Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bruxelles, Quatrième [Orientation, Pub Crawl, Travel Plans]

"Every memory was valuable, even the bad ones."
- Cassandra Clare

It's hard for me to explain this. Most other study abroad people know what I mean: that feeling that somehow, you're in a dream.  If you push too hard, pinch yourself a little too often, or embarrass yourself one times too many, then you'll wake up in your bed back at uni or college, five months later.

And that's kind where I'm at.  Orientation is terrifying.  For some awful reason, every single orientation reminds me of being in seventh grade, tenth grade, the new kid in a neighborhood.

Oh, I survived just fine, survived the first few days of confusion, staring at maps, and wondering how a campus of two (maybe three) blocks and eight buildings could seem so disconcertingly large.

And then it was Friday. Allow me to put forth a disclaimer: I've never (officially) been to a pub crawl before.

My lovely college that I attend in Brussels is a wealth of information.  Rumors and stories of the last pub crawl (someone chipped a tooth, another passed out in a stranger's house, there was even mention of an ambulance), a few drinks, and a confused metro ride later (several people were locked inside the ticket booth, because those things didn't come with instructions), we ended up at our second bar.

Les Halles Saint-Gery. A former marketplace, that is the biggest vintage market on the first Sunday of every month, that is the occasional site of raves, that is next to a fantastic bar that I will go back to (Mezzo, a darkly lit bar, with a crowded dance floor, and blue lights), it serves up some good drinks.

At some point, we went to Delirium.  Oh Delirium, what a fantastic place.  With a tequila bar next door, and an absinthe bar right across, where else do you need to go for your night of heavy boozing?

And there were embarrassing moments too.  At some point in time, I tripped down stairs. when my heel caught on the stair (I know, wearing heels on a pub crawl is a bad idea). Everyone thought I was a drunk exchange student, from America who couldn't speak French.

They started talking about me.  I could understand them.  That was awkward.

And it made me want to run away, to go somewhere far away.

This now brings me to my next point.  I'm in Europe.  I want to sit on trains and watch places fly by.  I want to eat curry-wurst and learn German.  I want to sit on a RyanAir trip, be delighted over the cost, and then wonder why I thought a discount airline was a good idea.  I want.

But my already bruised and heartbroken wallet says NO.  It's the sort of no that you stayed away from as a kid, the kind of no that guarantees you a grounding. And maybe extra chores.

That doesn't mean I'm not going to travel. I mean, I'm goiing to Bruges tomorrow!  You know, Bruges, as in that dark comedy called In Bruges, with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson?  I'm planning on climbing the belfry there, the one that cost Gleeson a few good euros.  Hopefully, the negative-seven-degree-Celsius weather won't make it too horrible.

At last, I have a STIB metro card! 

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