Oct 22, 2011

Time flies by!

I was fighting with my blog to upload pictures for an hour and it didn't work so the pictures might be up later if ever. And ofc as usual I have to say, sorry for being a bad and lazy blogger, probably the worst one in the history of blogging ! However life in Belgium is rolling on, and I still love it!

A couple of week-ends ago I was more busy than normally.. That might've been because it was right before my brithday... :) But it was great. Friday (7.10) evening I was invited over to Morgane's place (a friend from school) with some other girls, I think we were 6, normally we should've been more but it was a shame that Caroline, who's an exchange student through WEP from Brazil, couldnt come in the end. We had a really good time with the girls, as always, this was the third time we spent a night like this if I remember correctly. We went into town for a drink which perhaps was the worst idea ever as it was raining and raining and really cold outside too. We were back at her place at a reasonable hour but not in bed at a reasonable hour, like usual.. The girls had a little surprise prepared for me, a special dessert, only for me.It consisted of chocolate and some Finnish candy called Salmiakki, which is simply disgusting. It seems I'd forgotten some of the candies at Morgane's place after our first evening there, and now they decided to use them against me :D But the sweetest thing was that they'd made a keychain with a couple of pictures of me and them as a birthdaypresent. :)

Saturday I got home pretty late, after 2pm I guess, and in the evening, me and Jade first went into town and had a drink at the Irish Pub and afterwards we were invited to a friend's place to see an art exposition. Marianne (hostmum) was there with her bestfriend and Carrie, however we didn't stay too long with Jade and Carrie, we had some other plans for the night still. It was (of course) raining as we walked towards the appartment of Jade's best friend. There we had a good night with some wine, talking and music. Naturally we had to walk home in the rain so it was fairly late before we were back.

Sunday we had made some plans of exploring Brussels with some other AFS exchangers. Carrie unfortunately didn't feel like coming so I was alone on the train, up until the last 30 minutes when Marion (Switzerland) boarded the train in Enghien and Estefany (Italy) sort of just happened to find us. We met up at about 12 at the Gare Central in Brussels and bought some stuff to eat before heading towards the metro. We must've been quite the sight, a group of about 10 boys and girls speaking a mixture of english, french, spanish, german and what not... Oh yes, italian.  Our first destination was the Atomium and mini Europe. It goes without saying that it was raining, and of course the mini europe is an outside activity... We didn't care, we had our umbrellas! We started by eating waffles from a stand in front of the atomium and taking some pictures of our lovely little group. Afterwards we split up into two since everyone didn't want to do both of the activities. I did both of them, and so we started off by going into the atomium. But now I have to be honest, it was nothing special in the end.. They had some expositions of various things inside but you get a good enough impression of it just by standing in front of it.. Oh and if someone doesn't know, the atomium is a huge construction made of well, balls. After finishing the atomium we headed towards the mini Europe which is basically a miniature of various sights in the countries of the European Union. It was funny to see things like the Eiffel tower being just a little bit talle than yourself. And they even had something from Finland, Olavinlinna, a place where I saw a Nightwish concert a couple of years ago. Good memories.. And a small Sauna! :D We had more plans for the day but the atomium and mini Europe took longer than we'd thought, so afterwards we only had time to grab some fries and have one beer at the Delirium, our new favourite in Brussels. I was home after 7 and went to bed at a reasonable hour, to stay awake at school on monday.

Monday, was the 10th of october, as in, my birthday! 17, which is only one year from 18 :D The day was spent at school, from 8 unti 4.20 (lovely eh?) with people wishing me happy birthday when they heard someone else doing it. Even a teacher wished me happy birthday, haha. And I had to run 4km for the first time in gym class.. Lovely birthday present. But I DID it, and I was the 4th or 5th to finish of our group, I'm proud of that. After school I was pretty exhausted as usually on mondays, school until 4.20 with two hours of gym class is just a tad bit tiring. And on top of that it's all  in French of course :D At home I read my emails and Facebook with all the nice congrats from people here and at home in Finland, and my mum called me! Which means I had to speak Finnish again... Wow.. That was surprisingly difficult.. My ponunciation is already crap after two months here.. I can't even imagine how it will be when I go home. My Swedish was still pretty okay when I talked to my brother but Finnish.. I'll have to practice a bit before going home in July :D It was great hearing their voices again but weird at the same time, that's my family and I haven't seen them for two months already. Time passes by SO fast here. But in the evening as I was just beginning to do my homework a girl came into my room and said Marianne wanted us to come to where her reception is. And so we went and when I stepped inside I saw about 20 friends of the family, all starting to sing Happy Birthday in French. I was so surprised, it was the last thing I had expected. I got gifts from every direction, it was just such a sweet thing  of them to do.. We ate well, had some sparkling wine, and some cake. There were four small cakes and I had to try and blow out the candels of all of them at once. Didn't quite succeed. The two funniest moments of the evening were for one when all of a sudden Marianne placed a piece of serrano ham in my hair, to prove to the others that it had the same colour as my hair :D The second when I accidentally got some cream from the cake on my fingers, someone placed my hand in my face so it was all over me and when Marianne saw it, she placed her face in her cake, 3I have sympathy for you, see?" :D It's a crazy life, that's for sure.

