My top 5 things to do in Belgium

Hey guys,

So my last few posts have been more about the disaster that is my life and not about the traveling adventures that I originally started this blog to post about. There will probably be more personal posts but this one is all about Belgium 🙂

When I was in school, I studied French and I wanted to improve it so I thought about going to France for a summer to work when I was 16. I did some research and discovered that I wouldn’t be paid for working in France due to employment laws so a friend of my mums, a French teacher, suggested that I go to Belgium. As it happens, the place where I worked for the summer when I was 14 had a sister place in the French-speaking region of Belgium so off I went. I spent 3 and a half weeks working in the kitchen of a hospitality/ residential conference center about 45 mins outside Brussels. I  worked hard and I was working 5-5.5 days a week so I didn’t get to travel enough as I would have liked.. So I went back for longer the following year 😛

I will always have fond memories of Belgium. I made some amazing friends there, some Mexican, Guatemalan, Spanish and even a really good Irish friend. I also had my fair share of accidents there 😛 I had one really accident prone day when,in the morning, while cutting an onion, I nearly took the top off my finger.. That afternoon I then had an argument with a gate and the gate won, thus resulting in me getting a spike of it through my foot.. Fun times 😛 There was no major damage, just crutches for a few weeks, serious antibiotics and painkillers.. Twas grand 🙂 It happened on a Sunday and I was planning on flying home the Tuesday so I was grand.

Despite my spending so much time working, I got to do a significant amount of traveling. Here are mt top 5 places to go in Belgium.

  1. Grand Place, Brussels.

Both times I was in Belgium it was in June/July, Grand Place was one of the first places I visited and I was blown away by how beautiful it is. It is surrounded by Gothic buildings, including the town hall. Every two years in August, an enormous “flower carpet” is set up in the Grand Place for a few days. A million colorful  flowers are set up in patterns, covering the entire square.

Grand Place

2. Manneken Pis

My friend Ruth really didn’t like this guy but I’d recommend checking him out, especially if there is something going on in Belgium at the time. When I was there the second time, it was during the last soccer world cup so he was dressed up as a soccer player. In reality, he is a tiny bronze statue who pees into the fountains basin.

3. Bruges and Gent

These two towns are absolutely spectacular! I only managed to get to them both once but they are stunning. Both are on built on canals and they, much like Venice are used to get around on.The streets are narrow and cobbled and old. They are both just so beautiful.

4. Leuven/ Louvain

The thing about places in Belgium is that they have names in both French and Dutch. Louvain is a university city much like the one where I live in Ireland. It is quite easy ti tell when the hour is up as the streets get busier with students moving from class to class. Myself and Ruth spent about 3 hours sitting in McDonald’s in Louvain next to the window on the first floor just watching people move through the streets. It is another lovely city, possibly my second favorite, my all time favorite is still to come. 😛 It was Louvain where I finally found my Yves Rocher shop that I had spent weeks looking for. Yves Rocher is a French cosmetics company that I came across in France. I love their stuff but you can’t get it in Ireland so I always make sure to stock up when I’m abroad.

Leuven city hallLeuven

5. Antwerp

Antwerp is where I want to be proposed to. It is my favorite place in Belgium. The first time I was there, I was walking down the boardwalk with my Mexican friends Isabel and Nancy and I saw a couple in front of us with their kids and it was at that moment when I decided that I wanted that to be me. Me and my over active imagination saw that man proposing to his girlfriend on that same boardwalk, them going there to have their wedding photos taken and then going there with their kids. As their two little girls ran ahead of them, with us still walking behind then, the couple wrapped their arms around each other and kept walking. Yes, I am a completely hopeless romantic but I wanted that. My friend Blaithin has been told to inform any future men in my life of this wish of mine 😛 Antwerp is also famous for its diamonds. When you come out of the train station (which is spectacular as well) there is an entire street of diamond shops. The best place to window shop 😀 In my opinion, it is a must visit for anyone going to Belgium.Oh and they have a chocolate shop that sells ‘Chocolate Pills’ because.. Duhh chocolate fixes everything.. 😛

antewrp docAntwerp Choc pills

So I think I turned my top 5 places to go in Belgium into a ‘why I love these places’ but i hope you enjoyed reading it. I had so much fin looking through all my old photos and re-reading my travel diary to remind me of all my adventures. The most important thing I took away from my trips in  Belgium are my friendships. I was working with Isabel and Nancy. They are both from Monterrey, Mexico and I am still in frequent communication with Isa who is currently studying a semester abroad in Santiago, Chile. I knew Ruth before we went away together, we had met a few times but we wouldn’t have been friends. Her french teacher (the friend of my mums) encouraged her to come with me and now I know, no matter what, Ruth is there for me. She will be at my wedding.

