27 October 2011

25 September

My host  Rotary president sent me these pictures recently, and I didn't want to find the proper blog entry to put them in, so here they are!
It was the night we went to the play and I read about Polio Plus on the stage in front of the audience!
Ben, M le Président (Frédéric), Santi (Argentine)
French lips



     I caught some really good ones I think!  I'm pretty sure they're really Liegeois, or specific to my region.
When I talk to myself in franglais, even if I complete a sentence in English, I end with "hein?"
and that's sortof like the "huh" at the end of "that was great, huh," but frenchy sounding and used in way more cases.  I know it's all around French, but I think it's really Liegeois the way I use it!
    There's also putting "ou quoi" (or what) at the end of sentences, even if it's not at all necessary.  Language of the people.  And whether it's ACTUALLy a proper improper usage, I do it because I think I heard it.
     Apparently there's also a stereotype among Francophones that Belgians always put "une fois" at the end of sentences, meaning "one time", or "once."  I haven't really heard it except in stereotype.  That's probably another region who does that, like Tournai or something.
    Of course there are typical "street" words that we say are really Liegeois, but it's sortof like ebonics, and so it's a dialect, but each area has it's own version...  Actually I can't go so far as to say it's a dialect, but it is definitely an accent with it's slang.  "kiffe" (to like well) "bouffe" (a club in lower manhattan recommended by a popular guest contributor to Weekend Update with Seth Meyers [booooooooof].  or, "to eat")  and there's a word like "sous" which means dough (in the sense of money).
And plenty more!  that I'm not really current on yet.

24 October 2011

3rd week of october

Again, I haven't blogged in a while.  I've found more fun things to do mostly haha.  But all I can say is basically the same thing as last week.  I know this is extremely unhelpful, but I'm not even going to copy/paste what I wrote last week about this week, and just suggest that you take a look down below if you care for a silly summary of what living is like, but then again, everyone knows what that's like.  Whatever.  HERE are some pictures from this week!  And the stories will be told as they come up.

well dang, these are out of order.  I went to the fair with mes amies on Friday last!

we rode that.

too fun!

that's some of the foire.

STILL haven't ridden that yet.  unfortunately my camera died before the sun went down.
We also went into the pirate house where there were moving stairs and
funny floor shakers and a big slide and stuff.  too fun!
Tuesday was picture day.  The morning was normal pictures, the afternoon was the costumed picture!  I'm way up in the back with sunglasses on

The rest of the school looked on during a break

The theme was hollywood, and I went as James Bond, sortof.  I'm not entirely sure
how anyone else decided what to be.

But oh, do they know how to have fun!

Wednesday we went to explore a new town for me, Louvain la Neuve

The sky looked pretty on the train ride there.

This is Louvain la Neuve.  My host mom told me the whole story:  The original Leuven is a college town in Flanders, and during the 70s, the Flems kicked the francophones out, so the walloons just built a new college town for the francophone half of the university.  They share a library and stuff.  Notice the sameness of the architecture throughout the whole city!  Different for a city in Europe in that it was all constructed recently and over the course of a few years, and not thousands.

freak hailstorm durning the day!

Saturday, we trained Bruxelles where I rode a subway for the first time in Belgique!

This was the goal of out trip: Patinage!

The zamboni!  (that's for my mother.  Not entirely sure why)

Tintin!  The film premiered in Brussels that night, and the directors: Peter Jackson and Stephen Spielberg were apparently there.  I'm going to the Liège premier tomorrow with my rotary club!  Even though it's technically an American film, the comic strip is of course Belge, and so it comes out here 3 MONTHS before it does in the states.  Eat your heart out.

And this is me the rest of the weekend, and today.  It's what it looks like to be really sick and sleep 17 out of 24 hours.  All will be well.
Have a great week!

