¡Hola de nueva! So this past weekend I took my second big adventure (mini compared to Spain) with a couple other classmates to Brussels, Belgium for some chocolate, waffles, French fries, and many other things that Belgium is famous for. I was a little sad at first to be leaving Oviedo, but the trip was completely worth it!! Our mini group consisted of me, and my classmates Emily, Julia, Ana M., Andrea, Fatim, Clay, and of course Steve, the one who was determined to go on this trip in the first place. We were able to book a cheap flight and we arrived late on Friday night. Early Saturday (well probably the earliest that you could ever get Emily and me out of bed, 10am), we woke up and headed toward Gran Place to meet the group, who are much more organized and got up at 8 for some sight seeing. After taking a few detours (knowing Spanish and English is useless when people and street signs tell you directions in French), we finally made it to Grand Place with about a half hour to spare! We decided the best way to kick off our Belgium experience was with a nice big authentic Belgian waffle for breakfast. I have never witnessed anything so beautiful in my whole life! My waffle was absolutely delicious, toasted perfectly with an almond-y glaze, whip cream, strawberries, crushed nuts, and of course CHOCOLATE poured all over. The smell of this waffle shop was to die for, and I honestly think I could have indeed died happily right in that spot :] The cashier was really friendly too and we were surprised to hear her American accent when she spoke English! It turns out she has lived in the U.S. for a while when she was a kid, mundo pequeño:]
After our heavenly waffle experience, we met up with the rest of the group. We spent the day touring near by Grand Place (which is AMAZINGLY beautiful) and checking out the famous statue of the little boy peeing, called Manneken Pis. Its kinda awkward in a way how obsessed Brussels is with this statue, but all the legends around it were cool to hear. It’s been around for a while, and apparently had always been guarded and protected whenever the city came under siege in the past. It’s also dressed up in different costumes several times a week, which once again is just kinda weird. Unfortunately I’m pretty ignorant about this statue, so that was the best opinion I could come up with about it :] The rest of the day was spent blissfully enjoying and sampling the fantastic food Belgium has to offer, checking out souvenir shops, visiting the European Union headquarters, and indulging shamelessly in the trillions of Belgium chocolaterias. Being a chocolate addict myself, it was WONDERFUL to say the absolute least.
One thing I really enjoyed about Brussels was seeing how international it was! I never in my life thought of Brussels as a city I would visit, this was a very spontaneous trip for me, but I’m so glad I went! Walking through the streets, you heard so many different languages, and to me that is just so cool. Whenever we met someone, it was a game trying to figure out which language to speak with each other. They’d ask “Francais?” we’d say “Nope, English?” and they usually would start talking in English. But here is the exciting part, there were a few occasions where English wasn’t an option, and we’d have to go for the third option…SPANISH! ¡Qué Bueno! I got so excited walking down the street and hearing Spanish, and being able to understand what someone was saying in a language other than English :] At first when I was leaving for Belgium, I was nervous that it would hinder my Spanish because I would be taking such a big break from being immersed completely in Spanish, but I think if anything, it helped me. Not because I was speaking it much, but just because it gave my mind a little rest….some time to catch up, especially after having a little bit of a discouraging week. I was starting to feel really shy about my Spanish, and although I’ve noticed HUGE improvements with my Spanish writing skills and comprehension, I have really felt like my speaking abilities are no where near where I’d like them to be. I want to be able to just think in Spanish and not have to need time to translate English to Spanish every time I want to speak it. But it’s a lot easier said then done, and I get nervous a lot when I talk to people in Spanish, so lately I’ve been avoiding it. But being in Belgium and walking down the street and hearing someone talking in Spanish and being able to understand…I think that alone gave me enough of a boost of confidence to return back to Spain much more ready to throw myself back into Spanish, no more shyness with speaking, which is definitely something I’ve been needing!