The Article that Funded my Trip to a Black/Death Metal Festival in Belgium is Up

You can read it here.

At the last minute, we decided that I would write an article about why students at my university who will be studying abroad through our sibling schools program should consider Masaryk University in the Czech Republic. However, I did take two trips to Gent and Brussels while in Belgium and did some cultural/aesthetic sight-seeing, so I was perfectly equipped to write an article about why you should go to Belgium/what there is to do in Belgium. But if you are interested in reading about my trip to Belgium, I have a blog entry about it here.

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Back in the States after a long Few Weeks of Travel

It was brought to my attention that I haven’t updated¬† the blog for a very long time. First of all, I apologize if anyone else happened to be looking out for one of my random posts. But I must explain myself. In the beginning of June, I started work on another post that requires quite a lot of research and thought. I underestimated how much time exactly it would take to put it together. As a result, I ended up burning myself out and I just had to give up temporarily on it. Then, my German history exam and all the studying I had to do to prepare for that came up. Right after taking this final exam, my boyfriend and I left for his parents’ house. That was when I became too busy to update my blog or work on my writing projects.

The last few weeks have included a day trip to a small town in Poland (the name of which I can’t remember–maybe my boyfriend will comment and remind me of the name of the city we were in ūüėČ ), a weekend trip to Slovakia, a weekend with my host family in Graz, Austria, moving out of my flat in Brno, three last nights in Prague with my boyfriend, being detained by security in Poland because my visa had expired the day before, and finally returning to the United States. (If anyone is interested, today I also got a haircut.) I’ve been back in the States for almost a week. I’m wondering if I should start texting people on my own, or continue to wait for them to text me, because I haven’t hung out with any of my friends since I’ve been back and everyone was so insistent that we hang out as soon as I came back. (Now, I understand there are busy exceptions who I’ve made plans with but we unfortunately cannot get together until a few weeks from now, but the amount of people bummed that I was out of the country and the amount of people calling my phone now are not equivalent. It’s an odd phenomenon, but also an experience I’ve had before. The last time I returned from a year abroad the same situation occurred. I’m at peace with the fact that people who were my good friends before I left last September will probably no longer be friends of mine next September. It happens. But nothing can make this not feel weird.

I hate how many of my international and Czech friends I will probably never see again. Or, if we do see each other again, it won’t be for a very long time. It is so weird that last month I woke up every morning next to my boyfriend and told him immediately about the nightmares and weird dreams I had. Now though, if I want to talk to him about the dreams of the night before, I must go downstairs, turn on the computer, and hope that he is on Skype. (This is another reminder that I need to ask for more people’s skype I.D.s because I only have two contacts.) It frightens me that a few of my international friends are returning to countries, which have recently become a lot less safer than they were before my friends had left (Egypt, Turkey, Syria) and I hope for the best for them and that we can meet again in the future someplace safe.

Every year for the last four years, I have felt like my life was starting over again or everything was changing and I had entered some kind of new era of my life. This year is no different. I feel like I’m starting over again from the beginning. I don’t want to do exactly what I did the last year I spent studying in the U.S. I want to try something new. I want to gain more experience working either as a German tutor or translator. But the lack of opportunities that I am finding in St. Louis right now is frustrating. I feel like I’m about to attempt to push a boulder up a hill, honestly. I’m just warming up. It’s really hard not to be overwhelmed by the frustration though, and I’m bracing myself for the next few weeks. I keep telling myself that I just started looking and that it will take some time. However, I don’t listen. I’ve always been stubborn.

A Very LONG Weekend in Belgium

For the last week, I’ve been trying to finish a detailed blog entry I am writing about my actual creative process and advice on how to bring out the creativity in yourself when you are feeling all “dried out” when it comes to ideas. It’s been a bit difficult, because I’ve realized that there is nothing constant about my creative process. I don’t write every single piece in the same exact way and it really depends on the situation. But I’m still working on that and I hope I will have it up next week.

In the meantime, I had a very long weekend in Belgium, which also took time away from my study, writing, and blogging projects. . .but I needed a short holiday. Originally, I wanted to go on this trip to see my friend from Norway, bassist of Carpathian Forest, Daniel Vrangsinn; my friends Serpenth and Helmuth of Belphegor; and both of these bands performing (again) before I left Europe for a full year. However, a trip to Belgium from the Czech Republic–especially to a rather remote town like Kortrijk-Kuurne, where there are no hostels–would be really expensive. I ended up writing an article about living in Czech Republic for my university and sending them some photos from my travels, and they liked my article so much that they sent me $500 for this trip under the condition that I write another article about Gent and Brussels–where they also have sibling schools.

Well, that trip was this past weekend. I have no photos to share from the festival, because I was too busy socializing with people and headbanging to take very good photos. I ended up meeting some Belgian friends of Daniel’s and my friend, Paal, also from Norway, flew in. I also hit it off really well with Nattefrost and Terje (Tchort). My conversations with Nattefrost that night–like when I talked with his very good friend and collaborator, Nordavind, were very philosophical, raw, and honest in nature. I can always count on an interesting conversation with the guys of Carpathian Forest. And well, I lived with Dan Vrangsinn for 2 weeks. We’ve had all sorts of conversations haha!

I made faces at Serpenth, a former relation of a sort, during the Belphegor soundcheck. He seemed surprised to see me for some reason. . .

Both the bands I came for and the opening bands put on great shows. My only complaint was that someone really messed up the P.A. After the show, I was kind of waiting around for the Belphegor guys to show up because it’s been two years since I’ve talked to either of them in person. (It’s really been two years since I went to visit them at their rehearsal house and I was living in Austria! I can’t believe how time flies. . .I feel like I’ve always been living in Austria sometimes.) I never saw Serp again after the show, but Helmuth appeared eventually at his band’s merch booth and I went over to say hi. It was nice to catch up with him in person and to see that he is doing well. As many of us metal fans know, he was very sick with Typhus last year from Belphegor’s South American tour and he very nearly died. As a fellow Sagittarius, I can imagine that it was difficult for him to sit around for a full year and purposely resign himself from doing what he loves and achieving his goals. Sagittariuses are very driven, passionate, but quiet and reclusive people–and I get that vibe from him very strongly.

On Sunday, I spent the day partially in Gent and partially in Brussels. I didn’t really do any tours or see any sights. I just wanted to walk around and take as many pictures of the architecture and historical sites as possible. Both Gent and Brussels are beautiful cities. Unfortunately, it was raining on and off all weekend. It was also much colder in Belgium compared to the very comfortable 25 degrees we had in Brno when I left.

Here are some photos from Gent:

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And here are some photos of Brussels:

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Mikolov, Prague, and Vienna

I have been very busy lately, trying to complete my German studies. Also, I’ve just been living. I realize that I have neglected this blog for almost 4 months and the last time I posted I was Miss McAngry-Lady. *Clears throat* And I apologize about that. . .

In order to make up for it, I am a posting a triple-whammy entry with some photos from my day trip to Mikolov, Czech Republic (located on the border of Czech and Austria); Vienna, Austria; and Prague, Czech Republic (from a separate trip than the first one I posted photos of!). Are you ready, WordPress?

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Yep, that is a giant erm. . .circle-drawing thingie.

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A very old Jewish cemetery, very important to the Jewish culture in Czech Republic.

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Prague

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Franz Kafka’s birth home

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Old part of Prague Main Train Station

Vienna

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Wiener Schnitzel

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Wiener Potato Salad

We also went to Kutn√° Hora during the Prague trip, but I think that village needs a post of its own. I’ll share that one with you on another day.