All yesterday, people were asking each other if they were able to come to school, if they would come to school, what they would do instead of coming to school... eventually I got the idea that there was something happening today. My first reaction was SNOW DAY!, although when I walked by the pharmacy and saw that it was 12˚C (54˚F), I realized that probably wasn't it (boo, it's December, I'm ready for some snow) and decided to ask. Everyone thought I was pretty funny for thinking that it was a weather problem... evidently there aren't snow days in Belgium. Sometimes buses don't come because of snow/etc., but the school is never closed. People will be excused if they can't come to school due to weather and bus problems, but are expected to come if at all possible.
It turns out that problem today is that the TEC (bus system in Wallonie) is on strike, so people who live far away (like me) have trouble getting to school today. My host dad was going in to Liège this morning and said I could get a ride with him, but he had already left when I got up to get ready for school so I'm staying home today.
Normally I love surprise days off, but most anything I would do when there isn't school requires taking the bus into Liège. It's chilly and rainy here in Othée, so I've cranked the radiator in my room (I <3 radiators SO much) and worked on college apps and exam reviews most of the morning. For the afternoon, I anticipate much playing with Constantin because he doesn't take the bus and had to go to school; Qui Est-ce? (Guess Who), Puissance Quatre (Connect 4), and Pirate Attack (Battleship) are some of his favorites.
À la prochaine!
It is not only the TEC, but three unions in Belgium (CSC, FGTB, and CGSLB... don't ask me what they stand for) who are on strike today, accompanying 50,000 demonstrators in Brussels. The problem is the new government, which is supposed to form next week; apparently even after taking 500+ days to organize a government, Belgium still can't come to a proper agreement.
Here are a few sources of information on the subject(s):
About the Belgian Government
About the strike (in French)