Last Sunday, December 19th (yes, I am actually up to date now), I returned to Liège to meet up with the other American AFSers in Belgium. This time, I took the train from Arlon to Namur alone (I'm basically as far south in Belgium as it is possible to be) and met up with about half of the group there. It had almost the same hype as the flash mob- which was the last time I had seen any of these people. From Namur, we took the train to Liège. Our group was almost complete...we were just missing 2 of the remaining 13. It is a little sad, really. We started out as a group of 16 overly excited Americans going to Belgium- 12 in Wallonia and 4 in Flanders. Now, at four months, we're 11 in Wallonia and just 2 in Flanders. But I'm happy to say that we are still thoroughly overexcited.
Although, according to Johanna, overexcitedness is likely a universal trait of exchange students. Something we'll never lose.
Anyway, we spent the day walking around the Marché de Noël, mostly not paying attention to where we were going. We stopped occasionally at a stand to buy something to eat or drink. We tried hot wine, hot chocolate with Bailey's (mmmm), as well as Peket, which is just really sweetly flavored alcohol. We also bought baked marzipan and these odd chocolate coated marshmallow fluff candies. You could buy them with all kinds of flavors on the inside. And, of course, we stopped to buy gaufres de Liège (not to be confused with gaufres de Bruxelles).
Here's Austin and I with our gaufres.
It snowed all day long. Since all of us come from places where there is snow all winter, we were certainly content. Although, we were also certainly soaked through at the end of the day.
At one point, we went into a mall, to be greeted by none other than Père Noël! Being the absolutely and wonderfully ridiculous exchange students that we are, we had a group photo with Père Noël, an elf, and Rudolph.
It was an excellent way to celebrate our 4-month anniversary of meeting each other. Occasionally I consider what my life would be like if I had not become an AFS exchange student this year, in this country, with this group of people...and it's impossible. I love serendipity.
Anyway, at the end of the day, we went back to the train station. Since the train we wanted to take was late because of the snow, several of us took a train to another, larger station in Liège. From there, I took the train to Namur with a few others. When we got to Namur, however, it really hit me how much snow there was. I had meant to take the train that left just before 7, but I thought I had missed the connection, since I had come on a late train from Liège. But it was okay, it was late too.
And then it was cancelled.
So I took the next train, an hour later than the original.
Which was then 10 minutes late.
It was also twice as full as usual, so I didn't have a seat for an hour of the hour and a half trip. Luckily, I wasn't alone on the return journey. On the train from Liège, we met two other English-speaking exchange students from a different organization, and one of them was taking the train almost to Arlon. It was especially nice since I barely had enough space to move.
In the end, I got back to Arlon at 10:43. I was supposed to get back at 9:17. Nice.
But I got back...and I still love the snow. And serendipity.
Credit to Austin and Lila for the pictures...thanks. :)