Sunday, October 9, 2011

I’m SO GOOD at the blogging thing!

It’s weird how fast a week flies by…every Sunday I usually blog for you guys, because Saturday is my busy day and Sunday is relax at home and eat dessert after every meal day. And here it is, another Sunday, not so far from the Sunday before it. I’m so poetic—I need to stop reading Tolkien. AND I WILL—after I finish the Return of the King. I’ve been in Belgium 48 days now. That’s almost seven weeks. Which is almost two months.

Which is 1/5 of my exchange. Time gooessss!

Wednesday I went grocery shopping with my host mother—which is actually a lot of fun. I like finding things interesting in grocery stores. This store was HUGE, like a super WalMart, with food and clothes and hair products and books. The only thing missing was an electronics section (but that’s because there’s one across the street). They had one whole HALF AISLE of Halloween stuff—that’s because Waterloo has a large American population. There were some witch costumes and decorations. Colette said that this was new for Belgium. I bought a fake jack-o-latern for the kitchen table—which will come up LATER in the post—and a book in French. One that I’ve read already in English, for the sake of sanity and plot. I meant to buy the first book in the series of the Hunger Games, but I bought the second. I think I’ll survive, but I’m not sure yet. My host mother bought dried fruit for me, which was really nice—I guess it’s better than snacking on chocolate and bread ;).

Thursday I had a viola lesson, which went really well. My instructor is out sick, so we had a substitute from Italy. For some reason, her Italian accent makes it way easier to understand her French. Go figure. She was really intense though, with a scar under her chin from playing so much. INTENSITY.

Friday night was a little taste of Halloween in Belgium. I home and baked a BEAUTIFUL carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and even a little topper of candy corn—October in a cake, basically. We ate it for desert. Then, Fabien and Colette went out and Jerome invited a bunch of friends over to chill out at the house. There was a lot of talking and eating (OF CAKE. Which went over very well. It was gone by the end of the night)

and then we played a game called loup-garou, or “werewolf” in English. It was a card game—sort of. More like a role-playing game. There or several different cards—the Loup-garou, the sorciere (witch), the Clairevoyent (A french word, but the same in English!) the petite fille (little girl) the chasseur (hunter), Cupide, and then just the normal village people. One person stays out of the game to be kind of like the all-knowing story teller (Jerome) who deals the cards and controls what happens. Cards are dealt randomly or not randomly, based on the dealer. Everyone closes their eyes and pretends to be “asleep” during the night. Based on the card you got, you have different roles to play—for example, the three werewolves must decide on someone to kill. The little girl can sort of peek as long as she isn’t caught by the werewolves. The cupid chooses two people to fall in love, and if one of them die they both die. Anyway, the rules go on like that. When we turned off the lights for it to be “night time” in the village, Jerome brought my lit jack-o-latern in for some added ambiance. It was an awesome night for Halloween. After we finished and everyone went home, Jerome and I had a croque-miseur at 2 am. How very Belgian.

I’m not sure if it was the croquet miseur, but when I went to bed and set my alarm clock for six the next morning, SOMETHING WENT WRONG. I woke up at six as planned, took a shower, was brushing my hair when I happened to glance at my phone. 7:26 am. Not a big deal—except for the fact that my train left at 7:45 and it was a good eight minute walk. I threw on some jeans and a sweater, packed my bag at random, and literally sprinted out the door. I ran to the train station and got there a couple minutes early—thank god I’m taking running in gym, I guess. I met up with Devyn and Mayuko at the station, but it was on the second train that the exchange student insanity began. Exchange students will take any excuse to make something into a party—including a train ride. I ended up sitting next to Sarah, with our—um—flamboyent friend sitting across out laps and another girl crammed into the leg room space. It was crowded but so fun. Laughter ensues!

I bought a sandwich at the train station with Sarah—we had both forgotten lunches. It was bree and honey, which is absolutely DELICIOUS, I’ll have you know. Anyway, we got separated from the group in the train station, but all we had to do to find them again was listen. And sure enough there was yelling and singing and we were able to follow the noise to the other rotary groups. Gotta love southern Americans!

We went through another memorable “rules” session—some quotes of which are “Don’t sleep with the bus drivers” and “We don’t want any pregnant Mexicans.” The last one being right out of the mouth of a rotary coordinator. I was forcefully convinced to change my trip from Italy to Spain by some new friends—both trips are going to be awesome, though, and I have a friend who has a friend in Italy who will let us stay with her for a while, so I won’t miss out completely on Italy =).
We took a boat out on the big river in Namur, which was pretty but WET. It rained all day—if rotary keeps planning things that involve water on cold days, I’m going to be sick all winter. (Speaking of sick, I got over my cold around Tuesday. It’s come back! Hoorraay!) After the boat ride (filled with giggles, jokes, and beautiful sights!) I hung out in Namur with a couple cool Rotary kids. We ate things that are bad for us. A lot of things. I’m going to get cavities.

I took the train back ALL BY MYSELF. I’m such a train EXPERT. I did lose my phone though, which is a real bummer since I just put a little money on it. Good thing phones here a cheap! The phone thing wasn’t such a big deal after the twenty minutes of thinking a lost my Kindle—THAT was a bad time. It was in my bag, of course, but I couldn’t do a full search on the train with a grumpy old man across from me. I HAD TO ACT COOL!

When I got back, my host brother and his friend were sitting around eating lasagna (a dangerous food for me. I still have a healing burn from last weekend). My host brother and I ended up going to his friend’s house for several hours and staying up playing a card game called Whist until 12 at night. So I went for a looong time without sleep on only four hours of sleep.
Today, I slept until
10:30, which I think is the latest I’ve slept here. The black out screen in my room that I can put over my window really helped. We cleaned for a bit and then had a lunch of Americaine (raw beef), salad, and oven fries, which was all surprisingly really satisfying and good all together. Then my host parents and I went to a farm with pumpkins and I found THE PERFECT (well, decent) pumpkin for a real jack-o-latern. The farm was really nice, even though it was raining. There were two pretty dogs running around, and too young boys playing, and people talking and trying pumpkins. I tried pumpkin liquor! Someone tell Aunt Terri! Although there were no pumpkins big enough on display (here, they’re used for soup, NOT CARVING, so people don’t buy huge ones, really) the nice man running the stand took me back into a field and we looked there. I picked a pumpkin fresh off the vine—a nice reminder of my old Chauncey farm days! Anyway, the colors of the pumpkins were really pretty against the gray sky, and the weather, despite being raining, finally feels like fall. I think my family has finally realized my fall obsession.

I had them try reeses pieces. They were NOT a hit. Peanut butter and chocolate is not a thing here.
Peanut butter in general is not a thing here. I often make toast with peanut butter and jam for breakfast, and get looks of horror and disgust. =)
A la prochaine fois, mes amis.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Audrey! I'm really enjoying your blog. Thanks for keeping it going for all us back in (really-here) NH where Fall is arriving quickly. The leaves are just about off our trees completely, the garden is waiting for the final clean-out/clean-up and Halloween is just a week away! As a past exchange student in Finland, I totally understand your comments about letting yourself do too much thinking. SO glad to hear that you have frequent occasion to be with other exchange students and that there is so much to see, do, learn about your new home. <3 (prob won't make a heart here, but that's the intent!)