This is only my 2nd post in 3 weeks. So much to say and not enough energy to say it. I'll talk about being VIP in a bit. First of all, my internship pretty much has me sitting at a desk all day, doing research on business investments (of which I know nothing about). It's cool that I get to intern with another AU student, Ashley, and the people at our office (there are between 2 and 3 other people, depending on whether or not Katya works from home) are really nice.
Now, Ashley and I went out to lunch one day at this tiny cafe she saw on her way to work from Montgomery. The owner and chef, Basil, is now our new BFF. He is so sweet! He kept offering us free food, telling us that he wants us to feel at home and welcome. We chatted for a while and said that we'd be back next week, which was this past Monday. He wasn't there at first because the main responsibility of the cafe is to cater food to people. So, we had stuff from the salad bar, hung out, and when Basil showed up he invited us (which means you don't pay, I found out) to coffee and Macaroons. Macaroons are absolutely delicious and quite pricey I found out! They're usually almost 1 euro per piece, and the pieces are very tiny. Another day we walked by on our way home from work and he invited us to coffee and chocolate cake. He said that if we wanted, we can rent out the restaurant at the end of our program and have a little farewell dinner with all of the students. We'd only have to chip in for the food, which is at a good price. Long story short, Basil is adorable and he makes Ashley and I feel so VIP.
Back to the internship. So our boss mentioned that if Ashley and I wanted to go to the Council, the Parliament, the Commission, any embassy's, etc. to let him know and he'd gets us in there. We went to an event at the Parliament on Thursday about the Danube Strategy and it was really interesting! Afterward, the assistant of an MEP treated us to coffee, gave us a little tour, and then after Ashley and I walked around the city a bit we came back to the Parliament to have lunch there. I tried mousse for the first time (vanilla, of course, because I don't care too much for chocolate), and it was like eating a cloud. Quite good! He put together a goody bag for us and we exchanged details so that we could meet up for drinks and proper night on the town. He's around our age, I think (late 20s maybe) and is really sweet.
Me, Niki, and Josh hung out Friday afternoon around the "Asian street" (I don't know what the name is, but it has a bunch of Asian grocery stores and is near the street with a lot of Asian restaurants and cafes). We headed to the Palais de Justice (where a judge and clerk were killed Thursday morning in court, in case you heard in the news) to see if the street fair had started yet and to have coffee and Old English. The bottom floors are a museum that you have to pay to get into, but if you tell them you're going to the restaurant they give you a ticket and you just ride up there to the terrace. On our way over we spotted Stephanie and Elisa, so they joined us. The view from the terrace was great! It would have been better on the other side of the building, but oh well.
After coffee we went to De Brouckère where people were having a protest regarding the incident with the Israeli military and the ship off the cost of Gaza. There were so many police around, in the metro, too. I think the protest was peaceful, but there were a few guys who tried to burnt the Israeli flag. It burned for a bit and then died out. Once they realized that it wasn't going to burn easily, they decided to stop on it and tear it apart instead.
I left for the Demey metro stop early that evening to meet up with Susan, Katie S, and the latter's host family. We took a short drive to Namur, where they're from, and had a lovely dinner with Isabels family (her mother, father, one of her sisters and her boyfriend). They then took us out to one of their favorite bars and treated us to drinks. The next day Geoff took us around the open market, which happens every Saturday and is HUGE. We went to the animal section, which had animals such as chickens, peacocks, goats, rabbits, ducks, gerbils, geese, etc. You could even pick up the baby ducks and chickens! Ahhh, they were soooo cute!
We had coffee and chatted about this and that. Somehow we got to the topic of proverbs and sayings. Apparently their equivalent of "It's raining cats and dogs" is "It's raining like a pissing cow," which is so much more hilarious than our saying, so I think I'm going to use that from now on, haha. We also walked around the castle they had there (thankfully they knew sneaky ways to get into the castle through tunnels and such, so we didn't have to pay to get in). We went to Geoff's parent's house for lunch and we hung out by their pool for a few hours. The property and the view is to die for! Pictures don't do it justice.
So, after a lovely day in Namur (which is in Wallonia, the francophone part of Belgium...you should go if you have the chance because it's such a cute city) we hopped the train back to Brussels! What's really great is that the weather the past few days has been absolutely beautiful!
....And tomorrow there's supposed to be a storm! I love storms, so tomorrow will be a nice, chill day watching nature do it's thing!