Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pumpkin Bread and Bicycles

I’m squeezin’ in a blog post!

This week me host mom is away on a retreat for reflection. She also isn’t allowed to speak at all…so it’s been me, my host dad, and whoever else decides to be home. Monday, I realized that I needed to buy a bathing suit for Tuesday because we were starting swimming in gym. So, with a vague idea of were I was going, I took my bike after school and rode to waterloo in search of InterSport. The first two directions I took lead me to a major highway with no shoulder (shoulders aren’t really all that big here.) So I was already tired when I ran into Brayan on his way home, and he gave me more accurate directions. I finally got to Waterloo and then started searching for Intersport. It took an hour to find. This was mostly my fault and partly the fault of the woman I asked for directions in Carrefour. Anyway, I found it (in the most obvious place possible of course) after riding around in a huge parking lot for hours. By the time I got home I was sweaty and tired but I felt successful and fulfilled and whatnot; it’s the little things. I woke Brayan up, he was asleep on the couch, because we had to fend for ourselves for dinner that night. After cooking up a storm, we had some odd rice like substance mixed with tomato sauce and breaded spinach patties. Not bad, actually, very filling. Then I made banana bread because Brayan had just broken up with his girlfriend and I was feeling sisterly and whatnot =) It was actually a really nice family night for all that it was just the two of us; some serious brother-sister bonding went on.

Wednesday, after school (I got out at 12:10) I went a little market on the same street as my school to eat before taking the bus to Louvain la Neuve. As I bought it, a girl from my class recognized me and invited me to sit with her and her friend. It’s nice being recognized and not just ignored, but invited into something. So instead of eating my sandwhich awkwardly at the bus stop, I ate it with people who actually talked to me! And the store happens to sell reeces peanut butter cups, should I ever get the craving!

Anyway, I took the bus to Louvain la Neuve, a college city where my host sister lives. I was stressin’ mega on the bus because it was first time, and I wasn’t sure what my stop looked like. I almost convinced myself to get off at the LLN train station, but then I overheard a stressed girl (just like me!) ask her boyfriend if this was it, and he responded, “Nooo, the next stop.” In french. Glad my language skills have progressed to overhearing conversations! Laurie was there to great me when I got off at the right stop (GO ME). We explored the town a little. There’s a big festival called then 24 Hour Velo, which is a huge college party. There was plenty to do and plenty to see and plenty to taste. I saw Laurie’s dorm apartment and met her friend, Sarah, who had spent a year in Canada, so we had a lot of the same ideas (IN FRENCH!). It was a great night with a lot of dancing and a lot of new experiences. It’s great when I get to do stuff like that with Belgians—speak the language, learn a piece of the youth culture, and have a really awesome time!

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I went to bed very late (or very early). I took the bus to school the next morning, missing my first class (English. WHAT A PITY) It was the most tired day of my life, but SO WORTH IT. Thursday is also unfortunately my longest day of the week, so it was kind of a bad combo.

Friday was out last day of school before the holidays. The teacher for my first class was late so we all took a group photo with the camera set on timer. He walked in just as it started and RAN to get into the photo as well. It was pretty funny.

Friday after school I went directly to SARAH FROM NY’s house. She lives in the middle of no where (J) in a pretty town. Her parents are AWESOME, though, I feel like I might have been adopted into another family. We ate a bitter vegetable wrapped in ham cheese and egg which was really good; Collete has made it for me already, so it’s a VRAI PLATE BELGE. A real Belgian dish! With Sarah’s host grandparents. It was a super French meal, since her mom is from france. There was a Apparatifs, the before dinner snacks, a main course, cheese dish, and desert dish, and a different wine for everything! Sarah’s parents complimented me enormously on my French, saying I was really good at explaining things and expressing myself. It was funny, because when Sarah came over a couple weeks before, my host mom complimented her on her accent and grammar! I think host parents don’t see enough day-by-day progress to really realize how far we come along!

Saturday Sarah and I went to Brugge, which is a beautiful little Flemish city. We took lots of pretty pictures and ate a traditional Flemish meal at a little restraint across from a gorgeous old building and river. There were lots of tourists, but we found some less populated areas which is always fun.
We were completely wiped by the time we had to find our way back to the trainstation—and also completely lost (that’s what a day of wandering will do to you). So we did the European thing and found a bus stop and took it back to the trainstation—SO SMART! We had a little bit of a “lay over” in Brussels, because there was a lot of time between our train to Sarah’s town (not many trains go there) so we wandered around a bit to enjoy a huge Brazilian festival going on. It was about this time I started getting sick—kind of feverish with a killer sore throat. Lack of sleep catching up to me. We got to Sarah’s house had some delicious penne pasta with meat sauce and then went to bed. Sunday we spent watching The Sound of Music, Inglorious Bastards and Cabaret, and taking a walk through Sarah’s town, which was very pretty with the fall colors and farms. There was also a spooky abandoned cable factory with broken windows that was very Halloween appropriate.

Today is Halloween! I went with Sarah and her family to the airport to drop her off. Her family had to pick up something in Brussels before driving me home (on the way back to their house) so I hung out with them. They took the opportunity to show me a huge monument in commemoration of Belgium’s 50th anniversary as a country, and then to a huge ancient cathedral. Like I said, adopted =)
I got home to discover that the pumpkin I had carved was sporting various growths of mold. It’s actually terribly disgusting, but I’m going to go with it for Halloween. I guess it’s because it’s been super warm out recently—NOT NORMAL WEATHER.

I bought some candy for any brave children willing to get near enough to ring the doorbell.

(Written later)
So children don’t come one by one in Belgium. Oh no. They come in heard of thirty or forty and all ask at once. Scariest moment of my life.

I made pumpkin bread and some of Jerome’s friends came over and we had dinner and played black jack. After, we went to a jazz club which was pretty awesome. Jerome played some.

My sickness has progressed to my nose. Jerome keeps making fun of my mouth breathing issues. I’ll get better I promise! Plus I’ve progressed to hacking up a lung, so that must mean something. I’m going to post this now and add pictures later, because my camera is SO FAR AWAY and I want to eat breakfast. So far away being two flights of stairs up to my room.

With all the love in the world,


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