So I may be doing this blog more or less because I’m procrastinating on doing my presentation on Belgium for Rotary. Shhhhhhh 😉
I’ll make it short and sweet so I can get back to work, don’t worry Mom.
So from the days May 3rd to May 8th, my parents from Canada (have to specify which… I now have 4 sets of parents) came over to Belgium to do a little visiting.
It started off the night of the 3rd where I had to pick them up at the Brussels airport at 10:30pm. Waited and waited for them there super impatiently. I had no idea what to expect after not seeing my parents for like 8 Months! When I saw them I think the only difference I noticed right away is that I’m pretty much the same height as them now and mike has more grey in his beard! 😛 I was also super nervous that they may have changed or that I may have changed which is completely normal and to be expected after 8 months. But within a few minutes everything seemed to be back to how it used to be! I guess I may have missed them a little bit 😉 I gave big hugs and introduced my host dad who drove me to the airport to them. We then had to go find the rental car place and navigate or way to my host families house. We got lost a couple times but hey roundabouts and dark turns aren’t very easy to figure out.
The next day, Wednesday, May the 4th be with you. We left early in the morning to start our day! I showed them around my school, mainly the machining class I work in every week with the new skills I’ve learned. After the school we made our way to Namur, where we met up with one of my Belgian friends Max and Explored the Citadel (kinda like a castle/old military base) We saw a golden turtle and ate some meatballs and fries at the top. I also may have showed them some beer. Which yes, they did enjoy very much! After the Citadel we went more towards the city centre to check out some churches and buildings. When we were done in Namur, all 4 of us went to Dinant. A beautiful little town on a river, also home of the Saxophone. Oh by the day did I mention it was 20-28 degrees with sun every single day they were here?! They lucked out! When we got there I showed them the cookies that are specialty in Dinant. They make the cookies into artwork pretty much and if you try to eat them you will break your teeth. We then Saw the giant church and then the house of Adolf Sax. The guy who invented the saxophone. We were gonna go to the citadel in Dinant too but this one we had to pay for so we cheaped out and my parents decided we should go for a milkshake or something. We stopped in a café and milkshakes we probably a thought for about 30 seconds until they saw beer on the menu. So with Belgian traditions, I of course had to show them some of the other beer Belgium has to offer. When we were finished with our beers we decided we would go to a small town called Floreffe. In Floreffe there is a giant school that has a brewery in it. School with beer? Umm yes please. So Max showed us the way. Poor guy had to deal with Mikes crazy driving Aha! When we got there we thought there might be a tour of the brewery or school but turns out there was just a lame exposition going on there that we didn’t want to pay for so we just went to try a beer that was made at that school. At the end of the day we brought Max back to where he needed to go and we had a Rotary meeting to go to! The Rotary meeting was probably the worst thing for my mom because she doesn’t understand all french nor speak a lot of it. So she had to sit there awkwardly and do nothing. I found it funny ahah. I guess I talked to them a little bit but hey they made it through the meeting! We beer, wine, fish and croquettes! (tater tots) After the meeting we returned to my 1st host family’s house. My host father Gaspard immediately offered beer and/or wine. So for like the 4th-5th time we had some more beer! Was good for the parents to get to sleep well!
Gotta love selfies.
Mom and I hanging with Mr.SaxMike and I chilling with Mr.Sax
Adventures don’t stop! Thursday May 5th was a more chill and relaxed day. We started the day at a Market in my town. I thought it was going to be just a lil’ol’ market but nope! It was full blown with thousands of people and judging events for pigs and buff cows with crazy muscles, sheeps, horses an’ all! We had a giant sausage on a bun for breakfast and then met up with my 3rd host mom and siblings at the market. We walked around the market for a bit but it got so busy you couldn’t walk without touching people constantly. My town has about 4000 people in it and I honestly think all 4000 were on the streets and possibly even more! After the market we followed my host family for an hour or so to the Abbaye De Maredsous. This is were monks and nuns had lived and were very famous for their beer and cheese! Now they continue to make cheese and beer and you can even go to school there. Mainly its a nice are to stop and grab something to eat and drink. Like a trip to make on your motorbike down all the winding roads to get there. We enjoyed our beer and Croque Monsieurs (Fancy words for grilled cheese!) After the visit of the Abbaye we went to check out the gardens of Annevoie. We then discovered on arrival that you had to pay to visit the gardens so we decided not to go. We didn’t feel like paying to see sprinklers and flowers. So we took the scenic route home according to the GPS. Before going to my 2nd host family’s house for dinner we stopped at the pub that is in my town. We had a couple drinks while we talked and shared stories. When we got to my 2nd host family they started making dinner for us on the BBQ. I told them awhile back that Canadians love BBQ and we eat lots of meat… I think I made the mistake in saying we eat lots of meat instead of eat meat often. So they cooked a platter of multiple different meats for us like steaks and sausages. It was extremely good! My host brothers and I even got Mike to play soccer with us!
