Sunday, December 4, 2011


My time here has been passing so quickly that I'm honestly surprised it's already December. I've been slacking on my blogging so here I am!

At the beginning of November I changed host families. My new host family lives just outside of town, within walking distance of my school and the center of town (which is really small, but absolutely lovely!). My host parents along with my two host sisters (16 and 19) are really great and I couldn't ask for a better placement. Plus, look at the view out of my window :) :

I was really excited to make Thanksgiving dinner for my host family, and spent the weeks before making and translating (both the words and measurements, harder than it sounds) the recipes for everything I wanted to make. I made a pecan pie on the actual day of Thanksgiving, but we saved it for Saturday when I made the dinner. It took the whole day! That could have something to do with my cooking skills and inability to multitask but anywho... I was convinced something would go wrong, but surprisingly(aside from burning the top of a casserole) nothing did! Before we ate I had my host family trace their hands to make hand turkeys, and write/say one thing they are thankful for. They all thought the idea of stuffing was odd, and the fact that I put mayonnaise in the casserole and then put it in the oven. However, they tried everything and really liked it all!
No one was looking, but here's a picture!:

And my plate (chicken filets, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, broccoli casserole):

Plus pecan pie at the end. :)

It wasn't exactly the same as in the US, but it was as close as I could get and I was happy with how it went!

On the same day I had an AFS event for Saint Nicolas. Saint Nicolas (Wikipedia is your friend!) is very similar to Santa in the US, except he comes on December 6th (well, sometime in between the 5th and 6th) and fills children's shoes with presents and chocolate. At the AFS event, we sang a song to welcome him in, and then each person went up and had a little conversation with him. It was fun! (And since he complimented my French I like him even better :))

Prince Laurent and Princess Mathilde came to my town the last week of November. I'm still not really sure why, but it was cool nevertheless. They came on a Wednesday (we get out of school at 12.30 on Wednesdays) so I was able to go and see them! There were lots of people there with Belgian flags saying things like "Vive la Belgique!" and trying to shake the Princess' hand when she came over to the fences the town had set up. I didn't get to shake her hand, but that's okay. My Religion teacher was apparently there and got to shake her hand. In his (translated) words, "I was really cold, almost freezing, but when she touched my hand it warmed me up right away." (My Religion teacher is an odd guy..)

Now that it's getting (even) colder and my town put up it's holiday lights, it's starting to feel more like the holidays. Later today I'm going to a Marché de Noel (Christmas market) in a small town nearby, and next week I'll go to another bigger one in Brussels with my AFS chapter (I'll also go to a chocolate factory and do some more sightseeing!).

À la prochaine!


  1. How awesome it was for you to make Thanksgiving dinner! I can't imagine how hard it was to bake and convert measurements. A lot of my European baking friends say they weigh everything vs. using measuring cups. Your dinner looked delicious! Glad you are enjoying your new host family! ♥Susan

  2. Beautiful place. Great stories. Have fun visiting WILLY WONKA @ his chocolate factory. Give my regards to Saint Nicholas! Ho Ho Ho!

  3. Wow, cooking an entire Thanksgiving dinner - fabulous!

    Olivia, we were saddened to hear of the grenade incident in Liege. Please know and let your host family know that those in Belgium will be in our thoughts.

    Mary F, Duxbury

  4. Hi Olivia,
    Your Thanksgiving meal looked yummie and Tamara and I were quite impressed with your cooking abilities!

    Like Mary, I looked you up tonight to let you know that we're thinking of you and your host family during this sad event in Belgium around the holidays.

    with love,
    the Mitchells

  5. Susan - It's true that they measure by mass and not volume, so converting the measurements was a long process! But it all paid off in the end.

    Uncle Eric - sadly I haven't seen St Nicholas since the last time I posted, but he did leave me some chocolate (as if I needed more) on Dec. 6th. :)

    Mary and the Mitchells - Thank you! It is really sad and the entire event has been all over the news since it happened. Luckily no one I know (including exchange students living in Liege) was hurt, but it's odd to see something like that happen in a place I've visited several times.