Posts tagged ‘International Relations’

The final stretch

I’m back in Canada and back at school. It’s a nasty shock, both having to get back into classes after a month off, and the 20 degree difference in temperatures (meaning +10 in Belgium and -10 in Canada). I long to be back in Europe, with someone to snuggle with at night. At least the desire to return gives me motivation to solidify my future post-grad. Only four months to go.

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January 10, 2011 at 7:25 PM Leave a comment

Gent Christmas Market

The Christmas market square in Gent at night.

I finally made it to Belgium after being stuck in Heathrow for 4 hours. Our plane had a water tank leak, and after sitting in the plane for an hour they finally decided to move us to another plane – which took ages to prep. But it’s amazing to be here, and yesterday we went into Gent to see the Christmas market and to introduce me to some traditional Flemish treats. We had hot wine, poffertjes (mini pancakes covered in icing sugar), and kumpir (a baked potato removed from the oven, the insides mashed and then topped with a variety of things). Today we are off to visit family and I’m sure there will be more opportunities to make me into a “proper” Flemish girl.

December 29, 2010 at 2:53 PM Leave a comment

Snow, snow, go away

Called one of the best waffle places in Brussels - it is decent, but I would give anything to be there regardless!

 

In (hopefully) five and a half days, I will be back in Belgium! I say hopefully because the way the weather has been I am really worried my flight will be cancelled. I have to connect in Heathrow, and things aren’t looking too good right now. I’m wishing for a little bit of Christmas magic, though. I’m off to visit my boyfriend, and get to know what Belgian Christmas is like, even though I’ll be a few days late. We plan to take advantage of the winter wonderland for a romantic day in Bruges to see the ice sculpture exhibition, as well as seeing Ghent and some shopping in Antwerp. My first impressions of Ghent were not so great – in March it appeared to be nothing more than construction and cranes, but my boyfriend insists it is a beautiful city and is keen to make me see it that way. It will be more of a vacation than a tour, however, as I want to just relax and enjoy the company. Besides, it’s not like I didn’t just spend six months living in the country…

December 22, 2010 at 4:50 AM Leave a comment

Eyjafjallajökull volcano

It’s crazy how widespread this volcano’s effects have become. Several friends who are stranded at their final Easter vacation destinations say they feel as though exchange has ended now, since it has been so long since they have been in class. (To be fair, I have yet to have class since Easter, but since I have nothing to do BUT schoolwork I guess lucky me has sidestepped that feeling.) I suppose I should feel lucky to have gotten home; since I was travelling on Thursday before mass chaos hit, and because I was taking the train already, I had no problems reaching Brussels.

It bothers me that airlines are calling to the EU for compensation. Yes, we realize you have been greatly inconvenienced and you have lost a large amount of money. But it’s a natural disaster situation. Maybe the Eurocontrol was being overly conservative, but what would you rather deal with – the fall out of being grounded for a week, or the fall out of airspace being left open, and crashes occurring? At least this way people feel safe, and likely their usage of air travel won’t be affected. If planes were flying and crashing you can easily expect people to lose some faith in the industry. There are a lot better ways EU money could be used in this situation instead of compensating the airlines. Maybe help out the tourist industries that have been hit. Hell, there are probably a whole host of better ways to spend the money than on this volcano situation entirely. Maybe I only feel this way because I haven’t been inconvenienced in many ways by this eruption (in fact I have been helped, as a huge group presentation has had to be postponed). But I would rather be safe, and know that my friends are safe, than taking risky flights.

April 20, 2010 at 9:09 AM Leave a comment

Morning Walks

Going for a nature walk in LLN

I’ve noticed in LLN that morning walks of shame don’t seem to happen. It’s strange, because if you are up before 10am back home any day you are likely to witness at least one or more walks. I suppose Belgians always seem to find their ways back to their own beds by the end of the night.

February 25, 2010 at 12:16 PM Leave a comment

Brief stay in Amsterdam

Amsterdam's red light district at night

Amsterdam was an interesting city, it’s easy to go for a few days and not really see anything, you can get too distracted by the bright lights and smokey bars. It was strange, as you walk through the red light district, the women in the windows are lit so oddly that they don’t look real, instead they appear almost like moving mannequins. I have to wonder how many locals come to this area because wherever we walked and whatever bar or coffee-shop we were in it was just more foreigners like ourselves.

The only somewhat educational outings we took were to the sex museum, the Anne Frank house (unfortunately this was post-coffee-shop and neither of us can really remember a thing), and the Van Gogh museum. I really don’t recommend smoking and sightseeing; not if you are truly interested. Luckily I’m going back to Amsterdam next month, and I think with my new knowledge of the city I’ll be better able to cope with its many distractions.

February 16, 2010 at 12:42 PM Leave a comment

Circles

The Belgians here in Louvain-la-neuve party a bit differently than other people. On Thursday I successfully went to my first circle; success meaning I didn’t drink too much, but I drank enough to have fun and to still remember the night! Circles (or cercles in French), are hosted by different organizations. Every academic discipline and regional area seems to have their own. Held in empty rooms except a bar and the sound system, circles are not for profit, so the beer is cheap and in large supply, so a bit of an alcohol abuse can tend to happen. They’re dirty, as you will get beer split all over you, and potentially vomit. Sounds amazing, right? The exchange students tend to frequent La Casa, the circle that most resembles an underground night club. It’s definitely something you have to be prepared to attend, but as I spend more time here, and go to more circles, it’s a strange tradition that I’m growing to like. Although granted, I haven’t experienced getting thrown up on yet.

February 13, 2010 at 10:09 AM Leave a comment

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Gingervere is the Middle English origin of ginger. Despite being the go-to word to describe redheads, some definitions of ginger are: spirit, liveliness, vigor, piquancy, enliven, and animation.

I'm a 21-year-old student originally from Canada, but currently on an adventure in Belgium for the semester. This blog will follow me, my musings, and whatever shenanigans I get up to while I travel around Europe and occassionally attend classes.

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