Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thanks to yet another grève on Monday, I have a nice long weekend to catch up on my sleep and my homework.

I've had a pretty busy weekend so far: On friday I went to visit my AFS friends Karamea and Sofia in Sofia's town, Ovifat, way out in the country.  We ate hamburgers with her family and two Rotary friends and played charades, pick-up sticks, and various other games with her two little sisters.  There was a slight mishap when my bus got to Ovifat before Sofia's, but she was able to call her parents to bring me to her house, and they were really nice about giving me refreshments and talking to me while we waited.  I am not generally the type of person who drinks a lot of water or juice during the day, but I have discovered that it makes Belgians uncomfortable if I refuse their offer of something to drink.  The first time it's alright, but they then ask me again and again, with more and more confused looks on their faces-- it's simpler to just ask for 'eau plate' or non-sparkling water.

After our hamburgers, all us exchange students went to the Bal de Rhétos (a dance to raise money for the senior class) for Sofia and Karamea's school.  We danced the night away in a giant room full of lights and speakers, which I was surprised to see was full-- my school has had a Bal de Rhétos with a lot fewer people there, despite my school being about 4 times as large as theirs.  I think it was because students from other surrounding schools were invited to this one (not to mine) and because there are not a lot of other parties out in Ovifat.  It was a little too smoky and sticky (people just threw their plastic cups on the ground when they finished) near the front of the room, so I hung out more in the middle.  We left around 3 am, which is really early for Belgians, had a snack, and got to sleep around four.

On Saturday I had to get up early to catch the 8:20 bus to the train station because I was meeting some friends from school to go to Antwerp.  We left at 10 and had a picnic breakfast on the train: clementines, croissants, chocolate, and a type of banana bread-type cake.  We got to Antwerp (Anvers to the Walloons or Antwerpen to the Flemish) around noon and walked around taking pictures and looking at all the sales.  We found a secondhand store with a lot of very interesting clothes, although a lot of the "more fashionable" stores had much more bizarre items.  We ate lunch at McDonald's, or rather, ate our packed lunches at a table in McDonald's because it was warm.  A couple people looked at us like we were doing something criminal, but most didn't seem to even noticed.  We justified it to ourselves by leaving the table perfectly clean, unlike the fry-and-sesame-seed-covered tables that everyone else left.

We walked around until around 7, when we went back to the train station to get Starbucks coffees before the train home.  Apparently there are only a few Starbucks in Belgium, and only in the biggest cities, so the girls from my school were really excited.  I was at least excited to sit down in the big comfy couches after walking so much that day.  After some candy, talking, dancing, and other energetic things (due to the candy and coffee), we got into Liège.  All the buses were full of crazy drunk people going to the TransArdentes music festival (I'm not entirely sure what it was, but I've seen posters and now buses with their destination listed as 'LES TRANSARDENTES') so we ended up walking most of the way to Place St. Lambert.  I took a very empty bus back to Othée, where I got back and accidentally set off my house alarm.  I fortunately got the code right after a few tries, so I don't think I disturbed too many people.

Today I'll be doing a lot of relaxing, as well as choreographing a dance for my school's Cabaret in March.  I signed up to be in the opening number of the Rhétos medley-- the finishing act with all the seniors-- and will be doing part of 'Money' and 'Cabaret' from Cabaret.  Other groups are doing Gimme Gimme from Mamma Mia, Singin' in the Rain, Cell Block Tango from Chicago, etc.  Nobody in my group could agree on anything during our brainstorming session, so I told them that if they really wanted, I could work on something over the weekend (I was expecting someone would step in and say that we could do it as a group or something), and everybody liked that idea.  Thankfully, I've done enough musicals in my life (that is, three) to know some basic steps and I think it will turn out all right.

Well, that's my day so far.  Bonne week-end!

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