Another week has come and gone in the life of this ACA student. It was very busy but brought us one step closer to Christmas break! We're only two weeks away now, and with so much to do I am enjoying taking a break this Friday night.
Monday and Tuesday are the days with the most classes for me, but somehow end up also being the most productive. I managed to read on of my books and finish the paper on it by Wednesday night, taking off a huge load of stress. Another major project is booking the last places to stay for Christmas break which is proving harder than we thought. Luckily we are almost done and we have gotten all the major events organized.
The best part of my week came yesterday, when Rachel and I got our Christmas care packages from Humanities at Union! I can't even say what my favorite thing was, but the letters and cards from my friends meant more to me than all the candy and goodies and veggie meat. YES, Rachel and I received Vega-Links and two cans of Fri-Chick, much to our glee. The kind they sell here in Europe is not very tasty and we usually avoid it at all costs. My other favorite item was tea in all of my favorite flavors: Chai, green with mango and green with mint.
The Humanities division did an amazing job of sending so much love across so many miles. Our friend Emily was one of the girls in charge of the project and she even knitted Rachel and I each an adorable headband/earwarmer! We also got issues of Human Ties, the Clocktower, and the Peanut Gallery.
As the weather gets chillier here in Spain, I find myself reminiscing about the midwest and, yes, a white Christmas (which there is a chance of in Lincoln). I've been thinking of my dad and how much he loves the cold and realizing that I do too. Many people have been stating that it is simply freezing outside when it reality it's really just chilly. I guess most of them are from Cali so I can't blame them. I, on the other hand, enjoy bundling up and putting on boots and coats and scarves. I think of my family, cozy in our house in Kansas, talking and making potato soup. I think of my friends, warm in toasty dorm rooms and apartments, studying for finals and feeling the anticipation on campus as students get ready to leave for the break. We might not have snow, and our "cold" might mean nights of 35º and days of 50º, but the holiday spirit is building up here as well. I love walking back from dinner in the dark, the sun setting so early (especially on Friday nights!), and the warmth of my little radiator when I get back to my room.
Enjoy the holiday season, everyone. Embrace the cold. Drink a cup of tea. Burn some christmas candles. Put on a scarf. Watch Miracle on 34th Street. Happy December!!!
We only have two and a half more weeks until break and they are going to be crazy! Between now and then we have finals, books to read (in Spanish of course!), projects to complete and plans to make. The weekends are always a nice break, and this weekend was very fun.
Justin and I had lunch at our teacher's house after church on Sabbath. Each group here has a sponsor and they have us over to their house for lunch at least once during the semester. Our teacher was able to have our whole group over at one time, and she made a wonderful variety of foods for us to choose from. We enjoyed eating in an actual home and chatting with Maria Jose and her family. She has two kids who go to school here so we talked with them in Spanish.
By the time we were ready to leave it was already 5:30 so Justin and I had the drivers drop us off at the train station on the way back to ESDES. We were planning on meeting Ryan and Shannon there to go into Valencia for the night. We had one main goal: to go to Taste of America (this time it was open) and get our hands on some Dr. Pepper and mac & cheese. Basically the store is a like an over-priced, very selective Walmart. All our favorite would-be-cheap foods marked way up in euros. A can of condensed mushroom soup? Three euros. yikes. I was able to get away with a can of Pepper and one of Vanilla Coke for about a euro each. Other favorite items? goldfish crackers, celestial seasonings tea, poptarts, and reeses PB cups.
It was fun seeing so many familiar brand names and items, but it did make me miss home a bit. The funny thing is, even though I miss my friends and family and Mikey every day, it doesn't make me as sad as it used to. When we got here one teacher told us that eventually we would just get used to not understanding everything the teachers were saying. I think it's true of everything here. I never stop missing home, I've just gotten used to missing it. I've gotten used to hearing Spanish, and I've gotten used to sleeping later and sleeping less.
We continued our evening with a stop at H&M which was quite enjoyable for all, and then moved on to Lemon Grass and the Kebab shop for dinner before catching the 9:30 train home. Hannah and I stayed up late making popcorn and watching Far and Away, which only made us want to go to Ireland more! Soon, Sunday came and with it a large load of homework and other various tasks to complete. For the next two weeks, I'm going to be in reading and writing mode. I have three little papers due, but when they are in Spanish they take a long time to write (by hand . . . no one uses computers for papers here) and one and a half books left to read. It's time to crack down on this stuff! Until I have another free moment, ¡hasta luego!
