Friday, September 21, 2012

Les Fêtes de Wallonie and an Update on School

Sorry everyone. It's been a while since my last post (okay not really, it's been a week) and I figured now would be the perfect time to update you! Last weekend was Fêtes de Wallonie. I'm so lucky to be living so close to Namur. It was one big party. It kind of reminded me of the California State Fair because there were so many people and all different types of vendors selling their merchandise at ridiculously hiked up prices. I met up with Madeleine (from Kansas) and Nadia (from New Zealand) at the train station. They live in Louvain-La-Neuve. We walked around for a bit with Madeleine's host sister and her friends and tried looking for a bargain on pekets. Pekets are like shots of alcohol but they come in many different flavors and are a big part of the culture of les wallos and of Namur. I had a fruity blackberry or blackcurrant flavored one and it was okay. Madeleine and Nadia got Krieks and then we headed toward one of the stages for a free concert. After, we split up with Madeleine's host sister and went to get some food. We got des frites avec mayo (of course) and all shared that. I also had two waffles and some pasta that day. Madeleine got speculoos flavored ice cream and it's the best flavor I've ever had (she let me try some). It's so good and I might or might not cry just from the thought of never being able to have that once I return home. Skyler from Pennsylvania (here's her blog) joined us after a while and we headed to another free concert. The band was pretty decent. Here's some pictures from Les Wallos! I've taken some off of Facebook from Madeleine's page too because I was so busy enjoying the festival (and trying to maneuver between so many people) that I forgot to take a lot of pictures!

I love how beautiful this city is.






This is part of the tradition at Fêtes de Wallonie.
 



I tried to show how many people were here in this tiny city, but this picture doesn't really do it justice... It also smelled very heavily of cigarettes, spilled beer and pee. As much fun as I had at les wallos, I decided to go home earlier because I like my city the way it normally is with just the locals!!!! It's much prettier and it just feels like... mine.





Une Gaufre de Liège!!! I could eat these everyday





























Madeleine, Nadia, and I with the River Meuse behind us (either that or it's the Sambre but I wasn't paying too much attention to which river we were using as a backdrop!)





Another very cool part of les fêtes was this talented marching band of musicians! The video doesn't do it justice but the other videos I took were from far away so just enjoy this one!

video




 One of the bands at les wallos. They were pretty decent.








We also met up with Cameron (from New Zealand) but I was heading home. Nadia, Madeleine, and Cameron all stayed with me while I tried to get on my bus. We waited for a really long time (they change where the schedules and pick up zones are for les wallos) and my bus still hadn't shown up. There's bus #24 (Daussoulx) which I'm supposed to take, and then there's bus #27 (Vedrin) which I'm not supposed to take because it actually goes to Champion.... but Cameron nicely asked one of the guys working for the bus system whether or not #27 would go to Daussoulx's route because 24 hadn't shown up, and the guy said yes... but it totally didn't. My heart dropped when I realized I wasn't headed in the right direction. Thankfully, I recognized two other girls who had gotten on the same bus as me to go to the festival 5 hours earlier. They also got on the bus because the guy said it was going to Daussoulx. So I just let them do all the talking, and the bus driver was nice enough to make an extra stop for us. I am so lucky they were there because I don't have the skills yet to give directions to where my stop is....!

~

After recuperating from Fêtes de Wallonie, it was time to go back to school. I had a really hard day on Monday, but the next two days were very nice! Actually, the rest of the week was pretty good. Monday was a really long day and I missed everyone and I felt stupid because I couldn't speak French (as Jack pointed out to me later on, any idiot can be fluent in a language in four weeks! Or at least, that's what I was expecting of myself. What can I say, it's the AP/mock trial student in me) and didn't understand a simple writing prompt. I got over it with the help of some very nice Belgians and some venting (sorry Jack and Leann). I also had language class that night, so it ended up being a very long day. Language class in Namur is okay, but mostly everyone there is an immigrant who has lived in Belgium for a couple of years, and just needs help on grammar. While it's nice to refresh my memory on conjugations, it's something I've already learned and I don't need three hours to do it.

On Wednesday, I had a two hour lesson with other exchange students at my school and a really nice teacher volunteering her time to help us out. It was so helpful! Wednesday was a really good day for me. I only have three classes and then a really helpful language class, so I feel very productive!

I got one of my tests back and got a 20/20, which apparently is really hard to get in Belgian schools. Go me!!! Okay so it was English class. Still. I had to write some of the responses in French, that should count...... No? Okay fine.

I also bombed a physics test, which is really frustrating because if I understood what the questions were I'd be able to ace it thanks to Mr. Wehner from two years ago. Oh well. This Saturday we're going to celebrate Skyler's birthday and next week I have Thursday and Friday off. I have no idea why.


That's about it for this update.


I'll update you soon(er than last time)



Nicole





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