appreciate the fact that my host family lives in awesome cities and invites me to come visit.

The first day I got there we went to Galeries Lafayette to see this AMAZING Christmas tree, and then we walked over to Printemps and went to the top of the building for an incredible view of Paris. You could see La Defense, the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur and Montmarte, it was indescribable. Then we went to look at the Christmas Markets at Montmartre and see Sacre Coeur. I love the area of Montmartre but everything at the Christmas Market was super expensive! Then we went on a walk through Paris and ate cake and drank tea at this super cute little restaurant that had the best cake EVER! After that we went shopping and I bought shoes for the Christmas Dance at school and a purse.

The next day we went to Brunch at this American restaurant where every single person that worked there was from the U.S. I ate pancakes with syrup and was sooo happy. They don't eat pancakes and syrup here, they eat crepes and sugar or waffles and chocolate. I most definitely love those too, but I was missing pancakes and syrup a little bit as well. After that we went to the catacombes. Angeline (my host cousins girlfriend) was TERRIFIED. Absolutely certain that we were going to die in the catacombs. It was the weirdest experience ever. I knew we would be seeing bodies, but I thought it'd just be skeletons laying around. I was SO wrong. There are thousands of skeletons. Everywhere. But made into pretty little designs. They only use the skulls and arm and leg bones for the designs and then they shove the rest behind so you can't see them. It is a weird, weird thing. There were also really depressing quotes everywhere like "wake up each morning thinking you'll die that night, and go to bed each night thinking you'll die the next morning." It was a cheery place.

When we left, we went to Notre Dame and rode Carousels and drank Starbucks and then we went to the Champs Elysees and saw all the Christmas lights and Christmas markets, and that was a much happier place.

My last day there I heard that my parent's best friends (who live in North Carolina and we only see once a year if that) would be in Paris. I sent them an email and we met up at Notre Dame and then went to see the Saint Chapelle together. It was really good to see people from home and speak two hours of uninterrupted English. We hardly ever meet up in the States but we managed to meet up in Paris!! Then I went to a Rotary Christmas Party with my host aunt and uncle and got a really cool Mexican Nativity Set and everyone signed a piece of paper wishing me a Merry Christmas or wrote some cute little note :) I can't wait to go back to Paris in March or April to meet up with my French teacher and other kids from my high school back home!! It was such a fun weekend with wonderful Parisienne tour guides :)

St Nicolas
Every year on the 6th of December, St Nicolas comes and gives all the kids candy. It's a wonderful holiday. I got candy from my host grandparents, my host family, and my host aunt and uncle, and I'm probably going to die from a chocolate overdose soon. At school, someone dresses up in the St Nic outfit and they go around to all the classrooms and throw candy at the kids, it's a lot of fun. I might try and make my real family adopt this holiday, its just like Halloween with all the candy!

My school had a formal Christmas Ball, and everyone got all dressed up to go. They serve dinner before the dance, and dinner starts at 8 and the dance ends at 2. The weirdest part of all of this was that the teachers were selling alcohol, and the kids were drinking it with the teachers. It completely blew my mind. It was awesome, but something like that would absolutely never happen back home. I was supposed to go home at about 2:30, but stayed to help clean up and got home at 7:45 instead. At school dances back home, teachers help clean up and we always come back the morning after to do it. There were absolutely no teachers in the school during clean up and it lasted from 2:30 til about 7 AM. I was so tired I fell asleep on a table. I got home and slept all day, it was wonderful.

Christmas Eve we had maybe 15 people over for Turkey and presents. My host dad gave me one of his paintings (he's an amazing painter), I got a scarf from my host sister (my collection is RAPIDLY growing) and gloves from my other host sister, and the big present from my host parents is that they're taking us all to Disney Land tomorrow for 3 days. I AM SO EXCITED. I also got a Pandora charm from my host aunt and uncle and bathroom stuff from Mami and Papi. It was a good Christmas Eve :)

For actual Christmas all of Mami and Papi's family came to eat dinner. They have 7 kids, and each of their kids have about 3 kids, and cousins were there and it was just out of control. This family is HUGE. All the cousins did a gift exchange, I got a scarf (did I mention my collection is growing rapidly?) and I gave away an America tshirt and bag. Then we played a game like scharades but with drawing, and ate wonderful sea food and fruit and had delicious Yule Logs for dessert and did a flash mob that we had made up earlier in the day. At the end of the night (about 2 AM) we played a trivia game about the families and the winner got to take 7 bottles of wine home. The questions were things like "True or False: Mackenzie's middle name is Anne" and "True or False: So and so's anniversary is May 10th" but the family concerned couldn't answer the question. It was really fun, but I obviously didn't win because I hardly know anything about this massive family. Overall it was a great Christmas and I can't wait to go to Disneyland tomorrow with my host cousins, parents, and sisters. It should be a really fun time!!!

