Opening doors, doing laundry, ordering food, typing and distinguishing the difference between lotion and body wash have tripped me up at some point, but being denied a baguette and a beer all in the same day for seemingly no reason keeps you humble, you know? Also it keeps you laughing. Laughing really hard actually.
2. Walking is working out.
For most Europeans, walking a lot is totally normal, but evidentially for me it’s a brand new adventure. After fighting off a toe infection for the first two weeks, I’m finally walking limp-free around this part of the world. Who actually gets a toe infection from walking too much though? My life is the weirdest.
3. My age is a mystery.
In an attempt to speak French, I butchered the pronunciation and told people on multiple occasions “I am 11 years old”- hence this blog’s title. On a separate occasion, I actually got carded here, meaning I looked under the age of 18 to the bouncer. Rough. Don’t worry though. Even though I left my license at home that night, my Mobib public transportation card proves that I am neither 11 nor 17. Dodged that bullet.
4. Interacting with non-Americans is a daily struggle.
I’m making an effort to blend in, but despite my effort to actually read the public transportation etiquette brochure and learn basic cultural differences, I am so obviously American, it hurts.
-In Lille, France today: “Where are you traveling from?” “Norman, OklahomaBrussels.”
Because OklahomaBrussels is a place. I panicked. Clearly.
-In a Brussels shoe store: “What size shoe are you?” “Ummmmmmm 7.5 in the U.S. so that means you’re just going to have to take a wild guess.” Annoying customer at your service. Sorry, lady.
-Also saying sí instead of oui or yes because speaking Spanish in a French/Dutch speaking country makes perfect sense.
5. Congratulating Belgians on their awesome jobs is super rewarding.
I’ve never met any train conductors or chocolatiers in the States. These lucky Belgians need to know how cool their lives are and I’ve taken it upon myself to help them realize this.
I expect this list to grow all semester. I’m totally okay with it and I hope you are too.Lots of love from your favorite Belgian wannabe. Au revoir, or something.