If my second winter here has made anything clear about the relationship that Belgium and I have with each other, it is that she often does little to cheer me up during this time of year. The combination of gray and drizzly skies, permanently statically-charged hair, and an aching brain brimming with language and terminology combined with the stress of approaching exams in multiple languages has made me realize that during this time of year it is more important than ever to see the things I love about this place and to cling to them, allowing them to warm up my thoughts and inspire me to treat Belgium a little kinder until she starts to return the kind thoughts in spring.
Here are five things I can say that I appreciate about Belgium:Read More
Time is a precious commodity for me at the moment as I’m trying to rise to the seemingly impossible challenge of preparing myself for yet another exam period. I wanted to take a few minutes to post the most recently encountered curiosity concerning this quirky language called Dutch.Read More
There are many things about Belgium that I don’t always get, but I really do not get the obsession that Belgians seem to have with The Simpsons. In fact, I don’t understand why anyone would be obsessed with that show, but I can understand it even less when it seems to be a whole nation that is captivated by it. So many times during my lectures this semester a professor has made a reference to The Simpsons. Just yesterday, in one of my literature courses, a professor shared a clip of one of the episodes to elaborate on Edgar Allan Poe’s, The Raven. The lecture hall was filled with hundreds of students erupting in laughter, seemingly delighting in their common knowledge of every episode of The Simpsons that was ever produced.Read More
It is apparent to me now that my interest in languages has always existed. I can clearly recognize my early fascination when I think back on how I used to read the foreign words on shampoo bottles, food packaging ingredient lists and any other place where these functional little translation dictionaries were presented to my young eyes. French and Spanish were the forerunners on American packaging. Now that I’m living in Europe there seems to be a whole array of tiny language dictionaries placed at my fingertips. In fact, in Belgium nearly every package contains at least 3 languages – Dutch, French, and German. A common mistake that those who have never attempted to learn a second language often make is assuming that language learning is a simple task of taking the word which you want to say and translating it to the corresponding word in the target language. Sometimes it works like this and when it does it’s a beautiful thing. Often it doesn’t.Read More
The word friend seems to be a very straight-forward word that most English speakers associate with that warm feeling you get when someone does something thoughtful for you or the contentment you feel when you come in contact with someone that seems to look at the world in the same way that you do. We all know what it means to have a friend. I thought I understood the word friend in all of its senses; that was until I moved to Belgium.Read More