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October 21st 2008
Published: October 21st 2008
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Dear family and friends,

I am a lazy procrastinator, but every day gets a little better. I am taking a little break right now because I just wrote two and a half pages of my history paper about the American government system. Would you believe I´m back to writing about John Marshall, judicial review and current events? Some things change so much and others, not at all.

This weekend I spent a lovely day in Brussels with some of the other exchange students. Well, lovely in the fact that the weather was beautiful and it was a wonderful time with friends. But I got a real wake-up call when we saw the many poor people on the streets, normally mothers with young children, all brandishing little cups to collect change in. It was very sad (sad as in, well, sorrowful, not as in pathetic--though of course it is pathetic that such things happen, but I say that compassionately and not disparagingly). At a time in my life when I spend a LOT of time thinking about what the future holds, it´s important to contemplate the fact that helping the less fortunate may be what I--or one of you reading this--is truly called to.

After our day of fun, Karina, one of the German exchange students, and I traveled back to Leuven by train and then took the bus home for a sleepover. I am glad I can educated myself about public transport while here. Really, it is possible to get pretty much anywhere in Belgium via train and bus--bonus points if you park your bike at the bus stop. (Although, as Liesbet, Anneleen and Eline can attest, I cannot ride a bike...not like they do here!) It is nice to have more confidence in riding the train and the bus by myself. I think I will have no problem gallivanding over NJ when I get back.

Next week I am going to LONDON! with Astrid, one of my awesome school friends. I can´t wait to see all the beautiful sites--I have seen so many beautiful and important things here, but the history and culture of London instill a whole new sense of anticipation in me. I am gone from Monday-Thursday, and then Friday morning...I leave for PARIS! with my host family. I am so grateful! I do hope I don´t jinx myself by saying this, but it is almost like an old-fashioned Grand Tour, for which I am, yes, SO grateful.

I had a schedule all planned out for myself today, but then I got really I´m-going-to-conquer-this-history-paper-tonight, and so it fell a bit by the wayside. Nevertheless, the schedule including posting pictures, so if I DO get the paper done soon, I will have some free evenings later in the week for doing so. I have so many--the rest of the Bruges pictures, Brussels, Leuven, Louvain-la-Nouve...so many. And I will CERTAINLY have tons more by this time two weeks from now!

If you have any suggestions on what to do and see in London and Paris, please do comment here or email me! I am so excited!

I have been listening to a few of Dar Williams´ songs from her new album online OVER and OVER while I do my homework...I really like them! And hopefully I will be able to purchase a copy of Inkdeath soon (if now in England, the English version comes out in Belgium in November), so I will have that too.

But even my procrastination and my attachment to material things can´t diminish my excitement and my generally wonderful time here. Of course there have been difficult times, but I am soooo looking forward to my vacation next week. It is really the adventure of the lifetime, and I hope that it makes me a better person. It has already made me happier 😊

Lots of love,
Anna

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