This is Hannah and Eloise. They are two of my close friends here in Spain; Hannah came through SWAU and Elo came through Andrews. They actually met at the airport on their way to Sagunto, and discovered that they were attending the same school. When the shuttle picked them up and dropped them off at the dorm, the deans told them that they had already been assigned as roommates! We've been hanging out all year and I love these girls.
Within those first few weeks, everyone at ESDES had the same conversations with everyone else here: Where are you from? What college or university to go to in the States? It was like Freshman Orientation at Union where you meet so many new people and try to remember which academies they are from. Because of this, it didn't take me long to realize that Elo was from the north and Hannah was from Texas. I told her that I had thought about going to SWAU and asked if she liked it. I soon learned that she had never attended school there, she had actually graduated from another Christian college and was going through SWAU since she lived in Keene. Then came the shocker: "I'm not actually an Adventist" she told me.
The main question after this, for me, was "why?" Hannah had already graduated with a degree in Spanish and English (just like I'm working on!) and it seemed strange that she would pick our program out of so many options for studying abroad. She is a member of the Church of Christ and was looking for a safe program with students who care about studies, learning, culture, and who had morals similar to her own. I was so impressed! She told me she was relieved at her first impression and that she was enjoying it already.
Hannah and I have been friends for two months now and in that time we've had lots of discussion about this SDA group she's thrown herself into. Some of my first words to her were, "You are SO brave!" I know that I could never through myself into a whole year abroad, knowing absolutely know one, and not even knowing that I could find "Adventist Connections" that are so prevalent in our church. Hannah admitted that she had been a bit nervous but decided to join ACA anyway. Living in Keene, she does know some about the SDAs and once she arrived she realized that she fit right in. We have asked her lots of questions about her church and have answered many about our own. I asked her if it was very strange to her to transition to suddenly observing Friday night to Saturday night as Sabbath instead of Sunday. She told me that it was a bit strange at first but that she enjoys our view of rest and relaxation for a whole 24 hours. We also reviewed some lingo she would likely here, such as "haystacks" "frichick" and "veggie meat."
I admire Hannah for all that she has done. I respect her religion as I know she respects ours. I love learning about the differences and similarities between us and what it means to each. I told her that I have been wanting to blog about her courage in coming to ESDES with ACA. It turns out she had just written a blog for her friends about us! You can read her blog here
Being here in Spain is teaching me more than just how to travel, how to speak Spanish, or how to make new friends. I'm learning more every day how each of us can get along even with differences, when we realize that we all have common goals. It might sound cliché, but it's true. Many of us have differing religious, political, or cultural views, but we all have something in common. It could be passion for language, love of God, interest in new cultures, or longing to travel.
I'm so proud of my friends for everything that they have done to be here. I'm also so proud that we all get along and love each other without thinking twice about our differences.
Happy Thanksgiving from Spain everyone! ESDES was kind enough to give us the whole day off of classes and we got to have a huge Thanksgiving dinner, making my first Thanksgiving away from home absolutely wonderful.
We've been working on prepping the food for our Thanksgiving dinner all week. I volunteered to help with the food committee and we started cooking on Monday. The menu included mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, mac & cheese, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, salad, and apple and pumpkin pie for dessert. Monday we cooked for about four hours, cutting up pumpkin/gourds for pie, rolling out pie crust, and chopping sweet potatoes. Wednesday we spend almost five hours cutting onions and celery, making corn bread, finishing the sweet potatoes, and chopping what seemed like a hundred million green beans.
I started my own Thanksgiving celebration Wednesday night by watching Dan in Real Life and sleeping in Thursday morning. I helped in the kitchen all morning, mincing 130 cloves of garlic and chopping even more onions. Needless to say, my hands still smell. It was so worth it to have food that was actually salty though! Other Thanksgiving day activities included some girls who ran a "turkey run" and a game of football Americano. I missed the game since I was cooking, but those of you who know me will know that it really didn't affect me. When everyone came in the caf for lunch, we took a break to eat. One of the guys who organized the football announced that they had forgotten to sing the national anthem before the game so we all stood up in the caf and sang it together. It must have been strange for the kitchen crew to see us all drop everything and sing, but it was such a reminder of home and brought tears to my eyes.
Hannah and 130 minced garlic cloves!
