14 December 2011

End of November, the soirée, dîner exotique, and St. Nicolas

I suppose I'll just add the photos then.

liège getting Christmasy

le Standard on a bus detour!  (that is remember the football stadium for the team, Standard)

This is what Marché de noël looks like.  Christmas market:
Hot wine, trinkets, scarfs, and a patinoir!

Right in Liège! I assume it's rather expensive though.

This car was in Liège one evening...

Getting read for our soirée, Pauline, Chloé and I

Turned out great!  It was both mine and Chloé's first soirée

some dude is on the woofer

And if the other soirée wasn't good enough for you, there was this one in someone's apartment 30 metres away.
about 2 am

ANd this is why it's a bad idea to wear white shoes to a party where there are drinks. 

And here we are, next morning in Brussels for the Dîner Exotique!  Bright and early for an early train.

Dîner Exotique was a Rotex event where all the students prepared typical dishes from their countries.
My group from the US made PB&Js!  there were several american groups anyway.

that's potatoes and lemon and some other yummies



It was her birthday!!

That's St. Nicolas and the guy in black and blue is the guy that brings coal and stuff to the bad kids.

Grande Place à Bruxelles by night at Christmastime

Typical Marché de Noël purchase:  Hot wine.  Wine with spices and boiling hot.
Someone must have left this one out on accident.  I bet it tasted good.

Another Ferris wheel in Liège! At the Marché de Noël of course!

St Nicolas.  What a tradition!  It comes from medieval times I think, and basically the University kids go around in lab coats, the dirtier the better, and ask strangers for "petits pieces" (small change).  The change is of course to take part in one of Belgium's proudest traditions, buying and drinking beer.  If they don't give them money, they throw flower at them.

Now the seniors in high school do it too, and they antagonize all the younger kids at school just outside the gates.
People draw large designs on the back of their aprons and ask all their friends to write notes on them like a yearbook.  It's a GREAT souvenir!

They also go into town to antagonize people doing their shopping.

Not to mention that it's just fun to throw flour on your friends.  (notice, typical Belge weather: grey, a bit drizzly).
Normally it's the Friday before the day of St Nicolas, 6th December, but since there were bus strikes that Friday, we did it Thursday.

And this is me dressed up for my Rotary meeting that evening!  It's a wild day, and some kids don't make it home in the same condition as they left in.  I did!  and was ready to go see my oldie, Santiago's presentation on Argentina and on his stay in Belgium.

And then it was Saturday, and it was beautiful, if cold, so I took Zizou for a walk.

This is Tinlot.

And indeed, there is a farm near my house with a field of lavender.

But I cheated and enhanced the color in the other one.  This is what it actually looks like this far into the cold season.

This is a mound of beteraves.  They are roots that are harvested and they pile them up at the sides of the fields.  There are SO many of these mounds right next to the roads near Tinlot, so that'll be a strong memory.  Beteraves are used to make sugar.  In Europe, they don't use cane sugar, they use beteraves.  And it finally came to me the english name for them: sugar beets.

Just kidding, THIS is Tinlot.  The church is the church on Church street, where I live (Rue de l'Eglise).

This looked super artsy, and wintry.

This is what my wall looks like over my desk!  The rooster is the Wallonian symbol on the flag.
And he's holding a Belgian cultural item.  That's right, bottled Sprite. The drawings went on my St. Nicolas coat.

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