Hey there are all! I thought I would take some time before another busy week of studying to keep you updated on what has been going on and what is currently going on here in Belgium. This is likely to be the last blog post until after exams.
Kot birthday party
One of the really cool and fun things we do here in the Kot is to celebrate each other’s birthdays. We have officially celebrated about 15 – 17 birthdays throughout the year, and sometimes without the birthday individual knowing anything about it. So on Thursday 10th May, my flatmates surprised me with an early birthday party*, along with another flatmate. The funny thing is, I knew it was coming because there were only a handful of birthdays left to celebrate and it was the last week of lectures before blocus. Nevertheless, I am really contente avec tous les mots attentionnés written in my card, for spending time with them, and also for my gifts.
We were all eating food together in the kitchen and I just felt everybody was acting super weird around me. Suddenly, one of my flatmates comes down with candles atop tortilla wraps (don’t ask!) (that night my flatmates were eating wraps, they really weren’t actually eating anything because there were no wraps yet haha!), singing joyeux anniversaire.
The night was donned with a slumber party in the living room, all of us in pyjamas and Beauty and the Beast and Pocahontas, although I could not make it through the second film. We ate cake and had a pillow fight, it was dingue!
Before I came on this year abroad, I was incredibly worried about living with nine other people. I was told there were only three toilets and three showers, and I was freaking out! In reality, I have neither had to wait to use the toilet nor the shower. It’s true that living with so many flatmates can be challenging, there are multiple different personalities living under one roof, a variety of values and morals, and of course interests. It hasn’t always been easy to integrate into the life of the kot seeing as I am rather an introverted person, and there have been times where I have refused to participate in activities but there really is no judgement, and I am quickly encouraged to join in on the next activity. Mon français vachement improved during my time here, although of course I still make mistakes every day and I am still considered the etrangère (Shoutout to The Stranger by Albert Camus, simply because of the title). I have still not had a dream in french, so I don’t know what this says about my french abilities.
As I near the end of my stay here in Belgium (and I know because I have already received a couple of emails letting me know this, thanks a lot!), I am treasuring conversations with my flatmates at half 11 at night about hair struggles, laughing out loud for no reason with another, speaking to another flatmate about the world cup (and how according to one flatmate, France is likely to win) (TOUCHWOOD! For his sake), or playing board games and debating some polemic subjects with another. It can sometimes be challenging to continue to speak french when most of your flatmates have gone home in order to study, and you too are studying. I have found that going to the library, while it may not appear to be very social, is more social than staying home all day. I have had opportunities to interact with people. And above all, hear french speakers and listen in on their conversations *rubs palms*. I have also found going to Zumba to be rather enjoyable and a good way to hear french being spoken.
La fête des mères
Mother’s day or la fête des mères here in Belgium was 13th May, unlike in the UK, where we solemnize it in march.
I spent the day in church where the youth had to take the service. I read psalm 139 because I felt it spoke profoundly about God’s creation, the promises that God has for us and of course about mothers!
I played my flute that day, a piece called Parce qu’il vit which translates in English as ‘Because He lives‘.
I had my last flute lesson a couple of weeks ago and my teacher and I played ‘He’s a pirate‘ which features in Pirates of the Carribean together. I have also been learning Badinerie by Bach among other pieces. Speed still continues to be an issue for me, and I am using my trusted metronome to keep in time with the speed.
No longer having flute lessons has put things into perspective. In less than a month, I will be leaving Belgium for other adventures! I am expectant to see what God has in store for me.
…and we’re back!
The sermon at Church was about honouring your parents and it got me thinking about the relationship I have with my parents, but also the relationship I have with other people, and what ways I honour them. I am learning that honouring is about respect, and as I recently read in 1 Corinthians 10:24. It is not about seeking your own good, but the good of others.
So this is blocus… and what have you done?! Another day over, a new day of studying just begun. Hahaha, I’m laughing while writing that. Side note – how are we already in June?! :O
Blocus as mentioned in a post precedent to this one, is a time where students study just before upcoming exams. In the previous post, I mentioned that blocus was ‘cramming’. I think it depends on who you are to be honest. Upon careful reflection, I would like to renege this opinion about blocus. Blocus is…. study leave. It literally is just that, it is two weeks (for me three) of no lectures and study time. You’ll often hear as you walk around, bon blocus, eh courage uhn with a wave of a fist. What solidarity among students on campus, I love it!
I have four exams and will officially finish on 22nd June with my first oral exam in Belgium on religion in Europe. Exciting times ahead!
For all of you with exams, courage! C’est la dernière ligne droite! For those of you who have finished, congratulations, you did it, you made it, now go enjoy yourself!
Please pray for
My four exams, especially the speaking exam
My last few weeks in Belgium and the people I spend it with
My church here in Belgium as I part
1 Corinthians 10:31
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.