30 August 2011

Brussels with RYE (August 25)

Today I went to Brussels with the Rotary Exchange Students!  Alain and Fanny and I woke up early
 and drove into Liege
football stadium, "standard de liege".

 to meet the other Rotary kids at the train station
la garre de guillmans
 where I joined the exchangers on a double decker bus into Brussels
 and stood around and received nametags and were sorted by country and host district and toured a big beautiful rich building that I don’t know what was and then presented banners to our district governor 
but I didn’t have mine because I can’t read the emails from Rotary because my internet is bad right now (by the way if you don’t know the band called The Civil Wars, you should check them out for acoustic and harmonic brilliance)

 and then we went to lunch and ate les frites et des boulletes
 or at least I think that’s how you spell it anyway they’re meatballs and we took lots of group photos in the Grand Place (that are somewhere on a rotary website somewhere)

 and then went for a tour of la Chambre (sort of like House of Representatives) and Parliament and then heard from some very important people who may or may not have been the speaker of the la Chambre

 or maybe the president of Rotary Youth Exchange or something but I don’t really know anyway they gave rousing speeches about the wonderful things youth exchange does for world awareness and creating a global community and then afterwards it was about 18h we got back on the bus and then Francoise picked me up at the train station again and we talked in French again after speaking English practically the entire day with some really interesting and fun people from all over the world (it seems the common language of RYE is English; even the South Americans who really don’t have any reason to speak English all speak English as well as Spanish or Portuguese and French its very impressive) and after all that English I was afraid I 
would have lost my French abilities and though I talked more today than I have since I arrived, when I got in the car with Francoise it seems that I spoke MORE in French than I did before a fact with which I am very pleased.  Exhausting, no? 
Oh yeah I met up with one of the wonder twins today!!  2 girls from outbound camp, identical twins, filmmaking partners, and generally knowledgeable people both of whom are on exchange this year, one to Belgium, and one to Taiwan!  I was concerned about how they would fare without each other!  But I think she’s doing ok, if she’s not very sad still.  But then, aren’t we all always missing our other half?  In search the other part of ourselves that when we are with it, we are just that much better people?
One interesting phenomenon about changing languages is that for right now I forget in between conversations that I ever have trouble communicating with people.  I forget that everyone here speaks French and I must as well to be understood.  Not that I speak English inadvertently, but that the language is really sort of immaterial.  I continue to love speaking French.  Don’t think I’ll ever stop.

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