I had to teach in the evening at five, but not to worry, Thanksgiving dinner wasn't scheduled until 7:30. I was talking to my monitor, Petar, about how we usually eat Thanksgiving "dinner" around 2 or 3 PM. He told me, "You get American food but you get it on Spain time!" which was so true. I got done teaching at six and headed back to the dorm to get ready since dinner was a very formal affair. Think academy banquet. Even though banquets sometimes have the connotation of being lame, this was so much fun! We were so delighted to have food that tasted like home and to be all dressed up and enjoying the musical stylings of our very talented students. Our teachers all came and brought their families and wished us a happy Thanksgiving.
The evening started with a play put on by the Teatro Clase, which was a funny rendition of the story of the pilgrims and the indians in Spanish. I'm not sure why but it struck us all as hilarious to see everyone acting it out in Spanish. The class did a great job and all were entertained. Finally, we got to eat! All the teachers got to go first and we observed that they all got normal-to-small sized portions while we were loading up on flavorful mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy. There was plenty to go around and we are hoping the caf gives it to us as leftovers today!
The best part of the evening, however, was not the food. After we ate, Juan Antonio, the ESDES director, stood up and told us he had a special surprise. ESDES had contacted our parents and asked them to send special mail to give us during our Thanksgiving feast since we couldn't be at home with our families. In walked all our monitors and teachers with armloads of envelopes and boxes and passed them out to all. I got a card and letter from my parents and the waterworks began. Smiles and tears around the room suggested that many others were receiving similar letters.
This Thanksgiving was nothing like any others I have ever experienced. I've never had Thanksgiving dinner with so many friends all in one place, and even though I miss my family so much, I loved every minute of it. I'm so, so thankful for the new friends that I have and for the new experiences I've had with them. I am also extremely thankful for the ESDES staff who are so kind and generous and make our year in Spain so much easier. Most of all, this Thanksgiving I'm thankful for support. Without the support of my parents I would never have even considered spending a year abroad, and without their continual support I would have probably found a flight home after my first night here. Without the support of my boyfriend, Mikey, I would probably never have been able to up and leave Union and the shelter of my friends there for a whole year. I could never have arrived without the help of my Aunt Rhonda and Uncle Jesse who did so much to help Justin and I with our visas and our flights. My grandparents have also done so much to encourage both Justin and I and have always taken such interest in our lives and our studies. To all my friends, family, the Humanities division, and everyone else: Thank you. Without you, I could never be where I am right now.
It's Monday and my week is off to a great start! This morning I had a test in Gramática that I studied for all day yesterday, and I think it finally paid off! Most of us are having a hard time adjusting to the academics here so it feels good to know that you are finally getting into the rhythm of school. Then after a full day of classes, I came back to the dorm to find that an envelope from my mom arrived, carrying the most important piece of plastic I have: my new debit card.
Some of you may not know, but less than a month ago, I had a terrible, terrible week. We had just returned from our trip to Andalucia and I was left with a a stomach bug from Morocco, not enough sleep, and a week of school before going to Paris. In addition, at the time it felt like everything was going wrong. We got back our first grammar test and it was muy malo. I kept feeling sick and was worried about the upcoming trip to France. A package from my mom got lost in transit after 3 weeks of waiting and we had to do quite a bit of hunting to find it. Then, Friday, the day before going to Paris, I went into town to get cash for my trip from the ATM and lost my wallet within five minutes of withdrawal.
Needless to say, I was a bit of a mess. The thoughts that ran through my mind were rather pathetic and typical of self-pity-parties. Why does everything always happen to me? Why do I have such bad luck? I just want to go home! But alas, after problem-soving, generous friends and amazing parents, all of these problems have vanished. And you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.
Last week was Semana de Oracion (week of prayer) here at ESDES. Granted, I didn't attend every night since the sessions were quite long and I had a good deal of homework, but I did go to several. The second night the speaker said something in Spanish that I really appreciated. Basically what he said was, "Problems: Do you see them as an opportunity or a setback?" Yes, losing your debit card and having to use your friends as personal ATMs for two weeks is a bit of a setback. Yes, having to visit the post office and discuss the whereabouts of your package at length isn't fun. However, I have never had to speak so much Spanish at one time since I've been here.
