So basically belgium continues to blow my mind. After travelling around both this city as well as two days in luxembourg, Brussels does not seem as big anymore - which is a good thing overall. I have had absolutely no time with all the exploring to do a proper blog entry, but I am going to try now. So quick recap over my first week here
1. apparently there was a large group of italians who have immigrated to belgium, therefore, I have been speaking almost more italian here than I have french - which for me is nice because I love speaking italian. My french is gradually improving though! It is hard though because most people switch into english instantly, but going to grocery stores have become much less daunting (well, except when all the ingredients are in dutch)
2. beer is actually candy here. so far, i have had apple flavored beer, cherry flavored beer, chocolate etc - and it costs about 30 euro cents in grocery stores... it still blows my mind that beer is more accessible than water though. I mean, really?
3. I am incredibly lucky to be on a program that presents such amazing opportunities. Over the past week I have visited major EU institutions such as the European Investment Bank, the Court of Justice, US Mission, Commission, Council, Parlaiment, etc. and have had the opportunity to speak with officials on topics ranging from immigration policy to the euro crisis.
4. The Irish are amazing. Yesterday we visited the Irish permanent representation, where we were able to speak with officials about thier upcoming Council presidency and their views on many current issues effecting the EU. I have never been so amazed. Not only was the official we talked with brilliant, but her answers were so eloquently presented and she really made me respect the country of Ireland and thier positions regarding certain issues
5. The cameramen at EU press conference's spend more time taking photos of the actual press than the people speaking. But I did get to experience a live midday press conference at the European Commission and saw President Barosso give a statement regarding the EU opening trade with Japan. It was actually the coolest thing ever.
6. I have yet to eat fries. (HOW?)
7. I have learned that it is physically impossible to open a bottle of wine with a group of people and not kill the entire bottle within the hour.
Today is a Belgian National holiday aka 4th of july for belgium. A group of us are going to join in on the festivities in a few hours (fireworks, food, live music, etc.) it should be interesting to see what they have here. I saw some fighter jets lined up in the grand place last night so that should be very cool.
I will try to blog more often. Things are getting less busy so I think i will be okay