Nov 17, 2011

I am an exchange student

Being an exchage student:
It’s to be born again
It’s to start everything from the beginning
It’s to feel nostalgia
It’s to learn to value what you have
It’s to be scared
It’s to learn to take care of yourself
It’s to eat in excess
It’s to think what once was imagined
It’s to know the unknown
It’s to share the special moments with other exchange students
It’s to never have any money
It’s to spend too much on useless things
It’s to be hot
It’s to be cold
It’s to be the reason for the jokes
It’s to make jokes
It’s to leave the house looking ridiculous (I’m an exchange student, nobody knows me)
It’s to pretend to understand nothing at school
It’s to pretend to understand what you new friends say
It’s to have absurd stories
It’s to make friends which turn into siblings
It’s to think that the world is yours
It’s to want to see the world with only a backpack
It’s to miss stupid things
It’s to discover that people are people in whichever part of the world
It’s to want to go home
It’s to never want to go home..
It's a small piece of text that's been circulating around Facebook, and I quite liked the message.
Bisous, Julia =)

Nov 15, 2011

A week of holidays (and some more)

It's been less than a month since my last post, yes, I am proud of myself for that! So the week of schoo prior to the holidays was mostly spent well, waiting for the holidays of course, what else..

Wednedays we went to Brussels with school to see an exposition which was a complete reconstruction of the tomb of Tutankhamon. In the end that was really interesting and well done, better than I expected. We had some audio-guides to follow the exposition and I had mine in English like a bad exchange student... By Friday the people in my class were stressing out quite a bit, it was time for our first grades. For me the points I get here don't count for anything in Finalnd so failing isn't the worst thing that could happen (and it seems to be fairly normal in Belgium in general. Since everything I've done is in French, I wasn't expecting a lot of my grades, however in the end I had only failed 3 of my subjects, maths, science and history, quite happy with that, it's less than some of my classmates... So by the end of the last lesson on Friday, the holidays could finally begin! They have a week of holidays around the 1st of November for "Toussaint" (all saint's day).

We had lots and lots of plans for the holidays, but as often, things don't always quite work out as planned. Friday evening we spent at home for once, enjoying nothing but a cosy night at home. Saturday I went into Tournai with Carrie, she needed some shopping done but in the end I think it was me that bought a pair of shoes.. Around 5 we walked to the station to get Nele, my best friend, and ran into my counsellor too. We then did a quick tour back into town so she could see one of the cool shops in Tournai before it closed and headed home for yet another night of doing nothing more than watching a movie. We saw a movie called "Orphan" which was pretty damn creepy to be honest. It was generally just great seeing her again as well. Sunday we went to "Pairi Daiza", this huuge park with lots and lots of exotic animals, but built in such a way that it really doesn't resemble an animal park at all. There were chinese houses in the middle, some thai temples and such...   It was interesting seeing lots of species I'd never actually seen before. Fine, it wasn't really their natural environment but still. That was pretty much it for Sunday, we were exhausted afterwards. Monday was Nele's last day here so we went to see Tournai, did some shopping, had a drink, well, the usual. It also happened to be Halloween! Something we don't really do in Finland, but here some people do it. Me and Carrie were invited over to Morgane's place for a soirée and Caroline was normally supposed to come too but in the we were only three. We had to do a sort of costume so I did my version of "Pippi Longstocking from hell" which was more or less succesfull. Carrie's was PERFECT though, she did a geisha and her make-up was pretty impressive! We had a good and long evening/ night which lead to us not doing a lot on Tuesday (except for a drink in town) so I'll just move on to Wednesday.... Me and Carrie took the train to Brussels around 12 since I had agreed to meet up with Astrid, a girl I've known for years but we'd never actually met up before. Have to admit I was a bit nervous. We had lunch at a place called EKKI (I think?) where they had lots of fresh stuff, salads and the like. And speculoos cheese cake. Yum. We also visited some awesome places with books and CDs aaand tickets! It was a good day! Thursday, once again, plan was to do something but in the end all I ended up doing was spending a few hours at Morgane's place with another friend from school, but hey, we had a good time so I'm not complaining. Friday we were going to meet Valeriya, the russian who lived at home for the first two weeks in Brussels. Hoaever it wasn't that easy since Jade was already in Brussels, she didn't have her phone and the number I had for Valeriya was incorrect. Luckily Jade finally had her cellphone thursday evening so we were able to decide on when to meet up and such. Buuut of course I'd already agreed to meet an italian and a venezuelian girl before going to Brussels, but in th end we just had a coffee with them and headed for Brussels afterwards. With Valeriya we went to the Delirium and had some beer (what else?) and I saw something interesting, the female version of Manneken Pis! Jeanneke Pis, a statue of a girl pissing... Only in Belgium..

