Well, I am very behind on writing down life. Three weeksish of wonderful stuff to catch up on! Here's the first installation.
I adore inservice days---2 extra days of fun!
Wednesday after school I got to go to Benjamin's house to hang out with him and Sharon for the afternoon. I met his cats and family, took a grand tour of their new house, and had a very Belgian dish, chicon gratin (endives wrapped in ham covered in a white cheese sauce baked with more cheese-nom). We looked at photos, talked religion, and just hung out. We had fun like teenagers everywhere do. It's a huge comfort and satisfaction to have friends here!
Thursday I enjoyed sleeping in and finished a scholarship paper( that wasn't the fun part, but I managed to remember my English lexicon sufficiently to write a 5 paragraph essay!) and then Julia and I spent the afternoon chilling. We watched 'She's the Man' and had to keep pausing the movie because we were laughing too hard. Good girl bonding time.
Friday I invited some friends over from school for lunch to experience an American breakfast: pancakes, eggs with bacon, and fruit. Plus jam, milk, peanut butter, syrup, and whipped cream for the pancakes---they thought that was pretty weird. Marianne and Sabine were brave enough to try some peanut butter, and all the Belgians daintily folded their pancakes into fourths like crepes. Overall the food was a success, but I doubt it would have turned out that way had it been at the proper time of the day---I have heard several Belgians expressing slack-jawed horror at the thought of eating ham and cheese in the morning. When we had finished the American experience, we hung out and played cards. I taught them Egyptian Rat Slap, which was a big hit (oh I'm punny...) despite the name, and they taught me a rather complicated but fun game that I forget the name of. I also showed them how Skype works---my Belgian friends and Alaskan family got to wave at each other and laugh at their respective disastrous accents. Bawnjoor (Bonjour). Mawkdawnalls (McDonald's). Sooopair (Super). Laughter and smiles don't need to be translated!
That night Jade took Julia and I out on the town with another girlfriend. We'd never been out before, even this is a principal weekend activity for youth here. 'Going out' to bars, clubs, and discothèques is not considered sketchy or dangerous for youth here; it's a very different atmosphere than in the US. We enjoyed the ambiance of an Irish and a tropical bar amongst the normal Belgian pubs (cafés). We had fun screaming during foosball matches, slurping banana milkshakes, playing soccer with a baguette, butchering DDR (video game), chomping fries in the grand place, and chatting with friendly bartenders until 5:30 AM. Yeah, that's how much fun we were having! We walked home and flopped into bed at 6:30 and slept like rocks. Dead and happy rocks.
Sunday we bundled up several dogs in doggie coats and drove to the sea for a greyhounds in nood walk. We had a wonderful promenade along the blustery beach under a blue sky, watching the greyhounds and whippets blast by like the racing dogs they are. Afterwards we humans enjoyed a hot spaghetti meal inside. I learned that Italians and polite Europeans eat pasta with a spoon. You take up a little bit of pasta with the spoon and then use it as a base to twirl the noodles around your fork. Easier said than done, but I started to get the hang of it without too many typical impolite-spaghetti-eating crises. Jade helped me decipher a bit of Dutch on some flyers on the table. Dutch is extremely similar to English, so I could understand just about everything written. Pronouncing it, however, is another story! After the Dutch lesson we teens made paper airplanes out of the flyers and had a sword duel with our coffee spoons. Despite several accidents with creamer and some wayward jetliners, it was a great goofy time. Fittingly, on the way home from the dog walk I watched 102 Dalmatians with Catherine's little daughter. What fun to sing Cruella DeVille in French! Greyhounds in nood is her perfect anithesis.