Oh yeah, forgot to add in there that I'm going to board a plane this afternoon and head off to Italy for ten days.
Better yet, I'm going to visit and stay with one of my good friends, Sabina, who was an exchange student in the US last year.  She lives in Rome, and we're going to Tuscany for New Year's Eve.

It's just like a 10-day youth exchange in Italy, something that Sabina and I had always talked about as I was going to Belgium and she was returning home.  We'd both be in Europe, so we'd have to visit eachother.

But in all honesty, I never thought it would happen.

I'm going to see her in four and a half hours. 
Is this reality?

plaisirs d'hiver.


belgië, zijn muziek.

I stood in front of the doors of Woudec in Alsemberg.
It had taken me fifteen minutes to walk there- five minutes more than usual due to the frequent slide of my feet on the icy sidewalks.
The doors opened up for me, and as my legs rushed in, ready to find refuge from the cold, I heard the common beep which signaled my arrival.

I raised my eyes from the ground as I walked forward and saw an elderly woman speaking with an employee of the store.
"So is it supposed to work this way?"
"Yes, that's right. Here, let me show you."

While thinking about how much I'd liked the employee's accent, I realized he was talking in English. They were talking in English.

I continued to the counter, waiting for the person in front of me to finish. In his hands was a Nikon DSLR, and he was saying something along the lines of "Mijn camera werkt niet goed."

At that moment, the other employee who had finished showing the woman how to use her cell phone walked up to the counter and smiled at me.
Returning the smile I said, "Bonjour, j'ai besoin de développer des photos."

He then led me over to the machine for the instant prints, and explained to me how to go through the process. We spoke in French, but at the same moment he was suggesting something to the man with the camera in Flemish.

Despite what most people think, I really like the sound of Flemish.

Something I've realized recently is that comprehension takes away from the beauty of a language. If you know the meaning of the words, you listen to understand them and forget about their natural beauty, natural rhythym. I used to be awed by the sound of French; I was so enraptured by the music of words although they had no meaning. But now the language is so common, so everyday that it's lost its essence of beauty. Though if I turn my comprehension off and just listen, I can hear it. This method pleases me momentarily, but then afterwards I always get the blank stares of "You really didn't understand what I just said?"

But I'm in this tiny store, only about as big as two bedrooms, yet three languages surround me: English in my head; French from my mouth, his mouth; and Flemish from theirs.
And at that moment I thought of how much I'm going to miss this, this diversity of language, when I return to the US.

Everything I read will be written in English.
Everything I hear will be in English.
Each word I say will be, in English.

I'm not sure how I'll be able to handle such monotony.
Or how I'll feel when each word I say is right, proper, unaccented.
I'll be able to speak freely, and I'll lose the smiles that are often developped in response to my words.

Is it really already the end of December?


my class:
my host family:
our christmas tree:
(Mom, I didn't know what to do with myself as I was helping to decorate the tree. I could put the ornaments anywhere I wanted to! Yet, I did have the tendency to direct where each ornament should have been placed, but I kept the dictating to myself. I figured that's only your job. :p)

the snow and his smile.

As I’m sitting down to write this, I’m experiencing the nervous feeling of time passing all too quickly.

This is my fifth month in Belgium. I’ve been here for four months in total, but this is the debut of my fifth month, which is uncomfortably close to the halfway point. I tend to wonder if I’m truly making the best of my time, especially since it’s being dispensed at the same rate as my money.

At this point, I find myself focusing on my studies more than anything since my exams commence the week after next, but at the same time I think that maybe I should be spending my time exploring the country rather than in my room memorizing its politics. Most other exchange students laugh at the idea of school and succeeding, but I actually feel like I’m capable and that I should try, especially since this year counts for me in the United States. Though, in the long run, will I regret spending my time gaining knowledge I will more than likely soon forget rather than wandering about the country, taking trains and introducing my taste buds to chocolate, beer, and waffles that they could never meet in America?

But I can’t say that I haven’t experienced the things I’ve wanted to. To me, it’s not necessarily visiting every city and tasting all the food which makes an exchange; it’s more so that which can happen every day. It’s what I’ll always remember although most other people probably won’t, like the first snow of the season, everyone with pink noses which barely peek over at least two cozy, knitted scarves; the constant sound of sniffling; fingers huddling in the shelter of mittens; and permanent smiles, white as the snow which caused them. It’s, later that day, being chased by the threat of a snowball clenched in my best friend’s hand, obstinacy eventually causing it to soar directly toward my already numbed cheek, leading to both of us tumbling through the snow in a war with no final victory but the teacher’s smile as we entered the next class powdered white with rosy cheeks.

It’s being told “Appy Tanksgiving” throughout the day, making it a little better that I was going to school for the first time on the last Thursday of November, and then teaching my host sister how to make pumpkin pie that evening. It’s hearing grace in Spanish, French, Hungarian, Chinese, and English as four American exchange students surrounded a table bearing stuffing, roast beef, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce they had prepared themselves, introducing the tradition of Thanksgiving to five different nationalities.

These are the things which make me happy, just the little things. If I'm feeling down, I think, "Jordann, you're an exchange student in Belgium, and you're here because you earned it," and I just feel better.

However, I have been dealing with more melancholy feelings than usual the past couple weeks. I've realized that I don't necessarily feel sad from being away from home on a regular basis, but I do when I realize that things are changing when I'm not there. It's as if in my head I have an image of this world, exactly the way it was before I left. I know that in time, I'll once again live there, which comforts me. But when I realize that my world's changing, I become overwhelmed. My world is becoming unfamiliar, and there's nothing I can do to change it. The image in my head no longer provides comforts, but fear instead.

I know that my best friends are changing; I know that my aunt and uncle are moving away. But what can I do about it? My mind is adamant to change, but it's going to happen whether she wants it or not.

So, Jordann, just be tough. Focus on now, not the past or the future.
Focus on the saying the words "littérature" and “amoureux”. Focus on the smile of the snowman you and your host sisters built in the backyard. Focus on finding your gym bag you forgot on the bus.

Just laugh, like always.
Smile to just smile.

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

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