And so it begins!
I’m writing my first official Epic Belgian Email from my own
computer which sits on a wobbly desk in my drafty student room.
I couldn’t be happier!
The plane trip here was somewhat less than exciting, but
adventures are never long to follow…
When I got off the plane, I was tired, grumpy, and not feeling
great, so I walked past the money-exchanger without even
thinking twice. All I knew was that no one had come from Leuven
to meet me (I didn’t really expect them to, but hope is
ever-present) and I needed to catch a train.
So catch a train I did. And missed my stop. I was supposed to
change trains at the North Station, but when the train stopped
there, the doors wouldn’t open. I had to ride all the way to the
next town before I could change trains again. Me, my two giant
suitcases, carry-on, and backpack. I was too tired to care about
the funny looks I got.
I didn’t really understand how tired I was until I got off the
train in Leuven. Because I failed to change my money at the
airport, I could not take a taxi to the University, so I decided
to walk. It didn’t look that far… (remember all those bags?)
A zillion miles of cobblestone streets later, I arrived at the
university offices. A note on the door of the International
Student offices said “We’re closed until Thursday. Come back
then.” I thought maybe I’d just curl up in a corner of the lobby
and take my nap there. My other option was to lug my suitcases
around town until I found a hotel.
Long story short is that I wandered around long enough looking
dazed that I finally found (entirely by accident) the woman I
was supposed to talk to in the first place (in the Housing
office). There were temporary student rooms reserved in a
monastery just out of town, so after a quick trip to the bank,
that’s where the taxi took me and all my bags.
Then I went to bed and didn’t get up for a long, long time.
The last week has gone very quickly. The university packed the
week full of orientation activities for international students,
so I’ve met a lot of people from a lot of different places. The
city of Leuven has a population of about 95,000. Of those,
35,000 are students and 3,500 of those students are from outside
of Belgium. I’ve never been in a city so heavily populated with
students before, but it is pretty amazing. You’re just as likely
to get run over by a bicycle as a car.
Bit by bit I’ve been getting myself together. Finding a room to
rent was tricky, but I seem to have that under control. I’m
living in a house with 5 other students. We each have our own
bedroom, but we share a kitchen and a bathroom. Most of my
classes will be held just a couple blocks down, and everything
else I need is close too. I don’t register for classes until
November, but classes start on Thursday. Logical, yes? We’ll
just have to see.
In the meanwhile, I have some groceries and a bicycle to obtain
before it gets too dark, so until next time – love and many hugs
PS: on a business type note – I think I changed email addresses
for everyone who asked. If I forgot someone, please let me know. Mmmmwah!