Ok I might have gotten too deep, but hey, I’m an honest person,

Thanks for reading,

All my love,

Kathy ❤

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Valentines day and RAG week

Hey guys,

This week is RAG week in UCC, my university. Every year in colleges across Ireland there is a week dedicated to raising money for charity, its official name is Raise and Give week. That being said, a lot of people use it as an excuse to start drinking early and keep drinking for a week. Both bars on campus start serving at 2 pm, there is music, DJs, bands and other various events throughout the week. The different clubs and societies are running various events for the week, the Commerce Society are holding a Nearly Naked Mile (American Pie flashbacks anyone). There are also events such as a wedding, The Rose of UCC, a Karaoke night  and a drinking competition called the Iron Stomach. All in all, there is a pretty good buzz around campus (once everyone wakes up :P)

Coincidentally, Valentines always falls in the middle of RAG week. This year, I am single, but I do have a Valentine ❤ I started seeing someone a few months ago and he agreed to be my Valentine when I saw him last week so I have plans with him this evening 🙂 Because he isn’t my boyfriend, I didn’t get  him a card and present or anything and am now kinda regretting it.. I’ll be freaked if I didn’t get him anything and he has something for me :O Advice anyone?? 🙂

Sorry for the short post, I now have to speak to my friend in Spanish for an hour!

Thanks for reading,

Kathy ❤

4 weeks in..

Hey guys,

How is everyone dong today? Me? I’m a zombie.. This is what happens when I get 5 hours sleep after working an 8 hour shift but apparently going to college  and getting an education is important? Who knew right 😛 Ok, I joke, I just found it really hard to peel myself from my bed this morning. I have been pretty good at keeping up on my college work this semester, that being said I do only have about 11 hours a week.. 🙂 Yay me!

I have developed a couple of good habits during the start of this semester. Firstly I was back in the library on my first week. You might say ‘But it’s the first week back, what do you have to be doing on week 1?’.. Last year, I would have agreed with you, as I was so busy over the Christmas break, I had loads of research to do with regards to my Erasmus next year, if you haven’t read my last post, The Alicante Diaries: Flight Booked, please be a bae and check it out!! I had to research classes and calendars and look for accommodation and all that fun stuff. I think coming to the library week 1 really set me up for the semester. I now have my favorite computer in the whole building (trust me its a big library) and I’m able to come here and study and charge my phone as its right next to a plug! Winning at life so I am! 😛

So another good habit I have developed has been to start printing my lecture notes! Last semester a number of the lecturers were really sound and brought the printed notes to class but this semester it’s up to us, so I decided I’d better be a good student and print things! Today alone I spent about €15 on notes, a fancy accordion type folder and a mini stapler (because every girl needs a pink mini stapler)!! I can use these notes now to make me focus and keep my attention during class as opposed to spending my time on Facebook… I used to bring my laptop to college but it’s such a brick that I decided that I didn’t really need it this semester and my back is thanking me for it 🙂

In addition to these things, going to the gym has been such a great thing to keep me going! I must admit that I haven’t been going quite as much as I should have been in the last week due to an old knee injury reappearing and being a general pain in the ass but hopefully I’ll be back in business by Thursday!

Anyway, I have a lecture in 25 minutes so I should probably go and get myself organised!

Write soon guys,

Thanks for reading,

Kathy ❤

 

New year, New me?

At the risk of sounding totally cliché, this year is going to be my year. I may be slightly late with this post, I do realize that it is indeed more towards the end of January than the beginning but better late than never I suppose (I really am killing this whole cheesy thing today right?)

The last few months were pretty rough for me, I broke up with my boyfriend in October, in the end it came down to the distance being the biggest problem, I was overrun by college work and so stressed out about exams and assignments, I was working all the hours that were given to me in an attempt to save money and even this week, I found out some bad news about my Gran.

