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04/12/2011

host family bonding

On Friday night I was planning on staying in to do some homework but my host mom invited me out to dinner with her and Aldo and her two older children and neighbors and I feel like I should try to bond so I went.

It was the longest, and probably most exciting, dinner I’ve ever had. I thought when we went out to dinners with our program they just fed us especially well because we pre-paid for everything. Nope, that’s just the Belgian way. We had pre-dinner drinks (where I was the ONLY

person at the table who ordered water because I didn’t know alcohol was expected) and hors d’oeuvres (where again, I was the only one who didn’t order one), then the main course, dessert and for all of us about 5 bottles of wine. We left the house at about 7:45 and got back just after midnight.

The neighbor that was dining with us is an older man and he was in World War II and tried to speak to me a lot in English (which I was grateful for, I feel like I can prove to them I’m actually smart when I talk in English) and asked me a lot of questions about Grandpa! It was fun talking with him an

d he was super excited when he learned that this was my first time in Belgium and at the end of the night we all were putting on our coats and he made us all sit back down and he pulled out a bottle of champagne and put it down in front of me and said, “Welcome to Belgium!” Host-family bonding? Check.

On Saturday morning a couple friends and I woke up early to go to Gent! Mostly, we just walked around and stopped in the places that we thought would be fun. Gent was a very prominent medieval city (according to the guide books) so we saw a castle (where we saw a guillotine with the original blade, thank goodness for that) and lots of old churches and buildings. Needless to say, since the city was constructed since before urban-planning, we got lost quite a few times but luckily found out way to a bakery, to lunch, to the shopping street and a waffle stand. All in all, a very successful outing.

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