For my entire junior year in college, I studied abroad in Leuven, Belgium. I refer to this period elitely as My Time In Europe and start off many a story with a commanding “When I lived in Europe…”. It was and remains one of the greatest experiences of my life — I was young, surrounded by friends, and a continent away from any reality I’d ever known. I was smart enough to get by doing minimal work, attending class sparsely, which freed up my time to focus chiefly on the following activities.
- Dragging luggage across crowded platforms to catch various trains.
- Falling dramatically in and out of love.
- Losing my passport.
- Trying on shoes I had no business buying.
- Sitting in various town squares watching the well-accessorized world go by.
- Dancing on tables.
- Ambling through museums.
- Eating my weight in baguettes and gouda cheese.
One regret I do have from My Time in Europe is my failure to take advantage of resources and proximity to cultivate a basic knowledge of wine. I shudder to say that I had little to no taste for the stuff back then. Food? Clearly. Art and culture? But of course. The Belgian propensity for brooding, furrowed brows and all-black ensembles? Absolutely. But wine? Well, I literally didn’t even know what I was missing… So I suppose that gives me all the more reason to go back.