February 20, 2011


When the car pulled out of the driveway in Cortez, I wasn't thinking at all about this date. When I saw the outskirts of Cortez in the rearview mirror of the Toyota, when I got on the plane at Albuquerque International Airport,  when I checked into the motel in New York, when I and the group of American exchange students left the ground and watched our nation disappear in the fading light, I wasn't thinking about this date. And when we hit the ground in Brussels, I wasn't thinking about this date either. As I looked ahead at the upcoming year, I had no idea where I would be in six months.

Six months later, I write this after having just returned from a trip to the other side of the country (Arlon), where I danced to techno music with at least 900 people last night. After I finish this post, I will pack for a school trip to Paris this upcoming week, where I will spend four straight days with a group of around 120 of my French-speaking classmates. After that, I go on a trip with 25 six- and seven- year old Balladins (Belgian Scouts) for the weekend. And then I return to school for a week, before leaving for the French Alps to ski with a group of host family friends.

I have lived half a year of my life in this European world. I have experienced things, seen things, discovered things that six months ago, I would never have dreamed of. Here I have found new perspectives, new views, new habits, and new friends. My world has expanded.

I want to write a lot more, to talk about things more specifically and go into more depth than the words I've written here. My experience here is complicated-- it will take more words to give an adequate description of my sentiments at this point in my journey.

So I post today to just mark the date, the date that marks half of a year for me as an AFS exchange student in Belgium. At a later time, when I don't have to prepare myself for a full week of craziness, I will try to describe things a little better.

Until then, I will continue to live my experience.

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