If  a genie came to me and said you can have one type of car in the whole wide world what would you have, my answer would be a Mercedes Benz. The look along with the  dignified tradition makes it my favorite brand of automobile.  (Dad I know your reading this, sooooooo)

Luckily, or unluckily if you will, literally every other car you see is a Mercedes Benz. From regular cars, to taxis, to semi trucks, to tour busses, and to public busses, literally every other car is a Benzo. Its almost ridiculous how prevalent they are in Brussels, almost like they are just any other car. On the MSU campus though, it is an absolute pipe dream to see anyone other than an Asian driving a Mercedes. I don’t know if it is my automobile valhalla or rather the devil’s temptation. Oh well, its pretty damn cool none the less.

I just wish I could take one home with me. Hell, I’d even take a public bus Mercedes Benz.

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Hello and Happy 4th of July from a country where this is just another day. Obviously I had to pull out an obnoxious USA shirt just to remind all the locals where I’m from if they couldn’t tell already. 

But anyways, so I can stay in shape and eat copious amounts of food along with allowing me to know the city of Brussels on a more intimate level I wake up every morning at 7 so I can go run. Even after only 3 full days here I already feel I can get around the city fairly well and I have this new habit to thank. Today I decided to run down to the Grand Palace. It is one of the most famous and aesthetically pleasing landmarks in the city. From my apartment it is approx. 3 miles away and essentially in the downtown of Brussels. It was a fantastic run from a viewing standpoint, but far the best part of the journey was this. Image

On Monday we had taken a guided tour of Brussels and this was one of the points our guide stopped to explain. On that day along with most days it is simply a gallant, naked boy peeing into a pool of water, but occasionally someone will dress him up in clothes. The guide went on to say that seeing him clothed brings the viewer good luck. Running by the fountain today I noticed he was now touting the Uncle Sam apparel. 

This struck me in a number of ways. First, that there must be a great deal of respect for America if someone would brandish the famous peeing child with American clothes on the 4th of July. I highly doubt that is just a coincidence. Second, it seemed extremely fitting to my classes and their international relations theme. Notice the Belgian flag alongside the US flag. I took it as an obvious symbol of US-Belgian relations and I viewed it as a small metaphor of my time here. Finally, I put my ‘Merica goggles on and took it as the USA peeing all over the rest of the world because, obviously, we are better than the rest of the world….

Have a great 4th of July everyone!

Hello Everyone. I’m just gonna list a bunch of random thoughts that popped into my head so far on my travels. This may end up like a live tweet session but oh well. Hopefully you aren’t one of those sticks in the mud who hate when people use hash tags not on twitter because, frankly, you’re no fun.

-(While in the Amsterdam Airport Peeing) Oh hey, that is a woman cleaning the bathroom #WelcomeToEurope #CultureShockVirginityGone

-I thought this was suppose to be our orientation, not a lecture. #FallingAsleep #1HourOfSleepOver30Hours

-Nobody here waves back to as you run by them #HatersGonnaHate

-Carb overload diet is in full force #SorryAtkiens

-Officially Getting addicted to RedBull #SorryImNotSorry

-(This happens all the time btw) Please, for the love of all things holy know English #USAUSAUSA

-It is gonna take awhile to get use to these Unisex bathrooms

-I am disheartened I can no longer engage in one of my favorite pastimes #NotBaseball #ReadingBathroomGraffiti #StupidLanguageBarrier

-Oh My Jetlag

Missing planes aren’t fun. At all. Especially after dead sprinting to your gate and working up a strong sweat in the process. Feeling my stomach sink as I saw the plane roll away from the dock did not help the situation either. I had never missed a plane before and I still held the belief that you were  SOL if the unfortunate event came to pass. Well luckily I am a naive 20 year old because I was quickly enlightened about the magical place in the airport simply but eloquently called “Transfers”.

You may be asking yourself, “Hey your a competent and smart kid, how did you miss your flight?” And to that question I would first respond, “Thank you, I think that too.” And then I would go on to explain that my flight was slightly late getting into Amsterdam leaving me with a paltry 45 minutes till my next flight left. It would have been more ample time if you did not have to go through security again in Amsterdam, but alas you did along with another 1000 people rushing to their  respective flights. It got fairly cut throat. I may have cut an old chinese lady. Stop thinking in literals.

While at the Transfers I was told by the individual assisting me that I could not get another flight until 1:10pm when it was 7:00am at the time. Alternatively, I could take a train to Brussels which would leave at 8:30am and would get me in by 9:40. I quickly took the latter option. He handed me my presumed ticket and where to pick up my luggage and I was back on my way. Or so I thought.

After getting a carmel machiato, which may I add was the only reason I didn’t die of exhaustion, and relaxing, 8:30 was fast approaching. I entered the rail station as happy as a kid entering a candy store because the whole thing was almost over. When I walked to the ticket taker she quickly informed me that I did not have a ticket. F THAT NOISE. WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY??? She then also quickly informed me I must go up and exchange it for another and that there was another train to Brussels in a half hour. I hurry up to exchange my ticket at the ticket office but am quickly halted by an egregious line. With 10 minutes until the train leaves I finally reach the window. After asking for my passport he informs me I am not any list for the train and he cannot not help me. I am told I must go speak to the KLM people. WTF?? I am , sometimes to a fault,  a patient person but at this point in my travel day I am at my breaking point. I’ve had it with everything and just want to be at the destination I should have been at an hour and a half ago.

After hiking across the airport to KLM they finally got me all set up with an official train ticket to Brussels I just had to wait for another hour and a half until 10:30 before it left. The layover did allow me to gain my usual composure which I desperately needed. And it got better after I entered the train to find I had first class with wifi. Viewing the strikingly beautiful countryside of the Netherlands and Belgium also help to rectify the situation. All in all I made it safely to Brussels and if when you really look at it thats all that really matters.

Bonjourno everyone who is reading this and props to those who got that reference. Thanks for clicking on the link I posted on Facebook and actually caring about what I do in another country. This is my official travel blog and the primary medium I will use to let all of you live vicariously through my (hopefully) incredible, life changing experience. So again, Merci. It means quiet a deal if you actually take time out of your day to read my updates. 

My overall plan for this blog is to, yes, give a roundup of my day, but more so to give quick posts about a awkward story, a random thought, or an interesting event. I hope to do this with sporadic posts throughout my trip as events/thoughts occur but that is all dependent on my access to A. my computer and B. wifi. But as of right now I have a computer and wifi in my apartment so I guess it will actually be dependent on C. how much time I have to write. Soooo, please fasten your seatbelt because its gonna get crazy.

P.S. I want to expand my vocabulary currently so everyday of posting will bring a new word in my writing. A pat on the back to those who can figure it out what word it is. I would give you an actual monetary incentive (Stephen) but it will probably stick out like a sore thumb. Oh well.