January 20, 2011

Cinq mois

This week marks the five-month anniversary of the week my life changed.

Just thought I should mention that-- five months ago Monday I left Cortez, five months ago yesterday I left the United States, five months ago right now I spent my first evening in Belgium. Tomorrow will mark five months with my host family in Linkebeek.

I'll save the philosophical reflections for another time-- a time when I'm a little more awake and a little more concentrated. But for today, I'll write a quick portrait of today.

Right now, I'm seated in front of the computer writing this with my host brother Gaëtan playing on the Wii behind me. I just ate dinner-- a blended soup of poireaux, carottes, cèleri, et courgettes--leeks, carrots, celery, and zucchini, followed by une salade, des pommes de terre (potatoes) and de l'agneau (lamb). A typical Belgian meal-- soup followed by meat, potatoes, and another vegetable.

During dinner, I talked normally with my family in French.

At school today, my classes consisted of three hours of French, where I took notes about picture analysis, then two periods of English, where we watched a BBC video clip looking back at the A&E of 2010 and wrote about things we found interesting, then lunch, and then two periods of Dutch, where I sat and looked through a beginning-level Dutch vocabulary book as the other people in the class read articles that I didn't understand at all.

For lunch, my friends and I traced our usual path to the sandwicherie (where I bought a tuna sandwich on a baguette) then to Delhaize (the supermarket, where I bought a bar of chocolate, partly to wake me up and partly to celebrate my Belgium anniversary), then back to the school. There, we sat and talked, finishing our lunches and throwing Kinder chocolate bar wrappers at each other.

I understood probably 98 percent of the French that I heard today. A couple times I had to have people repeat themselves, and a couple times I ran into an expression I didn't know. But that's a lot more than I would have understood five months ago.

And speaking French has become a lot easier in five months as well....Even though I still make errors, it no longer is hard for me to carry on a conversation. I'll talk more about le français at a different point in time. 

After school I got on bus 43, direction Braves, headed toward Linkebeek. I got home, changed clothes, and took a run, winding my way through narrow paths between houses, cobblestone roads, and forest trails. The entire time, I knew where to go.

And tonight, as I write this sentence, the time is 22:43, rather than 10:43 p.m., and I need to go to bed. Because tomorrow, I need to wake up at 6:50 so I can get ready to catch the bus to be at school by 8. I have P.E. class tomorrow first thing in the morning-- we're going to play tennis.

So, I should go to bed.

Mais voila-- described above is a normal day for me in Belgium . I think it's perfect kind of day to mark five months here.

1 comment:

  1. Austin, the photos are beautiful and you've described your impressions so clearly, just as if you were sitting here. Will the bulbs begin blooming next month? You look healthy, happy, and right at home. Nice.

    Very proud of you.