Despite all these setbacks, I refuse to let them get to me. I was in a bad place a few months ago, very few people know but at one point I felt so low and shitty about myself, I tried pulling apart a razor blade to use to harm myself. I had a bad 2016, a lot like most people it seems. Some nights I went to bed and hoped that I wouldn’t wake up the following morning. In some ways, I feel like my breakup was the best thing that could have happened to me. Yes it was awful to lose someone who I loved but since then, my confidence has been boosted, I feel more confident in myself and I have grown into the strong, independent woman who I always knew I could be. I took the best stab at my exams as I could. I worked really hard for them all semester long and for the first time since starting Uni, I don’t think I failed any of them! Work has its own challenges, crazy colleagues, intense hotel guests and a workplace that could have its own soap opera!  But hey, its providing me with a somewhat steady income! 🙂

Since the start of 2017, things seem to have fallen into place somewhat, I paid off some of my college fees, I reached a major milestone in my savings and I even managed to have some money left over to spend on myself in the sales! 🙂 I have begun going back  to the gym since going back to college too. No this is not a New Years resolution, it is something I promised myself I’d do long before the beginning of January. My justification of it, I am moving to Alicante, Spain in August and I want to look hot in a bikini on the beach.. Shallow? Maybe.. But its working for me! 😛 In addition to the gym, I have tried starting to eat more healthily.. This is the bit I struggle with a bit more, I have a massive sweet tooth and I love me some food.. Any hints, tips or advice on how to stick to clean eating would be greatly appreciated! This year is going to be the year I reinvent myself, into a person I am proud to be and I plan on documenting every moment of it!

As always, thanks for reading,

Write soon,

Kathy ❤

Back to Normality

Hey Guys!

So I have been really bad for updating recently! Life had been kinda hectic, the good kind of hectic though! 🙂 Last year in Uni I signed up to be a Peer Support Leader (PSL). So this is a program that matches a group of incoming freshers with a student who is usually doing the same course as them. So I am doing Commerce and Hispanic Studies so I was linked the this years 1st years of Comm Spanish! I had so much fun giving them orientation! I gave them a campus tour, played icebreakers with them, got them registered and basically just had a bit of craic with them and introduced them to college life in the best way (even if I do say so myself..) I had another few groups in the week and a half leading up to going back to college. It was a great way to ease myself back into the early mornings and it reminded me of how much I really miss college and of how beautiful my campus is!

So a normal college year for me consists of 65 credits with most subjects weighing 5 credits each (I’m taking 25 credits of Hispanic modules this year :O). So in addition to my usual 60 credits, I am carrying forward a subject from first year so I will have a 65 credit year which is going to be kind intense! I’m happy to be back and the 65 is a lot better that just repeating a 5 credit module which is just 2 lectures and a tutorials a week for 12 weeks!

Do I’ve any tips for going back to college/ school??  Well here is a few I have tried out this year in the hopes of trying to get my life together! 🙂

  1. Make yourself out a timetable! add in study time, gym time, tutorials, practicals, lectures the whole lot! I spent a good two hours today trying to organize and sort out my timetable, make a typed out version and input it all into google calendars.. and gave all my subjects different colors.. 😀
  2. Get a planner. I didn’t have the money to buy a new fancy one so I made one myself! I got a cute notebook from Tiger for about €3, a pack of colored pens and decorated it myself! Even just being back at college for a few weeks, I know that it is going to come in handy in my attempt to stay organised
  3. Prepare your lunch the night before. so  I am the worlds worst at doing this. I am gluten intolerant so if I want to bring a roll to college, I have to make it the morning of as it is too dry to make the night before. So this week I decided I was going to try to bring a lunchbox of fried rice with me and heat it up in college! It really worked and its something I’m going to start bringing much more!
  4. Makeup – This might not apply to everyone but I always feel much more put together and ready to take on the day when I have on a face of makeup. That being said I’m never prepared enough in the mornings to do it so I bring my makeup with me and put it on between/ before/ after my first lecture so I am ready to go! I also go straight from college to work some days so I need to have my makeup done!

Do any of you guys have any tips for going back to school/ college/ life in general??

Talk soon,

Thanks for reading,

Kathy ❤