Epic Belgian Email #3

Happy Sunday, everyone!

It is a downright chilly evening, here in my little room. I
thought about doing jumping jacks to stay warm, but I decided
that a nice fuzzy blanket and writing email sounded like a
better idea. 🙂

I’ve survived my first week of classes, then! It was a busy
week, lots of note-taking and scrambling about to make copies of
all the information I’m (theoretically) going to need for the
semester. Here’s how my schedule goes:

Monday: Complex Societies of the Bronze Age ; Geomorphology

Tuesday: From Chiefdom to State in the Dark Ages & Archaic
Period

Wednesday: Geoarchaeology

Thursday: Stone Age Societies

Friday: Bronze Age Egypt

That works out to be just about 18 hours of class per week,
which is an awful lot of class time. Monday, with two classes,
is a loooong day. So far, I think I like the Bronze Age and
Stone Age classes the best.  We started with Rock Art in the
Stone Age class, and a good half hour was devoted to “guess what
animal these scratches are supposed to be!”  I thought it was
fun.

This is the part where all my left-brained readers think to
themselves: Rock art? Scratched animals? What is this girl
*doing??*

The answer is easy enough. I’m pursuing my Liberal Arts-trained
inclination to keep learning new stuff. I comment on this
because I’ve discovered I’m definitely in the minority on that
particular detail. Most of my college education was at Coe,
where the ratio of girls to boys was at least 2/1, and we were
taught the basic mantra “it’s not the degree you get, but
learning to LEARN that’s important.”  Good advice!  Well, here
no one knows much about liberal arts. I am one of two girls in
an otherwise all-male class (I think there’s a third girl out
there in the program somewhere, but we don’t share any classes).
The program isn’t very big, so that’s not as bad at it might
sound (15 students total?), but it’s definitely a change for me.
And they’re all veeery serious about their career goals. For
example: after a class devoted almost entirely to Rock Art, one
boy says to another: “I think I might drop this class and take
something else. What about you?” The other boy agreed.  I asked
why they’d want to drop it, and was told that it had no
“practical application in the real world.”

Since when is a class called Rock Art supposed to have practical
application ANYWHERE??

So it’s interesting to see the different outlook on education
here.  And don’t worry, I’ll take those Rock Art Deciphering
skills I’m going to learn and put them to very good use
somewhere.  Say, writing a best selling novel ala Jean M.
Auel…  😀

And speaking of writing novels, I’ve also managed to come all
the way through my first week of class without a clue as to what
I’m going to write my thesis on. I think I’ll give it one more
week to see if inspiration strikes, then I’ll start pestering
professors for ideas. If anyone out there has any brilliant
ideas for an archaeology thesis, let me know!

In the meanwhile, I’ve spent bits of this week experimenting
with my culinary skills/options. So far the lack of a microwave
is proving to be the biggest inconvenience, so I’m not too badly
off. And I’m out of cookies. That’s pretty inconvenient. I don’t
see much of my housemates, but I’m making friends with some of
the kids in my classes.  In fact, I’ve already managed to earn
one marriage proposal. I’m (kind of) sorry to report that I had
to break the poor kid’s heart, although he seems to be
recovering nicely.

My only other activity for the week has been an attempt to put
up a webpage so I could show off some of my pictures.  Right
now, it’s giving me absolute fits, so I’m not going to tell you
where to look for it yet, but I promise once it’s up and
running, I’ll let you know.

So I hope everyone is having a wonderful week, enjoying what’s
left of fall. Best wishes to all, and I’ll talk to you soon!

🙂 Laura

Oh yes, and to answer the most frequently asked question (in
case anyone is still wondering): all my classes are in English.
It’s an international program, so there’re students from all
over the world who come here. The common language, most
typically, is English. I get to speak French to my landlady and
the bus drivers, otherwise, everyone else speaks Dutch.

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