In case you’re wondering, yes we did celebrate Thanksgiving. A restaurant was rented out for us and we were served turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, corn (not creamed corn though), green beans, and pecan pie. It was definitely odd thinking about my family all eating together miles away but some of my best friends from Furman are studying in Brussels (where we were). I was so thankful to get to visit with Molly, Taylor, David, and many others. Throughout this trip I’ve come to realize the importance of community and how at Furman is comes a lot easier than it does out in the rest of the world.
While in Brussels we got to visit many important institutions regarding the European Union such as the European Commission, Parliament, and others. After our days there, we traveled to Bruges where the city was complete with an ice skating rink and a Christmas market. The Christmas market was a little disappointing – this one was kind of like a bad arts and crafts fair with cheap products in little wooden huts – but they did have good desserts there.
The highlight of the past week, besides being with old friends in Brussels, has been touring the old battle sites and war memorials from World War II. Our first day of this was spent in Ypre where we saw many British cemeteries and a few German ones as well. Today we went to the Omaha and Utah beaches from the D-Day invasion at Normandy. It is hard to put into words the feelings I had while standing there, thinking of all the soldiers who crawled up over the dunes, risking their lives, for someone else’s freedom. The American cemetery overlooking the water at Normandy was also a powerful place to be as they lowered the flag and the sun set over all of the white marble headstones. The graves show the horrors of war while at the same time honoring the valor and sacrifice the soldiers made. Walking away, I couldn’t help but think of how these men embodied the ultimate display of love – laying down their lives for all of us, their friends, family, and neighbors.
Time is quickly winding down and we only have Paris left to go before we return. I took a poll on the bus the other day and there was a tie for the top food people are most looking forward to when we get back. Chicken biscuits and sweet tea were tied so I cast the final vote for sweet tea making it the winner. I’m also not sure whether I should keep blogging after the trip is done. I was never a fan of bloggers in the past but now I’m starting to come around. But what would I write about? Suggestions are welcome.