Monday, September 7th 2015.
It is difficult to process everything that has happened in the past 2 weeks. I will do my best to transpose everything in this one blog post. I am an extremely visual person and decided to create a video along with the writing portion.
On August 24, 2015 I made the biggest decision. A leap of faith to go abroad for the year to Leuven, Belgium. “I am totally insane for going abroad for the year” I thought to myself over and over again. Never have I been that scared and excited all at the same time. While packing my bags, my hands were shaking, terrified of the huge adventure ahead. One by one my suitcase and carry on bags were filling up. Camera, tripod, SD cards and then the not so important things, passport, clothes, toothbrush, shoes, money, etc.
Saying goodbye to everyone was extremely difficult, especially my siblings. Leaving Mairin, Clare, William, and Eowyn was and still is really hard. They are 9, 8, 5, and 2. I would do anything to be able to see them everyday. No more chipotle adventures. No more irritating them. No more tickling them. No more spending time with them until this year is over!
Arriving at the airport I knew from that point on that I would always be out of my comfort zone. No boundaries of the experiences ahead. Creating expectations of what was ahead, but I know it would be exceeded. My heart was racing. I felt as if I was in a dream the whole time. Dreaming that I was not actually leaving the United States for a whole year. At that moment, at the airport, that it was just a delusion in my head. But nope it was reality. And now I am in Belgium with an incredible group of 15 Loyola students!
This year I will be studying at the Catholic University of Leuven and living at the Loyola Nachbar International house. My new home is a 5 minute walk away from the main center of Leuven. Here there are unlimited restaurants, clothing stores, bars, churches, grocery stores, etc. Everything is within walking distance. Everyone here in Belgium either walks or rides bikes. There are hardly any cars on the street, which is completely different from the United States.
From August 24th to August 28th we had orientation, meetings, tours, etc. Then on August 28th the group of 15 Loyola students, our professor Dr. Kennedy, and Christel, the house mom all left to go to Paris! We spent 5 days in Paris, St. Malo, Normandy, Brittany, St. Michel. Below I have posted photographs of the places we went to! Also made a list of the places we visited!
To view more photographs from the trip click the link below!
Now I am sitting at a cafe in Belgium. With a view of the main square, observing everything and everyone. Still feel as if I am dreaming. There are so many people from all over the world here. It is truly fascinating. Belgium is the melting pot of Europe. In the past 5 minutes I have heard people speak in German, French, and Dutch! At this very moment, I am completely content and happy with my decision to go abroad for the year. I am still terrified and will always be, but life is about living outside of your comfort zone. My heart is constantly racing ready to experience what is ahead. Below if the first video that I created! Thanks for reading!