Christmas vacation has finally arrived, and with it, Alaskan-caliber snow! It’s been snowing since Friday, and we’re supposed to get more tonight---this is the most snow Belgium has seen for 90 years (everyone says it must be my fault)! This has caused a mini-crisis as far as transportation goes here; all the buses are out of service, the trains are a mess, and the few cars are crawling along because they don’t have snow tires or 4 wheel drive and snowplows don’t exist.
Despite all the snow, I went to Ciney (towards the Ardennes) for a Christmas gathering with Marie Jeunesse this weekend. Marie Jeunesse is a Catholic community specifically for young people that was started in Quebec and has stations all over the French-speaking world. This weekend was a Christmas get-together---services, prayer, and a potluck (I learned that there is no word in French or even in Flemish for potluck. It’s not a very common tradition either. How sad!). There were a lot of Quebecoise there, plus people from Martinique, Rwanda, Tahiti, and even another American from Wisconsin, so we were a very international Christian family. There were a lot of people there that I had met at Soulfest, so it was really wonderful to see people that I already knew (whenever I recognize someone here in a public place or just in general it’s a big deal---makes me feel like I’m in Palmer again where you can see friends in the post office or Fred Meyer’s all the time.) We learned ‘7 carrés’ (7 squares), a Quebecoise dance, played games, watched skits, and worshipped together. I also attended an ‘adoration’ for the first time---prayer in shifts all night. My slot was at 2 am to 3 am. It was a very peaceful and special time with God, and it was totally worth it. I spent a very enriching weekend there with them and enjoyed friends’ company all the way back to Tournai on the snow-delayed trains. My spirit is renewed and I am totally ready to celebrate Christmas in real Christian joy now!
Some more Belgian sayings: mange les pissenlits par les racines= eating dandelions by the roots= pushing up daisies
Pouvoir marcher contre le vent=able to walk against the wind= you’ve eaten well
An Icelandic saying: (I don’t know how to say or write it in Icelandic) I don’t poop money= Money doesn’t grow on trees (you should have seen my face when Julia tried to use this expression)