Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany!

(Photo to the right: Namur view from the citadel) WOW! I cannot believe that I have been here now for 2 whole weeks! The time has passed SOOO fast! It is weird that I bought my ticket to come here about 3 or so months ago, and it seemed like the wait was SOO long to finally come, and now that I am here, it is just FLYING BY! It was interesting when I landed in Brussels two weeks ago, I was expecting to get off that plane and look around me and feel like “WOW IM BACK IN BELGIUM!” HAHA, but when I got off it just seemed SO natural! Haha like I had never left! Finally the language being spoke around me matched the one in my head! Hahahaha!! It was a nice feeling to be “home” again.
(Photo to the left: Charleroi's Grand Place) So upon my arrival in Brussels, a dear friend from Charleroi, Patrick, came to pick me up and I stayed a few days with him. We had some fun adventures! We were able to venture to Waterloo, Namur, and Bruges! Three amazing cities! Waterloo and Namur are both French speaking cities while Bruges is a Dutch speaking ville. It was fun to actually tour Belgium and see its sites. While staying with Patrick a dear friend from BYU, Paige, who had been teaching English in Poitiers France for the past 8 months wanted a tour of Belgium so she came on up and we showed her Charleroi, Bruges and Brussels. That was a fun couple of days!
(Photo to the right: Paige, Patrick and I in Bruges) Then leaving Charleroi, (always a sad occasion) I took my leave to Liege! I LOVE LIEGE! I was able to stay with who have become my Belge Family! La Famille Coenen! I LOVE THEM SO! I was able to stay in their son’s room who just happens to be serving in Mom and Dad’s Mission.  So my second day there I went bowling with some members! The bishop’s family (Lapagne) and a friend that came to visit from Germany! Then throught the week I was able to just hang out with many of the young adults from the Branch. It is an interesting experience to just be their friend and no longer “Elder.” HAHA! Even if sometimes I will respond to the occasional “HEY ELDER!” HAHA!
(Photo to the left: The train station in Liege) Also while staying in Liege, seeing as it is basically in the corner of the boarders of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany, I decided to take advantage of the situation. I was able to go to Maastricht, Netherlands for only 8 euros round trip! Fun! What an interesting city! Although only a 30 minute train ride away, the feeling was completely different! Not to mention the language! Hahaha!! I felt like a Bleu missionary again! I didn’t understand anything! Hahaha I went to buy a water and a market and they asked me a question…I was like “uhhhh…Je ne speak pas Dutch.” HAHA!!!
(Photo to the right: a quaint little road in Maastricht) After the Netherlands, a friend from the Branch and I took a train to Aachen, Germany, to visit a friend! Again, SUPER cheap!! On the weekends there is a special offer that one ticket that costs 16 euros counts for two people and the busses in Germany! So only 8 euros a piece! AWSOME!! That was fun! Germany is cool! GREAT Pastries!! And a lot cheaper than in Belgium or France! So BONUS! I also spent quite a bit of time just touring Liege! It is a BEAUTIFUL city!
(Photo to the left: small road next to the large cathedral in Aachen Germany) That Sunday I attended church in Liege, at what a TREAT that was! I got a special surprise!! I was able to see Marie Kinon an elderly woman I baptized about a year and a half ago! She cannot normally come to church as she has been placed in a home about an hour away from the chapel, but this week one of the members went and got her!! It was so wonderful to see her again, and of course all the other members as they are so close to my heart!
(Photo to the right: Marie Kinon and I) Monday then came around and I was off to Brussels after a sad goodbye to my friends in Liege. I was able to stay with one of my JA (Jeunes Adultes=Young Adults) friends in Brussels named Jhoffer. It was AWESOME! it was such a fun experience to be able to hang out with the young adults in a real life setting as opposed to a missionary setting! Jhoffer organized a fun day and got everyone together! we all headed down to the Grand Place in Brussels and got a yummy waffle from the waffle house right next to Mannikin Piss, just like I used to do on my mission! :) fun memories! then we went and just chilled around the city and ended up at FHE. after FHE we all headed over to go bowling! it was SO FUN! I am so blessed to have been able to make such great friends on the mission!!!!
(Photo to the left: JAs and I bowling in Brussels) Then Tuesday morning came around and once again I had to say goodbye to some great people and a city I love with ALL my heart! But for the first time I didn't have to run after my train! hahaha Jhoffer made sure I got to the train station in time to make my train! what a great friend! then I was off to Marseille. After a fun 5 hour train ride I arrived! It was SOOO weird to have the roles reversed with Mom and Dad! haha normally it had been them who came to see me with my name tag on...this time it was their turn! hahaha!! there were also two JAs who came to welcome me! It looks like things will go well here. Mom and Dad have been showing me around as well as the JA president Orianne. Marseille is a beautiful and unique city! I am excited to see what new adventures await!
(Photo to the right: Cinquantenaire in Brussels)
(Photo to the left: City Hall in Brussels)

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