I live a gooood life <3

Friday, November 18, 2011

Monastery, London, and Thanksgiving

I haven't updated in about a month. I'm going to try to update more often, but I'm really busy here! This past month, we had the retrait with school at the monastery, I went to London with Rotary, and then I made Thanksgiving for my host family. The language keeps getting better and better, and Belgium is getting colder and colder.

First, the Monastery.
I thought going to a monastery with my VERY Catholic school to live the life of a nun for three days would be a very...religious experience. Turns out, it wasn't that religious at all. The first morning, we left Dinant at 8 in the morning and didn't get to Stavelot until 12. It took three train rides, a bus ride, and a hike to get to the monastery, and it wasn't easy. Once we got there, we started playing ice breakers and doing team bonding things. We played regular musical chairs, and then we played musical chairs where chairs were taken away but people got to stay in, so by the end there were 22 people trying to get on one chair. Then we had to show objects that had a special significance to us, and explain a little about our lives. I showed the Wyoming flag and talked about my life in Wyoming and why I decided to do an exchange. Then at night we had to go to church for 15 mins, which was super easy and fast. Then we played ping pong with everyone, and I taught the Belgians "sting pong" but the teachers didn't appreciate that much. For those that don't know, sting pong is where you play like a regular game of ping pong but when you lose the point you have to turn around and put your shirt over your head and the person that won the game gets to try to nail you with the ball, it's super fun.

Group in front of the monastery

Musical Chairs Remixed version

The second day, we were paired up with people and had to talk about our dreams and ambitions. It was really cool because I actually got to talk with everyone, and after you practice the same conversation over twenty times, you become really good at it!! I got a lot of compliments on my French after about the 15th repetition. Although one girl decided she didn't want to talk about the future, she just wanted me to tell her in what ways my life was similar and different to the TV show, One Tree Hill. No, I did not have any married friends with a baby my senior year. Another girl wanted all the details about prom, OVER and OVER again. Someone else asked me if I ride to school in a yellow school bus. I told them I prefer the big coach buses they get for school trips and they thought I was crazy! In the afternoon, we put on skits about the admin, staff, teachers, and students at my school. For the one about the teachers, there were three kids sitting at a desk. One was coloring, and the other two were sleeping. The "teacher" started yelling at them, saying "You are not here on vacation, you can't just sleep and color through all the classes!" They were making fun of Diego, Manolo, and I, and it was absolutely hilarious. After that we went to the woods, and started playing games with carabiners. At first, we were attached to one other person via belt loops and had to run back and forth. Then we had to team up with another pair (all the exchange students were together, we were "team etranger") and climb down this ridiculously steep cliff. Kayla was in the front, so she should have led, but Manolo was just too excited and ended up pulling us all down the aforementioned cliff. My belt loop broke half way through our fall, so I landed on top of everyone else, but we all ended up with tons of dirt down our pants, underwear, and shoes. It was really fun. Then one of the partners was blindfolded and the other partner had to lead them. Dangerous for me, because I can't walk on an even surface without falling, and they decided to blindfold me through the forest with pits of death and tree stumps every few feet. I survived. When we got back to the monastery, we played a soccer game, but you had to hold someone else's hand while you played. The Latinos are INTENSE about soccer. It was terrifying. At dinner, Diego left his phone at the table so Kayla and I decided to steal it to play a prank on him. Diego is addicted to his phone. He was so upset when he realized he didn't have it, he was looking all over the monastery for it. Kayla and I thought we were hilarious, but then we walked into our room and someone had trashed it. Our mattresses were flipped upside down, our sleeping bags were all scattered, and then one of the other girls told us Diego and Manolo did it. So we began a prank war- Girls vs Boys. The girls had destroyed all the boys rooms, so the boys stole the girls toilet paper, and it was just a chaotic night but super fun. Then they tried to teach me how to play hearts, but I've tried to learn in English and that didn't go so well, so you can imagine how it went in French.  Had such a fun day.

