Sunday, June 12, 2016

Math, Belgium, yeeeeeee!

Yay for adventures abroad!  I arrived last Monday en Belgique where I’m MISTI-ing for the summer, and it’s gone way smoother than anticipated really!  Well, minus the flights getting here: come to find out, my travel plans were not so well-planned, and I was super tired, hungry and thirsty (you know I’m accustomed to drinking way more water than they’ll give you in those little cups on the airplane).  But I shouldn’t complain–I got here in one piece and recovered rapidly.

Anyway, before I talk more about Belgium, I’ll try to go somewhat chronologically.  After classes were done, I spent a few weeks in Migigigigichchin with my family, which was nice; I discovered that a local college, Adrian College, has a beautiful library, so I spent a certain amount of time there doing math and reading non-math things.  I visited with some friends/family, helped bale hay (worst hay baling experience ever, actually–seven hours in the heat handling particularly heavy bales of hay), went kayaking, etc.  Oh-and I visited Andrei one day.  Sadly, I didn’t take many photos to share with you while in Migigigigichchin, but here are some.

Listening to music recommendations from Caleb (left) and Takumi (right)
My sister the drum major leading the high school band in the Memorial Day parade

Had to remember what corner I parked my car at in Ann Arbor
Andrei!! (actually from December, but I saw him again this time)

On June 5, I left from Detroit at 6:15am to fly to Boston, where I got to see MootMoot and his summer room in MacGregor!  Shout-out to the Moot for helping me out so much with storing some of my things in his room and meeting with me so I could pick some of them up.  Very sadly, Dimitrios is closed on Sundays, so we couldn’t get lunch there :( :( :(  We ended up eating in the Student Center, and on the way out, we saw this bird, which MootMoot identified as a red tailed hawk minus a red tail.
Red (?)-tailed hawk

I was supposed to leave at 9pm that night for Reykjavik, but the flight was delayed a number of hours; I was abnormally anxious and stressed about that whole thing because I’m such a flight noob and wasn’t sure how the connecting flights would work out, but then I found a MISTI France person I know waiting for the same plane, and she, being in the same boat but having more experience with all this, assured me that it would be okay.  Eventually, the plane came, and then I made the connecting flight to Brussels after sprinting through the airport.  (As a side-note, I really liked Icelandair–the whole experience was so Scandinavian: Scandinavian-looking flight attendants, people speaking Icelandic all over the place, the plane was named after some Icelandic volcano, they show you videos of nature and stuff in Iceland on the screens, etc.)

Despite the delays (my connecting flight was also delayed, which is what allowed me to make it on time), the wonderfully kind lady from whom I’m renting a room for June came to the airport with her son to pick me up; they drove me the fairly short distance to Louvain-la-Neuve and even gave me much needed food (quiche, no less!).  I slept a ton, and reported to work the next morning.  My supervisor, Professor Jean-Pierre Tignol, has been very kind and even remains patient enough to speak French with me consistently.  I found out I even have an office!  It’s shared with a couple other stagiaires, but I’ve only seen one of them so far.  This week, I’ve taken care of administrative stuff, explored the city a bit, and worked quite a lot on background reading for the math research I’m doing.  Nancy and her friend Zehreen arrived during the last couple days too, so now I’m not alone!  Plus, my sleep schedule is forming back into shape, and I’ve met some very good people in the math department and in the house I’m staying in, so it’s very pleasant so far.

My room

A forest in Belgium where I've gone running
Spiral staircase leading to my room

View outside the house my room is in

Aggressive sign on a highway just outside of

No comments:

Post a Comment