During that week, I asked the deans several times where my package was, since I had received a slip and they had taken everyone's slips to the post office and gotten them all together. When I asked for mine they didn't have it. After a lot of research I realized that the package was, indeed, somewhere at ESDES but not in my possession. I talked with the deans, the assistants, and all the girls who help out in the dorm, explaining and re-explaining my problem. Finally one dean took me to the post office and we at last recovered the lost box. During that whole week, I spoke so much Spanish and learned so many new words! If I hadn't had the problem, or opportunity, I would have probably spent all those afternoon with my friends, speaking English.
The same goes for everything else. The deans here are so, so kind. They know that there's a lot we can't do on our own here and they do everything they can to help. Vanessa, who works with the deans, always has a smile and helps everyone with everything. She is the very first person I met when I arrived on campus and she showed me to a room and gave me a big hug when I teared up at the thought of spending my first night in another country all alone. Last week, she drove me back and forth to the police station to fill out a request for my missing wallet. We chatted the whole time, and she was so patient with my Spanish and helped me learn some new words.
Everyone has problems. Everyone has bad luck sometimes. What I've learned from this year is not to throw a pity-party every time something goes wrong. The first step is to fix the problem and then find ways to avoid it in the future. We have a joke in Humanities where I work about "first world problems." The typical example is "There's not a parking spot for my Ferrari that's close enough to my yacht!" So when I'm so sad about "I lost my debit card in Spain and now I have to pay back friends for my trip to Paris." how about "WOW! I get to live in Spain and go to Paris for a week! How is anything bad about that?"
It's not. Not at all.
Feliz Sabado todos! It's a chilly morning here is Spain and as I browse my Facebook newsfeed I see photos of my dear aunt's flowers, all the way back in Kansas, still blooming this fall. They were so pretty and reminded me that I had taken some photos in Paris especially for Aunt Judy and my dad and never got around to posting them!
Our first day in Paris, after we went to Mass at Notre Dame, we walked about a block to Sainte Chapelle. On the way there, we stumbled upon a most strange market that sold two catagories of items: pets and pet supplies, and flowers and yard plants.
After gawking at the strange array of bunnies, birds, and chinchillas for sale, Rachel and I wandered over to a plant stand with beautiful flowers and grasses. I immediately thought of two people: my dad and my Aunt Judy.
I've spent many Sundays walking around our local Family Tree Nursery with my dad, trying to find just the right flowering plant, exotic grass, or bush for a spot in the yard, and I know that Judy has spent a good deal of time doing the same. My dad loves grasses and I thought he would enjoying seeing these dusty-blue-green ones. Rachel and I walked around for a bit, commenting and taking photos, and I wished the two of them could have been there with me.
Before I left this fall, my dad and I added some rose bushes to our selection of backyard plants. I think of them every so often, and I know that when they bloom in the spring he'll be thinking of me. I should be back just in time to see them in June and we will have many more gardening projects together to look forward to.
Well, I've been back in Spain for five days now and it's been so great to hear so much Spanish. During the week of vacation, it was so frustrating for us to hear so much French and have no idea how to answer if people asked us questions. After our peaceful Friday night, cleaned up the apartment a bit and went to bed. The owner came the next morning at ten and we had all our bags packed and headed to the train station. Our flight didn't leave Brussels until 5 PM but we were at the airport by noon since we didn't have much else to do while carrying around our backpacks and two suitcases. The airport outside of the city was tiny and we didn't have much to do but chat and look for food. After about 3 hours they let us into the terminal where we sat by our gate for another hour or so until suddenly everyone jumped up and got in line.
Flying RyanAir is a very unique experience, to say the least. After seven days of travel, we were quite exhausted to the point where everything seems to be hilarious. Plus, we were in the Brussels airport, whose motto was "the friendly airport." The RyanAir check-in desk ladies didn't seem to get the memo, but all the security people were quite friendly and people were laughing and joking as they passed through the metal detectors and were thoroughly patted down. Ryan and I got into a different line than the others and found ourselves cracking up just listening to everyone else. Being tired and bored, we didn't even bother figuring out what was so funny.
We haven't quite figured out how everyone knows it's time to line up to board planes here. As you probably know, in the states it's very simple to know when boarding time is. Usually an announcement is made over the intercom and people walk calmly to the line and wait for the gate to open. Here, it seems that suddenly everyone just knows it is time and suddenly they are jumping up and claiming their spots so that they can be the first to select which hard, plastic, non-reclining RyanAir seat they want. Naturally, when everyone else jumped up we did too, right as we found a fellow ACA student and asked him to sit with us for the flight.