The week of school I had nothing special, as usual.. For once I didn't even do anything at all Wednesday afternoon, normally I figure out something to do since I finish school at 12 and Carrie has class until 4.20, which really really sucks. Thursday we did go see a piece of theater with school at the Maison de la Culture in Tournai. It was called Chatroom, a story about six teenagers talking on the internet about various problems etc. I quite liked it, since I was able to understand most of what was going on. Later however, we had to write a review of the piece, minimum one page, for French class, outch. Not as easy.

Friday finally came, and even though we weren't planning on going out as Jade was really tired, and me too actually, but one of her friends insisted on driving us, so we went. And we had a good night, as usual! Saturday we had been planning on visiting Lille in France since it's only 30km from Tournai, 15 minutes by train, to do some shopping because all three of us have a slight need of new clothes. However our plan didn't work out as Marianne wasn't home Saturday, we had to stay at home to watch the dogs. We spent a lazy day doing literllay nothing but watching a movie and going to the supermarket for some cheese that we'd need on sunday.

Sunday we had our second AFS activity organised by our chapter, Hainaut . It was a welcome party in a city called La Louviere, in other words, a chance for us to talk about our experiences so far and such. For the event we had to prepare a paper with a picture and a phrase in our native language about our life in Belgium so far. I wasn't able to choose so I wrote my paper in both Finnish and Swedish. It was interesting though, seeing all the papers with everything from chinese to italian.. And it was great seeing all the other students again! At first we had some group activities, basically they divided us into two and we did some talking and played some games, the typical AFS stuff. Our volunteers are awesome though :D At midi we started organising the tables so that we'd be able to have lunch everyone together, students, families and volunteers. Everyone had been told to bring something, cheese or ham or salad or whatever and it was al placed on a long table from where we could fill our plates with whatever we wanted. We'd also been asked to bring our own plates, forks and knives but for some reason us three, we'd only brought our plates... Well luckily they'd reserved some extra ones for people that'd forget theirs. After lunch we were able to buy the AFS sweater of our chapter, I love it, it's waarm and big and green. The last thing of the day was a game of three points in town where we had to (divided into three teams) reply to some questions about famous Belgian people, sightseeing in the province of Hainaut and miming some traditional Belgian things. We were the yellow team so our team chant was "Hip hip hip, vive les frites!!" :D :D Haha, and in the end we got to shared first place, whee.

Monday morning was quite unsuccesful for both me and Carrie... We had both sort of forgotten it was monday, I'd forgotten to check whether I have homework to do or no, and she'd entirely forgotten it was monday so she slept about an hour more than normally, the poor girl. We had to run 4km, AGAIN, and I did better than last week! But the worst part is, we still have to do it once more next monday.... Other than that the actual week at school was pretty normal, full of tests that I'm not quite able to do and lessons that are tiring.. But lots and lots of laughter during the breaks with my friends.. Silly stuff. Wednesday I actually went to Brussels after school, I visited Jade at her student room and such. We actually did nothing special, but it was a nice afternoon anyway. I took the train home at around 7 since that way I can still make it to the last bus, and all of a sudden I saw Marion at the train station! :D So the first half an hour I didn't have to be alone on the train, we were three, Marion, me and Chris, a girl from Ecuador who lives in the same town as Marion and is here for a year through Rotary. After they left the train I tried to read my book for French class but I think I fell asleep...

Yesterday, friday, I had Marion here for a sleepover. She was at the train station at about 4 and we walked into town with her and Carrie, showed her the awesome city of Tournai, had a drink at the Grand Place; bought some chips for the evening and took the bus home. We didn't really have any plans for the evening, but we had a lot of fun, jumping around to some music being silly as little children... The funniest moments here are always the most random ones... We can have a battle of water in the kitchen with Jade and Carrie, or I can have ham inmy hair or whatever. Laughter is a biig part of this house, without humor you wouldn't survive in here, that's for sure.

For once I have no plans for today and tomorrow, but that's  good, to chrage some batteries before one more week of school. After that, it's a week of vacation, Toussaint. I have to admit, I can't wait for that! We have a lot of plans alreay, we'll see if we're able to do everything we'd want to :)

So, a slighly longer update to give some information of what I'm up to over here. I'll try to make it less than a month before my next update!
Hugs, Julia =)