Rotary Outbound Exchange Student
Katie Pellegrino
December 2015
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On December 5, 2015  Katherine Pellegrino  wrote:
Today is my official 100th day in Belgium! I can't believe I've already lived a third of my exchange. Time is passing so quickly!
This month was quite interesting with the terrorist attacks. At the beginning of the month I traveled to Paris with one of Rotary's organized trips and not even two weeks later I came home one day to find there had been a series of terrorist attacks on the city, some in areas not far from where we'd toured. Soon Brussels was put on the highest alert for an attack and all underground public transportation was closed. Even school was closed for a few days. It sounds very ominous in words, but in actuality, life generally commenced as normal. Aside from the presence of military personal around Centre Ville and some metro/train stations (not to mention all of the news vans), it was impossible to tell that the city was in "lockdown." There's still some higher security, but everything is generally back to normal now and thank goodness everyone stayed safe.
Even still, I was able to travel a lot this month. I went to London with Rotary and, this past weekend, I was lucky enough to go to Paris again with my friend's Rotary Club to do some volunteering. But there was plenty of time to tour the city as well and it was amazing! One of the members of her Rotary club gave us an amazing walking tour of Paris. I loved it almost better than my first time because this time we actually walked around the streets and saw more of the Parisian life. Paris is so beautiful, I am absolutely in love with the city! 
Around this time of the year, a lot of the "oldies" (exchange students who arrived in January) are leaving. I know I still have over half my exchange left, but I can't help but see the time when I leave and I already feel sad for it. I am so in love with Brussels and Belgium and Europe and I can't imagine having to leave it all behind sometime.
Next week I have exams for school and then it's winter break!! They have three weeks of break here rather than just two and I'm super duper excited!! I hope to travel all around Belgium and see all of the Christmas joy! Many cities arrange cute winter wonderlands (we ran into one in Paris last weekend actually, it was right on the Champs-Elysees and it was so cute) and I'd love to see them! Also, quick side note, it's generally 55°F right now which is really throwing me off. I'm used to very cold Decembers and here I am going to school in a basic Spring jacket! 
Happy Holidays and I hope you receive a lot of snow!
Katie Pellegrino