Posted by: 2girls2europe | June 26, 2011

Poop, Dogsbody and Belgium: Learning from Hostel Friends

Dearest Readers,
The best part of hostel life thus far….besides pancake breakfasts and free tea 24 hours a day…is meeting tons of interesting people. One my fave-iest (another jessie-ism) parts of meeting people abroad is learning about how they perceive America and what they wish Americans knew about them. Here are the hilarious but true things I have learned from the fab people at my hostel (specifically a group of frends from Belgium and New York):
–In Belgium when you chose to study english, you get to pick your accent. Let me repeat that: YOU GET TO PICK YOUR ACCENT. What a magical thing. Imagine if we could chose what type of English we wanted to speak: American, Australian, or British. They chose American, because it is easiest to see and emulate. For me, I would totally go Australian. Adorable.
–In order to learn English, they watch American television series including but not limited to: Bones, Dexter, Grey’s Anatomy, and 24. They are more offically more cultured in American television than me.
–I know about Belgium. They are not just waffles and chocolate, everyone. They don’t have a government in place right now, and in Brussels they party until like 5 or 6 a.m. Rock on! Also, they have sororities and frats, but both genders are together and instead of having houses they have bars!!!! Haha. I got a huge kick out of that.
–They taught me a word. Seriously. People who speak English as like their second or third language taught me an English word: dogsbody. Yes, it’s seriously a word, you can look it up. It means a friend who is being treated like a slave or someone who performs menial tasks for someone else. We plan to implement it into American culture ASAP. Those of you back in the states should start now.
–A lot of people have asked if Americans are all patriotic. That is odd to explain. I say that one fourth of America is really gung-ho (is that spelled correctly??) about America, but most people just like/tolerate the country depending on the government. I suppose it’s the same pretty much everywhere.
–Poop. I had to teach my tour guide, who is from France, what the word poop means. Try to think about how you would define that to someone. It is not pretty. And it is always awkward.
Well that is all for tonight ladies and gents, I can’t wait to see what I learn from those in Scotland (we are headed there tomorrow). But I will sincerely miss our new Irish-hostel friends. Goodnight world and don’t be a dogsbody tonight!
With love from Dublin!



  1. Last time I was in Belgium, they had the lights on day and night. Every highway. I suspect they used the overflow electricity from the nuclear power plants in France and exported French fries to France in return (because the Belgians, not the French invented French fries!).
    Would the almost neutral word “excrements” help with the awkward poop talk? (alternatively, I could lend you my 8-year old son, who will not miss an opportunity to talk about poop).

  2. Cute. Have you learned my favorite word yet? Dog’s breakfast. If not, start asking people in Scotland.

    I love hostelling and am wayyyyy older than both you guys. In New Zealand, in 1998, I met four young ‘uns (students your age) who adopted me and took me to their weekend house then to to their house in Auckland. Even their Mom was totally cool when they said “Hey, we met this Canadian woman, Can she stay with us?” and took me bra-shopping in Auckland. It made my solo trip a lot more fun. They even took me to the airport.

    I did four months alone at 20, in Portugal, Italy, France and Spain. These memories will stay with you forever.

    Your trip sounds like a lot of fun and, (as a fellow career journo), I think you write a great headline. πŸ™‚

  3. Debatin, haha. thank you so much for the info about Belgium and please tell your son we will chat with him about poop ASAP.
    Broadside blog, thank you so much for posting on our blog. We really appreciate anyone who has done this before and writes who can give us perspective! Please let us know if you have any suggestions for our blog/suggestions for our travel writing. Also, I am now hoping that the Belgians we met take us bra-shopping, because that just sounds like a hilarious experience. We cannot believe you did it all by yourself!! We were just talking about how difficult it must be to have no comforts and no recognizable faces.
    And of course, thank you for the compliment on my headline writing. I love headlines more than most things in life. (It’s a dork journalism thing!)
    Much love,
    the 2 girls (jessie penned this comment)

  4. Dr. Deb: Belgium has the only fully-lit motorway network in the world!

  5. As one of the Belgians mentioned in this blogpost I have to say that everything is true I read so far. Our motorway network is indeed the only fully-lit network in the world BUT from 1st of September on, this will change. Our already-for-1-year-resigning government found a way to pass a law to make the lights go out at night πŸ™‚ Just so you know. We had a great time and learned a lot about The States as well, thank you for that!

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