20 September 2006

Sunshine from Darwin

I don’t know what happened in August. After enjoying several consecutive days of sunshine (what the locals like to call a “heatwave”) in July, August felt like a slap in the face. It was cold and grey… I despondently pulled out my coat again and spent much of my time mulling tragically over the fact that what I would normally wear in WINTER in Australia, I was wearing at the height of the European SUMMER!

My only consolation was that I had been planning to take leave in September so maybe there was a chance that things would change back again… For some reason, luck was on side: my parents arrived in Brussels on the 30 August and with them came the sunshine! (Not that it probably would have worried mum too much in the end – she was well prepared with multiple sets of thermal underwear and tracksuits to sleep in! he he)

We spent the first few days around the centre…. Wandering up and down the tourist mecca that is the Grand Place and surrounding streets. We ran the gauntlet of cheesy restaurants behind the Grand Place and, like all good tourists, had a meal of mussels and fries at Chez Léon!! The weirdest part was when this enormous herd of tourists went past and their guide paused to point out what we were eating!

Laurent arrived back from Cambodia (work) on the 1st of September… I went to pick him up at the airport then we all drove down to Porcheresse for the weekend. On Sunday Laurent’s mum prepared a feast for us and about 10 of Laurent’s extended family... We weren’t sure how the whole thing was going to go due to language barriers and the like. Mum had once taken a course at Alliance Française, but it had been a while ago and her French had reduced to about one line. Dad's inkling of French was from the time he was about 8 and his older brother David (who was learning it at school) taught him how to count to 10... (?! Hmm) Luckily many of Laurent’s family could speak at least some English and I helped to "translate" for the rest (my translations are actually quite effective as long as no genuine bilingual witnesses break the façade!)

In any case, there was plenty of wine and good food and much laughter. Seeing everyone together was rather quirky but in a nice kinda way!

To be continued…


At 04 October, 2006, Anonymous dragon lady said...

Hi Lian,

Enjoy your blog and comments about our French speaking skills!!

Como sa va?

Au revoir!

the dragon lady!!


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