Today there was mania as all the ‘Rhetos’ (all the students who are about to finish their last year of school here), all dressed up as outrageous things at school. All types of characters were there, from Ali G, to Cats, to superman. It was awesome how they caused ruckus all day though, and all times throughout the classes for today were just loud screams, rumbling of shifting desks, and just a complete dismissal of authority for the day. After school finally finished, we were all off down to the local for a few, and people from the three schools in the area came. That night though, was the ‘warrior party’, a massive party celebrating 50 days until the finish of their school life. As you can expect, it was big and loud, and in typical Belge styling, there was a live DJ or two, and alcohol was sold cheaply on venue.
Waking up today, I had a massive task laid ahead of me. Today was Family changing day ! As I was packing the monumental amounts of souvenirs and extra clothes into my pack, it seemed crazy that already 1/3 of my exchange was over.
But after what seemed like forever, and finding some pretty interesting things in the course of completely emptying my room, I was all ready, and after giving out a few NZ gifts to my host fam, I was off with Alain and Sonia to the Winandy’s house !. When we arrived, there was an amazing array of all different types of ‘aperatives’, which are tasty little finger foods, a banner that read ‘Bienvenue Henry !’, and the all the family (apart from Jordan my host brother, 15, who was off playing soccer), Composed of Host dad Jean-Claude, Host mum Christelle, Older host sister Leticia (21), and younger host sis Ali (19). I later learnt that Ali made almost all of the food in the house, and all the finger foods were made by her. So we all had lunch, and Alain recounted some of the funny memories we’ve had, along with useful advice like Henry is hardly ever here, he’s always tired when he comes back at night, and his favourite sandwiches are boulettes avec fromage. Just the necessities.
So after a very long lunch, I said my goodbyes to Sonia and Alain, waved goodbye, and got taken a tour around my (big) new house. Unpacking could wait, and in my new host families true style, we were off to a family members house to meet everyone, drop something off (or pick something up), and eat and drink a bit. I met so many people I couldn’t initially remember all the names, but I really felt even after not being in the house the whole time, and only after one day, so at home with the Winandy’s. In the same kind of way as the Comperes, Jordan had to ditch his room for me, and for the next two months, he and Ali would be rooming together. Just so thoughtful..
That night Ali and I went to a friend of hers party, which was great. However, never again will I drink ‘Coca Blondes”, and for good reason…
Today was a nice slow start thankfully, and after breakfast we went to another family members house and watched a bit of football, Liege vs Brussels, which is quite a big game. Here I learnt that Jordan’s really, really into his soccer. Five or Six days a week he has soccer trainings, and it’s what he just loves to do. So with my lacking international soccer language, I listed with perked ears to all about Belgium soccer teams and such upcoming soccer tournaments. It’s really nice here though, kind-of like a Belgian Puketapu in some ways… Away from the city, with big fields surrounding, with livestock dotted around places, but still very close to Verviers. And the family’s house who we went to grew strawberries, and sold the huge fruits along with homemade apple juice to help fundraise for Ali’s exchange in Australia soon.
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