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October 26th 2008
Published: October 26th 2008
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J.M.J.T.



Dear family and friends,

Tomorrow morning I leave for LONDON! with my friend Astrid from school. Astrid's dad lives in London and we are going to stay with him. I am going to be there until Thursday afternoon; then I leave Friday morning for Paris with my host family.

Needless to say, I am sooooo excited!!!!!! Remember those days, dear family, when all I would do all day was mope around the house, clean if I was in a nice mood, read a book, go on the computer, and complain that my life was boring? Remember, too, the idea that "when God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window." And God showed me that I wasn't meant to be an actress (except perhaps in community theatre) or a whiny youth forever, but a writer and, for the time, a curious teenager travelling throughout Europe. For all this and more, I am soooooo grateful.

I feel indeed like I am on a sort of modern-day "Grand Tour." Oh sure, I still have to do schoolwork, get up on time, try and post my hundreds of pictures one of these days (my camera isn't connecting with the computer right...), but this week--for we have a week's vacation for All Saints' Day--I have the awesome opportunity to tour TWO beautiful and historical cities. The cities of movies and books and legends--I keep thinking about how I am going to the places of (parts of) Harry Potter and A Little Romance, and tons of other fun stories. London will be an independent-sort of adventure, I pray--two crazy teenage girls loose in the city! And in Paris, I can spend more time with my host family. (On that note, my host sisters are really cool, and Annemie lets me annoy her when she is studying so I can ask her how to mail a postcard or to email something for me...haha.)

(I know how to mail a postcard, I just wasn't sure where the stamp goes here, and the return address. But according to Annemie, you don't put the return address on a postcard.)

Sometimes I spend too much time procrastinating on the computer, but when I finally come back to civilization again I realize how content I am with the essence of this exchange: joking with Annemie and Liesbet in the kitchen, eating croque monsieurs (or, in my case, croque-pressed grilled cheeses) while watching Home & Away, excursions to Leuven, field trips with school...(We went on a field trip to the concentration camp Breendonk and the European parliament this past week, which was a really interesting chance to see history up close, in its disturbing and progressive incarnations.)

And so I am very grateful. And I am taking along my address book so that I can shoot a few postcards and/or letters your way...

Also, I have to say a resounding THANK YOU to Saint Philomena for interceding for me so deftly in the time I have been here...my schedule and adventures and spirtiual life are shaping up thanks to her graceful help. And she has been keeping an eye on you all, as well! 😊

Lots of love,
Anna

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