Blindfolded walk through the woods 

Running while attached to someone else

Manolo taking charge

After falling down the cliff

hand-held soccer

Room after prank war
On the third day, we went to church at 8 in the morning for half an hour. Apparently the monks that live there give a service at 6, 8, 11, 4, and 8 at night. Anyone can go to any service they wanted too, but we didn't actually end up going to that many. Since we arrived, people had been writing nice things about everyone and putting them in a jar with their name on it. I call these warm fuzzies, but there are lots of names for it. On the last day, we got to read all our warm fuzzies but the teachers said we couldn't keep them. Screw that, I wanted them for my scrapbook, so I stole them :) Then we wrote a letter to ourselves that the teachers will send to us a year from now (we made them promise to send it international) about what we hope we'll be doing and what we think of ourselves at this point in time. Mine is written in French and English, so I really hope I can still understand the French I wrote on it by next year! If not, I'll just have to come back to Belgium... We left Stavelot at about 1, but didn't get back home til about 5. It was a really fun weekend, and didn't turn out to be anything like I thought it would be.

Normally, when you exchange with Rotary to a European country, you go on one big trip with all the exchange students called the "eurotour". Belgium doesn't have a Eurotour, so instead they offer us different trips at different times. In October, you could go to Paris. November you go to  London. February is for Amsterdam, April is for Italy or Spain, and June is for Prague. I didn't go on the Paris trip because I've already seen most of the sights that they were going to see, and I'm going in December twice (what a hard life I live). I went to London, am going to Spain, and hopefully am going to Prague. I reallyyyyy wanted to go to Amsterdam, but that's the week my second host family is taking me skiing in the Pyrenees, and since Amsterdam is only a 5 hour train ride away, hopefully I'll be able to go another time. I'm on the waiting list for Prague, but no one has been accepted to that trip yet, so we'll see!! So, back to London. There were 75 kids on the trip, and we took one big bus from Brussels to Namur to Tournai, then crossed the English channel from Calais and landed in Dover. It took about 6 or 7 hours. The English channel is so pretty, and I actually got to see the white cliffs of Dover this time because it wasn't foggy! 

Then we went to Canterbury Cathedral, everyone was so confused about what language they should speak. You'd walk in somewhere and say "bonjour" and then have to say "sorry, hello!!" and everytime we left someplace we'd say "merci" instead of "thank you." It was a really weird feeling. After Canturbury, we went to Picadilly Circus (which is not in fact a circus, in case some of you are confused like I was) and had free time. We ate dinner at KFC (YAY American Food!) and went to M&M world, then got to watch street performers. I'd never met two of the people I was rooming with, but they were so much fun.

The next morning, we went to Windsor Castle. We walked around on the outside a bit and saw some of the rooms inside, but we couldn't take pictures. Then we went and saw the changing of the guards and took pictures with them!
Windsor Castle 

Windsor Guards

Super cool London guy at Picadilly

After Windsor Castle, we went to look at Madame Tussauds. It was SO cool! It was really trippy though because you would see someone taking a picture so you'd walk around them, but the person taking the picture was actually made of wax. Then you would think someone was wax and touch them and they'd be real! They had all different floors with different people, like celebrities, world leaders, athletes, serial killers, and movie characters. 

Me with the wax people. Except Prince William wasn't wax, he was real :)
We went to eat at Hard Rock Cafe (every time you travel with Rotary you'll eat at Hard Rock Cafe) and had the best cheeseburger ever, Belgian cheeseburgers just aren't the same. Then we went to this musical comedy called "Blood Brothers". At first, everyone was laughing so hard they were crying. It was hilarious. But after intermission, it got really serious and depressing and then everyone started crying for real. I'd still recommend it, because the play was really well done, but the end is really sad. When we got back to the hotel, everyone went down to the bar and we just talked and drank til 2 AM. I LOVE having my Belgian ID so I can legally drink. The Latinos taught me some Spanish and Portugese, so now I know how to say really inappropriate things in 4 languages. That's fun.

Next day, we went to the Meridian Line and took pictures, then we went to Tower Bridge. We drove past Buckingham Palace but couldn't take any pictures, and then we stopped at Westminster and had a couple hours of free time. We ate fish and chips, shopped, and saw a protest by the labor party. Then we went to a Museum and saw the Rosetta Stone, but we didn't stay long. We went to King's Cross Station and took a picture at 9 3/4, then we went to Harrods to "shop"-super expensive, a scarf was over 700 pounds, but it was really cool to see the store.  Kayla has a friend that lives in London so we went to meet up with her and watch the fireworks for Guy Fawkes Day. (Google it-it's interesting) After that we went exploring by the London Bridge and discovered this super cute Italian restaurant, and then headed back to Picadilly Circus to head home. We left London at 11:30, got on the ferry at 3, and were back in Namur by 8. It was SUCH a long day, but the trip was a lot of fun and I met a lot of new exchange students. 
Hard Rock 
Roomies at the bar 

Roomies at tower bridge!




