Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mid Stay! and all that jazz

Since i'm so great at updating, here we go :D

The weekend of the 5-6 February was AFS Midstay Orientation weekend for all the Afs-ers in Wallonie. Exciting stuff right?

So we left Saturday morning, Destination: Libramont. Libramont is basically a pretty small twon in the south end of Belgium. On the train we basically just passed empty fields and mines until the city popped into view. After that we were shepherded onto two huge coach busses all arrying the 100+ exchangers in Wallonie. The buses then proceeded to take through twisting, wooded streets into what we thought was the middle of nowhere. Quite literally. In actuality, it was a kind of retreat/vacation center. Imagine like a huge building surrounded by nature where big companies and corportaions and groups can come and have meetings and retreats and that kinda stuff.
That was us. And this building was pretty large. Our group took up every room on two floors and there was about 4-5 levels in total. We all chose rooms and i ended up in this crazy room with three beds on the floor and three matresses right next to each other in this tiny loft with about a 10ft latter climb. Literally my hands were all red by the end of the weekend from climbing up and down. In my room was Johanna, Rosie, Katie, Lila, me (from US) and Jonfrid (Faroe Islands).

First activity upon arriving was eating of course. Then we were divided up into our small groups where we passed most of the weekend discussing all manner of things: postive and negatives of Belgium, things we've learnd, things we want to change, how our families were. You get the point. Intermixed was also of so fun mini-games and the not. One game included all of us sitting in chairs in a circle and finding someone in the group. Then we all have to run and tackle that person in a hug. Another game included us being split into three teams. One team was trying to send a message to a second team ( the recepting team) and lastly there was a team in the middle trying to make enough noise to stop the message from being recieved. I'm sure you get the picture :D

A good portion of the activities were pretty boring actually. Therefore when it was time to eat we were all super excited.

That night, we had activites where allll the groups were together in one enormous group of craziness. We played the equivalent of Belgian Never have I Ever. Where one person is standing in the middle of a circle of chairs and says something like I dont have blond hair. Everyone whose blond has to then get up and find a new chair. After this we split into the red team and blue team. And in the two teams there were four smaller teams. I was R4 and we competed in random games against the blue team. In one of the games, we had a line of chairs on one side of the room and a table on the other. All the team was standing on the chairs (as well as the other team) and the goal was to get to the other end of the room without leaving the chairs. So basically everyone scoots down a little on their chairs so the first person can stand on another persons chair, pick up the chair they were standing on, and pass it down the line. Everyone then keeps scooting down so there can be new chairs. It was pretty crazy with chairs being thrown down the line. Not to mention mildy dangerous. :D

Next was a crazy game with alllllll the people. everyone stands in a circle (oval) facing the same direction. You put your hands on the person in front of you's waist and theres a song that we sing as we walk forward. The last three words of the song are Lion, Zebra and Elephant. At lion, you push your hips forward, zebra- backwards, and elephant- side to side. After one or two tours of the song, they push the circle in tighter so that your arms are around the waist of the person in front of the person in front of you. The song goes again and the circle gets smaller so that your holding 3 people in front of you. Basically your jammed in their so tightly that everyone has to walk at the same time other wise it dosent work. Going around corners is dangerous too because if your not carefully the entire corner falls. After the circle is jammed so tightly that literally no body can breath, you have to try and sit down. I know crazy right. The goal is for everyone to be sitting on the legs of the person behind them and their weight is supported. Its incredibly difficult.
We had a third of the circle sitting but the weight wasnt being supported and about 40 people fell. That was quite funny actually.

After all this crazyness, most of us went upstairs and showered and then a bunch of people came to hang out in our room. Around 2 the volunteers came and said everyone had to go to sleep and asked if there were any boys in the room. So we all got in bed and about 10 mins later, they come back counting us and looking for boys. No boys so we go to sleep. Wake up call was scheduled for 7h30 the next morning.

So there we are completely exhausted at 7am when the volunteers come in, turn on the light and tell us to wake up. Being that breakfast wasnt until 8h30 we all of course found this ridiculous and closed the door turned off the lights, and went back to sleep. Not 5 minutes later was our door wrentched open with the lights turned on and a stero blasting spainish music came bursting quite loudly into our room. One of the volunteers was screaming "good mornin ladies, time to get up". Finally he and the stero left and we steatily turned off the back lights ( leaving the front lights on to give the impression that we were up) and went back to sleep. However, The stero came back a for a third wake up and made us all sit up in bed and show that we were awake. OF course after he left we went back to sleep UNTIL more volunteers came in for a FOURTH WAKE UP. Can you belive it? we couldnt seeing as how we had over an hour to just get dressed and walk downstairs. By now it was around 7h30 and none of us were happy.

And that concludes the crazyness of midstay. Overall it was really fun to see everyone. Even if it wasnt that fun all the time, hanging out with other exchangers made it good. Meeting new people and all that ;)
Also, it was pretty crazy as it was the first time we were all together since august. Just standing in the hallway you can hear au minimum 5 different languages being spoken. Spanish, French, English, Norwegian, Finnish, Italian, Japansese, Thai, Malaysian, Chinese, Danish, you name it. It also was a general concensus that the American studnets felt pretty lame because we cant speak many languages. At least all the other foreigns spoke three languages; English, French, Native language. Quite sad actually.

In other words, my English skills have deteriorated to a comic point. I say crazy things frequently and my word order suxs.

Also this weekend (the 18th) marks 6 Monts since i left home! CELEBRATE. Only bout 5 months left....

thats all folks

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