Monday, March 19, 2012

Vacation to Switzerland with the Leclef family

I hope you have a lot of time on your hands right now. Either that or a willingness to spend it reading this blog, because I presume it will be a pret-ty long one.  A lot can go on in one month and I’ve recently been told that I need to update my blog a little more regularly.
I have about an average of one free day a month to do whatever I please, however, and the rest is filled with events planned up to the brim full.
Everything is still dandy here in my second host family. Ngaire the au pair is super nice, and she bakes and cooks dinner a lot and it’s really tasty. (I’ve begun to realize that I’m gaining weight, and I don’t like it though…) Although I think it’s due to the unlimited supply of chocolate. I keep saying when the supply is out, I will stop eating so much. :P

The whole lot of us sledding down the hill
Enjoying the beautiful weather
So the last thing that was going to happen was 2 weeks of vacation if I remember correctly. And those two weeks went by fast! I spent about one week with the Rival family and the other week chilling at my house. And that’s really about it. School started back up and I went for a week or two but then was invited to go skiing in the Alps, and so I made my own little self-created vacation, and took about a week off. The Leclef family invited me up to Belgium again, and from there the whole lot of us took a van down to Switzerland to go skiing in the Alps.  It was a blast! My first time skiing in the Alps. The thing is, the ski resorts aren’t all they’re talked up to be. Skiing in the 

Alps is gorgeous and wonderful because the mountains are gorgeously jagged, vicious, but gentle looking under the snow. We went to a small station which is 3-minutes-of walking-in-your-boots-to-the-ski-lifts-away from the Leclef’s Swiss family’s house. The slopes were nice and the weather was super sunny! It was also my first time wearing sunglasses in the place of goggles. The difference was in the lifts. There were absolutely no chair lifts, only the T-bar kind like used on the bunny hill. They had a different kind of bunny hill for the little kids too and it was called the Pikachu slope! It was marked with a big picture of Pikachu and everything. I thought it was so darn cute. 
I came up to Belgium Thursday afternoon, the 8th of March. My counselor took me to Paris where we had a couple of hours before my train so we rented some bikes and he showed me around Paris. My counselor is the best! He had a meeting to go to, so after we ate some Subway he put me on my train and left. With the Leclef family, we arrived in Switzerland late that night. Friday we went skiing before and after lunch and afterwards we waited for some visitors. Tobias and Marina arrived soon after!  Now these two are really awesome. They were the Swiss exchange students to my home district 5060 last year, and it was so crazy to see them in their native land! We ate dinner and celebrated Henri and Caroline’s birthday with them. 
District 5060 USA-CANDA Exchangees

Felipe playing a Swiss Horn
Afterwards, being a full moon and all, we decided to go out into the forest for a mid-night walk/hike. We disrupted the slopes with our snow angels and steps as much as we could before coming home where we watched a movie and fell asleep. Sadly, Tobias couldn’t stay long the next day. He came up to the slopes with us and then we had to say goodbye. Marina, on the other hand, stayed to go skiing for the whole day! We skied until lunch time and afterwards took another idea and decided to hike up another part of the mountain to a little cafĂ© and the sled down. On the way up we had snow ball fights, jumped off of steep hills and rolled down into drifts of snow until finally we found ourselves at our destination. After a brief pause from the excruciating work out of hiking up, we rented sled-bobs and all of us sledded down the hill.  Let me just tell you, driving a sled like this is much harder than driving a car in my book. I crashed multiple times, one ending in Henri rescuing my sled from a whole down in the forest because I crashed so bad my sled flew down the hill and I kept doing face dives trying to get it back. Embarrassing ! But apparently it was amusing to watch, so it was fun. Afterwards we took Marina to the train station, and on the way saw what a Swiss town looks like. I love it! Swiss towns are a type of modern style, with beautiful design and elegance. Even more, I have a little fetish for train stations and this one just added to my delight. The trains even match the busses! Switzerland gets a high place on my list.
after the first round of snow fights

That night we ate a traditional easy fondue dinner followed by a singing camp fire scene on the porch, followed by putting on our swim suits and rolling out in the snow, which turned into a snow fight. It was very cold. Sunday was our last day of skiing, so after lunch we headed back to Belgium. I had such a great time. I love how just over a year ago all of these people came into my life because of Rotary, giving me connections in practically every country I will ever go to which in turn gives me lifetime experiences I will never forget.

Singing on the Patio

This brings me to Monday, a day in Brussels. The Leclef family also has an exchange student at their house. His name is Felipe, and he’s from Ecuador. He is super awesome as well! I went with him on Monday to Brussels and he showed me all around! We saw the Mannekin Pis statue, ate a legit Belgian waffle, went shopping (the most amazing shops, and Felipe is so awesome to go shopping with), saw the exchange student hang-outs, went to a Mac store and took awesome photos and went to Mcdonalds. The cool thing about Felipe is that he loves JESUS. It was so random to meet someone from Ecuador, in Europe who shares that love with me, which is so rare in Europe, as he said to me.  He told me that in Ecuador they used to just go to a bar every Friday night with lots of youth and just talk about Jesus.
J So cool! It was awesome meeting him, and I hope I go back to Belgium soon. He says that Belgium is so awesome and all the exchange students are so close since the country is so small. He also said he doesn’t want to leave the Leclef family because they are so amazing. It makes me wish I got my second choice and went to Belgium instead… tahaha, but I’m not allowed to think about that. I will just end this post, since it’s almost midnight, by saying that the world is a beautiful place, and there are so many wonderful people inside that you may never meet if you don’t go outside of your comfort zone. Do something fun and crazy and make some awesome friends. It’s really great fun. J 

I’m going to update last weekend, tomorrow hopefully. I’m slowly catching up. :P

Lot’s of love,


p.s. I like Swiss chocolate better than Belgian chocolate. But shhhhhhh, because I can't tell my Belgian friends this. :P