Tag Archives: intern

The wonders of a bath!

Bathtub

These past few days I have been so busy. If it’s not school/school work it has been my internship. I am on the go from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep. I’m either taking the tram, bus, or metro, studying/doing HW, checking my e-mails, at school or at my internship. Days go by so quickly! My only type of relaxation is when I take a bath. Back in the states I only take showers but here I have no other choice. The bathtub is big (I can lay down and I’m 5’4) and it’s bright green in the middle of the attic. At first I was a bit disturbed but I’m used to it now. When I get back home I might even miss just laying down and relaxing from time to time. I lay in the tub and just think about my experience, what’s in store for me next, and what awaits me when I return back home.

The back of Schaerbeek Town Hall

I really feel like I’m living the typical Belgian life (school and work.) I’m glad that my study abroad experience here is like this. Getting an internship in Brussels was one of the best decisions I could have made. I’m living the 9-5 life just like most Belgians. I feel like I’m seeing things from a different perspective than tourists do.   I’m really getting to know the true Brussels. I even feel 10x more comfortable with transportation and finding my way around than when I did the first couple of weeks I arrived here. A lot has changed in a month.

Lately, here in Brussels, it’s been pouring like non-stop rain. It’s the worse because it’s that windy rain where having an umbrella is pointless! So I decided to have my hair curly for the next 2 weeks! Wish I would of brought my rain boots :/ but they would of taken way too much space in my suitcase!

Well today after it decided to pour in the morning my roommate and I went to register at the town hall. The building is absolutely beautiful! It was built by Jules-Jacques Van Ysendijck in 1887. Europe is filled with old buildings something you don’t see much back in the states. I love architecture that looks like that! The details on the building are truly impressive. To think that people with less technology than us built such marvelous creations is absolutely impressive.

Advertisements

Randomness In Gloomy Brussels

Today was a gloomy day in Brussels. It was very windy and wet. From what Belgians tell me apparently, the weather here is usually cold, wet, windy, and gloomy. I would find this out already being here! Oh well! Though the weather is crummy, I was very happy today and pleased with my surroundings. You have to appreciate the little things like how amazing the opportunity to be in this country is!

For this post I would like to share some random stories as I type on this gloomy day! Plus it’s always good to sit back and read some interesting stories.

The Tram

1. Saturday morning, I was waiting for the tram to head to the second day of the Art Fair. As I was listening to some song on my iPod I hear some French that I was pretty sure was being directed towards me. I take off one ear plug and turn around to realize some man was speaking to me from behind the fence. This man had a sling on his arm and was really trying to holla at me! .__. IN FRENCH! I couldn’t believe the situation! I told the guy I didn’t speak French (though I understood everything he was saying) and why did he continue to speak to me! He asked me some serious personal questions and what amazed me even more was how none of those questions included my name! Every other time someone has approached me that’s the first thing they ask! He asked where I was going?, where I worked?, what commune I lived in?, where I was from?, if I was married? (which I said yes) and he still continued to ask questions! The guy even blew me a kiss after 5 minutes of trying and getting denied! I was in shock and disgusted!

2. I think I have lost count of how many tweens I have seen having full blown make out sessions in the streets! I mean these kids go in! The guy touches the girls butt and everything… no shame! I think what concerns me about this situation is that I don’t see adults making out but KIDS!!! Talk about puberty kicking in and hormones being released!

3. Some interesting facts: In Belgium you can drink/purchase alcohol at 16. (21 in the states) In Belgium you can start driving at 18. (16 in the states) In Belgium you can gamble at 21. (same in the states) My Belgian friend broke it down to me. She said that since they allow drinking at 16 driving is not allow till 18 because by then teens know to drink more “responsibly.” Funny how in the states they do it backwards! I wonder what are the statistics for drinking and driving accidents in Belgium and the states! Which system works better?!

The life of an intern: Accessible Art Fair Weekend

Brussels Accessible Art Fair

This weekend has left me absolutely exhausted! It was the weekend of the Accessible Art Fair, where I am interning during my study abroad in Brussels.

The Goodie Bags

Making the Armani goodie bags

Friday was the first day of the Brussels Accessible Art Fair. I had to be at the Conrad Hotel at 9am in the morning. The day started off with a friendly “bonne journée” good day from a random old man. It truly made me smile! I anticipated a good day after that! The day consisted of a lot of preparations and accomplishing various tasks. I was also able to practice my French being that most of the artist spoke only French or just preferred to talk in French instead of English. As the art works started coming in I was amazed at all the different styles and techniques the different artists used. I was in love with the art work of Barbara Bervoets, Ben Heine, Cracotte, Wim Wessling, Sjoukje Bierma, Dirk Wangemans, and Ute Faber. Great artist! If you want to check out more of their works or learn more about them go to the Accessible Art Fair website. One of the things I had to do on friday was make Armani goodie bags for the VIP night on saturday. We redid the bags like 3 times because we kept finding things that needed to be added to the baggies.  First we found flyers, then make-up remover, and then foundation (They were cosmetic goodie bags.) Finishing the bags was a true accomplishment for us. 🙂 The night was very busy! It was a great opening night. I was placed to work the cloak room and got to meet some new people, who volunteered to work the event, with very interesting backgrounds.

