Time for catharsis:

Okay, I've exceeded (barely) the one month point of my stay in Belgium, and I still don't know what to think. I do know, though, that it hasn't felt like a month. Everything still feels like it's moving so quickly, especially the time and my host family. Don't get me wrong, I'm lucky to be living with such kind people and I'm so grateful for everything they've done for me, but I just don't know if I truly "click" with my family. For them, it's always "Go, go, go! Make sure you do this, don't forget that" and "Oh, I have this planned for this day, and this for the other day." Everything (the language, school, and adaptation to culture) is already so overwhelming, that time to just do nothing, to breathe and relax, is indespensible to me. But I'm not sure if my family knows how to cope with free time: in this house, it seems as if you always need to do something.

Plus, it doesn't help that learning French takes away so much energy: it's like when you run different applications on your cell phone, such as playing games or music, which make the battery lose charge more quickly. I run the French application all day, so that by the time 9p.m. comes around, my battery is dead and sleep is the only way to recharge it.

I just need time for me: time to lie down, write, and listen to music; time to just think.

But on the contrary of the difficulties I'm facing, I'm truly happy with the friends I'm making and the way my social life is developing. Last night, two girls (Orlane and Lauranne) who are in a few of my classes (and help me no matter what) invited me to go to the disco-tech with them. Of course, I agreed, because it sounded fun and as an exchange student, you always have to say "yes" (within reason). So around 7p.m. last night, I rode the bus to the train station where Orlane and her father picked me up to take me to their house for dinner. When I walked into the door, I saw two guitars sitting in the living room, and I knew I was going to have a good time.

Little did I know, Orlane's "step-mom" was an exchange student in the United States when she was my age, and it felt so good to talk to someone who understood what I was going through and had lived a life which was impacted so much by her year abroad. It also felt good to have someone (Orlane's dad) constantly say "en français, en français" when we began to talk in English and didn't realize it. Just because of last night, from being with friends who don't speak any English, I feel like my French improved so much. Nonetheless, Orlane's father, I just love him even though I've only spent an evening and morning with him. He plays the guitar, sings, and always wears a smile :). I think if I was placed in their family, I'd be the happiest little american-gone belgian girl in the world.

But to continue, before long it was time to leave the house and begin our night. Around 11P.M., I left with Julie, Orlane's step sister, to meet her friends in a little club in Braine-l'Alleud, which was just.. interesting. I don't really have another way to describe it. I literally felt like I was in That 70's show and I walked into Eric's basement where I met Hyde. Afterwards, Orlane and her father picked us up to take us to the B-club, and as we waited in line we met a few girls, one of whom spoke perfect English. She said to me, "It's so cool that you've been here for a month and you've already made friends who have invited you out. But how do you communicate with them?" I find so much amusement in people who think that I live here and don't understand or speak French at all, but all in all, it's pretty frustrating.

And finally, we were next to present our ID's to the guards at the entrance of the club to ensure we were of age(just like what you see in movies), and I pulled out the copy of my passport (the only thing I had), "Je suis une étudiante echange d'Etats-Unis, donc je n'ai pas une carte d'identitie. Mais c'est mon passport."

He looked at briefly, and said, "No, c'est pas assez. C'est une copie."

I just stuttered, "Quoi?", as Lauranne and Orlanne started arguing in a blur of French. They told him that I was in their class, I don't have an ID yet, etc., etc., but he just refused to listen. Although a little beforehand, we had seen him allow another foreign girl who didn't have an ID enter the club. He said something about me being American, I still don't know exactly what, but I could tell by the intonation of his voice that it was negative.

He talked to me in English like I was stupid, and asked me where my real passport was. I replied, "Chez moi."
"Oh, you speak French now, do you?"

Before long, my friend Lauranne was in tears, still passionate with the argument, while Orlanne and I were simply speechless. Then, we were politely asked to leave.

I wish I knew exactly what the security guard said. Everyone explained it to me, but I didn't grasp the concept word for word. I just know I heard "rascist" a lot, and Orlane's dad told me, "It's okay, Belgians love Americans. If it weren't for you, we'd be German, so don't worry about it. You're a charming young lady that shouldn't have to deal with people like that."

So instead of the B-club, Orlanne, Lauranne, and I went to nearby bar called Black and White. We were welcomed inside by a man playing a Djembe drum and the sound of African music and walked toward the back of the dark club to find three red, cushioned chairs which surrounded a tall wooden table. We talked, laughed, and danced; and I think we had a more memorable and I guess "kindling" experience than if we were actually permitted inside the B-club.

I stayed at Orlanne's house that night, last night. Her bed reminds me of mine in the United States, which I love and miss so much. "J'ai fais une rêve d'..."

Which brings me to today. Hello, how are you?
Probably tired of reading this, or at least I know I'm tired of writing, so I'm going to call it quits.

À bientot,



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this is a blog

that you may find profound, deviant, or insipid.

It may teach you, inspire you and leave you lost in thought; or it may bore you and cause your eyes to drag slowly shut.

You may read it for an hour, or maybe not at all.

Maybe you'll get to know me, maybe in ways I don't even know me.

I left the United States in August 2010 as a Rotary exchange student. I'll leave Belgium in July 2011 as Jordann.

about me

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Braine-l'Alleud, Belgium
I follow the sun.