Monday, December 10, 2007
The Italian guy is helping the Indian guy in English, and the Mexican guy is helping the Brazilian guy in Italian. It makes me laugh. The teacher starts telling us all this stuff and all I can think is "if I understood what she was saying would I be here?"
Sunday, October 28, 2007
So French fries aren't French, they are Belgian as posted on my June 13th blog, what about French toast? Today I found out this is called "Pain perdu" or bread lost. When your bread is old and stale you soak it in milk and egg. Why would someone do this to perfectly good bread what are we thinking? They must think it is really strange that we do this with fresh bread.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Amelie's school "La Cambre"
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Now in French class the books have pictures to help you understand what they are saying, there is a page of people in a town, you are supposed to figure out who is discribed by each paragraph.
Freddy Cuvelier, Il travaille dans l'immobilier. This guy is a realtor, no clue in the pictures for this. Il a quarante-quatre ans. Ok that 44 years could be one of 4 guys. Tres ambitieux. Very ambitious, not really seen in the pictures. Il fait de escalade. He mountain climbs. That's the guy wearing the climbing harness. Il est dynamique, travailler. Yeh a guy that rock climbs is going to be a dynamic traveller, he'll go all sorts of places, WRONG. He's a dynamic worker, they faked me out, why would a guy that has better things to do be a dynamic worker? I'd never seen travail, used except as the verb for work, why would I think that?
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
As we are learning to conjugate verbs. "Est" is seen again. meaning "is" . So how do you say "it's east"? "Est est" ? No "c'est l'est" sounds nice. In a sentence, "Oui Celeste, c'est l'est". Kinda fun.
The Roman languages all have a formal form of "you", in French "tu" is "vous" for the formal. It is also the plural or "they". My instructor pointed out English does not have this formal form. I started to think about being in Texas where someone might say to you, "Ya all need anything?". this could be said to a single person, or a group. We wondered if this being the south if maybe this came from the French?
Monday, September 17, 2007
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Amelie's new school, La Cambre, she will go to GLTT on Saturdays with me for German
Friday, September 7, 2007
This is the building that will be shipped to Antartica to be used to house scientist. Pretty interesting project. The structure will be wind and solar powered.
As they are sitting here the double pane windows with very thick glass on one side, will be mounted with about a foot of air space between. So two double pane windows.
Sep 6th 2007 Sometimes it is right for a country to recognise that its job is done
A RECENT glance at the Low Countries revealed that, nearly three monthsafter its latest general election, Belgium was still without a new government. It may have acquired one by now. But, if so, will anyone notice? And, if not, will anyone mind? Even the Belgians appear indifferent. And what they think of the government they may well think of the country. If Belgium did not already exist, would anyone nowadays take the trouble to invent it? Such questions could be asked of many countries. Belgium's problem, if such it is, is that they are being asked by the inhabitants themselves.True, in opinion polls most Belgians say they want to keep the show on the road. But when they vote, as they did on June 10th, they do so along linguistic lines, the French-speaking Walloons in the south forFrench-speaking parties, the Dutch-speaking Flemings in the north forDutch-speaking parties. The two groups do not get on--hence the inability to form a government. They lead parallel lives, largely in ignorance of each other. They do, however, think they know themselves:when a French-language television programme was interrupted last December with a spoof news flash announcing that the Flemish parliament had declared independence, the king had fled and Belgium had dissolved, it was widely believed. No wonder. The prime minister designate thinks Belgians have nothing incommon except "the king, the football team, some beers", and he describes their country as an "accident of history". In truth, it isn't. When it was created in 1831, it served more than one purpose. It relieved its people of various discriminatory practices imposed on them by their Dutch rulers. And it suited Britain and France to have a new,neutral state rather than a source of instability that might, so soon after the Napoleonic wars, set off more turbulence in Europe. The upshot was neither an unmitigated success nor an unmitigated failure. Belgium industrialised fast; grabbed a large part of Africa and ruled it particularly rapaciously; was itself invaded and occupiedby Germany, not once but twice; and then cleverly secured the headquarters of what is now the European Union. Along the way it produced Magritte, Simenon, Tintin, the saxophone and a lot of chocolate. Also FRITES. No doubt more good things can come out of the swathe of territory once occupied by a tribe known to the Romans as the Belgae. For that, though, they do not need Belgium: they can emerge just as readily from two or three new mini-states, or perhaps from an enlarged France and Netherlands. Brussels can devote itself to becoming the bureaucratic capital of Europe. It no longer enjoys the heady atmosphere of liberty that swirled outside its opera house in 1830, intoxicating the demonstrators whose protests set the Belgians on the road to independence. The air today is more fetid. With freedom now taken for granted, the old animosities are ill suppressed. Rancour is ever-present and the country has become a freak of nature, a state in which power is so devolved that government is an abhorred vacuum. In short, Belgium has served itspurpose. A praline divorce is in order. Belgians need not feel too sad. Countries come and go. And perhaps away can be found to keep the king, if he is still wanted. Since he has never had a country--he has always just been king of the Belgians--he will not miss Belgium. Maybe he can rule a new-old country called Gaul.But king of the Gauloises doesn't sound quite right, does it?
Monday, August 20, 2007
Very nice buildings, a nice outdoor market, bikes to rent, and miles of bike paths.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Like "RATATOUILLE" the new PIXAR film, they do the phonetics rat-a-too-ee is a dish made in "Nice" pronounced knee's, with tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini, in Belgium it's got potatoes and other stuff. Anyway "Beloeil" pronounce bell-lew-ee is a town out passed NATO, head quarters. This castle is there built in the 1300's, the same family still lives there. They have events there and use it as a park to pay the expenses. Last night was "La Nuit Musical de Beloeil" The night musical in Beloeil. A night of Schubert music on 13 different stages all over the grounds.