Our British Meals :)
Finally, Thanksgiving
I thought Thanksgiving was the first Thursday of November and not the fourth, so we ended up celebrating a little early this year. No one in Belgium knows why we do Thanksgiving, but they think the story is really cute, so I decided to try and cook a Thanksgiving for my extended family and some family friends. I've never even helped with Thanksgiving back home, so I was terrified to cook it all by myself. Luckily, my host dad is a chef and Kayla said she would help, so we got it done. 
I went grocery shopping with Jean Luc to buy all the ingredients, but some of them they didn't have so we had to improvise. I cooked two pumpkin pies and casserole's the night before, and we could only find a little turkey. Jean Luc used his restaurant connections to get us another one, luckily. Thursday after school Kayla and I went to look at the turkeys and Jean Luc whips it out with head and claws and all. It was disgusting. He chopped those off and then reached inside and pulled out the heart and liver and kidneys, and then he started playing games with the dead turkey head. Gross gross gross! Thank goodness he was there and didn't make us do it, the turkey never would have gotten cooked. Kayla and I made two turkeys, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean, spinach casserole, and pumpkin pie, and we did it all by ourselves. Jean Luc carved the turkey and showed us how to work things, but mostly we flew solo. I was so scared it wouldn't turn out right. There were about 20 people over, and before we ate I made them all stand up and say something they were thankful for. It was really fun seeing what they came up with. Everyone said the food was really good and thought Thanksgiving was a good holiday to celebrate. I think I agree :)
One of the many benefits of living with a chef- Cool cooking hats! 
All the food before it was served

I <3 Thanksgiving

Pumpkin pies!
Kayla with dead turkey head
That's about all! I also got to meet up with Connor (from my district in the states) and Pierrick who lives in Belgium but exchanged to my district last year. I go to Madrid in two weeks, and Paris a few weeks after that, and then CHRISTMAS! I can't wait :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I've been busy busy busy...

I know I haven't updated in a long time, but I've been super busy. GOOD NEWS! I'm starting to understand things without thinking about them all the time! I've been here 64 days today (woot woot!) and it's not taking as much effort to understand and reply. Now, if I don't understand something, I can ask about what I don't understand whereas before I wasn't even sure what I did or didn't understand, it was all kind of a big blur. YAY FOR PROGRESS!

Okay so what I've been doing for the past 3 weeks or so:

Fete de Wallonie
Flag of Wallonia

They had all sorts of parades and street performers like this!

Translation: Monkey balls, I looooove you. It's a popular drink.

Valentine (Kayla's host mom), Me, Danielle, and Kayla after the Flash Mob

Our wonderful giant balloon and how sad we would be if someone popped it :(
When my host parents described the Fete de Wallonie to me, they said that it was a big party where everyone gets together and drinks peckets (little flavored shots) and there's concerts for 3 days and kids sleep in the train station and everyone just parties. I thought that couldn't possibly be right, because firstly it's not safe to sleep in train stations, and there must be some other point than just to party. I was wrong. Wallonie is the part of Belgium that speaks French (Flanders is the part that speaks Dutch) and literally it's like Frontier Days without the cowboys but with the same amount of craziness and drunk people and socializing. It lasts Thursday to Sunday, and is in a couple different cities in Wallonia, but I went to the capital (Namur). Friday I hung out with school friends, tasted Peckets, saw concerts, attempted to jump on a bungy tramp but was told I was too big (RUDE) and did lots of people-watching. Saturday, my friend Danielle (who comes from South Africa but lives in Flanders-speaks English, Afrikaans, and Dutch fluently but not much French) came with Kayla and I and our host families to go shopping and look around. We also ran into some of the exchange students from South America. They are out of control. Always. They never run out of energy, it's ridiculous. Then Saturday night we were in a flash mob (yes I know, my life is super cool) with the dance company that Kayla's host mom teachers for. It was awesome. Then afterwards (because it's the twentieth year of Fete de Wallonie) they passed out these MASSIVE balloons and had fireworks going for like half an hour, it was fantastic. I decided not to sleep in the train station and go home to my bed, although it was lots of fun. Pictures are above!

South of France!
My counsellor for Rotary invited me to go to the South of France with her and her husband and their exchange student from Thailand. Sweeeeet! It was a 9 hour drive (which was killer because most of the European highways are lined with trees, which means you can't even look at anything) and then we got to Gard in Provence. Here's a picture of where I was...