Saturday we had our third AFS activity with our comité Hainaut. It was a visit to a brewery in Ecaussines. We took the train from tournai around 12 with Andrea (Venezuela) and found one of the volunteers on the train. In La Louvière we had to wait for a bit over half an hour, which was less great since it's in the middle of nowhere... Once we got to Ecausinnes we met the other and satrted walking... We made a tour of several kilometres, finding out stuff about le piere bleue (spelling prolly sucks..). After a loong walk we got some muffins and cookies baked by the volunteers and then we headed for the brewery. That was actually really interesting, seeing just how the beer is made and finally getting to taste one. It was good, but what else can you expect, it's Belgian. We took the train home around 7 and arrived in Tournai around 8.30. Jade met us at the station with some food (thank you!!!) and then we headed to the Cornwall to continue the evening. Carrie was exhausted after the day so Marianne came to get her after a few hours, a shame for her because we saw something pretty awesome afterwards. There was a group of artists that did a fireshow just outside the pub, I'd never seen stuff like it before. All in all it was a great night, dancing and having fun, until the early hours.. Sunday we had lunch with Jean -Pierre, Carrie, Jade, Gilles and Jean at Pizza Hut since Marianne had some repeptitions for a spectacle at the poney club the weekend after.

The week at school was fairly normal, we had swimming class Monday and I had to do a discussion with some people from the 6eme about my culture versus Belgian culture.. Problem was.. After the week of holidays, my French was almost completely gone. The first thing my friend told me was "oh my god! your accent is back!" Hmh, too much English during the holidays that was.. Towards the end of the week I started feeling weaker... Luckily we had a day off Friday too due to the armistice of the first world war this time. Thursday was Jade's 20th birthday and she was doing a party at home, so I spent the afternoon sleeping to be able to participate. We were maybe 10 since she put up her invitations a little late, but it was a good night anyway. During the night I got a lovely fever so Friday morning was less amazing. During the day I felt better, and luckily so, since we were going to a chinese restaurant in the evening as a surprise for Carrie for her birthday (which was Sunday but..).. And she certainly was surprised! But apparently when we eat Chinese food, it's not really Chinese in the end. We kept on asking her with evrything, "is this Chinese?" "hmm...I don't know..." Okay.. Fine then. And of course towards the end of the evening I started feeling worse and worse again, my fever was back. I really hated that since we were celebrating her birthday and all, and the food would've been great but I had no appetite.. Saturday was finally better, but we did pretty much nothing the whole day. Well me and Jade watched Wall-E in the evening but that's about it.. :D Sunday there was a biiig thing at the poney club which is kept by Marianne's best friend Cecile. It was the fête de St. Hubert which they do every year. It's basically a spectacle where the kids do performances on horses and ponies and in between the performances Marianne and some others did some silly piece of theater, this time with the smurfs. Marianne did the girl smurf in a skirt and all.. Hilarious! The spectacle was really nice to see, some of the kids were really talented on the horses, and of course seeing 4-5 years old kids doing horseback riding is just too adorable.

Voilà once again, a little recap of what I've been up to lately. Yesterday was a waay too long day, mondays are always long... Swimming and what not. Today I had to do a presentation of Finland in English class, which wasn't too difficult of course. I even took some Salmiakki for them to try, it was definitely worth seeing some of the reactions to that :D
à la prochaine!
Bisous, Julia =)