Last Wednesday, my school had their 10 jours des rhétos. Normally it's 100 jours, but a bunch of people got us in trouble on our voyage, so we had it a bit later. On this day, all of the students of rhétorique dress up in costume and run around terrorizing the other students. When I got to school, I was immediately greeted by my fellow classmates, yielding hair gel, confetti, zip ties, and more. It was a nightmare. As everyone (besides teachers and rhétos) entered the school, they got globs of hair gel all over them, and were drawn on with lipstick.
At first I felt really mean, and I didn't want to put gel on anyone. My friends explained to me that they've gone through it for the past five years, so they had a lot of steam built up. They also said that with each passing year, it gets more and more tepid, so I felt a little better. Apparently they used to be able to use eggs and flour, but now it's forbidden. During my host sister's year, they put garlic in the hair gel and it smelled for months, but that was forbidden now too. I got into it when I saw some students trying to hide from getting gelled, those people got it worse than anyone else (and rightfully so).
Besides terrorizing the younger students, the rhétos were also exempt from all classes that day, and we did activities the entire day. My class even won the costume contest! Because it was a Wednesday, we were all finished by around 1 or 2, so many went to Namur afterwards to get a drink.
Representing the US, of course
On Friday I went to Louvain-La-Neuve and met up with Madeleine. We ate dinner at her house and then watched The Great Gatsby. After that we went to a bar and had a few drinks, then went back to her house to sleep because it was past midnight by then. The next day, she and I went to Brussels. Avenue Louise is where all the shops are, so we decided to do some retail therapy.
This past week was my last full week of school. I'm going to a Lana Del Rey concert in Brussels with Kaari on Friday (I'm super excited for that one, but I can't believe it's already happening, I bought the ticket in November!) and I start my exams June 6th.
My first exam is French, which really sucks. I'm also taking English, English (but I'm doing it in French), Geography, and Socio. So we'll see how that goes. Then I have my bal des rhétos on June 22, which is probably the last soirée I'll have a chance to go to. I'm inviting a few exchange student friends too. In between all of that, I'm gonna try and find time to go to Bruges and Ghent, and maybe a few other cities too. Maybe Maastricht or Cologne as well. I also might go kayaking! It's AFS Namur's last activity, and if the weather is alright and it's not too expensive I'll go. But hopefully they're double seat kayaks so I can just have someone paddle for me... and hopefully we don't flip over!
As I'm writing this, I have 36 days left in Belgium. I don't even know how to feel about that yet. Part of me is so happy to be going home, but part of me is starting to panic. Belgium is part of my life now, and I don't know how it will ever not be. I don't know how I'm supposed to live without something so ingrained in me. I'm so grateful for my life back home, but which one is home? I'm being pulled from two different directions, and each day seems to be getting shorter and shorter. I can imagine how my life would have been had I been born here, lived here, so easily. But I wasn't, and I must go home eventually.
I know, even now, that my life will forever be impacted by this year.
À la prochaine,