So, Sunday November 28th.
My brother's birthday, my first (and likely last) Belgian medal, and a European "Thanksgiving."
So, first, the medal!
As I've likely mentioned already, I go to Athletic Club Dampicourt with my host family on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We sometimes have competitions on Saturdays, but the club also hosts other events, such as a 5K I did earlier this year in Habay...and a cross-country meet in Arlon. My entire my host family decided to participate in the meet. There were different distances to choose from. My age group could choose between a short (1500 meter) and long (3000 meter) run. Florence and I were going to do the short one, but an official told us that if we did the longer one, we could get more points for the club, and possibly get a place on the podium. So, despite the fact that we're both throwers, we did the longer run. As it turned out, there were 4 competitors in our age group, so I did end up with 3rd place. I may not have huge bragging rights, but hey, I have a medal that says I got 3rd place in the Province of Luxembourg!
Plus, I got St. Nicolas speculoos afterwards.
After we finished the race, we went to pick up Danielle, the other American exchange student at my school. We returned home to cook. Luckily, I didn't have to worry about cooking my first turkey without any help. Because actually...I didn't even make it. I made some bread (which we ended up eating the next day, because we had enough food) and Danielle and I both made the apple pie. However, I did manage to make gravy for the first time. It was a little lumpy and not thick enough, but it tasted fine. And that just gives me something to work on for next time!
In addition to Danielle, we had Michel's parents over for dinner. They brought me a book, La Marquise du Pont d'Oye, which tells the story of a Marquise that lived in a palace near the Pont d'Oye, which is close to where they live. I actually visited there earlier in the fall. The book is illustrated by a local artist...and signed just for me.
The dinner was wonderful. Not just the food, which was great, of course, but the family. One thing I really love about Belgium is how close everything seems to be...how close my family is. In the United States, I rarely get to see extended family. I have some cousins that I haven't seen in five years. Here, though, I see my host grandparents at least every few weeks. I see one of my host family's cousins almost every day because he goes to the same school as me. It is really great to have family so nearby.
So, here we are at dinner. On the left is Nicole (Michel's mother), Danielle, and me. On the right (starting in the back) is Victoria, Florence, Michel, and Isabelle. Marcel (Michel's father) took the picture, so he's not in it, unfortunately.