Today I took the bus all by myself for the first time. I made it to the mall (les Bastions is its name; it’s where the old defenses for the city used to be) without incident, and found everything I needed without too much ado. So I was feeling pretty pleased with myself when I had found the right bus for the return trip and was riding swiftly and easily home. Only I didn’t know about hitting the thingamajig to let the driver know I wanted to get off. So I went riding right past the front door of my destination. Very dismaying. Luckily several stops later someone else pushed the button-dealie and the bus stopped so I scrambled out and found my way home. Then I encountered some trouble with opening my old nemesis, the front door. It doesn’t have a doorknob, so you have to unlock just so and push it to open. Which isn’t so hard, except I didn’t know that the door was already unlocked. Meanwhile, Touchtou was flinging himself at the door in excitement. Luckily for the door, the dog, and myself, I finally got the door to open after an opening-prayer. Belgian doors are out to get me, I tell ya. And you never notice how many doors are necessary for life until you have issues with them. Trust me.
So far, every Wednesday and Thursday I have had a half-day at school. Quite delightful, because not only do I get extra time off, I can walk home to have lunch with Marianne, Marie, and Catherine. Not that the school food is bad; their food costs less than ours and is made fresh every day. They have different kinds of baguettes, fries, pizza, and full meals. And then there are vending machines with drinks (soda---American schools would be horrified), candy, and WAFFLES. Anyway, there is no danger of starvation here.
Another good point about school here: basically no homework. I have had 3 assignments so far. Not only are the academics easy (only trouble is that they’re in French), but things are never due the next day. I have my first test tomorrow, but it’s in English, so it doesn’t really count. I am curious to see what the tests are going to be like, since our entire grade is based on them.
On a different note, Marianne bought a new fridge recently, so we helped Cecile clean out the old one before dinner one night. We found several items with expiration dates in 09, but nothing too gory (leftovers here basically don’t exist; the dogs eat well). There was a lot of ice in the freezer (Alaska!) and we found some old tubs of the ice cream for the canines. So when we finally put the tub of melty vanilla ice cream on the floor for the pack to enjoy, Hortense (the Basset) immediately head-butted everyone else out of the way. She plopped her snout right in the tub and set to work. It was pretty gruesome; ice cream was ALL over her face, her ears, her throat, the floor, and she was drooling more than normal ‘cause ice cream just tastes so good. And then she shook. Oh dear. I laughed, but was careful not to get too close.
Saturday Julia and I are going with the regional AFS group to AMSTERDAM!!! I’m stoked. Julia is sick right now, so I hope she has an abrupt recovery so she can enjoy Amsterdam to the fullest! Thanks to Marianne, the early departure and late return will not have to be by foot. She called herself ‘autobus’. Bless her heart!