Sunday, March 6, 2011
Day in Roubaix
Last Saturday we went with the family, including Laura and Jade, to Roubaix (France) to visit Letitia and Marco, two ex-tenants and good friends. We admired their new home that they are renovating and enjoyed some coffee before heading out to a nearby museum. The museum is a renovated art deco swimming pool---gorgeous! The building was my favorite piece we saw that day, but the statues and paintings were also nice.
As the 9 of us were walking home, we were confronted by 4 or 5 young men who got riled up when they saw Gilles and Jean holding hands. A slightly older guy convinced the more aggressive one to leave us alone. Fortunately we were in a solid, large group and Marianne is a rather formidable personage. Apparently Belgium is considerably more open and accepting on this topic than France in general. Roubaix particularly has some areas (like around the universities) that are more liberal, but in poorer areas the attitude is very hostile towards gays. I was surprised, as I had formed the generalization that all of Europe was as open as Belgium. We were all a bit surprised, in fact.
We spent the rest of the evening enjoying spaghetti and Belgian chocolate together. We requested for Jean to do some sketches, and we all watched attentively as he drew all 4 of us girls and Letitia(he had his work cut out!). Jean is in art school for a reason, and the sketches turned out very nicely. Marianne was the designated critic, as she has an artistic knack for seeing what needs to be tweaked. We are going to make photo copies and thus we will all have portraits of us 4 sisters.