It's Sunday night. I get tired really early during the winter. I start yawning early. I go upstairs early. I shower early. I get into bed early. And then I get on facebook, or youtube and organise my week, or watch movies or whatever. I have an alarm set for 7:00 tomorrow morning so that I can be up at least to say goodbye to my host siblings before they go to school. I am going to force myself to get back a normal schedule.
2 weeks ago I had an "angine rouge" which is practically strep throat. Maybe a little tamer, but I was home from school and everything. This past week I found out I had pneumonia. So I haven't been to school in a week. I haven't left the house for longer than an hour, and that was just to go replace my stolen cell phone (yeah I got my phone stolen too. No worries, got to keep my credit and my number!)
My host mom, who is a nurse, told me, "Unless you really want to go to school tomorrow, I think it best that we keep you in one more day and go see the doctor one last time." She doesn't like the sound of my cough. I've always coughed loudly and deeply, but I don't know, here they might find out there's something to be done about it! So tomorrow as well, I plan on doing some more catch up blogging. It takes the longest to load the photos into the blog. and that is just waiting, that. It's worth it however, in my opinion, to keep the file sizes large. That way the quality is better in the blog. And in my photo-stores :P
My oldie, Jarrod, and I used to talk about exchange all the time at the beginning. I was nervous, had questions, needed a translation, etc. Fortunately for me, he always had the answer, or at least the guts and the vocabulary to ask (he is really great at French). And he would talk about Belgium like it was his home and everything. It was just little things that just made it obvious he lived here. And I remember saying to him one time in October, maybe even November, "You know I just don't feel that yet! I don't feel like a vacationer anymore, nor a visitor, but I don't feel like I "live" here,' per se." And it's not that Belgium is my "home" obviously, (but as we were warned way in advance, exchange does and has made me question and change my perception of the concept of "home") but I can believe myself when I say that I "live" here. I live in Belgium. And there's no particular event that made me realize that. No eureka moment (although it could have been these 2 weeks just sitting around looking out the window [in Belgium]). But if I were asked where I live right now, I'd definitely say "Belgium." I wouldn't try to explain "oh I'm on exchange for a year in Belgium right now!" I'd just say Belgium. (I also wouldn't give an address, cos "residence" is completely different! I have two addresses here so far!)
I also remember being so impressed by Jarrod's French and his ability to have a personality in French! That may sound bizarre, and trust me it is, but without communication skills, I was rent to just being as physically polite as possible to show that I was interested, nice, happy, thankful etc. No joking really, no side-commentary of any sort. Conversation, sure, but never any opinions (I still am not great at that, but I don't do much of that in English anyway). I am forever blown away by Jarrod's French and personality skills, and I want to be as good as he is. At the beginning, he would just tell me, "Oh I've been here 8 months already! [and it's true, I got there in August '11, he got there Jan '11-8months before] Wait and see where YOU are at 8 months."
In my memory, he said 6 months, but then he recently reminded me it was actually 8 months by the time I got there, but in ANY case I started evaluating my progress this week, since I'll have been here for 6 months on the 20th. I have actual friends in my host sisters here. I am less shy about talking (although still shy about opinions. It's a judgement thing. I pass it much less often since exchange). I think there are those among the Francophones who may actually know a little bit of Ben Bailey. And that is a struggle I ALWAYS work against. I am great at being nice, and polite, and run scripts in my head and make a quick shallow friend, but I am trying to be able to be myself a little bit too. In another language. And for a shy kid like me (I hesitate to use the word introvert, but it might be better than shy, as I am very capable of appearing outgoing), that's progress.
going to watch a movie now.