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Sunday, February 12, 2012

So Hainaut

     This week has been pretty busy. I don't know if I mentioned it previously but I was going to sing in a concert with my host parents wind band ensemble in a concert. The past several days have been a push to the finish with rehearsal . Half my time has been spent in Binche *the town where we play * which isn't too bad because its a pretty cool town .
       Also I started my french courses finally , in Mons . I'm in the expert class , somehow , with another exchange student from conneticut ! We're the youngest in the class, the others are immigrants , ex pats ,ect. In some of the other classes there are americans and a few brits because theres a NATO base not far from Mons. The class covers exactly what I need ; the grammar , structure the base of the language that I don't really have the best understanding of from time to time.
                               Friday was the concert, and I was not nervous, even though it was the first time I ever sang by myself . EVER. The only thing that kept me from being nervous was the fact that less than 5% of the audience speaks English, and since i was singing in english I could of gone up there and sang the New York State penal code and they wouldn't have known the difference.
      Once again my host family surprised me , They sent out an email to my host club president and councilor asking them if they wanted to come to the concert as well as the other exchangers in my club. So im walking around in the lobby during the intermission and I start seeing exchange student faces that i recognize ......and then my president and councilor come up and tell me about the whole thing! I am very much on the good side with the rotarians now ;) . Also there was another surprise i was in on for the concert. The concert was to commemorate my host dads 15 years working as the cheif of the ensemble and right before i went on stage to  sing they pulled up a video of my host brother Pierre , who's in colombia right now for his exchange and he said a few words about his father and introduced his little sister ;).
                     After a late night of reveling in the success of the concert Saturday was spent getting ready for my host brother Clement's surprise 18th birthday party . My host dad got to use a really nice room at the military base in Mons . It was an Ireland themed party so there was Guinness , naturally. I also got to see friends that I haven't seen in a while because I don't live with Clement at the moment . At 8 clement showed up at the party blindfolded and dressed up as a leprechaun . Everyone was dead quiet and when they took off the blind fold , Patrick a friend of my host parents came out in full dress playing the bagpipes. It was awesome! Since my French is so much better ( not perfect) it was so easy to move from group to group and be able to talk and make jokes. Finally at midnight my host parents and their friends from the ensemble in Binche came out and played all the songs that are for Carnvial . COMMENCE AWKWARD CIRCLE DANCING AND WAVING NAPKINS AROUND EVERYWHERE. Still very awesome either way. Plus I learned how to work a tap. Belgification complete.

Next week will be the start of Carnival in Binche which is one of the best places in the world to go for carnival , its up there with Rio, Venice, New Orleans ect. Theres wayy tooo much to explain for this post so I'll leave it for later !

* reason for title , Hainaut is the name of the Province  i live in and i'm currently trying to learn all the provinces and their captials
i'll give it a go
 Namur- Namur
 Liege-  Liege
 Antwerp-Antwerp
 Hanaiut - Mons
 Limburg- Hasselt
 Luxembourg- ( not the duchy) Arlon
 Brabant Walloon- Warve
 Brabant Flamand- Leuven
 Flanders Occidental- Brugge
 Flanders Oriental-Ghent

Someday i'll make an effort and explain the clusterfuck that is belgium but i want to give a quick example of what we're dealing with here.
   the captial of Wallonia - Namur
   the captial of Flanders - Brussels
       The majority of the people in Brussels speak French. CLEAR AS MUD, NO?!


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