Hunter C.’s Belgium Adventure – Report #2

As I approach two months of my European adventure, it is only right to give everyone another update. At this point in my journey, I have begun to fall into a routine. The cobblestone roads, brick buildings, and cloudy skies almost seem normal. I surprised myself at how quickly I adapted to such a drastic change in my life. 
 
So here is my weekday “routine:” I wake up around 7:30, eat a banana and two slices of toast with Belgian chocolate, ride my bike 2 kilometers to school, bike through the fields  home, practice my guitar, have a french lesson with my host sister, eat dinner, do homework, make hot chocolate, read a french children’s book, go to sleep. Mondays and Thursdays I have a French class and Fridays I get a drink with my Belgian friends.
 
The weekends are where I’ve been having most of my fun. To quench my thirst for adventure, I’ve been visiting a new town/city in Europe every Sunday. Belgium is not only the capital of Europe, but also the most conveniently located country for a young boy who loves to travel.  So far I have visited over five cities on Belgium, Germany, and The Netherlands. I leaved early in the morning and always make it back for dinner with my family. My favorite trip so far was to Aachen  (Aix La Chapel), Germany. The town had tight colorful buildings and was filled with history. As well as having a major part in WWII, Aachen displays 2000 year old ruins. I had lots of fun experiencing the German culture and was able to sleep in my own bed after a filling meal of sausage and sauerkraut. 
My French has been improving significantly. I can now hold basic conversation and am at around 50% comprehension. Just today, I auditioned for my school’s “Cabaret,” where they showcase selected students talents with a big showcase at the end of the year. For my audition, I wrote, memorized, and performed a two minute stand up comedy skit completely in French. I made jokes about the difficulties learning the language and the audience loved it. Whatever the outcome, I feel accomplished that I was able perform comedy in another language and actually make people laugh. 
 
I truly love my life here and am enjoying every second on this continent. My experience would not be as magical without my amazing friends and host family. I am continuing to have lots of fun with my host family, and have also grown close to two friends: a Californian exchange student named Colton who shares my love for travel, and a Belgian named Clément who shares my sense of humor. As I sit here by the fire with my two host sisters, host mother, and a bar of chocolate, I can say with confidence: I am happy.
 
Regards,
Hunter C.
  1. One of the many canals in Gand, Belgium.
  2. Some musicians some playing for the “children’s festival” that occurred that day.
  3. A castle that I toured with my friend Colton
  4. Me (middle) and my friend Tyler (left) and Colton (right) in Aachen, Germany.
  5. From the famous Palatine chapel in Aachen.
  6. Another photo from the famous Palatine chapel in Aachen.
  7. A traditional German meal we had that day in Aachen.
  8. Me having a Belgian beer with my Dominican friend Ricardo in Ottignies, Belgium (my home town).
  9. Me and my host family’s two dogs: Flamme (left) and Flesh( right). 
  10. Me and my host sisters: Marie (left) and Emilie (right). 
  11. Me practicing guitar in my host family’s living room.
  12. The fields I walk through everyday on my way home from school. 

Note:  Hunter is on a year program from our Greater Los Angeles (GLA)  Area Team (AT) to Belgium, 2018-2019. He is the recipient of an AFS-USA scholarship, the Helen Peggie Miller $5,000 merit- and needs-based scholarship. And,he is also the recipient of a GLA local merit-based scholarship.

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