Tag Archives: internship

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.

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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

My Happy Place

Phoenix 44

I woke up wanting to look pretty for my internship. I put on stockings (it’s getting chilly here,) a dress, my brown boots, which have thick semi-high heels, and a nice scarf as a finishing touch. I felt very pretty and professional because I picked up my hair to make a perfect bun. But before heading to my internship I had to buy ID tags for the Art Fair this weekend. I felt ready for the journey since I looked up the directions, to one of the 10 locations the store’s website gave me, the night before on Google Maps (I realized the Belgian website for directions is just as bad.) I left my house at 9am towards my internship office because I figured it would be easier to get to the store from there. I started off at the circle with the Phoenix 44 sculpture (the first sculpture I laid eyes on when I first stepped foot in Avenue Louise the day of my internship interview.) 

“Schleiper” store

This is where the story gets complicated so pay close attention… So it took me like 20min to find the bus stop. Circles are a pain!! Yet again, I went around the entire circle before realizing I just had to make a left at the office .__. I end up getting off at the wrong stop because the bus decided not to activate the screen that tells you the name of the different stops… I ended up miscounting the stops I needed to pass before getting off… I try to find the bus that would take me back how I came but since I couldn’t find it I try to backtrack the route the bus took to the last stop. I was successful but soon came to realize that the bus to go back didn’t stop at the stop I needed to get off at .__. I decide to try what I did the last time and find the stop before the one I was currently at. However, unlike the first time that was a complete FAIL! I walked for about 45min until I just decided to go back to where I was before and catch the bus to the next stop and just take it from there. I waited for that bus for almost an hour! When the bus finally arrived and I get off at the next stop I was so annoyed to realize all I had to do was walk down the road! Of course the stop ended up being another circle ._. So what I do? I go around the entire circle before realizing I should of made the turn away from the circle. Makes sense that none of the streets around the circle would be the stop I needed to get off at since the circle had it’s own bus stop. Finally! I found the right bus stop and eventually found the store! It was awhile since I have gotten lost. Guess it was about that time.

So I’m at the store and it turns out to be a cute arts and crafts store. It made me think of how much I miss scarpbooking. After looking around and not finding ID tags I decide to ask the employee where to find them. She goes on to telling me they don’t have any at that store; that the cashier can give me the address to the store (one of the 10) where I can find them. I immediately call my co-intern and turns out that I’m at the wrong store! I was suppose to go to the office supply store (one of the 10) that turns out to be around the corner from the Conrad Hotel (where the Art fair is taking place.) .__. 

The simple park

At this point it’s taking everything inside me to not get furious. My feet were throbbing from walking with those boots! As I walked back to the bus stop I kept telling myself “go to a happy place.” Then I stopped and realized I found a park! I sat down, closed my eyes, and felt the breeze on my face. At that moment I thought how amazing it would of been if the park had a swing! I thought about how peaceful it is to swing and not think about anything but the breeze and how free it feels. Instead on focusing how I just wasted two bus rides on my transportation pass, I thought about how happy swinging makes me… I found my happy place 🙂 

Caesar Salad

 I got to my internship at about 12:30pm and decided to treat myself to a Caesar salad from this place called Guapa. Omg! It was the freshest Caesar salad I have ever had!! It made everything better! The chicken was so tender and it had fresh slices of parmesan cheese! Even the right amount of dressing was given! I was impressed! 

My new heels

Finished off my adventure with purchasing my first pair of European heels! I realized that I needed heels for the VIP Night of the Art Fair on Saturday. So I went off to do the quickest purchase ever! I don’t take long to shop. The heels here are much thicker because of all the cobblestone streets. I don’t really like the shapes of the heels here so I tried finding something close to what I’m used too since I won’t be walking on cobblestone while I’m wearing them. Cute enough right?

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!  :/ 

First Day As An Intern In Europe!

Conrad Hotel, the most beautiful hotel i’ve ever seen! 5 star Belgian hotel!

Today, was my first official day as an intern for Accessible Art Fair. Accessible Art Fairs bring together original art, photography, and sculptures from a variety of artists. It’s a public event where people can come view different forms of art, meet the artists, and then purchase a piece of artwork right there and then. I’m really excited because the fair in Brussels will be taking place in a beautiful 5 star hotel and has sponsors like Mercedes Benz! I’m also really excited to see the different forms of art! I’m a firm believer in creativity and I’ve always wanted to take photography as a hobby!  I think one of the coolest moments I experienced today, other than a brief tour of where the fair was taking place, had to be reading an e-mail that said “I will be back next week from fashion week in Milan” I don’t even like fashion! Just knowing that I will be surrounded by people that are doing such exciting things really excites me! I’m so grateful for such opportunity!

Today, I also finally got to eat one of those huge subsI always see people on the

Eating my sub

Eating my sub

streets walking around with. I got a Caesar sandwich (basically a caesar salad on a baguette.) I must admit it was pretty delish!! I have a feeling I’ll be eating a couple of those subs before my stay in Belgium is over. You will rarely see people eating subway as they walk the streets back is the U.S. Oh how differentis Europe!

Changes

This rainbow makes me feel like there are
only good things waiting for me at the end of the road!

A lot can change in one day. It’s crazy how by the end of the day everything seems different than from when you woke up this morning. Yesterday, I was excited about the Corporate Communications and Public Relations class I took… well now I have to drop it and take the professor’s other class Business Writing and Social Networking Applications. I figured since it’s a more media related class I can try to scheme some RU credits and maybe try to actually graduate on time! Things can never be easy with RU. My internship offer was finally finalized today so starting next week my trips to the Accessible Art Fair office will become more current. Hope I don’t get as lost as I did the first day I traveled there. eek! I also made my first hair appointment at a “coiffure” hair salon near my current school, Vesalius. That should be an interesting experience.

Today, I had my first Intercultural Communications class and boy was the class full of culture! There was a girl from Argentina, another from Ecuador, and twin boys that were French and Dominican. I had no idea that, that mix even existed! So much for me being the only Dominican at Vesalius! That’s three Dominicans I found already! There was even a handful of kids from Jersey and kids from all over the states! I loved being in that atmosphere!

I’m finally home and call my mom as usual. I like to update her on my abroad activities. Plus is nice to hear her voice. Experiences

Keeping it classy in Belgium!

like these really make you closer to your family and close friends. Makes you appreciate them more. Also makes you see who’s really there for you throughout the distance. I always believed that whatever makes it through long distances is there for the long run! 

Chocolate pie! with Belgian chocolate! ^__^

My host mom arrived last night with her daughter Lou! She is the sweetest girl!!! With the most adorable French accent! In the morning I spoke to her for an hour about my fascination for owl jewelry and talked to her about my family. When they arrived from shopping this afternoon she brought me an owl notebook! She literally made my afternoon with that amazing gesture! She then asked me to help her cook dinner! I can proudly say I officially cooked my first meal in Belgium! It was Paella rice with vegetables, baked cheese on top, ham on the side, and a fresh small tomato! Absolutely DELICIOUS! She even made dessert!!! Chocolate pie and yes! with Belgian Chocolate! We ended the night with “Fashion Victime” Sweet Home Alabama. How that became the name of the movie in French beats me! I love that movie so I was excited to hear the French version!

Now to go to sleep with the sound of raindrops on my window pane! 😀 Sounds like a peaceful sleep ahead of me!