Friday, March 9, 2007

Belgium I

All the keys are in the right place! That is the first thing I notice as I sit down with Jesse to write; I have been using the computers at a nearby internet cafe to avoid the exorbitant prices for internet at the hotel, and they have ?french? keyboards. At first, I thought all the keys were in the wrong places, it turns out its only a select few, but the 'a' key is annoying to be continually switching with 'q'!! So at the moment, my ability to type without constant grimaces and backspacings is making me happy :).

On the whole, however, I have really enjoyed Belgium. Somehow it looks different from France, the countryside is a mix of fields and pine forests, with plenty of rivers and creeks running everywhere. The American Fulbrighters here would say that is because the rain is entirely unpredictable, with rain and sun at the same time sometimes!, which they find perplexing and frustrating, but so far the rain hasn't annoyed me. Its true, it does seem to rain at least a little everyday, but it makes all the vegetation so green and beautiful, and as long as you're prepared it goes away quickly anyway so its no big deal. There has been plenty of sunshine as well, and with the help of an umbrella (nevermind that I seem to have left it in the bar last night!) and Gore-Tex shoes, I am staying dry enough.

It has been interesting watching group dynamics in a group in which most of the people were strangers only 4 days ago. There is a large contingent of Germans for some reason, so they are obviously more comfortable with each other, but there are currents and groups that didn't exist before forming already. There's the guy that everyone groans when he talks...except for the one oblivious girl...who everyone groans when she is late...again! There's the jokesters, the quiet ones, the fake but fairly fun (hehe, say that five times fast) ones.... I know its not good to judge people unnecessarily, but at the same time, its completely natural and as long as you don't let your opinion affect your respect and regard for them as people with complete histories and futures you will never know, I don't think its such a bad thing to know, within yourself, what you think of people. Sharing it is something else...which it seems people also feel compelled to do in situations like this, where the society has been completely artificially constructed.

For me, what it essentially boils down to, is that in Belgium I have so far, discovered a lovely country, with beautiful cities, french-speaking with a slight accent, many new people that are nice and interesting and several who I really like. Perhaps my favorite strongly reminds me of Pam Peters, with her perky funness and humor, with a twist of Spryte's hilarious expressions thrown in. Pam and Spryte, you have a combined alter-ego named Erica!! ;)

And there's still 3 more days!!

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