I’ve really enjoyed the last couple of weeks and sad to see October go, but very excited about what the new month of November has to offer here in Belgium.
I went home recently for the weekend to celebrate a family member’s birthday and it was just a well needed get-away from Belgium and studies. It was a lovely weekend surrounded by family and loved ones and as well as tears, joy, laughter and love. It gave me an opportunity to show my family how I am progressing with playing the flute as well as catch up with my family. it was really nice to see how much I have been missed but also to realise how much things have changed since I left. I am looking forward to going home for Christmas again but I am by no means in a hurry and I am just taking each day as it comes and enjoying my year abroad for what it is.
Before I went home, however, I witnessed the 24h Vélo, which is where, literally for 24 hours, Bikes ride around a route in the aim to win money for their chosen organisation, for their own personal aims or to gain a prize. It’s really interesting this event because it demonstrates creativity, skill and a lot of teamwork. I personally did not take part in terms of bike riding but, I did take part in something just as important. It’s called le ravitaillement. There, myself and another Kot member would serve and entertain the sportsmen and women with food and a chat while they took a break from riding their bikes. I chose my hours which were 5:30am-8:30am in the morning which sounds horrible, but really wasn’t bearing in mind I had the whole day on Wednesday to rest before my shift on the Thursday morning that week (I picked my hours well!). If you factor in that I had a lesson at 8:30 in the morning that Thursday anyway, then you’ll see it really wans’t that bad. Thus, I really wasn’t losing anything and I even made it to my lecture on time!
After my shift and my lecture, I went to see Cascada who was the musical spectacle to bring the 24h vélo to an end. I wouldn’t say I am a fan of Cascada, though I had heard her music before this and I had heard of her. What I enjoyed the most was probably the ambiance, jumping and singing with my flatmates which was quite a laugh. I’ve never seen a singer in a concert so this was pretty magical despite the fact I was at the back and my phone’s camera failed me in capturing Cascada. It’s still a memory I will cherish even if I didn’t get it on video. I encourage all to simply live in the moment rather than trying to capture it – it’s a lot more fun!
Rally Chambre is where the Kot moves from room to room taking part in activities and being served food and drink! This was an excellent idea, especially for Halloween. We started off with a game which included a wrapped up box a woolly hat, some gloves and dice. The aim was to remove the wrapping from the box while the preceding person tried to roll a double with the dice so that the box could be passed to the next person. It was all quite fast play but it was such good fun and we got served yummy food. My favourite was the room where we inhaled helium and read some funny quotes from movies. I’d never done this before and apparently, I was just incredibly cute haha.
In another room we did some acting involving a princess, a prince, a bird and a dragon. In another, we tried to ‘save’ ourselves from our sins and win our stolen goods back. In another, there was wine tasting (pas mon truc) and there, we played a game. Something along the lines of “c’est pim pim” – it was honestly such a laugh and still can’t get over it.
In my room, I offered English treats which I’d brought back from my weekend at home and the game mafia which is apparently like the French equivalent ‘Loups-Garous‘. We ended the night with cake and music as it was a flatmates birthday week and then those who wanted to go out went out. I neither had a disguise nor decorations in my room but nevertheless, this was a cool experience and one which I won’t forget.
I visited Gent! I went as part of GBU. The GBU from Brussels and that of the one I participate in joined together for a day out in Gent for a Bible study and then sightseeing.
The topic we were studying was about ‘L’évangélisation et la souveraineté de Dieu’ and for the most part, I could keep track of what was being said, however, Biblical jargon and explanations still continue to be a struggle for me especially when we’re discussing things like predestination and the sovereignty of God. That had me scratching my head for a bit and so I definitely need to go back to the notes and work my way through the passages at my own pace. No doubt, I am hearing French being spoken in the context of Church, so there is no doubt in my mind that this will last forever. Nevertheless, I am really enjoying Bible studies as they are an opportunity to delve into the Bible and what it offers us as Christians. Here at GBU, there is no room for surface reading so it can sometimes be hard going because it is different to how I personally study the Bible.
I am still praying in English! I feel more à l’aise praying in English, though I have only tried to pray in French a couple of times. I’ve heard quite a few people praying in French and Church always gives us an opportunity to pray out loud after communion but I just fear freezing up and not knowing what to say. Or, knowing what to say in English but not knowing the translation in French. French in Church = definitely a different kind of French. Just as French in a different context is more specialized.
Finally, while we are on the topic of French, how is my progress you ask?
I’ve spoken to quite a few people, all of which compliment me on my level of French and state how cute my accent is (this is quite annoying as I try really hard to sound like I’m from France!). No doubt, however, I still make mistakes on a daily basis. Thing is, I know when I make a mistake, I just continue to make it because I don’t know how to correct it (so wait for correction), or correct my mistakes immediately after making them. I recently submitted a written essay as part of my French course which received a terrible note so while my spoken French is improving, written French, not so well! I just hope I don’t get into any bad habits from listening to spoken French and thinking this is acceptable as written French!
My other courses are going well too, but it’s definitely getting close to crunch time with my first exam before Christmas break. I definitely need to start knuckling down! When I tell people that this year does not count toward my final degree classification, they are incredibly shocked and ask me why I still bother going to lectures and doing the work. The reason simply is, that to complete my final year at University I need to pass this year. So while this year in terms of grades ne sert à rien, it is still important for my knowledge and the study of French to make an effort. Plus, I’ve always been studious, so I’m not going to stop now.
Until next time!
This week my Kot and Students for Christ are having a réunion, pray that this will be an opportunity to evangelize
Please pray for me while I prepare for exams
Please pray for my health- spiritual, physical and emotional.
Please finally pray that I will remain humble.
I don’t mean to say I am perfect. I haven’t learned all I should even yet, but I keep working towards that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be.
Non certes, je ne suis pas encore parvenu au but, je n’ai pas atteint la perfection, mais je continue à courir pour tâcher de saisir le prix. Car Jésus-Christ s’est saisi de moi.