Saturday, December 18, 2010

St.Nicolas, La neige, et Les Examens...

Once again I have failed in my blog updating duties as i believe its been around a month since my last post. However i'm updating now so thats what counts.

First lets start off with St.Nicolas which is a really big deal in Belgium. Really big. In the US i believe i left my shoes out a few times when I was younger but that was only when i remembered. But no, not in Belgium. St.nicolas first began the first week of December (i believe). My host sibs and i left our shoes out every night for over a week hoping that St.Nicolas would bring us some candy or speculoos. (Note: EVERYONE writes letters to st.nic, equivalent of santa). While we wernt sucessful every night, we were rewarded with some marzipan and chocotoff candies. Then came the grand finale so to speak. I believe it was Saturday night (the 4th) when i'd returned from another st.Nic celebration (to be discussed later) when all of my host siblings and i left our bowls along with our shoes with little name cards with them in case st.Nic came by. The next morning we woke up to a splendor of goodies. Literally the entire floor was covered with not only candy but marzipan, speculoos, comic books, cds. You name it. And that was just one day of st.Nicolas.

My chapter of afs (AFS Namur) also had a celebration for us just to make sure we truly appreciate what its all about. We all met up at the train station in Namur to make our way to an ice skating rink in Charleroi where we all procceded to try to ice skate and mostly fail. I for one do not remember it being that difficult or that uncomfortable. After that we returned to Namur where many host families and other exchangers came to join us for a souper fromage, meaning that everyone brought a cheese and we eat bread and salad and cheese and its great :D. Then St.Nicolas paid a visit to ensure that us foriegners know the real meaning of his holiday. Overall it was a fun night and i got my picture taken with good old st.Nic.

And the celebration isnt over yet! In Belgium, St.Nics is a large day of partying for the Rheto and college students. The students wear a white lab coat (called a tablier) that they decorate and all their friends write on, and they then proceed to throw all manner of disgusting products including eggs, flour, ketchup and all liquids on each other in an attempt to be the dirtiest. Quite fun lemme tell ya.
And lastly for St.Nic is when he comes to school of course. The Rheto (my class, senior year) pays for the costume and someone dresses up and walks around to all the classes at school handing out candy and singing. and Voila :D
Onto la neige (AKA the snow)
In Belgium there are no such thing as snowdays mind you. However the snow is much nicer than in STL. The first time it started snowing we got 5cm here and there. But this is big fluffly snowflakes that look like cotton balls falling from the sky. Its basically teh perfect consistency and everything looks beautiful! sitting in school, i couldnt see the difference between the snow covered roof of the school and the white sky. With the snow comes the freezing temperatures of -12degrees celcius. Thats cold folks. Then, just when the snow started to melt, we had a day where it blizzard-ed nonstop all day. I didnt dare leave the house until 4pm when my family tried to leave to go to the host grents house. It had snowed almost 20cm of fluffliness and made it almost impossible to drive in. Eventually that started to melt as well but once again it has started to snow this week and now i get to see the beauty every day when i look out the window. This here is the perfect snow people. Its incredibly beautiful. Im afraid i dont have a picture becasue whenever i think to take one, its cold and snowy and i never get around to it :P
Now, onto exams week. Exams started the 9th of December and finish the 21st for most students. I say that because I only took 4 (as required by AFS Belgique). Some exams last two hours some last 4. Everyday we have an exam we get done at 12 so that we can go home, eat, and study. Exams are a little bit more intense here than in STL. For one, theres way more classes, the exams are longer, and ther worth a bigger portion of your grade. Not a great combination. Basically the entire school is stressed and tired. For me it wasnt too bad besides the french thing. I took Spanish, Morale, History and Geography. I think i passed the first two but definatley failed the second two. It was a new challenge for me in comprehension and writing skills thats for sure. But when it comes down to it, if you dont understand the question, you cant really repond. So for me, i had two exams Wedensday, one Thursday and one Saturday. Yes i did say Saturday. Im still in disbelief as well.
However for me exams are done and i can enjoy the start of my vacation.
bon vacances a tout!