Tag Archives: student

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?!

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! .__.

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?

Amsterdam

There is only one way to describe Amsterdam: Beautifully Crazy

Welcome to Amsterdam (Train station)

My day yesterday started at 6am. I was going to meet up with the Amsterdam crew Talya, Brielle, and Skyler. We bought our tickets at the station for 49.30 Euros (roundtrip) and off we were. 3 hours later after what seemed like the longest train ride ever! We made it to Amsterdam!

Street Performer

Amsterdam is the largest city and capital of the Netherlands. Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourists destinations in Europe. There were so many people there I was in shock! As soon as we arrived I had my first Falafel ever at Maoz Vegetarian with frites on the side, topping mayonnaise (keep count of how many meals I ate during this trip!) After we had our lunch we continued to walk and ended up in the middle of Amsterdam’s central square right in front of the Royal Palace. The square was overcrowded with street performers, tourists, and pigeons. We became curious about a specific performer and stopped to watch him escape from saran wrap  and chains. This man took FOREVER to do the escape! He was annoying the entire crowd! I was so over him! And his jokes were so bad. We think he was stalling to make sure he sweated excessively under the saran wrap, which most likely was the key to escaping. The funny moments during his show included a random italian man dressed as Mario, who I’m pretty sure had no idea who Mario was, and got shouted out by the performer. Also, a drunk man that interrupted the performance by trying to do a hand stand but failing miserably. What a welcome into Amsterdam.

Entrance of Heineken Museum

Heineken Museum

We then proceeded to the Heineken Museum. First of all I had no idea that Heineken was a beer from Amsterdam! You seriously learn something new everyday! The museum cost 17 Euros. I must say that those were 17 Euros well spent! The museum package came with 3 beers, a boat ride, and a souvenir. I learned how Heineken beer is a family business and how it is processed. The museum even has a room where you can watch all the Heineken commercials. I even learned how to drink a beer without sipping the foam, which protects the beer from getting flat while you are drinking it. After exploring all the the museum has to offer we met some cool people at the bar (part of the museum.) A 2010 RU graduate who was on a business trip for his job and a cute couple who teach kids in military bases. The boat ride was absolutely peaceful and so beautiful! Amsterdam has so many “boat houses,” which are apparently very expensive, according to the tour guide. I can’t imagine living in houses like that. They were houses built on water not really “boat houses” per say. After we got our souvenirs, a bottle opener shaped as the Heineken “e.” I was very pleased!

Ahead: The Red Light District

Walking around Amsterdam you notice how beautiful it is. The buildings have their own unique structures and mix in well with the scenery. We stopped by the flower market and decided to get some frites to snack on. Slowly we started approaching the red light district. Never have I seen something like that before in my life! Let me tell you that the red light district does NOT discriminate! You have your skinny prostitutes, your chubby ones, the one with small titis, the ones with flat asses… well you get the idea. Every type of girl you can think of is available.The amount of men that walk around horny and wishing to get laid is also unbelievable. Some of these girls are literally wearing close to nothing as they are displayed behind the glass doors like dolls. I actually saw a man go into one of the girls door and curtains were immediately closed. One girl even had a sign that said she takes S&M and lesbian action. Like I said before no discrimination whatsoever in the red light district. It was something you seriously have to experience to understand.

Side note: A man approached us saying “I’m a gigolo try me before buying…” .__. 

Eat Me Restaurant

Before continuing to explore the red light district we needed some food! We decided to eat at this place called “Eat Me.” The place was very pretty inside and they played some spanish music. I ordered the steak because I realized how much I missed eating steak. From what I understood it was the back of the cow and it came with some frites. I got a cappuccino to drink.  I get the steak, eat a little and realized the steak looked practically raw to me. Of course they tell me that’s how it was suppose to be but they still cook it a little more for me. It looked the same when they returned it but whatever I ate it anyways I’m not really picky with food. It was juicy I’m not going to lie. Come to find out it was beef that came from Galicia, Spain. After dinner we thought about going back home and last minute we decided to catch the morning train. We watched the train leave us. We had 9 hours to kill and no hostel to stay in. Hello Amsterdam! There were so many people on the streets!! After visiting various bars/clubs we felt absolutely exhausted! We even ended up getting Wok and Go (a chinese noodle place) like at 1am in the morning. I ate the entire thing by the end of the night! Yes, I am currently regretting it. We even managed to crash McDonalds and chill there while Brielle got a McFlurry. We were trying anything to stay awake!

