05 September 2011

September 2,3,4. Liege, le Fete des Fous, Herstal

Liege (there ought to be an accent grave over the first e there)
the "Super Love Giant" in Quick!
Liege has some cathedrals too!
not my photo.

September 3,
Shorts today.  Fete des Fous in Liege ce soir

After walking up the 373 (or so) steps of le Montagne de Bueren.  You can see 3 bridges lit up in color.  Le fete des fous was at the citadel behind this a-ways.

September 4, Echasseurs de Namur
I have had several thoughts percolating in my head the past couple days trying to remember them at the right time to put them down here.
One is that I think that it is definitely true that my host family and I have our own dialect here at home.  They are conscious to use words with me that are easy to understand for me, and they also talk slower than everyone else.  Sounds EXACTLY like what I did with Martin Deron when I was in Nashville.  The other thing is I feel very comfortable with them saying “pardon?” or “Je ne comprends pas” whereas with strangers I sort of just rely on body language to hope that I got the right message if I don’t understand.  Let’s hope once school starts it’ll be easier.
BY THE WAY.  Just out of excitement the other day, I bought a pack of 10 grocery store waffles for 78 cents.  I’m so pleased with them!
Another aside, same shopping trip, we found Primark.  It’s amazing.  I may buy most of my souvenirs there.  Little factoid: if you don't believe that everyone has pretty underwear in Europe, trust me now that I'm here.  I bought some patterned underwear first thing.
I’m hoping to get fat here.  Put it to the test to see if everything really does make you gain weight.  Hence the bag of waffles and the other bag of chocolates both consumed here in my room late nights.  But its good stuff yeh?  Not to mention it would be proof I got the most out of my exchange!
I only remembered one of my points and I’m too tired for tonight to try to recall them.  Maybe another time.  I really am tired all the time, but I think it’s because I’m a bit sick.  Maybe I’m not used to the amount of water that is drunk here.  It’s less than I am used to.  The glasses are small and people just drinks beer if they’re thirsty, so I try to be careful to drink extra when I can until I’m accustomed.
me with the drum!

My host father is in les Echasseurs Namurois, which are the stiltwalkers of Namur.     Echasseurs Namurois website!  They are a club folklorique that dress up in traditional garb and make combat on stilts.  I got to play the drum for them today at a sort of Renaissance fair (and the fair provided us with free beers all day [But I didn’t drink.  It’s against Rotary rules]).  Truly it was a blast.
     I can’t wait till the weekend of my birthday on the 17th where they (with me in tow) shall go to the host city, Namur, and celebrate the 600th anniversary of the tradition with stilt walking groups they invited from all over the world!
     Not everyone plays the same game in the stilt walking world, but the Namurois have 2 teams (rouge et blanc, et jaune et noir) who attempt to knock members of the opposing team to the ground with the stilts.  It last about 6 minutes depending on how good the round is.  My host dad is yellow and black, but I drum for the whole club.
me drumming!

Alain helping me try the stilts!  They make it look so easy!
Ren-fest activities!
Oh yeah, the reason that this Middle Ages Festival is held in Herstal is because Charlemagne was born here.
 (The legend is that this is the gate of the farm that Charlemagne's mother lived on and so we assume Charlemagne was born here)

The drummers get the best view!
I thought of another one while I was in the shower!
Two.  There are 5 French words I would like to address here.  First, the word “deja.”  I had already learned it in the states, but I didn’t use it until I was already here.  Already I consider it a darn useful word, and count it as the first word I already “learned” here. (it means “already”)
The other four are the words concerning before, after, behind, and in front of, because I ALWAYS say the wrong form of the word “before” because the word “devant” means “before” but in terms of location, not time.  One must use “avant” for “before” in terms of time, “après” for “after” in terms of time and location, or derrière for behind (or after in terms of location).  Very confusing.
I’m going to leave with a note that I’m listening to Prelude in C Sharp Minor, Op. 3, No. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninov right now and it is an extremely impassioned piece.http://users.skynet.be/fa005132/francais/or.htm

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