Monday, December 12, 2011

Brussels Weekend

    The weekend of the 9-11 of December, I stayed at my friend Doreen's house. I met Doreen on my trip to Spain and ever since we have been great pals. She comes from Eastern Germany, speaks 4 languages, and is only 16 years old. She also has a great sense of humor and loves to flirt with guys. I rode the train for about 2 hours to get to her house because she lives right next to the city of Namur. Theux, my small village, does not have much but living next to the train station is an advantage. When I arrived at Doreen's house, she introduced me to her host sister and host mother. Her host parents are divorced but she does not seem to mind. We spent a lot of the night chatting, and watching American and french movies. The next day we took the train into Brussels because my other friends from the Spain trip were getting together to go bowling. It turns out that they were not bowling but drinking at the bar so Doreen L., Nicola C., and I went shopping. Brussels is a huge city and many christmas markets were scattered everywhere. We also explored real stores and visited the Grand place and the Manneken Pis.
     There are many tales behind the famous statue in Brussels. No one actually knows the real story of the Manneken Pis but one legend glorifies the statue as a boy who saved Brussels while it was under siege by foreigners. The attackers planted explosives at the city walls and a boy named Julianske put out the fuse by peeing on it, thus saving the city. Many people attempted to steel the statue over the years but has always been recovered. Today, the statue stands among the shops of Brussels and is dressed in costumes that relate to the current holidays and events.
     During our excursions a random middle aged man started to talk to us. He said we could come and visit his watch shop if we wanted. Its Doreen's fault that all these random men talk to us. I think that many men are attracted to her because she looks older than she. I don't mind as long as they are not too creepy!
     We didn't go to the watch shop but we stopped at a chocolate shop and ate free samples. I have never tasted better chocolate anywhere else. In fact, Belgium is most famous for its beer and its chocolate. Nicola was nice enough to buy us all chocolate and we enjoyed the snack together.
     When it started to get dark, Doreen and I boarded the train that lead back to her place. While we were sitting on the seat, 6 conductors walked through the door, one after the other. I was mind boggled because usually only 1 or 2 conductors ride the train to check the passengers tickets. It's possible that they wanted to hang out and party (just kidding).
     After the train ride and eating dinner, Doreen's host mom brought us to a bar. Doreen and I were the only ones brave enough to dance. The exception was this guy from Italy who semi-danced with us but I don't count his drunken swagger as dancing. I didn't get to bed until 2 o'clock in the morning but Doreen and her family were not tired because they always stay up that late. Later that day we went to a "magic pizza restaurant" and ate a famous German dish. The vender originally lived in Germany, spoke french, english, and german, originated from Morocco, but moved to Belgium. We did not have time to hear his life story because I had to catch my train.
       That Sunday was my host grandmas birthday so after I came home from the train I left the house with my parents. To celebrate her birthday, the family went out to eat at a restaurant next to the local castle. The christmas decorations were beautiful and it was a cheerful atmosphere. After eating 2 entrees and drinking lots of "Looza" I realized that those dishes were not the main dishes. I felt so full afterwards that it was difficult to eat the birthday cake for dessert. Everyone was trying to get me to drink alcohol but I do not like the taste. At one point I had 3 glasses of wine and champaign in front of me (I made my table neighbor drink them). Everyone was in a good humor and my host mom, host sister, and I left around midnight. I had the big school exams the next day but circumstances did not allow me to get a lot of sleep. I did not mind because my grades in Belgium do not matter. The next day I still attempted to do well on the Math tests.
     My weekend consisted of hanging out with my friend Doreen, eating lots of food, seeing famous objects, and moving around all the time. Sometimes these events interfere with my education at St. Rock but this year is not only about school. My favorite part of the weekend was spending time with my best German friend.

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