It was topped off with fireworks at 11:30. Great castle, beautiful grounds, and a nice evening. It was a bit crowded, I think we will pass next year. Kinda sad since I've gone every year since I've lived here.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Me and the gang
Sunday, July 29, 2007
As we were coming back the signs had the German towns in German and the Belgian towns in French so "Liege" was back.
Next of course something French, "la plus ancienne masoin parfum", this Italian living here created a new fragrance and named it after his home town. The word "cologne" in French is not as we use it in the states as the Kleenex of the perfume industry but only for fragrances from the city of Cologne, just as they use "Champagne"
This is definitely the Kleenex of Gothic, the DOM as they call it, like the Doumo in Florence, an amazing building that really gives you an idea of the power and influence of the church in Europe. When you look up Gothic architcture, this building is usally at the top of the page.
Monday, July 2, 2007
Pronunciation 101. East, West, North, South easy enough. Well lets first try to understand the rules for pronunciation. When do you pronounce the last letter in a word? Well it's pretty tricky. Let's start with "Est" or East. "Est" is also a conjugation of the verb "etre", pronounced "e" the last two letters thrown out. For east it is "est" you use them all. Now "ouest" like "oui" starts with the "w" sound and is pronounced "west" like west. So "nord" or north is "nor" the "d" is silent of course unless your saying northern "nordiste" where the "d" is used. "Sud" I see all the time, in the "nord" of Europe of course everything is "sud" but Belgium being the big beer capital of the world, I thought they were referring to suds as we refer to foam on the beer. WRONG, anyway back to 101, "sud" is the pronunciation with a long U, "syd" as they do the phonetics. OK so now I have to figure out the short and long vowel rules which don't seem to match ours, when to use and drop letters and don't forget the accented letters I don't have the keyboard for.
Just to show you NATO isn't wasting any money up grading class rooms at the international school in SHAPE. Still as they were when Anne went there in 1978
Sunday, July 1, 2007
No cap and gown but Amelie sports her "Ian Anderson Boots".
Sunday, June 17, 2007
It's interesting, I've never really been a history buff, you have to wonder about the effects of the past on the present. Let's start with the Dutch and the French thing in Belgium. You can see here that the English, Dutch, and Germans a very important alliance took down Napoleon. So why didn't the French go home? Has to kind of make you wonder who won that war.
Now here's one of the first big European alliances and the French were on the outside. So today there is NATO, and yes they are a member nation, but they have pulled out there military support. So they get the advantages of the treaty without the cost. Which go beyond the cost of providing military. The relationships the French have with some nations would not be there if they were more involved with NATO, and that would effect the cost of resources. It seems what the French don't like is the US running the show, but Belgians I talk to feel that the US is paying for it they should run it.
I'm in the bakery this morning and asked why it was so quite. They told me it was because of Napoleon, now this bakery is across the street from the Wellington Museum, most of the time you'd think Napoleon was the only person there. A battle of 200,000 solders, 60,000 killed.
Wellington gets a bit of notoriety in Waterloo, he was the British General at this famous battle, but still people refer to Napoleon much more often. What she was referring to was the re-enactment of the battle which took place all weekend on the sight of the original battlefield.
The battle field
This kinda reminded me of going to the Crosby golf tournament and trying to see Arnold Palmer but all you could see was the umbrella's in front of you. Today you would be going to the AT&T to see Tiger Woods, here you'd want to get a glimpse of Napoleon, Wellington, or Amelie's favorite Jerome, Napoleon's brother.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Saturday, June 2, 2007
The castle is fixed up very nicely with a modern resturant bar, where we had our afternoon cafe.
as you can see, "il n'y a personne ici" nobody is here, another strange word you might think you understand. If you heard "je n'ai vu personne" any english speaker can see that is, I saw a person. Judges say WRONG, it translates I saw nobody. A few people were there but as you can see when the wind blew all the water in the umbrella's was blowing around, pretty wet. It's 2.5 eu's to come here and they have tennis courts, boats, miniture golf, and all sorts of things for the kids.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
After getting to Versailles we found Ben and decided it was a good day for Monet's house. Great village, great museum, great day.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Friday, May 4, 2007
I forgot to tell you, at the cafe the waitress arrived and greeted us with, "Je vous ecoute ". I thought she was speaking Dutch, I hadn't heard this before. Anne answered in French so I had to ask, is she Flemish or French? French, what's wrong with you? What did she say when she came to the table? "Je vous ecoute ", or "I'm listening to you", now that would sound a little weird or maybe rude in English but very polite in French, like above "vous" shows respect.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Well what Anne was showing me was the new houses. These are very large places on nice lots. I asked if these were the "nouveau riche", I love having these french phrases that we use. She told me this was old money that had downsized from the castles that had become to expensive to maintain. So when were these new places built, oh about fifty years ago.Near the pond and the restaurant, the castle had a barn and living quarters for the workers. In the picture you can see the signs on the gate. They are in French and Dutch. "Chien Mechant" I thought, they sell dogs here, now "Chien", is dog but "Mechant" is wicked. So don't go cruising in the gate to buy one. It was a really nice day. Now "Bonjour" literally is good day, translates as hello. "Bonne journee" is good day or have a good day. Sebastien always says "pourquoi pas" why not, I use that alot. sounds a lot better that just "oui". Let me try a sentence here. "Pourquoi pas as un cafe avec moi." I think that would mean why not have a coffee with me. "As" is the conjugated verb "you have". "And the judges say", "NON" , Sebastien the "pourquoi pas" expert say's, I should say "Pourquoi pas prendre un cafe avec moi" literally you should take coffee, not have.
Not really Starbucks, ok it's better
This is the restaurant building
This is one of the downsized castles, really cuts down on the staffing needs