So I’m blogging instead of studying. Sorry dad. This is going to be a short one.
Last time I Face-Timed my family my dad pointed out that a lot of my blogs lack a certain aspect of basically the whole reason I’m over here… education. Whoops. I promise I really am taking my education seriously-ish at Artevelde. Over the past few weeks, school has really started to feeling normal. Sad, stressful, no hope. You know the drill. Group projects and research paper deadlines are quickly approaching. Fortunately, I don’t start my exams until January. The positive part of most European university systems is that exams are spread out over the course of a month, instead of crammed into a week. That being said, my entire grade for most of my classes rests on these exam grades. Sans pression.
Two weekends ago I flew up to Hamburg, Germany with some friends for my last weekend get away of the semester. Even though Hamburg isn’t the most “touristy” attraction we still had a great time exploring the city. We flew out of Brussels around 8 am and landed in the city around 10. Due to some minor complications, it took us two hours to get to our Hostel. No biggie. Our hostel was actually really cool. I’ve had some pretty good luck with my hostel choices recently. I suppose that I haven’t really had to “rough” it in hostels. This hostel was HUGE with really spacious room and an amazing view of the harbor.
Friday evening, friends and I checked out one of the local attractions called Miniature Wunderland. I’d say it’s the most touristy thing in Hamburg. The museum was actually extremely interesting even though it’s literally four floors of a “miniature wonderland”. I can promise you that there were over 5 billion tiny little figurines of people through out all of the exhibits. There were about five or six exhibits representing different European countries and landmarks (even the U.S.). The amazing thing was that each exhibit honestly looked like an exact replica of the location. Everything: the cars, buses, buildings, trains, lights, bushes, mountains, looked incredibly realistic. The exhibits even had real operating cars and trains buzzing around all over the place.
After the museum we walked around the city a bit before we found a (you guessed it) pizza restaurant. After pizza we decided it was too extremely cold to be outside anymore so we quickly walked through some Christmas markets and then returned back to our hostel for a chill first night in Hamburg.
Day two mainly consisted of walking around down by the harbor and finding interesting architecture to stare at while our toes froze off. Disclaimer: I’d 100% rather be cold than hot but honestly, the only resounding memory from this trip to Germany is that I was sure the lower half of my body was frozen the entire time I was outdoors. Found some typical german food for lunch where I had pasta because I’m the worst. Then Ana and I went to go visit a friend of hers; we would be staying at her apartment that night and then also Sunday night. It was so nice to be able to just chill on a couch and talk and listen to german “Two Broke Girls” for a few hours. We all needed a break. That night Ana’s friend, her friend, Ana, and I went to a pub for dinner where I FINALLY FOUND SOME MEXICAN FOOD, and then explored some Hamburg nightlife.
Day three was honestly the most pathetic I’ve acted as a tourist/traveler. But I loved every second of it. As much as I’m obsessed with the rush getting up early on a Friday morning for a flight then not returning back to Ghent until dark, I don’t think my body or my emotional stability was too keen on those practices any longer. Day three of Hamburg was exhibit A. We stayed in bed until 3 pm. Not even because we were out late being insane students the night before, literally because we needed the sleep. We woke up for two hours for some brunch and tv time then right back to bed until three. By the time everyone was ready to be people it was around 4:30 pm and getting dark out, there goes that day. Fortunately I had done basically everything I had wanted to in Hamburg the two days before. We went and grabbed some very delicious coffee and window shopped around the super cute neighbored Ana’s friend lives in. Then, back on the couch. We ordered in some more pizza (maybe I do have a problem) and chocolate covered popcorn and stared at the movie Avatar (Giant Smurfs, not the Last Air Bender) for hours. I had a seven am flight the next morning so I wasn’t really wanting a crazy night anyhow. Okay, I’ve done some pretty irresponsible things in my twenty years. And my lack of responsibility has only increased during my time in Belgium, but I think that booking a flight out of Germany at seven am only to HAVE to be back, in class, in Ghent by ten takes the cake. Pretty risky, pretty irresponsible. American Karley would not have pulled that move. American Karley is now in Europe however, and she pulled it off, got to class on time. So I wasn’t even worried about traveling home the morning of my classes because if I was late to my first one… oh well. It’s just one class. However two weeks before my trip and four weeks after I booked my plane ticket I was assigned a class presentation at 10 am the Monday morning I would be returning back to Belgium from Germany. Interesting.