Walk into the art fair…one of the first things you see: Amazing

Sponsors

Saturday was great because I had an afternoon break and was able to come home for 3 hours! I had to change for the VIP Night (the attire was “chic.”) I have not been this exhausted in Belgium as I was after the VIP Night! This definitely beat having jetlag!  I was placed in the lounge for the night, which entailed picking up the complementary wine glasses people were given, the  S.Pellegrino bottles (carbonated italian flavored water which I thought had alcohol but they don’t!,) and answering any questions the quests had. I started the night with heels and after 2 hours I felt my feet were going to fall off! I walked so much from the lounge to the kitchen! People were putting glasses and bottles everywhere! One of my co.workers was nice enough to lend me her flats to continue my job! My staff did an AMAZING job! There was no way I was going to take a tram and walk back home afterwards I felt like my body was broken into little pieces. It was the first time I took a taxi all by myself! I was very proud because I spoke to the man in French. Plus he only charged me 15 Euros because he felt bad that the GPS made us take a lot of unnecessary turns. Apparently Belgium is the country with the most roads (I seriously believe this!)

Beautiful art work

Wrapping Art work

Today was the last day of the Art Fair. I did the most wrapping of art works today. It was actually pretty fun. Apparently you can make a career out of wrapping art works in New York (one of the artist from New York told us that.)  There’s specific ways to wrapping different types of works. After this experience, surrounded by so much art, I have to say I truly have gotten a new found love for paintings and sculptures! The time and skills it takes to creating something so beautiful is absolutely amazing! this was truly a learning experience and I would do it again in a heart beat!

Inside the fair

Keepin’ It Fancy With Street Smarts!

Christophe Robin Hair Salon

Thursday was a day of experiences! I had a free appointment at the hair salon all thanks to my internship at Accessible Art Fair. I had the 10 O’Clock appointment and DID NOT want to be late because this was a top notch fancy hair dresser. The day before I wrote the most intricate and detailed directions because I was determined NOT to get lost! I wore my flaming red high wasted red pants, a small black belt, a black half sleeved shirt, long black boots, and a leopard scarf. Chic was a must since I was about to mingle with upper class Europeans! I get to Atelier Christophe Robin Beauty Salon five minutes early… I was so happy that Google Maps didn’t dissapoint… and as soon as I got there immediately was asked if I wanted something to eat or drink. I was CLEARLY not at a Dominican hair salon! I was humble and just asked for water. The man that was attending me was full of tattoos, had gauges for earrings, and was simply just amazing! He was ridiculously nice, and let me just say knew how to handle hair! What blew my mind was the area to wash hair. The chair was a massage chair that reclined and the head massage that the washer gave me was more than heavenly! If this is how upper class people get there hair done everyday I can sooo get used to it!  Ultimately, my hair came out stunning! I was so pleased with the results! Nothing like a free day at the hair salon to start your day.

Avenue Louise Night!

Avenue Louise Night!

No other choice but to “Window shop”

Middle of the day I went over to my friend Talya’s house to wait for our other friend Brielle to get out of class, we were going to Avenue Louise Night. It was a night where all of Avenue Louise upper scale stores were open past closing hours. Basically a night where the rich people/people willing to waste money shop and the free loaders get drunk of free Champagne or wine. Well as we wait for Brielle and I decide to use the bathroom, completely forgetting my lame phone was in my back pocket, I pull down my pants and poof phone falls into the water. .__. As I realize it fell I literally stared at it for almost 2 full min before deciding to pull it out and run (pants not fully on) to the living room to try to see if it still works. After being fully submerged in water the crappy phone STILL manages to work! Who would of thought! o_O

Well due to this phone incident I leave my phone at Talya’s and Brielle’s place .__. Which meant traveling back home after dark by myself! I am not the biggest fan of walking alone at night! I had to take 2 Trams from where I was to get home. But of course I missed the first Tram by a minute! The Tram at night take forever to come so I decided to walk to the 2nd Tram’s stop ( a 20min walk.) When I made it to the stop I was so happy 2 see to women there. However, my shins were killing me and I was sweating furiously from how fast I was walking! Once I get off at my stop I bring out my street smarts! Phone in one hand and keys in the other ready to attack anyone that approaches me. I make sure I stayed away from too dark areas and walked like my life depended on it! The streets were just too quiet for my likings. I made it home out of breath and sweating like I just had a full blown work-out! .__.

A Brighter Day

Lessons I’ve learned to always carry with me: 

The fountain the day after

1. Never give up even when something seems impossible

2. Struggles make you a stronger person

3. Try to find a positive when things seem negative

I woke up remembering those lessons the next day after my culture shock and off I went to find the Denmark Embassy, Austria Embassy, Brussels Weekly Office, and back to the hidden office at Montgomery . Of course I managed to confuse myself in that huge circle once again but the fountain looked more beautiful than the day before in the morning sun so I didn’t mind.

