Last Tuesday I met up with some exchange students and then we went to Namur for a drink. I had to leave early because I met up with Kaari, the Finnish girl who goes to the same school as me. I went to her house because there was a party to celebrate the end of exams (appropriately named Examend) and then I slept over at her house. The next day, I went to Liège and got some Christmas shopping done.
Last Thursday a few exchange students came over to my house and we watched A Christmas Story, my favorite Christmas movie ever! It took a while for everything to get going, but it ended up being great! My two friends, Julia from Australia and Claire from Oregon, spent the night and we stayed up super late talking about Belgian/exchange student life.
Friday I went to school to pick up my bulletin. It was actually better than I thought, but I did fail one of them. In my defense, I thought I would have the same exam as the other students, so I studied for it. It turns out I had something completely different, so I failed by about 6 points or so. No big deal. I did great in my English exam (obviously) and the other exam that was English but I took it in French. I also did "well" on my French exam (38/60). My teacher is notorious for giving out low grades, I think I got one of the highest grades in the class which is just really sad. Before you're amazed at my amazing intelligence, I had a different exam than the others (you should still be amazed though, I did a really great job and it was all in French).
After, I went to Namur and we met up with exchange students and got some shopping done. It was finally the start of vacances de Noël! After, Claire and I went to my scouts meeting and I tried vin chaud (hot wine) for the first time. I was actually kind of surprised because it was really good until it got lukewarm. I got asked what Scouts was earlier, and I figured I'd just explain it here. It's kind of like summer camp, but it happens during the school year rather than the summer. It's for really young kids all the way to adults, and every Sunday we all meet up. I'm Staff Baladin, so I'm partly in charge of the youngest kids (around 6 or so). We keep them busy and play games, and there's also a retreat for a few days. I'm not really sure what the older members do on Sundays because I'm not with them, but outside of that we all hang out, organize fundraiser dinners, have more retreats, and just talk with one another. It's like a club in school. The members of the club (the staff) hang out, but they also organize events to keep people busy and socialized, and in my case it's for the Baladins.
Just a few days after that, it was Christmas Eve! My host family celebrated Christmas Eve with my extended family rather than Christmas day, so that was a little weird for me. Most of the family was there and we had a lot of food! It was my first time eating foie gras too. That's definitely an acquired taste. The dinner was a little bizarre actually, because it was food I'm used to eating for Thanksgiving. We had turkey, gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce! It was great though and I love giving gifts so I was glad I be apart of it. I got the softest blanket ever from my host family, as well as perfume and a ring. The ring opens beer bottles, and my host sister told me it was "un cadeau très Belge" after I was done laughing.
Our pretty Christmas (eve) dinner table
I helped decorate that
Still haven't gotten used to drinking SO MUCH champagne! Oh well, not complaining!
Christmas day was very relaxing and we had dinner with my host cousin who couldn't be there the day before. From then until now I've been relaxing, so not much to talk about there. Tomorrow I'm going to Namur to meet up with some friends, and then an American is coming over to the house! She was hosted by my family 10+ years ago, and is now visiting them with her husband. I hope I can do the same in ten years!
I miss home a lot, but I love my life here. It's completely different and I get so happy thinking that I stuck with this idea, my dream, for three years, and now it's finally being realized. I'm so much better at French than I was before and I think I'm way more mature and grateful than I have ever been. I've been here for four months, and while sometimes it feels like I've been here forever, it also feels like I just got here. I don't want to give up my life year, I wish I could have both.
I promise I'll update more...... (really, I'm serious, believe me.....!!!)