My time left in Canada is only comprised of a handful of hours now. After 223 days of planning, I will board a plane for a year in Belgium. I’ve been able to avoid thinking the immediate nature of it up until today. Now my stomach is turning as I think about what to do with my last hours. Continue reading
Posts Tagged With: Travel
I’ve been putting a lot of time into reading lately and one of the books I’ve picked up has been earth shattering for me. Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman has been inspiring and comforting, and I’m only on chapter four. Why is it so impressive?
This is the first book I’ve found that admits to the hardships of traveling that I experienced on my trip to Europe. Most travel writers talk of success and boldness while minimizing the idea of stress and complete dependence on the understanding of strangers. The author of this book talks about being terrified of her situation, about being overwhelmed and full of doubt. Admitting to her humanity and the doubts in her heart makes her a bold and refreshing voice. Continue reading
I was talking to a friend today, who confirmed something I knew but didn’t want to admit. I have a travel blog where I go to Belgium, talked about grocery shopping and then don’t post again until the trip was basically over. For those of you just joining me here, that was three whole fucking months.
I feel justified in saying that I stopped blogging so that I could better enjoy my trip. I was overwhelmed in a land where I didn’t know the language. Ask my boyfriend, I spent a fair portion of my trip in tears because I didn’t know how to order my own food or ask the cashier a question in Dutch. (I could have asked in English, but I felt SUPER guilty about being THAT foreigner.) In retrospect I should have spent time writing, but I didn’t know how to balance moderately wildly exploring the big bad world with settling down to write. But I tell you what, here’s where I make it up to you.
Starting from where I left off, we’re going to talk about my trip! First stop: ANTWERP!
Coming home after traveling sucks. There’s no sense in sugar coating it to look better than it is. Coming home is confusing and frustrating for yourself and for everyone around you. I’ve been home for a little over two weeks and I’m still coming to terms with it. Continue reading
I was in Europe for 90 days. Before I left home, I knew that the mother language of my home base in Belgium was Dutch, specifically the Flemish dialect. I poured over books, websites and Rosetta Stone with great ambition, sure that I would know enough Flemish to get by for a summer in Belgium. This lasted a few weeks. Native Belgians and friends who had traveled the area told me that almost everyone could speak English. I stopped studying, comfortable in the fact that I would be just fine and learn as I went.
I’ve been in Belgium now for just under a week. Some days have been spent at home watching tv in bed and others have been spend adventuring. I’ve been trying to acclimate myself little by little, so this is a perfect pace for me.
First things first. It turns out that I’ve been living under a bit of a rock. I’ve never needed more knowledge than I already possessed to get by in Canada. I felt cultured for having lived in more than one province and knowing bits and pieces about other cultures around the world. I never took learning a second language seriously because unless I was moving to Quebec there wasn’t really a need for it. These are all great examples of things that didn’t help me at all once I left the country. Maybe that’s why the first few days hit me so hard.
Yesterday was the big day. I said farewell to the family, hopped on the bus and headed for Halifax. It was an uneventful bus ride during a thoroughly gloomy day, so I spent most of the bus ride with my head down watching an episode of American Horror Story and reading Wanderlust by Elisabeth Eaves. Once in the city, my friends and I settled in to supper and relaxing, because no one was going anywhere with the weather looking like this:
I’m sitting in my room, up way too late. Tomorrow I leave for Halifax, the very beginning of my trip to Belgium. Last night some of my friends helped send me off, and today I had to say farewell to others. Tomorrow I have to say farewell to my family. It’s all very surreal. My suitcase has traveled ahead of me to Halifax with the friend I’ll be staying with there. My papers are all in order and my carry on is packed. It looks like I’m all ready to go. Continue reading
Every once in a while a movie or a book will show up in my life about a town that gets trapped inside a giant dome. Seems a little farfetched. Well it turns out there are places that actually do exist under a dome. I’m pretty sure it was built, not just dropped from the sky, but they do exist. Also turns out that I get to spend five days in one of these domes. Friends, welcome to Center Parcs.
I took the time today to repack and make a list of all the things I’ve got shoved (delicately) into my suitcase. The only things not listed are the items in my carry-on, the clothes I’ll be wearing on the plane and the gifts that are a giant secret surprise. These things could all fit into a shoebox, so they’re not a big use of space.