Thursday, September 30, 2010


I have been learning some fun and interesting Belgian sayings lately. Pépé and Benjamin have been my principal instructors.  Here’s what I know so far:
            Il y a une polichinelle dans la tiroir= there is a puppet in the drawer= there’s a bun in the oven/she's knocked up
            On ne trouve pas de l’argent sous un pied de cheval=You don’t find money under a horse’s foot= money doesn’t grow on trees.
            Quand les poules auront les dents=when chickens have teeth=when pigs fly
            Après le semain de quatre jeudis=after the week of four thursdays= when pigs fly/ never

            I have also learned to recongize more impolite words, but those shall not be repeated. Besides, I don’t know how to spell them! We had an enire conversation about Darth Vader too. Darth Vader is Dutch for Dark Father. So much for the surprise and shock factor for Dutch Speakers. Julia explained that in Icelandic, they call Darth Vader what translates directly as black head. I cracked up at that point---great mental image. Everyone else laughed too when I finally got enough breath to explain.
            Today we had our first day of ‘éstages’, that is, field work/experience. We took a tour of a facility for handicapped adolescents and took notes. I frantically copied from some friends, and I understood a little of what the official said. Come to think of it, I’m not sure what his post was. I have a lot of gaps to fill in.
            We got off early for all this and the facility is really close to the school, so we ate lunch together at a friterie between the two.  We all had the ‘student box’: a ‘bicky’, drink, and small fries. The ‘bicky’ was a hamburger with cooked onions and some kind of amazing sauce, as well as pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, etc. America may be famous for hamburgers, but man, these Europeans make a pretty mean burger too! The ‘small’ fries and turned out to cover most of the tray, and were quite good with and without mayo. Only the male in our group was able to eat all of his meal. We had a good time, and I was able to participate a little in a discussion of Lady Gaga. Her name sticks out in a French conversation, despite the accent. I guess she always sticks out, come to think of it. Elle est bizarre!
     This week we got our student id cards, and I discovered the universal, humorous quality of school photos. At first glance, my photo looks almost normal, until you notice the look of complete and utter terror. Ha. And mine wasn’t the only humorous photo. We had a good time swapping photos and laughing/moaning, just like kids everywhere.
            I was really excited today because I was able to understand most of what Madame Potar said during class!!! And she speaks like a machine gun! Or someone from NY! (Plunkdawg, anyone?) AND I had a dream last night where I had a small conversation in French. They were being very rude and told me to shut up. But it was in French, so it still made me happy. I am also starting to understand more of conversations in general, which is such a huge relief. You really have no idea how wonderful it is to understand spoken language until you can’t. 
Tonight I am going to try to make cornbread and gravy for dinner. With broccoli. From my reconnaissance(French-English word!) on the back of the cornmeal box, cornbread does not exist here, so it will be American. Hopefully. With a little bit o’ luck!

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