There's nothing particularly bad with RyanAir flights, but nothing great either. It's somewhat like a flying infomercial: they spend the whole flight trying to sell you RyanAir calendars (yes... but WHY?), cigarettes (while. on. a. plane.), or RyanAir Scratch Cards (you can win 100 euros worth of flights, comfort not included). The flight was two hours and went by quickly. Then came the best part. When you are on RyainAir and you successfully land (which should really not be something special), they play a super-automated recording of a trumpet sound *da da-da-da-da da da!* and an announcement that you've arrived on "yet another on-time flight" and then everyone on the plane starts cheering! By this time it was 7 PM for us and all we had done was sit all day eating airport snacks, so naturally Ryan, Rachel and I found this particular event most comical and burst into a fit of laughter.
We finished our evening by stopping for kebabs in Valencia and then catching the train to Sagunto. It's funny how much Sagunto feels like home sweet home now.
I was personally very happy that we got home Saturday night and had Sunday to recover and do some homework. We jumped into class Monday morning and I've actually been feeling pretty good about my Spanish this week! I've been practicing a lot every day, and I've been trying to make verb lists and work on my vocabulary.
This afternoon we had some business at the police station, more paperwork about getting our permanent residence cards. After that it was time to teach English, then dinner and some study time! I've also been watching a show in Spanish and it's been so cool to actually understand what's happening!
The best part of my week has been getting mail! I got one postcard from my mom every day this week and I love them! As you may know, my mom
is an artist and she designs postcards to send me and my friends at Union. This year she's been working on a set of travel postcards and I just got three for Gibraltar, Paris, and Morocco!
Today was the best because I also got a box from my grandma! Just as I was walking in the dorm with Justin and Shannon, the dean said that she had packages for us! Justin and I split up our box and Shannon opened hers. We got craisins, granola bars, dried fruit, tea, and autumn m&ms!We are very lucky kids to have such an awesome grandma who sends us tasty american snacks.
Now, the week is almost over and we're starting to plan for Christmas break. More on that later–for now, hasta luego!
Well, our week of vacación otoño is coming to a close. This morning we slept in and then seven of us went on a waffle hunt. Usually I eat just because I know I need to, but Belgian waffles are different. They are so delicious and usually less that $2 from waffle trucks. Sara, Anisha, Rena and Elise lead us back to Grand Place where we were last night and we got to see it in the daytime. We finally hunted down the perfect waffles and then headed back to the apartment. We cleaned up a bit and before long it was time to walk the girls to the train station to catch a ride to the airport for their flight back to Valencia (but not before a group picture and an attempt at an awkward family photo). After we dropped them off, we began a little exploring ourselves.
We started at Grand Place and walked down to see Manneken Pis, the famous statue of the little peeing boy. We also walked past several cathedrals and through a park to see the palace of Brussels. We decided that for dinner we would buy groceries and cook since our apartment has a very well-equipped kitchen. The boys found ravioli and I bought sugar and milk for coffee since we have a coffee maker and found grounds in the cupboard.
Rachel and I cooked and chatted with the boys for an early Friday night dinner. I put on some choral music and started some coffee brewing, realizing in both instances how much I am my parents' daughter. As we sat down to eat I made some comment about my coffee getting cold already and suddenly realized just how much I am my mother. I told this to the others and we talked about how we are all becoming our parents in some way or other. We continued chatting about family, friends, and significant others while dining in our cozy little apartment.
I think this was the best Friday night I've had since I've been in Europe. This whole week I've been traveling, I've been having a great time but also feeling rather homesick as I think about how much my family would love to see what I'm getting to see. Tonight, though, I felt so at home with our simple pasta and salad meal as I chatted with my dear friends and thought of Friday nights at home and coffee with mom and choral music with dad. I miss that, but I love that no matter where I go I am still so much like both of my parents. Even though I can't physically bring them around the world with me, they are with me in my thoughts and actions every step of the way. I love you and miss you mom and dad.
Our first day in Belgium is coming to a close and I love it so far! Brussels is so much smaller than Paris and today was a holiday so it was also very quiet and calm. After our train ride, we used the metro and got day passes since we didn't know if we would need it later in the day. Two short train stops and then a short walk and we found ourselves at the front door of our apartment! Four ESDES (WWU) girls have been here all week and we're going to share the apartment with them tonight. It's so cozy and warm and they offered us tea right away. We spend some time chatting and settling in and then decided to go to see the basilica and little Europe. We walked through a park up to the cathedral and it was so lovely and autumnal. It was a little drippy out and the leaves were soggy and the air was chilly.
