Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More Host Family Information

As I said before, they are a family of three. They live in Pont-a-Celles, a small village about 30 minutes away from Brussels (where my host mom, Christine works). Christine says that her family plans to make several trips to France while I'm there, as her husband's family still lives there and his parents live in the Paris suburbs. They also have family in the Loire Valley, located in central France, and a family country house in Lorraine (a region of France) near the German border. She has put quite an emphasis on travel outside of Belgium, which I love! If finance permits, they would also like to explore Germany, The Netherlands and the UK. I already feel so blessed and fortunate to have this host family.

Additionally, she also said that my school has experience with AFS students and are very flexible, which sounds promising. I will attend registration with her to determine my schedule.

From what I've gathered from her facebook, she enjoys great music (we both like Absynthe Minded, a Belgian band), has a beautiful daughter, and a beautiful backyard with a garden and a pool! This excites me to no end.

I know that Christine speaks GREAT English, and my host father says that he doesn't speak English, but can understand it well. With that said, it is crunch time. I need to start practicing French pronto. Anyone have any effective methods? A particular program? Wish me luck.

Can't wait to hear about everyone else's host family!
A bientôt!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ramblin', Ramblin'

SO. Here I am typing up this blog post on my new MacBook Pro(!!), which is so beautiful and has consumed me with all of it's captivating qualities. This purchase was totally justifiable, I swear. I figured I'd need it when I'm off to college in a year anyway, and I think it will come handy in Belgium when the time comes to start applications and whatnot. I also purchased an iPod touch, which I'll certainly need for my plane ride to New York, not to mention all the train rides I'll be taking in Belgium. I am a little bit nervous about it getting stolen... I've heard some sketchy stories about those sort of things happening while people were abroad. I was up until 4:30 AM transferring all of my movies, shows, and pictures that were on my desktop to my laptop. I know, I know; I'm supposed to be completely immersed in my new life in Belgium, but there are some things I'd like to take with me for sentimental and entertainment value.
 In other purchases: I'm anticipating the arrival of a pair of gorgeous Sam Edelman over the knee boots in beige suede, and a makeup case to put in my suitcase. I'm beginning to worry about not exceeding the limit which AFS has given me for my luggage.. speaking of! On August 17th, I am supposed to arrive in New York for overnight orientation, then all my accompanying AFS participants and I will be catching a red-eye. I should arrive in Europe on the 19th. I'm seriously considering investing in a hotel in New York a few days before the orientation. I know that AFS will have our schedules jam packed, and I'd like some time to explore the city. I've never traveled to New York, and to only see the inside of JFK and the hotel would just be a shame.
 As far as other travel plans for this summer, I may be spending a few weeks in Montana to visit my family before I leave. Also, I'm still unsure about what the visa process will entail; it's possible that a trip to Los Angeles will be necessary in order to apply for my visa in person at the embassy. ALL I WANT TO DO IS TRAVEL. I'm going stir crazy.
 I should probably be practicing French much, much more than I am. I'm definitely getting a little bit nervous now that I have my host family. I still have yet to write them an email, and it will probably take HOURS to compose a mildly coherent letter.  Other than this fear, I am becoming so anticipatory for this experience to start. Strangly, I'm almost more excited to meet all the other participants than I am to go to Belgium, especially all the others in Belgium.
One more thing! I have to get a good camera for Belgium, and I am absolutely lost. If anyone has more expertise in this field, or owns a camera that they feel would be suitable for travel, please comment and lend me some insight!

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer.

Host family information!

FINALLY. They are a family of three; a mother, father and a nine-year old girl named Marie. They live in Pont-a-Celles, which I have unsuccessfully attempted to locate on a map, and have acquired a few different locations. I think it's close to Brussels. I have yet to talk to them, so hopefully I will have more interesting information to share shortly. Now, if I could just start the visa process....