Okay, so I haven't written in a while. First things first, here are the promised pictures:
The first picture is the bus stop (I take the bus to school here), then the courtyard at Athénée Royal d'Arlon, and the last is the Salle des Rhétos, which is the room for only the 6th year students. I finally have my final schedule for school. I dropped all of my Audiovisual classes so I can take an additional French class, which I will start tomorrow. So here are my classes, followed by the number of hours per week I have the class.
French 6°- 5 hours per week
French 2°- 5 hours per week (That's right...10 hours of French class per week)
German 3°- 4 hours per week
Math- 4 hours per week
Physical Education- 3 hours per week
History- 2 hours per week
Drawing- 2 hours per week
Infography- 2 hours per week
Morale- 2 hours per week
Geography- 1 hour per week
Physics- 1 hour per week
Chemistry- 1 hour per week
Biology- 1 hour per week
Unlike most students, I don't have a specific option. I decided that it was more important for me to learn French than anything else at this point, so that's why I have two French classes, one with 6th years and one with 2nd years (in the United States, they are 8th graders). My German class, which I also start tomorrow, is with 3rd years (freshmen).
But enough about school. Let's talk about food!
In the US, most people think of waffles, beer, and chocolate when they think of Belgium, and for good reason. The drinking age is 16 in Belgium, so my first beer was actually legal! And the best part is...I didn't pay for it! It's kind of funny, actually. On Friday the first week of school, my history class walked to the center of Arlon for a commemmoration of the liberation of Arlon. However, my teacher realized that he had read the time wrong, and we were there really early. So, instead of just going back to school, we all went to a café for a drink, which my teacher paid for. Everyone at my table was shocked that I had never had a beer before (since it's illegal under 21 in the US), and they told me "You're in Belgium. You need to try beer." So I did.
And it was pretty darn good.
Last weekend, we went to a town in Luxembourg that had a festival to recall the Middle Ages. It reminded me a little bit of the Sterling Renaissance Festival in Sterling, NY. There, I tried a Gaufre- a really delicious Belgian waffle. The desserts and pastries here are amazing- not to mention the chocolate. But that is not all. The food is usually really fresh. My family grows a lot of food in the garden- pears, potatoes, apples, and peaches, just to name a few. We buy eggs from the neighbor across the street and bread from the baker. Preservation isn't a problem- a loaf of bread is usually gone in a day and a half in our house. A jar of Nutella lasts about the same amount of time. A lot of the food I eat here is similar to what I eat at home, especially since my family in the US eats a large variety of foods, but I have tried some new things. I had mussels with my family, which my host mother loves. I also tried frog legs when we ate with Michel's parents. They were actually really good.
We spend a lot of time with relatives, something new for me. In the US, my family is spread across the country. I have family in Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, New York, Ohio...and that's just the beginning. Family here is really close, especially since Belgium is so small. Michel's brother actually lives next door, and his parents are there quite often. Anyway, last Friday, we went to Isabelle's parent's house since it was her father's birthday. I met her two brothers and their families, but her sister was unable to go. On Saturday, we went to Michel's parent's house for supper (when I tried frog legs). And this past Friday, we went to Isabelle's brother's house for supper. Her brother has two sons, both of which go to Athénée Royal d'Arlon with Flo and I (Victoria goes to a school in Luxembourg now, since it has more of a focus on athletics). The older son is in his 3rd year of secondary school, and the younger one is in his 6th year of primary school. I really like spending time with our family.
Yesterday, I went to Bastogne with Michel and Isabelle, but I think that deserves its own post, so I will post about it soon (but not today).
I'm loving it here.