19 February 2012

January week 1

After Christmas and New Years, I had about a week before school started back.  With such a long and busy vacation, I did NOT want to be already stressing about school starting.  But I packed into my week as much as possible and hardly thought about it at all!
I had started a project a few weeks before christmas and had to finish it that week.  The project was to make a movie full of clips of Liège and of exchange and other exchangers for my oldie, Jarrod.  So I went and visited place to gathered footage, and worked hard on my iMovie program and it turned out great in the end, but it took a lot of time.

One morning during vacation I woke up early and made a banana pudding before my bus came at 9:45 in the morning!

It turned out great! But I had to ask Fanny to put it in the fridge for me once it was cooled, cos I had to catch my bus!

The only time I ever took the bus at Rue de L'église.  Four days before I moved.  I had taken it home once before.  I never appreciated how convenient it was, 10 seconds from my front door!  

I went back to Huy that day!


The Grande Place at Huy with remnants of the Christmas market

Inide the big cathedral with a Christmas tree!

Got together one last time in town with Jarrod ...

and Rachel (on the right).

The next morning at 4 oclock already at Brussels Airport with host families in tow, said goodbye to our oldies from New Zealand.  Didn't sleep a wink.

A little aftermath regrouping in McDonalds in Brussels.  Breakfast that doesn't open until 8am by the way.  And it's still dark.  The kids with me are Canadian.

And the next day I packed up all my stuff and moved out of the Vanrykel's house.  

The Vanrykels (minus Martin) and I, saying goodbye (at least for now).
I was smiling, but I was really close to tears, trust me.
During that week I went also to Bruges, but that's in the preceding post.  That may have been the hardest week of my life thus far.  I'm still trying to recount it in my personal journal, but I keep having to stop so I don't get too upset.

Bruges (4 janvier)

First Rotary trip of the year! Bruges!  famous for its canals and tall towers!
We had nice tours by nice volunteer rotarians and their spouses.  And then Galetes des rois to celebrate Epiphany! (that's the king cake with a little totem inside.  He who finds the little character in his slice of cake gets to wear a crown)

A large fountain with dancing people.

Rotary kids love posing for photos!  Somehow I missed my chance to be in one or take one... :(

A great huge church with a Michelangelo piece in it! 

that's her.  You have to pay to get closer.

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Chocolate in Bruges is famous.  They have a lot of little genuine Belgian chocolate shops.  I can't remember the word I'm thinking of, but it means that there is only one of them in the world, little private shops.

Lac d'amour!  I was told a lot of postcards of Bruges have this view.  There's a legend about a couple with a forbidden who came here to meet by night and were caught once, so they jumped in and drowned themselves.  My memory may be confusing the legend of this lake of love with just about every other legendary body of water, I'm sure it's something like that.  May I also point out that the legend dates from when Europe was ruled by the Romans.

Wooden shoes!  Not yet in the Netherlands, but this culture exists in the land of the Dutch-speaking.  Wood was the cheapest material that the serfs could find and they worked well as shoes.  Apparently they also did good things for the skin because they retain water, or soak up sweat or something.  I bet they were comfortable though after a few months though.  The sign is for canal cruises. 

Another thing Bruges is famous for is LACE!  Lots of little lace shops too.

The square-cornered roofs are very Flemish.  They're in Ghent a lot, too.
It's an architecture style that is very distinguishable.  Wallons think it's pretty!
As long as it stays in Flanders!

This is a government building.  Apparently frequented by bikes and prams.

and  a really nice car.
And then Galetes des rois to celebrate Epiphany! (that's the king cake with a little totem inside.  He who finds the little character in his slice of cake gets to wear a crown)
We stopped in a youth hostel café with all the kids and Rotarians where they had the Galettes des rois prepared, and they gave out certificates of completion of the exchange to my oldies!  It was a proud moment!  They gave the Wallon outstanding exchange student award to Miranda Daughtry of Australia, who is really a lovely girl.  The thing about exchange kids is that even the most annoying ones are just incredible people.

French Scrabble

If I had trouble with Scrabble in English, it's nothing compared to it in French.  First of all, the letters are of course given different values because the letters appear at different frequencies in French words compared to English words.  Of course the X and Z are worth a 10 still, but the Y and the K are also worth 10 in French.  When I looked up in my French/English dictionary, there is about a half a page of French words that start with k, and they mostly come from English ("kart" "K.O." etc).  So yeah, I sat in front of my letters being inspired to try to find English words and finding that there were no good letter combinations for it because they're designed to inspire French ones.  lots of vowells.  But the best part of French Scrabble is that because there are so many conjugations of the verbs, there are an infinite number of variations on wee 3 or 4 letter words.  You add an "s", an "es", an "er", an "ez", an "a."  Simple past tense is pretty useful to know for French Scrabble.  That and the fact that you can gender-ise all adjectives.  Add an "e" and it's feminine.  Add and "s" and it's plural.  Add an e and an "s" and it's feminine plural.  My host parents are really really good at Scrabble.  They basically played for me (and my host brother too).  The highest pointed word was 54 and it was Cyril's.  Good game for learning, not a good game if you wanted to win by your own intelligence.

18 February 2012

learn a bit of French.

