Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I need to stay awake, please and thanks!

This post isn't particularly useful. I just got up WAAY too early today and I have to keep busy so I don't fall asleep and end up late for work today. I don't have to catch the bus for another hour for work, so I will do a very short update on what's been going on so far! On Sunday I'll try to muster up the energy to create a more detailed post.

I love how during the summer it stays light until really late! Seriously, when I first came here it would be pitch black by around 10:20 (if not earlier, I don't know when I started to notice how late it stayed light out). Now there's still light at 11 (it's not bright and sunny, mind you, but there is still a bit of light left in the sky).

Okay. After the weekend of 4 cities in Brussels, I just chilled here because I couldn't make it to Amsterdam (long story that begins with an ATM in the States eating my card, as the Brussels kids know all too well). But that's okay. That following weekend I went to Madrid...but it was chilly and it rained, which apparently surprised all the Madrid-dwellers as well. But don't worry, last weekend I went to Rome, and it.was.amazing. I think I left a piece of myself there, and I can't imagine how you couldn't. It's just beautiful. I didn't get to the the famous fountain at night (sadness), but that's okay. It will leave me something to look forward to when I go back to Rome, because I will one day! It was amusing trying to stir up recollection of Italian while I was there, because A) I didn't study it for very long, B) I knew any native speaker to practice with outside of class (and speaking with other students isn't generally too helpful, especially if they're at a low level, and C) I took Spanish in high school and majored in French as an I totally skated by with an A without having to put much effort into the class. Especially when senioritis set it the semester after I started taking Italian classes.

Of course the hostel employees spoke English. But did I speak English with them? No. Want to know why? Because two of them spoke French! Huzzah! The mother of one of them is from Nice while the other is Italian, therefore he grew up speaking both. The other guy just studied in school like I did, but he was at a night level so it wasn't like speaking to a kindergartner. I was so delighted when I found this out, especially since my host family here doesn't allow me to speak French with them, even though I specifically mentioned that I wanted to use my French...I even said I don't mind if my family ONLY spoke French. Ugh. That's another can of worms I'm not going to open right now. In the end, though, it's not so bad. Despite not letting me use French (which I am able to sneak in with my host dad and host sister...when the host mom isn't there), my host family is SO nice. And if that weren't good enough, my room there is huge. And we have a pool. And a nice backyard. Of course, material things don't matter...but if you're not going to let me speak any French then it's helpful to have other perks!

So, what am I doing today? Well, I'm going to the Parliament today, but not for work. My boss said if there is anything going on there that we want to attend, let him know and we can just go, even if it's not work related. So I'm going to a public hearing with the Culture and Education Committee that's on the internet and using it as an educational took for cross-cultural understanding. I'm so excited, but it's actually something I'm interested in, which I don't get much of here. The people at my internship are great and our boss is so funny, but it deals with business and economics, which are fields that I have never wanted to go into. So yes, I'm excited for this hearing because this is what I had hoped I'd be doing when I came over here in the first place.

After the Parliament I head back to the office, I think there's a meeting with important officials from...Ukraine or Belarus (since those are the areas we deal with)? I don't quite remember. But I have to work on my investment presentation so I can present it to the Ambassador of Belarus next week (yeah, not gonna lie, that's gonna be kinda cool). After work I head home to change, and then I'm off to the airport....destination BARCELONA!

I'll try to post something intellectually stimulating about the hearing, too, when I return on Sunday, since all my posts seem to be about traveling here and there and things that aren't really related to the Brussels program. Haha.

P.S. You best believe I took a picture inside the Sistine Chapel, despite the guards walking around yelling "NO PHOTO" at everyone. Really, they don't do anything to you but tell you to turn off your camera, so just go ahead and take a picture. Their job would be so boring if it were for people like me to yell at. So in a way they should thank me. A big you're welcome, Vatican guards, from me and others like me for making your job slightly more eventful, albeit more frustrating.

P.S.S. I had raw beef last night with some spicy mustard and ate it with a little piece of bread and some salad. And you know what? It was good! Yay for new experiences!

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