(This is for August 11th, but I posted late. Oops)
Woke up around 9 or so, talked to people online for a bit. Twas a nice way to start the morning off. Had breakfast, and then around 1120 we left for the Rotary meeting in Hoogstraten (by car, thank goodness). The club was really nice, and everyone was so friendly. One of the younger guys (just turned 40) sat by Robyne, Marcela and I during lunch and we talked about where we were from (or in Robyne's case, where she's going). And he knew like all of them! He seemed like a world traveler, so it was fun to talk to him. The food was waaay too filling, even though I only ate like half (left the scrimp, ugh).
After that, we went and got groceries (they had carts, whoo!) for Robyne's going away party. Truut didn't know what sweet and condensed milk was, or light corn syrup, or butterscotch chips, so Marcela and I aren't able to make the treats we were planning on for the party. Total downer. We then went to Robyne's cousin's place, where they have over 300 head of milk cows. We walked around there, and played with the little kids, who I think were like 2 years and a few months. Well, Robyne and Truut played with them, Marcela and I sat at the table nodding off.
We then got sim cards for our phones, and I got a cheap phone. It's like the cheapest they had and the cheapest plan, because I would rather text online for free than pay to text. And it's not like I'll be texting terribly much. Or, at least until I meet people I won't.
From there, we finally made it home, put groceries away, and made dinner. Fries and chicken nuggets were served, so it was finally something I was able to clear my plate with. And on that note, today at the rotary meeting was the FIRST TIME since I've been here that I've seen a Belgian leave food on their plate. They take huge servings and manage to eat it all. It always makes Marcela and I look rude because we simply can't eat it all - I just eat until I'm full, and stop, and they hassle me for it, saying I eat too little for how tall I am.
Anyway, we talked for a long time after dinner at the table (we ate outside). I attempted to teach everyone how to one-handed clap - it was pretty hilarious. We just messed around it and was pretty great. By then it was like 7pm, so Truut biked me to the house of a guy in the music group who said he could help me out. I was terrified because my chops have just DIED because I haven't played. But, we never played, so my fears were unfounded. We talked through all of the pieces I was given, worked out hard rhythms, and I learned the Dutch translation for a lot of music terms. I also found out that a) the Arban's book is called the Trumpet Player's Bible in Belgium as well, and b) they don't have music in most Dutch schools - they have to go to a special school at night. The guy was so amazed that playing was a part of school every day. I even lent him my copy of Gypsy Skies because he thought it was such an awesome looking piece (he plays flugel in the group, but he used to do cornet and trumpet).
Two hours after I got there, I biked home (by myself, thank you very much), talked to people online a bit, and took a shower. When I got out, Robyne, her parents, and Marcela were sitting in the kitchen talking, so I went and joined them. Robyne was making gag gifts for a friend's party tomorrow night, so we were helping and just talking. I then gave them all the gifts I had for them, and they loved it. My next families will get the shaft a bit, but oh well. That's what happens when they switch it so I have three families instead of two like I originally thought.
Then we spent like 3 hours showing videos online. Truut and Patrick LOVED drumline and drumcorp (and the wild cow milking too). I was like, now you know what I did in my free time for the past 4 years. Marcela showed some awesome videos she made in school or ones from a dance group she was in, and Robyne showed film trailers her cousin (and her cousin's boyfriend, who apparently is almost a famous director) made and starred in. Around 1230am Truut and Patrick went to bed, and Robyne, Marcela and I stayed up in the kitchen talking and showing videos until like 130. Now I'm just responding to emails and writing this before I go to bed. Which I'm going to do right about now. Slaapwel!