It is scary to have to go back to your own blog to see where I am in my little adventure over here in Belgium. As I went back and read, I realized how much I have to tell.
Well the last time I really wrote seems so far away. So much has happened. First of all two days since my last post I traveled to Cologne Germany to pick up my roommate's girlfriend. He does not know how to drive a manual transmission so I am the driver, always. This does not bother me at all and I was happy to make the trip, but after we picked her up we all were quite tired and we had practice later that day so we decided that we would just make our way back to Antwerp and planned on maybe seeing a bit of Cologne on our return visit to drop her off. She got to be here for 10 days so for my roommate it was a sprint to show her as much as possible.
On 08/08/08 my head coach here got married. Although the actual wedding was for family only, they did have a reception and most of the team came, plus alot of the competion. My roommate and I had no idea before coming that we would be involved with a wedding so our wedding attire was not quite suits, but we managed to have enough to at least look representable. The reception was great, minus the fact that I could only understand about 20% of the speeches. The best man was American and only knows English. We had a great time and danced and enjoyed a great night. Oh and they do play Cotton Eyed Joe here, and I thought about how Joey would just be so proud. The night was a success except due to some scheduling changes the off weekend for baseball turned into a series. And I got the start on Saturday.
The game was played at the smallest park in Belgium and I thought that it might turn into a very high scoring affair, but it turned out to be exactly the opposite. It was another American match up on the mound and it proved to be a very good pitching duel. The game was deadlocked at 0-0 all the way to the ninth. We were the visiting team and scored on a ground out to second base. My arm has been given me problems lately but I felt good enough to go back out in the ninth to try and get the last three outs. I walked the leadoff hitter on a full count. Then in the process of getting two outs while intentially walking two guys I was left with the bases loaded. I managed to go 3-0 on the batter before getting a questionable strike call to get the count to 3-1. On the next pitch the batter luckily hit a slow grounder to end the game. Not the most ideal way to end a game, but sometimes "It's better to be lucky than good"
During the week I picked up a small constuction job for a few days. A teammate of mine was in the middle of doing two jobs and needed some help. One day I moved wood out of the house, the next day I was all alone and moved bricks from the second story down to the first. It was 4 hours of intense work, but the pay was good so I really could not complain. The final day all I had to do was help with wall paper removal, which was quite easy compared to the day before so I was happy.
Wednesday the Royal Antwerp Futbol Club opened up their season. My roommate, his girlfriend, and myself all went and met up with some of the guys on the team who are big fans. It was a great experience. I knew that soccer games here in Europe can be crazy so I was expecting alot. The stadium had lots of empty seats, but that does not really matter becuase all of the Hooligans still come out to all the games. From the beginning of the game to the end there was almost constant chants and cheers. Most of which are in English becuase RAFC is a sister club to Manchester United. The stuff they say is unbelievable, but accepted here at a match. Antwerp won 3-0. I hope to get back to at least one more match before I leave.
Thursday came and our practice was once again canceled due to rain so all that there was to do was to go out in the city. Friday was a holiday here so everyone in Atwerp had the day off. This means that the place was packed and was really fun.
Friday was Mother's Day in Atwerp. We got up on Friday and saw my host mom and the two little ones off as they were going on their summer holiday in Holland to go camping. We are at the house for two weeks and have to fend for ourselves but we have managed so far so cross your fingers! Just kidding, my host mom did alot of prep work before she left for food and I think she is more worried that we will starve or something, but we kept trying to tell her that we will make it. The club had a softball tourney on Friday so we went there during the afternoon and then went to a Mexican Resturant for dinner.
Saturday morning came quite early and one of our teammates said he would drive to drop off Ryan's girlfriend in Cologne with us. We made sure she got there in time and then we went into Cologne and checked out the Cathederal there. It was quite an amazing structure. We took some pictures but I am having trouble uploading them, so hopefully soon.
One of our supporters from the Club wanted to take us to Bastogne in the Ardennes region of Belgium to show us where the Battle of Bulge took place in WWII so we set it up that we would go today. We left Antwerp around 8:30 a.m. and made our way there. There is a muesem there that we went to and then took off around the country side to see some of the other small villages that were apart of the battle and saw Allied and German tanks that have been recovered and somewhat restored. The day trip was awesome. I think it would not have been something that we would have done if Harry would not have suggested it and taken us. I really enjoyed everything but I thought that the countryside was just as enjoyable to see as the war tanks. It was something so different than the city life that we see everyday. It was gave me more of a vision of what I really thought European country would look and feel like. Old brick buildings, people riding and walking the country and sheep scattered all over the place. A great experience.
I have been here almost two months and I am starting to feel that my days here are beginning to become numbered. I have enjoyed my stay here so much and feel that what I feel now is so bittersweet. I do miss family and friends back in the States but I do not want this to end. It looks like it will be harder and harder to make the playoffs unless we win the rest of our games and the second place team makes a mistake and loses a game when we are not playing them. I hope to enjoy the rest of my stay and soak up all that it offers. I hope to write again soon and hope that I can get some of these pictures posted.