Rotterdam Station

We get to the train station and only one section of the station was open. Security told us we had 2 choices: 1. Wait somewhere in Amsterdam till our train arrived or station opened at 5am (it was about 3-4:00am at this point.) 2. Catch the last train to Rotterdam. We decided option 2 would be best so we could get at least 1.5 hours of sleep and take the train from there back home.

We get to Rotterdam and the train station is outside!! We were freezing for about 2.5 hours! Train didn’t get there till 8:34am. I had to end up buying another cappuccino. It was the train station from hell! We even resulted to going into the bathroom and putting our hands under the dryer! Basically I didn’t get home till 12:00pm absolutely exhausted and without energy whatsoever!

Nothing like Beautiful Crazy Amsterdam to wear you out!

Snack Shops

Marinara Chicken Pita Wrap for lunch! 🙂

What comes to mind when you hear the word snack?

Well I think of chips, candy, chocolates, pastries, even fruits if I’m feeling healthy. You know the type of things you would usually find in a corner store in the States.

If you go to a snack shop in Belgium don’t expect to find that! There will most likely be “frites” Belgian fries, pita wraps, food, and a ton of incredients to have someone make you your own sub! That’s a snack in Belgium! I have a feeling that a snack to them is what we consider lunch! Talk about a culture difference! 

My internship boss invited all the interns out for lunch today.

Snack Libonais

She wanted  to thank us for putting in so much hard work for the Art Fair coming up next week. (Check out the website for Accessible Art Fair it’s pretty cool!) She took us to Snack Libonais a very chill snack shop with seating in the back. She ordered Marinara Chicken Pita wraps for all four of us with “Frites!” It was absolutely delicious! This place might be a problem for me in the near future! 🙂

Well as they say here “Bon Appetite”

I Got Mail!

Care package

Today I visited the Belgian post office Bpost. Turns out this post office is also a bank! For a bank/post office I found the place to be extremely small. It was so crowded that the place had a ticket system and they attended you by number. When I got there they where on number 318 and I was 341 .__. I was sweating so much! People were allowed to leave and come back once they got their ticket but NO WAY was I missing my turn. It seemed like everyone was cashing their checks so the line was moving slower than ever. Finally, I used my French speaking skills to get my package. To my surprise it was a care package from my sorority sister Suzy! ^__^ Oh Boy was I excited when I opened it and saw the contents! Granola bars, hot coco, pudding mix, chocolates, peanuts, tea, and even sazon (spanish seasoning.) She even added a cute little owl card that I shall display on my dresser for the remainder of my stay here! The package made my day!

Tomorrow, I have to return to BPost and attempt to argue in French x__x My mom mailed me a package that according to Bpost’s online database arrived a week agoHowever, I have yet to receive slips for pick-up though online it says I have! >:O Sigh! let’s see how things goes tomorrow!

Wish me luck! 

Movie & Hair

L’Auberge Espagnole

Today was a good day! In French class we started watching this hilarious French movie called L’Auberge Espagnole. It’s about a French study abroad student who get’s the opportunity to work and study abroad in Spain. He ends up living in an apartment with people from all over Europe: Spain, England, German, Belgium… It was hilarious because there was a lot of Spanish, English, and French speaking so I was understanding everything in the movie!! Made me so happy! Plus I could definitely relate to the main character being that I am studying abroad as well.

Today I also decided to tackle my hair. I never ever done my hair by myself. I always got it

hair process

done at a hair salon or by my mom or aunt. They say Dominicans are good at doing hair but I was left out of that stereotype at birth. I decided to try the air dry and flat iron method. I don’t have a blow dryer and spend 56  or 69 ( I forgot) Euros on a flat iron so I figured I give it a try instead of wasting money to get my hair done. Secretly, I just didn’t feel like calling and making a hair appointment in French. Or walking all the way to the hair salon JUST to make an appointment!

Nothing is EVER impossible! With hard work and determination you can accomplish anything!