I've been really sick, but I'm finally better.  So now that that's over with, here's a French phrase that is vital to know if you ever even dream about setting foot in a francophone country.  My granny taught it to me explaining how her French professor taught only one phrase and so it is the most important phrase to know.
"Je t'aime a la folie."
I love you to madness.
Phrases for everyday use.

16 February 2012

New Years

Went to Bruxelles for New Years!  It was full of people and little firecrackers kept going off everywhere in the middle of crowds!  Thought about trying to get into Grande Place, but there was a huge huge crowd and the police who were going through everyone's bags and it just took too long, so we went up the hill a little bit and found a dj playing some music.  As it turns out, we were up on the hill where they shot the fireworks off, so we had a better view than if we had been in Grande Place!  We were a little bit behind a building, but we could still see.  Fireworks always make me cry, I don't know why.
I even called home on my cell phone!  It was a little after midnight here, but I forgot that not only would it be a little after 5 at home, but my family was out of town.  Messages left on New Years Eve on the answering machine are funny.  I also found out that the cost of calling home for that short time made hardly a dent in my pre-paid phone card credit!  So it was a fun fun night.  But by the time the first trains of the morning rolled around, the people I was with were getting cranky, so we got in the train and slept a bit.

A few hours after midnight, Grand Place was quite easy to get into.

And they were cleaning up.  Such bright lights they had there!  I didn't happen to see any confetti however.

Funny drunken people walking around with their buddies are funny.

14 February 2012

little Belgian thingies (mostly just food that I'd never seen before)

My first first baguette in Belgium, 5 minutes after I got off the plane.  I wanted to get a good European baguette asap.

As promised, waffles in a vending machine.

A Belgian beer!  The price and cultural equivalent probably of like, Bud light, but it's so much better.  Not that I know myself.  Jupiler is made in Liège.

Les schtroomphs took over everywhere at the beginning of my exchange.  I knew the film was coming out, but I didn't know why it was such a big deal here.  I learned then that The Smurfs are Belge.  The original comic books were written by a Belge, and Belges do so love their comics.

Every window in every house I've been in has had the windows like this.  That open in from the top,  and that swing in too!

A Quick burger!  Quick, the fast food resto of Belgium, has a new gag every month or so to try to sell burgers.  In August/September, it was the "Super Love Giant" (the Giant is the Quick version of maybe the BigMac or whatever) and I just HAD to get it.  So I did :)

Waffles in a packet of 10.  for 79 cents.

Public transportation!  I take the buses busee buses.

Péket, a favorite of the city of Namur, is a flavored alcohol, and there were trays and trays of all different colors at Fête Wallonie!  Usually about a Euro a shot.

At the bus stops, the bus schedule!  The 94 that passes by Rue de L'Eglise.  It takes about 5 quarters of an hour to ride all the way from there into town or the other way around, but once you know how to read the signs, and they are hard, you can figure it all out.

A candy from the vending machine at school.  Chocolate, granola, raisins... I mean, it was fine.


Pizza Hut presents to you the wine list.

A Bounty, which I know as a mounds bar.

the AZERTY keyboard goes even to the phones

Boulets.  Basically meatballs with a sauce Liègeois.  Boulet-frites is a very Liègois dish

My favorite cereal here!  It's chocolate and caramel!  I don't even like caramel!

Belgian brand Nutella!  KWATTA!  I mean, there are no hazelnuts in it, so it's basically chocolate icing for everyday life.  

Learn about genes!  With comics!  So Belge.

Lotus brand speculoos spread SO GOOD.  Cinnamon and brown sugar.  And the crunchy kind is so so good

Another candy from the vending machine!

omiword, ok this is a fried sausage in a baguette, covered in fries,  with delicious Belge andalouse sauce on top.  It's called a routier.  the sausage is called a fricadelle.  Don't think about it too hard.

Bus stop at beauséjour behind my school1

This is a good good beer from Belgium.  Somewhat sweet, soft,  and a good 11%.

Croustillons! from the October fair!  They are basically beignets  with powdered sugar.  Fair food.  Another really Liègeois fair food is Laquements, which are flat flat waffle soaking in Syrop de Liège, the same flavour as the sauce with the meatballs.  it's an interesting flavor, a little bit cinnamon, a little bit pear, spicy.  It's good.

Lion has candy bars too!  My cereal.

I have a Brussels waffle here. Warning in winter, strawberries are expensive. I can't believe I don't have a picture of a street Liège waffle.  But the waffles in the packets were technically Liège waffles, so there up here.

Vol au vents.   A little pastry hollowed out with sauce and meat inside.  Guess who made them? Françoise et moi. (I mean you buy the pastry pre-made)


With coffee, in the land of les Ch'tis, that is, the northern Francophones (Northern France and Belgium), you put in Chicorrée, which are dried Chicon roots.  That's a lot of Belgicisms there. Chicons are the Belge word for andives.  The Vanrykels always put a little in with the coffee maker.

like I said, don't think too much about it.

Cécémel is a brand of hot chocolate.  Sortof like Nesquick, but slightly classier.  And they gave me a free hat with the purchase of a Hot chocolate with Bailey's mixed in!

Another Quick trick, the Winter burger.  The ads make it look so pretty!  But in reality, it was  just a bit of flour to make snowflakes...  It was still a good Giant though.

I will continue to try to find little things like that.  Just stuff I find interesting! and Belge!