Monday, November 29, 2010

oracular spectacular.

I’m more or less typing this because I sit here, in my comfy, oh-so familiar little room, with nothing to do but ponder. Pondering over one question that most exchangers eventually face: why? Why would you want to leave your home, Ohio, the United States, everything and everyone that you’ve grown up with? Arrive in a country where you hardly speak their language and live with a family of strangers?

Well, I’d like to just be able to grin ecstatically and respond with ‘why wouldn’t you?’, then peoples’ faces would suddenly light up with understanding, however, that’s not the case. Some think of it as insane, others daring, sometimes even a few who label it as stupid - they wouldn’t dream of such a wild quest. I guess it takes a certain sort of teenager to do so, though I’m wholly unsure of what it takes to raise one. After all, up until the age of 13, I hated the idea of being away from my house for more than one night and neither of my parents have ever even been out of the United States.

Anyways, yeah. In my opinion, it’s a magnificent opportunity to be able to go on exchange, to experience a culture firsthand rather than live vicariously through books. As an old Chinese saying goes, ”It’s better to travel ten thousand miles than to read ten thousand books.” An entire array of new sensations just waiting around the globe, waiting for those brave enough to seek them.

Now, not only that, but international relations. Yeah, you know how everyone thinks all French people are snooty? Americans are all fat, rude and stupid? At the risk of sounding rather cheesy, one person can make a difference. Yes, just one positive encounter between people of different cultures can promote larger understanding and, thus, peace. That’s why there are these programs, that’s why us exchange students are sent to all different parts of the globe.

Well, ah, that brings an end to my ramblings. Rest assured, this shall not be my last.


a merry life we live, lads.

( image © Seth Drayer )

Bonjour, my name is Odessa. Now that we’ve thrown in a brief introduction, I feel I can tell you the purpose of this here blog - drum roll not included. With it, I shall chronicle my adventure in Belgium, yes, that often overlooked little country nestled between France, Germany and the Netherlands. Famous for several things, such as chocolate, waffles, comics and beer, frankly, it should sound like a pretty cool place to anyone.

But oh no, Belgium isn’t just Belgique; it’s divided into two sections. The one I’m destined for being Wallonia, the francophone half, where I’ll inevitably grow fond of ‘quoi?’ and ‘je ne comprende pas’ while building upon my two years of French study. Yet, I’m not just going independently - rather, an organization by the name of AFS.

And really, for an opportunity such as exchange, I’m more than okay with that.