A Year in Reflection

A year ago from today my mother dropped me off at the Windsor airport.

I held back my tears on the drive there, but ultimately began sobbing once I hugged my mom goodbye. It was the first time we would be so far apart for so long. I was terrified.

Now, when I think back to everything that I experienced when I was away, I can’t believe I was so terrified.

I watched the sun set from seven different countries over the course of 200 days.

I ate Belgian waffles in Belgium, and I fell in love with Kasteel Rouge.

I drank a Guinness in Dublin, and I sat on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher.

I saw the entirety of London from the London Eye, and posed for a typical tourist pic next to a red phone booth.

I toured the oldest castles in Wales, and watched the biggest rugby game of the year in a pub.

I tried banana beer in Germany, and walked the beautiful streets of Kleve.

I did my best to make zero eye-contact in the Red Light District, and I visited as many coffeeshops as possible in Amsterdam.

I went snorkeling every day in Malta, and I ate the best burgers from the Hot Shots burger van every night.

I cried tears of joy and tears of sadness when I landed in America.

After coming home, I finished my last semester at Ferris and I was a featured student at my commencement ceremony in December.

I spent my semester co-planning the Conversations on Race event on campus, and I tutored Umair, a Pakistani international student, in English. He passed his Michigan English test and I somehow managed to pass my exams.

I applied to the Peace Corps and was accepted as a Secondary Education English teacher in Mongolia, my country of choice!

This past year has been the best year of my life – so far – but I know the years ahead will be great too.

Below, you can watch the short video I made composed of pictures and videos from my time in Europe:

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The Belgian Boys

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Sorry for my two week hiatus! I’ve been keeping busy in Utrecht and planning my trips for the rest of the semester.

My first trip planned outside of the Netherlands was Gent, Belgium.

Gent was never on my radar, until two weeks ago when I answered the phone while working at the hostel. On the other end, I heard the Belgian Boys.

The Belgian Boys is not the name of an alternative band (it should be), but actually two dudes from Gent who decided to hitchhike to Utrecht two weeks ago.

They seemed really nice, so my coworkers and I decided to show them around Utrecht and we all had a blast. Within the week, they invited us to visit them in Gent, so we booked our bus tickets within the day.

After spending 3.5 hours on a bus, our first mission was to try some Belgian beer. I’m not typically a fan of beer, but the Kasteel Rouge was amazing. The taste was a perfect blend of cherry and malt. One half of the Belgian Boys gave me the suggestion, and I’m highly considering making that my new go-to drink.

I also tried at least 10 other brands of beers, but Kasteel Rouge was my favorite.

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My coworker and I drinking on the canal. 

We spent the day walking along the canals, admiring the castles, and visiting the churches. You could tell there’s so much history in Belgium, it was nothing like the cities I’ve visited in America.

We also made it a point to try Belgium waffles, fries and chocolate. The Belgian Boys took us to one of their favorite fry shops and it was amazing. I came to the conclusion that Belgium food is perfection. At least in Gent.

After filling up on an unhealthy amount of fries, we went to a bonfire party and drank even more beer.

The night was amazing, and I can’t thank the Belgian Boys enough for being our hosts. We’re so excited for you to come back to Utrecht in the next couple of weeks!

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The city center of Gent, Belgium.

Apart from my trip to Belgium, I have also planned a few others:

  • Germany within the next few weeks
  • Cardiff and London in March
  • Dublin in May
  • Figeac, France for the month of June

I’m sure the list will continue to grow, and I’ll make sure to keep you all updated on my next adventure.

Until next time!