Rotary Outbound Exchange Student
Katie Pellegrino
March 2016
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On March 4, 2016 Katherine Pellegrino  wrote:
Actually...not the Alps.



The month of February has flown very quickly. I realize I say that about every month, but with this one I really mean it.


We had another school break for the first week of the month for Carnival. I had the lovely opportunity to go to the world renowned Carnival of Binche! Unfortunately it rained, but in Belgium you can't let a little rain stop the festivities (mainly because, if they did, nothing would ever happen). Just kidding, we do have some very lovely, sunny, days rather often (occasionally) in Belgium. Anyway, the carnival was amazing! Hundreds of Gilles (the people who marched) were there wearing bright red and yellow costumes, klompen (the wooden clogs), and the traditional wax masks. They marched in small groups throughout the entire city. Each group was followed by a small band or, at the very least, a drummer. After the band came all of the people. It wasn't like a parade at all because the Gilles walked throughout all the streets as they pleased and all of the "spectators" followed in a small pack carrying on the same beat of the march. And there were many of these groups marching all throughout the city! Later, near the end, all of the Gilles marched together in a grand parade down the main road throwing oranges into the crowd. I've always wanted to go to carnival and the one in Binche was absolutely amazing!


But the best and most unexpected part of this month was when I had the opportunity to travel to Rome with my host family! We went for a weekend for my host dad's birthday and it was magnificent! Italy is everything, and more, than I could have ever imagined and the weather was absolutely perfect! Rome is full of so much history. Just walking down the street there are buildings or landmarks over 2000 years old! The overall ambiance of the city is so lovely as well from the people to the colorful buildings to the street artists and musicians to the historic churches and monuments hidden around every corner; the city is bursting with life!


Overall, it's been an absolutely incredible month full of new sights, sounds, and experiences! Thank you so much for this opportunity and I hope you all are doing well.




Katie Pellegrino