Parc du Cinquentenaire

After picking up the posters and flyer’s I decided to go and sit at Parc du Cinquentenaire, which was across the street. It was so beautiful and peaceful! I sat there and admired the fountain for an hour. When I stood up I even managed to catch a glimpse of a rainbow. All day I basically took the Metro and walked. I was absolutely exhausted by the time I got home!

That night I went out with friends. I have to admit though, I’m currently feeling the after effects of the night it was well worth it! ^__^

Culture Shock

After almost 3 weeks of being in Belgium, Brussels yesterday is when I get horrible culture shock!

Fountain of confusion

My day started good so since I had some free time after class I decided to go pick up some posters and fliers I needed to go hand out today, Friday, for my internship. I had to get off at the tram stop Montgomery, it was on my way home. I Googled maps the directions and it didn’t seem too far… I was hoping Google maps didn’t screw me over. Well… when I got off at Montgomery I find myself in the biggest circle I have yet to encounter in Belgium. There was a beautiful fountain in the middle! Who knew something so beautiful could be so freaking confusing!! Crossing the streets in that circle was like trying to find yourself out of a maze. I think I made every possible turn in the circle before going the right way because the map I took a picture of  with my iTouch, from Google maps, was not so useful.

I’m finally around the area Google maps directed me too and it turned out NOT to be the right place! I seriously must of asked about 20 people where the street was located and no one knew the answer!! I even called my roommate to look up the address again for me and of course it told her to go where I first ended up.

I became so frustrated because I was 2 minutes away from the place and I couldn’t figure out where it was! I walked all over the area and as the minutes passed I became increasingly angry! New York isn’t even that complicated! I can always find my way around there even if I don’t know where I’m going! Google maps has never disappointed me in New York! This nice lady ended up helping me by using her phone to direct me because of course she had no idea where the place was either.

She directed me the right way and when I realized what street the office was located on and that the office was closed I seriously just started

The impossible street to find

crying in the middle of the street! I was sooo frustrated and angry at the situation!

The hidden street!

1. The street was literally hidden and the sign with the name of the street wasn’t visible till you made this small turn! 2. I was so mad I couldn’t just take out my Galaxy SII and GPS the place! 3. How was it possible that NO ONE I asked knew where the street was!! 4. I was angry that the place was just a huge circle inside another huge circle! 5. I felt like I failed for the day! and I do NOT like to fail!

When I got home I just burst into tears! I was so tired, frustrated, and upset! Nothing like feeling useless in a foreign country to bring you some culture shock!  :/ 

Avenue Louise

The view at the end of Avenue Louise

Today, I explored the street in which the office of my internship is located, Avenue Louise. I had to make 2 deliveries of flyers and posters for the Art Fair. I had to Google maps one of the locations, and as I said before Belgium Google maps sucks! I left to my journey a bit scared because I had 2 hours before I had to be in French class. Luckily, the places were close but still it was a race against time.

Avenue Louise is a street where expensive and sophisticated are common adjectives when referring to the stores on the street; kind of reminds me of Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue in New York City.

Beautiful view of Belgium

Beautiful view of Belgium

The unique things about Avenue Louise is that at the end of the street there is an absolute beautiful view of Belgium! It is just incredibly breathtaking you can honestly stare at it all day! So what I do? Hop on the tram and ride it all the way towards the end of the street!! I take in the view for 5 minutes! Even interrupted a French couple from their PDA to take a picture of me! ^__^ I had to remember the moment! Afterwards, I literally sped walked/ran to try and find the 2 locations where I had to drop off the packages! I got lost for a few minutes, but since I’m becoming a pro at getting lost and finding my way I managed to finish the deliveries by 3:30pm making it to school a half hour before classes started! Boy was I proud! But dam was I exhausted!!!

Side note 1: Earlier in the day I was having lunch with my co.intern at this one random bench in the middleof all this open grass

Secret mall to the side of the Conrad hotel!

Secret mall to the side of the Conrad hotel!

area. Next thing you know these 2 guys, one from Africa the other from the Netherlands, approach us saying in French that they have the bench reserved for 1:00 ._. I was giving them the “keep it moving before I go off on you” stank look. My co.intern nicely started a conversation with them and made space for them to fit on the bench! Later on I told her how if that was to happen in the U.S. I would of gone all Dominican on them! She went on to explain to me that it’s normal to be friendly  in belgium O__0 Found that to be quite interesting because I don’t do well to random men approaching me. But thanks to the African guy I learned that mainly all Africans from Belgium come from Congo a Francophone country in Africa! He’s the second African to tell me he’s from Congo so I’m making the educated guess.

Side note 2: As I walked to the tram to head to school I turned because I thought I heard a familiar sound. And indeed I wasn’t going crazy! Someone was blasting Romeo Santos “La Bella Y La Bestia” I was in total shock!! I practically ran to catch up with the car at the light to find a Dominican man inside the car!

Well I must say Avenue Louise was definitely an experience and I’m sure there will be more experiences to come in that street.