Once we got to little Europe we stopped for food and [more] Belgium waffles. Belgium waffles are so delicious! You can buy them on carts on the street for a euro and they are not like any waffles I have ever had. They are sweet and warm and delicious. Anyway, then we realized that you had to pay to see little Europe, so we thought we'd skip it. We rode the metro back to the center of Brussels where we looked around as the sun went down.
So far I love Brussels. I'm not sure what we're doing tomorrow but I'm sure whatever it is will be fun. It's chilly here but it was in Paris too, so I'm sure we'll survive.
Well, our days in Paris have come to a close. We are now sitting on a train, zooming towards Belgium and two more days of adventure before we head back to ESDES. This is my first time on a real train, and so far I’m loving it! For only two dollars more per ticket, we could get first class which includes huge seats, lots of legroom, free breakfast, and wifi! I have a little time before we arrive so I’ll update you on the last few days.
Tuesday was a rather relaxed day. Our first stop of the day was a cemetery where lots of famous people are buried. We hopped on the metro, quickly found the location, and Ryan bought a map so we could quickly find the tombstones we wanted to see. It was a lovely fall day and we all enjoyed walking through the cemetery which was actually quite beautiful. We saw the grave of Oscar Wilde and many others. I enjoyed being off the bustling streets of the city for a bit and enjoying the autumnal weather that we don’t really get in Spain.
After the cemetery, we decided to go to Sacre Coeur, a huge cathedral on the top of a hill. The area was surprisingly touristy, so we didn’t spend a ton of time there. After Subway for lunch we stopped at Christina’s cupcake shop. Christina works for another American woman who also married a French man and now owns a cupcake shop not too far from Moulin Rouge. We bought some cupcakes and chatted for awhile. I was glad to have some time to sit down but soon we were on our way again.
We decided to stop at the Pantheon since we’d seen it from the top of the Eiffel tower and it was covered by our museum pass. Sadly, we got there just as it closed, but got some photos outside. It was getting a little late in the day so we decided to make just one more stop before heading back to the apartment. This was my favorite part of the day.
It was just after dusk when we arrived at the Trocadero, where the view of the Eiffel Tower stretched before us. It was lit up for the night and people from all over the world gathered, taking photos and taking in the vista. Before long we decided it was time to find our way home and grab some groceries for dinner.
When we arrived in Paris, Thomas helped us get metro tickets for the whole week and suggested that we save Versailles for the last day for the ease of getting the correct tickets. This ended up being the best choice of the trip. For starters, yesterday was the most beautiful day since we’ve been here. The air was crisp and cool but the sun was shining. We got up early to arrive at the palace by 9 and avoided lines and crowds all day.
Versailles is absolutely huge. The building itself is giant and impressive, but the grounds and gardens are the best part. My favorite was the back part of the grounds where Marie Antionette had her own little palace styled as an English farm. It actually was a working farm and still has small petting-zoo animals for visitors to enjoy. We first toured the inside of the palace with free audio-guides that explained each room and the over-done gold pomp that the royalty loved so much. It was indeed impressive but not at all anything I find personally lovely. I preferred the back houses (mansions, really) which had less gold and more feminine stylings.
We wandered out to the gardens and were greeted by the view of the canal which runs the length of the grounds. It’s huge, so big that rowing teams were practicing before the tourists came through. Even though I’m sure Versailles was busy that day, it seemed so much more peaceful to all of us after so much time in Paris. We meandered through the gardens and stopped for an early lunch of paninis which were not too pricy and quite delicious. We made our way back to the farm and spend the rest of the afternoon walking. It was so nice to see trees changing color and to get away from palm trees for awhile. We stopped to sit around 3:00 and watched couples and groups attempt to steer their rented rowboats around the canal.
Since we had to get up so early today, we decided to make it a short day and walked back to the metro. We ran into Thomas at the grocery store where we got a few more supplies for our last dinner and made it back to the apartment before seven. We watched some TV and then went to bed on our final rotation of who-has-to-sleep-on-the-floor.
Now we’re on our way to Belgium and I’m so excited for the next few days. Some friends from ESDES have been renting an apartment there all week and we are going to share it tonight and then after they leave tomorrow we get to keep it one more night. Brussels is much smaller than Paris and I’m looking forward to a few days of relaxation before going back to school.