Bonjour ma famille, mes amis, tous! (Hello my family, my friends, and all!)
I am currently writing this from seat 84 on the TGV from Brussels, Belgium to Paris, France. Devan is sitting next to me, and we are watching Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. This is the first movie I have watched on this trip that has been in English! In Lille, I watched countless movies with my family in French: Gatsby le Magnifique (The Great Gastby), Cendrillon (Cinderella), Pourquoi J’ai Pas Mangé Mon Père (Why I Didn’t Eat My Father), Taken 1, Taken 2, and La Reine de la Neige (Frozen). No doubt my French has ameliorated throughout this trip. Today was our second day in Brussels. We had an early wake-up call at 6:50. After eating a complimentary breakfast at the hotel, we embarked on our journey to the European Union Parliament. There, we sat in on an informational meeting about the history of the EU. I learned that there are 28 participating member countries, thus totaling 751 individual members that help make decisions about Europe’s future economically, politically, and socially. We all sat in the famous Plenary room where meetings take place Emma Watson gave a riveting speech at the podium here about gender equality. In light of Emma, I asked our guide how many women are in the European Union. The answer? 31%. Not even a third. Can’t wait to be in Paris!
Xoxo, Natalie Sears
Today was our second day in Brussels, Belgium. We started the day with a group breakfast in the lobby of the hotel and then we were out the door by 9 in the morning. The first stop of the day’s adventures was to the Belgian parliament where we were lucky enough to receive a presentation from an employee of the parliament about the European Union, how the decision of which nations can be a part of the Union is decided, and how the laws made by the parliament are created. After this visit it was time for lunch. We were given the freedom to eat where and with whomever we chose, after which we all met up again. We took a tour bus, and we ended up at Little Europe. Little Europe is a collection of models of important locations in each European nation. After we finished there, we hopped into a train and were off to Paris where we had dinner all together then went to the hotel to get a good night’s rest for the next day’s adventures.
-Dustin J Magidson
On Sunday, I went with my host family and Aiden and his host family to Ypres, a city in Belgium. Ypres is famous for being the location of a World War I battle, so we visited the museum dedicated to the battle. We learned about life before the war, the details of the battle, and old military equipment. On Wednesday, our last day in Brussels, we went to the European Parliament and learned about the European Union and how the parliament works. We also got to see where they hold some of the meetings. Next, we saw the Atomium, a huge silver sculpture that was built for the World Fair in Brussels. Nearby, we walked through Mini Europe, a park with miniature buildings and towers for each European country. Finally, we left Brussels by train and headed for Paris. ————— Ben Louie