It's a really pretty region that has a lot of history with the Romans.  It was about 30 degrees C every day, and I got to swim, tan, read, and just relax. It was absolutely WONDERFUL. We also went to look at some sights. A river runs through that entire region and it has a big canyon around it. We were going to kayak down it but Ponpinya (Thai exchange student) doesn't like water so we just went to look at it instead. 

I found a billy goat friend!

Then we went to look at a medieval village...
Ponpinya and I

It was really pretty! Then we went to see the Pont du Gard, which is this old Roman Aquaduct that carries over 4000 swimming pools of water a day. CRAZY!

After that, we went to these waterfalls that have killed 25 people in 20 years, they have really dangerous sinkholes that suck people under. It's the end of summer so there's not a lot of water, but people still aren't allowed to swim. I guess it's crazy to watch it in Spring when it's full of water. We also went to Avignon which is this old town that's really pretty. Aside from that sightseeing we mostly relaxed, it was wonderful.

Deadly translation: To Be Likely To Fall, Hold Your Children By The Hand

At Avignon!
It was a fantastic weekend, and I loved the weather. Belgium is already cold and rainy and its very unappreciated. Quick side story. We met some Dutch tourists, and when they found out we were exchange students, they gave Ponpinya and I a compass from the Dutch Army. It doesn't work. Now we know why the Netherlands aren't a world power-they always get lost!

Namur and Putte Weekend
Last weekend on Saturday, there was a meeting for all the exchange students in Namur. We sat there and listened to rules for trips for about 3 hours, then had an hour break for lunch. Kayla, Lil, and I went to Pizza Hut, but when we came back an hour later, everyone was gone. They actually said meet at the boat for lunch. So we were running to try and find the boat, Kayla and Lil are both way taller than I am, when they walk I literally have to jog, so I was straight sprinting with them. Ended up running for a solid twenty minutes in the rain with a sprained ankle (I'm really graceful, I fell in PE) until we found the boat approximately two seconds before it left. Then we sat in the rain for a couple hours on the boat and froze to death until we were done. Then Kayla and I went to a place in Flanders named Putte (French speakers should find the humor in this name) and spent the night for Danielle's 18th birthday. We went to a dance party with about 300 other people and I got to see a little bit of Flanders and it was a really fun weekend, although with not a whole lot of sleep. 

Gent and Brussels
Last week we had a trip to Gent with school, I'm not really sure why but it was fun. Kayla and I were running late again (surprise there, I'm always late) and ended up running up the hill by my school (probably a 160 degree grade, NOT exaggerating) to make it to the bus by 6:45. Then we got to go on a boat ride to see Gent, the guide was amazing he would switch from Dutch to English to French almost every other sentence and didn't have too strong of an accent in any language. Then we got to go on a scavenger hunt for all these buildings in Gent and then a little bit of shopping. Wednesday, my host family took me to the Atomium with my host cousins who live in Brussels and then we went shopping and I bought these fantastically warm clothes, because I'm cold ALL THE TIME! Thursday I went back to Brussels with my school, we saw the Botanic Gardens and the Grand Place and Parliament. I already saw Parliament with Rotary and it wasn't very interesting then either. Belgium has gone over 450 days without a government, it's kind of seen as a joke actually, so visiting Parliament isn't as exciting as one would think. It's mostly empty. 

In Other News...
I'm going to London with Rotary on November 3-6th, and I'm SUPER excited. Then December 2-5 Kayla and I are going to Madrid to stay with my host cousin and visit the girl Kayla's family hosted a couple years ago. The weekend of December 16th I'm going to Paris to stay with my host aunt and other host cousins, and maybe visit a girl from Bordeaux who was in my district last year! 
School is still impossible. They'll give me quizzes, and all I can do is put my name down. Also, I failed an English quiz. I appreciated the humor in this but my teacher didn't think it was so funny. Firstly, they use British words (like chips for fries and crisps for chips) and it's vocab they've studied but I didn't pay attention too so I was lost. One of the questions was: Something a big country has over a little country. It was a crossword, and it looked like this. - - - - - e - - -. Think about this. Seriously think. The answer? Influence. A big country has a lot of things over a little country, how am I supposed to know it's influence? And that is why I can't even pass courses in my own language.  October 26-28th, everyone in Rhetos (senior year) will go to a Monastery for 3 days and live like they do. I have no idea what this entails, but I'm excited for it! It should be very interesting. I've been doing a lot, and been having lots of fun. 

I think that's all for now, a bientot!