Not slowing down yet. Friday May 6th. Busiest day of them all! Today We were going to Oostende, Bruges, and Bruxelles. We started off with Oostende, we took and train there. They got to experience some Belgian train travel. When we got there we had no idea what to do so we just started walking and exploring. By the way, Mom you walk slow ughhh. We finally made it to a Café where we wanted more fancy grilled cheeses but they weren’t serving lunch yet so we just settled for some awesome tasting expensive coffees. We sat there drinking coffee while being entertained by a dog playing in a fountain. The fountain would shoot water out of the ground at random intervals and kept hitting the dog in the face. He kept getting mad at it by jumping at it only to get it in the face once again. After our fancy coffees we headed to the beach. It was super sunny and beautiful outside. Oostende Beaches.
We waked the beach for quite some time until we wandered our way back into the city to find food. We found another Café where they sold food so we decided to get something to eat. Well it was just about after 12 so that means more beer taste testing for my parents! We got a beer and Croquettes again. Tater tots loaded with cheesy goodness. Mmmmm. After the Café we made our way back to the train station. We weren’t lost but at the same time didn’t know exactly where we were. But thats okay, that’s what exploring is for! We hopped on the next train to Bruges. When we got to Bruges we started to walk once more. Me trying to tire out the parents as much as I can while they were here aha. We stopped at a corner store to get a drink and we were off once again, out exploring the unknown for my parents. We spent the afternoon wandering and peeping our heads in and out of museums that we were too cheap to pay for. Until we found one thing that was worth our time. Our at least my mom thought it was anyways. The Wild Mouse. A random set up roller coaster. Like for a midway. 3 euros each and she told us we HAD to do it. So she really had to twist mike and I’s rubber arms to do so.Pre-ride excitement!
The Wild Mouse!
Not only did we buy the ride but my mom said we had to buy the after photo too. Not going to lie tho. For a random set up roller coaster for a mid-way it was actually pretty awesome. May have gotten some whiplash from it though. After the ride we started heading to Bruxelles. This is where we would be staying the night. We booked a hotel last minute there. I showed them around Bruxelles at night and even showed them my favourite pub that all exchange students usually go to. We even had live entertainment or english classic rock songs. Was quite awesome. After the pub I showed them the Grand Place and we sat in the middle for a while and just hung out. We made it to our hotel around 1am and passed out for the night, only just to begin the next day nice and early!Grand-Place Bruxelles
And then there was 1 more full day. Saturday May 7th. Saturday we met up with my 3rd Host father and siblings to visit Bruxelles during the day. We started the day off by going to Quick (Belgian Mcdonalds) for breakfast. Then we found our way to the subway station. From there we took 2 different subways to get to the Atomium. We may have almost got lost but I didn’t want to admit it. We made it there first try so No need to complain. 😉 Its a giant building that looks like an Atom! After the Atomium we took the subway back to the city centre to see Manneken Pis. He’s a little person made out of bronze that sits there peeing. Yep thats probably the most famous thing of Belgium. After seeing that we walked around more where we found a stage with Mexican music playing and people watching from all around. After that we went to grab a cold one with my host father and talk for a bit. When we were done in Bruxelles we took the train back and headed back home to my 3rd host families house for dinner. They made us amazing dinner and served us exotic Belgian beer. All of my host families took amazing care of us! Parents and I were off to bed early. We had to get up early and get to the airport for their 10:30am flight but also be there a couple hours early.
The Atomiun is actually made out of iron, the shape is iron in crystallized form.
Manneken Pis is extremley tiny ahah
Sunday May 8th. We were off for one last car ride together. It was sad to say goodbye to them already but at the same time not even a big deal. We gave hugs and simply said see ya in a couple months! ahah Will be back home before I know so might as well keep the parents away for as long as I can now! 😛 I’m getting super anxious to go home and see all my friends and family. But at the same time I’ve worked so hard to have the life I have here right now that it tears me to have to leave all my other family and friends. It feels like I have two separate lives and I need to be apart of both of them but I’ll have to forever leave behind my exchange year here. I will always have my family and friends from Belgium though thats for sure. I’ll get my family and friends in Canada to come to Belgium with one day.
Whoever wants to bring me to Belgium with them I’ll be your free tour guide, just pay my tickets 😉 I could get us some free places to stay though!!
58 days and counting! Til’ next time.