16 October 2011

2nd Week of October

     I haven’t blogged in a while!  I’ve been busy all week, but taking pictures everywhere thinking, “oh that would be a great thing to blog about!” But now the only time I have it seems to blog, is late at night.  Ah well.  I also have a long list of topics to blog about in one of my many journals.  I just haven’t gotten a chance to put them into  a blog.
    Basically, I go to school, I come home, I sleep, I eat, and do things when they come up.  That’s the summary version!  I’m going to rely on my pictures again for the story telling.
     As far as personal thoughts go, I suppose I’m too tired for many.  How about I still love speaking French, but I always wish I were more fluent.  I just wait for it to get better, and consider it a success if I remember 2 new words by the end of the day each day.  One day at a time though, and I’m not so impatient for the moment.  But honestly, I need to get a healthier sleep schedule.
    And a better eating regimen!  I’ve decided to diet after all, so that the jeans that I brought continue to fit.  If my clothes stop fitting, I’ll be more upset than I thought I would be.  My diet shall be only a mindset.  I must actually look at what I’m eating before I put it into my mouth.  I’ll eat more slowly and smaller bites if possible, and I’ll learn for the first time in my life to listen to my stomach to tell me that I’m full!  Because seriously, I can never decide if I’m hungry or not, and I think it may be because I haven’t actually been hungry since I got here!  But I love it all.  Waffles, chocolate, croustillons, lacqements, and the beer, but of course I don’t know what THAT tastes like, because it’s against Rotary rules.
     And I love my friends at school.  The weeks seem to go by so fast!  My Monday and Tuesday are the most boring days of my week.  But Tuesdays I’ve started going to an after-school choir.  Music is quite different here than it is in the States.  It is hardly considered, so the chorale I go to is usually paid, but I think I don’t have to because I’m exchange, and it’s normally held at an academy off campus, but there is one rehearsal on campus, and we are about 8 people.  Aparently there are more people at the academy rehearsals, but just to throw things off a bit more even, it’s normally a chorale for unchanged voices, just because not many people do music.  So I sing the melody an octave down (even though I want to sing the top line :P )  We’ll see how this 3rd week goes.  Last week we sang a ballad version of “Smells like Teen Spirit” that was pretty hilarious to me, the American.  Friday, I have plans to go the foire with mes amies.  It’s for the whole month of October, and there are some great rides.  Wednesday, hopefully I’ll get a haircut.  I’m  scared of that though.  Will I be able to communicate?  Maybe I’ll just get an oldie to come with me.  Likely Jarrod.
     I also finally figured out how to take pictures of smaller size on my camera! So half of these pictures will take 5 minutes each to download, and half will take about 4 seconds.  But they won’t be as good quality.  I’ll try to find a middle ground.
      Glee last week was WAY better than it’s been so far in season 3.  But there wasn’t any this week, and there won’t be one this next week, so we’ll just watch the one that was good over and over until then.  Check out the glee version of “Landslide” from season 2, and Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Going Back Again.”

Commence, the photos:
Monday night, my attempt at making Granny's spaghetti sauce!
Cooking stresses me out, but it was pretty comic anyway!
Nervous!  But it didn't taste too bad.  Once I fixed the spice!
It seems that the spicy spices here are much spicier here.
For example, paprika is really spicy here, and so is chili
powder.  SO I needed to add a lot of shredded cheese to
that pot.

the path behind the school right before school starts.
I got a kick out of how dark it was.
there's a pretty good friterie down there on the left.  That's a cool (cold) cloudy Wednesday view of the big church up there.  I must learn it's name!  It might actually be the "citadel."

Look how pretty that sky was!  And Belgian art reference!  there is a Magritte piece in which he has painted a house with  the street and house lights on in the dark, but the sky is a bright, day blue!  My camera did that.
Magritte "Empire of Light"

This is the bridge that the bus crosses to get into Liège.  The river is the Meuse.
Through the bus window, everything looks a bit green.  This is facing south-ish.
Liège is north-ish from here.

I just thought this looked really artsy.  It's a train bridge that the bus drives under.
With this photo, I had the sense to edit out the green. 

The sky was so BEAUTIFUL this Thursday afternoon!  This is the lawn in front of Guillemins.  Believe me I took plenty of pictures of Guillemins too, but I've decided to dedicate an entire post to Guillemins photos sometime around Christmas, so you shall see it from every angle in every weather!

This is the southern entrance to the fair.  That inflated man on the left is holding croustillants, which are basically beignets aparently, but I've never had beignets, so I wouldn't know.  A very Belge fair food.  The fair runs one path all the way from the bottom of Parc D'Avroy to the top.  It's right down the center of Boulevard D'Avroy.
The ride we rode, Jarrod and I!  The seats at the bottom go all the way round, upside down
and then go loose and turn themselves!  It was intense.  and only 6 Euro!

On the way to school Friday morning.  Dawn

Again, artsy I thought.

the fair by night!

Shopping in Mediacité!  A mall on the other
 side of the Meuse from city centre.  And proof I was
actually there --->

09 October 2011

Journée Nationale à Namur

Beautiful old Belgium.  From the inside of the Namur gare

This week I did NOT go to Liège but once.  We had stuff to do and stuff.  At school I went to the first meeting of a chorale that I might be able to be in, and the weather was not as pretty this week. around 13 degrees all week.
    The Saturday past, all 3 districts met at Namur for another presentation of some rules and the BRESA trips.  I'm still not certain what that stands for, but I have signed up to go to Italy and Prague with Rotary on the website.  Hopefully that works out!  The afternoon we all boarded a riverboat and paddled around in the rain.   We took loads of pictures and had a grand ole time.

lots and lots of exchangers
our tour boat
There are 2 rivers in Namur that intersect.  This one is not the Meuse

The happy exchangers who decided to stand on top in the rain
The Citadel in Namur in the daylight, from the river (this one is the Meuse)
I got to watch the new glees on the internet here, and I've found more music from Mozart l'Opera Rock, and it is all FANTASTIC.  Hopefully I'll get to see it soon on the internet or something.  Check out "Tatoue Moi" on youtube if you're interested.   Warning: content may be a little adult if you translate it.
School tomorrow