Saturday, April 2, 2011

100 days

Happy belated April Fool's! Here it is known as Poisson d'Avril=April Fish. I have a suspicion it has something to do with Lent. The traditional gag is to slap a fish (paper or otherwise) on the back of a friend. For all that, I didn't see too many gags yesterday. I did have fun and send my parents a tall tale message...who says you have to be on the same continent to pull off a practical joke?
I've got some other little cultural notes that have been accumulating:
1. Belgians see nothing weird about reaching up their shirt and spraying deodorant all over their armpits in public places. Often.
2. Besides 'Punaise'(thumbtack), which I've previously mentioned, Belgians expletives also include 'mince'=slim and 'purée'= mashed (potatoes).
3. Belgians are much more blunt about aesthetics than Americans. If they think something is ugly, they will jolly well let you know. No polite temporizing, really.
4. Polluting the environment is a much bigger sin than in the US. Although they don't seem to care about litter. But greenhouse gases? Gadzooks and mashed potatoes!
5. Almost everything closes on Sundays, and grocery stores never stay open 24/7 like they do normally in the US.(Little ironic considering almost no one is religious enough to associate Sunday with the Sabbath). We discovered this last Sunday when we went to Namur to hang out with some Americans. Just about everything was closed down. We found a little tiny grocery store open and bought cheese, chocolate mousse, spoons, and a baguette for a picnic in the sunshine. And took pictures with a snail statue. Because that's what Namur's known for. It was a good day.
This weekend is Carnaval here in Tournai. Not sure why it's now, as Mardi Gras was quite a while ago, but this is when the Tournaisiennes have their party. Since costumes are pretty much mandatory, Julia and I are going to get into some closets today and create something appropriately wild to wear. Should be fun.
Only 100 days left in Belgium! I can hardly believe it!

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