40 days abroad

I’m really, really tired.

It’s 10:06 a.m. and I’m at work and I’m terrible at blogging. In 40 days I’ve written one legitimate blog, so I guess we should all play some catch-up, yes? Full disclosure: I’m seriously really tired and today is the day I lost the battle against wearing leggings to work.

I do love work. I do, I do. Almost all of the stuff worth writing about has been stuff I’ve done because of Reuters, and my internship makes this semester away so worth it. Sometimes I look at other people’s study abroad blogs — they’re in Barcelona on a Thursday and I’m like “OK COOL WHATEVER” from my desk — but I don’t know if I’d really want to be here if it meant I wasn’t working. If my summer internship search has taught me anything, it’s that the idea of not reporting makes me really uncomfortable. So I’m happy to work a lot. It keeps me sane and this job is so cool.

So far, I’ve helped cover:

1. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (I sat in his chair for a second and then this happened, please enjoy my nervous laughter)
2. Protest over the Turkish PM’s visit
3. Protest over EU environmental policy
4. Protest over human rights in Russia
5. A FEMEN demonstration
6. The EU-Russia Summit
7. A life-size cat brothel advertisement (for cat neutering) (it was strange)
8. A hotel shaped like a colon (Charmingly named CasAnus)
9. Working conditions in Qatar
10. A speech by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi
11. Child euthanasia in Belgium

PLUS because I do collegiate stuff too, I went to Amsterdam.

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1780678_10152332754766754_414009179_nAnd I went to Ghent on Sunday for the ballet. This is Lauren’s picture because I didn’t have my iPhone with me :/

I’ve also been sporadically attending classes and trying to get my online classes under control and cursing the Internet connection here about every five minutes. And applying for dozens of summer internships (guys, there IS a light at the end of the tunnel, I can feel it, I’ll explain later but keep going you got it) and sleeping all weekend.

Plus, it’s my 21st birthday tomorrow and I have no idea how that happened.


My first few days at Reuters

I’ve been in Brussels for almost two weeks now. There’s stuff I’ve had to adjust to — absolutely no one sells normal sized coffee — but for the most part, I’m really enjoying the city. Yesterday, I realized I’m confident using the Metro. I can get through choppy French conversations with shopkeepers. I have something of a routine.

Before I started working at Reuters, there was a week and a half of tours and free time. Being in a new place, I needed some kind of consistency. I’m not ungrateful for the time to explore and settle in, but I realized that I need patterns to my day, especially when I’m dealing with that W culture shock curve that I figured was bullshit but actually isn’t. But! I started at Reuters on Monday and this whole don’t-see-your-friends-or-family-for-four-months thing is starting to feel worth it.

(On Sunday, I bought a superchouette leather bag at a street market, by the way. And I accidentally heckled it down 5 euro wooop. And I’ve been wearing these black boots that too cool for American Me)

So now I’m at Reuters (actually now, as I type). And I love it. I’m still not sure how I got here. A few years ago, if you asked me what my dream life was, I would have told you it was working abroad at a place like Reuters. I’m doing it right now. I’m 20. In my very first journalism class in high school, we read Reuters stories almost exclusively as examples of great reporting. And now I’m in their office.

Yesterday was my first day out with a cameraman. We covered a Turkish protest outside of the EU Parliament; the Turkish prime minister was in town and people weren’t exactly thrilled. I mostly followed Clément around and helped with sound. He had people respond to questions to me, so they wouldn’t be staring into the lens, so I did a lot of smiling and nodding at people speaking in fluent French. For the English interviews I asked questions though! Very basic questions, but it counts. Just watching Clément work was fun — he has no fear going up to people to film or ask questions. I’m hoping to pick up some of that fearlessness from him.