Published: July 23rd 2012June 18th 2012
So on a day with no exams, what are 35 bored exchange students going to find to do ? Today, it was kayaking. Expertly thought up by Morgan, around 35 of us exchangers headed down to Dinant, where the kayaking charters were. We started in great weather, and in general, despite being at the back of the group and chilling down the river with my mates at the back, it was awesome. Ben played this little flute thing, that was kinda in aqueous transmission territory which really added to the ambience. We stopped for lunch and a few drinks at a little beach we found some while down the river. At the end of the day, we got some coffee at the café just en face de la finish of the trip. After a cold shower and a long day of being semi-wet, it was a godsend, and kept us warm for the train ride home.
Today I’d been invited to head off to a birthday party at Kate Deans house, which was in Waregem, a part of Belgium close to France, but in the northern (and therefore primarily Flemmish-speaking part of Belgium). Having just finished
an English exam at school, which to say the least wasn’t at all difficult, We took off after the carre, and after stealing some clothes from soon-leaving oldie Morgan (which I nabbed a sweet scarf off !), we all bought ‘supplies’, and the next train to Brussels was filled with rowdy exchangers destined for Kate’s. We arrived a little after 7 (no problem – doesn’t get dark here until 10pm..), and on the way we’d bought stuff to prepare when we arrived, as her parents weren’t home. So on went the frites, expertly prepared by Emmaline. Next were pizzas, croquettes and lasagne. The rest of the night was running around, occasionally jamming on the piano, and by the time the majority of us crashed around 4am. Luckily, Alden, Riley and I snagged our own room, whereas the other 7 people shared the same sized room. Lucky for us !
The next day (14th
), we made the healthy choice of making deep-fried bread for petit-dejuner, and we laxed around laughing about the night before, the concerts coming up, and the impending doom of all our beloved oldies leaving. Escaping before clean-up, We then made our way to Brussels for lunch.
Being my forever-indecisive self, I was stuck between options before jack took me to the ‘Greek strip’, basically a road full of Greek restaurants that we eventually chose Durum’s from. After this we met up with some of the other exchangers like Hugo, Rohan and Emma Sloan in the park for a bit of park drinking, and to meet Emma’s Hawaiian friends who’d come over for a little tour of Europe and to see Emma. So there we were, relaxing in the rare Belgian sun there in a nice park in Brussels for the day, after which came a slow ride home, multiple sleeps on the respective busses and trains, the essential report of the happening to the family, and the bed.
I’d been given the awesome chance to play guitar for Alison’s (my younger host sister) god-daughters Baptism ceremony. Without the family knowing, Ali asked me to play a song during the service sometime, and she landed on “Wonderwall” by Oasis. Being myself, I questioned whether there was a more relevant song for the occasion, and I managed to convince her that a better song would be “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley, and it was settled. So
we set off just after lunch, and went to a local church where all the family was casually waiting. It was a stock standard ceremony, and just before the book signing (of the parents), Ali waved me up, and in the old, beautifully resonant church I sang the first two verses. They really enjoyed it, and Jean-Claude told me afterwards it was a special thing to have something like that at this kind of ceremony. After the service, all the kids then grouped up outside the doors, and coming from small bags that Jean-Claude had, he threw small one and five cent pieces, along with all sorts of lollies and things. I’d never seen anything like that happen after a Baptism, so afterwards I asked him about it, and apparently it’s just like that, and totally normal.
After this we went and had a verrry long lunch at the parents house, which lasted a good 4 hours, after which Ali needed to study, Jean-Claude needed to work, and I needed to sleep.