My journey home consisted of these main events:
- Waking up at quarter ’til five in order to take a train half an hour to the airport
- A lot of pacing and fidgeting while in long lines
- A very fast-paced stroll to my gate because the lady in front of me forgot that you can’t bring a whole can of hairspray on a plane (I mean, come on).
- An even faster-paced but refreshing jog through the Zaventem airport in Brussels in order to make a train that would ensure I’d be in Ghent in time.
- A train from Brussels Central Station to Brussels Midi Station that was delayed 30 minutes (These stations are literally right next to each other, that was stupid).
- Sneaking onto a tram so I wouldn’t have to walk twenty minutes from Gent-Sint-Pieters station in Ghent to my building.
- An extremely stressed but relieved walk to class. I was only two minutes late but really sweaty and oh so exhausted.
Here are so more cool pictures from Hamburg, yes I know I’m not good a documenting what I see (1. I can’t be bothered, 2. I’m super selfish like these images are for my eyes only!).
So yeah, I decided I’m kind of “travelled” out. Wow, except not. I would get on a plane to almost anywhere tomorrow if I could. The two-ish months straight of traveling every weekend really showed me that we live on the absolute coolest planet ever. I have no clue where I want to go next semester but there are so many places on my list.
Some more traveling excursions soon:
- Lille and Paris with my family for Christmas (12 days!)
- Nantes to move my crap
What have I been up to recently? Nothing super exciting or Study Abroady. I stayed in Ghent the past two weekends to just experience the amazing city I live in. I promised myself that I would spend literally the entire day in bed last Saturday and it was lovely. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I’ve been going to a lot of different coffee places, my girlfriends and I went out for sushi a couple nights ago, Christmas Markets are officially in Ghent, and I saw Harry Potter and the Fantastic Beasts last night! I really do enjoy being a pseudo-Ghentian. Except, as mentioned above, school is getting all too real at the moment. I only have two more weeks of classes which makes me so so SO happy but also really sad. Some of my really close friends won’t be returning to Belgium after Christmas. Try juggling your life, school work, seeing the sun, and also squeezing in time with your newfound loved ones all in a day. That’s kind of how I’ve been handling things as of lately. I hate sad countdowns, and Christmas break will definitely be one of them.
Tomorrow I have an official appointment with the migration service office in Ghent. I finally get to file for my residency permit which mean I will finally be able to file for my french visa next week! Here comes the feelings of “wow I’m moving to another country in a month and a half” again. Except this time, I’m ten times less nervous. Just wait for my post about my whole experience moving my life to France, that one is surely going to be interesting and full of mistakes.
There you have it, I am fine. Having the time of my life while being irresponsible, eating really good food, exploring really cool places, making amazing memories. I promise, I’m fine!
PS: A lot of people, students from home and Artevelde, have contacted me and asked me about this blog. People are saying that it inspires them to “start a little something of their own”. However, a lot of people don’t really know where to start. That’s fine, just do it. You don’t have to be some fancy writer with a super cute aesthetic and artsy pictures to blog. I’d say just start a blog if you experience something extraordinary in life and want to talk about it. I literally just speak my mind on this thing and apparently it’s a decent read. For those of you who do travel, however. I would recommend documenting your experiences in some fashion, even if social media isn’t your type of thing. I cannot wait to go back and read all of these after I return home. Okay, there’s my little testimony of the month.