Epic Email #14

Greetings all and dear!

Today is a lovely, white-frosted day in Belgium. I woke up and
everything was beautiful and white. There was an unbelievable
(almost surreal) mist swirling around the ground and clinging to
trees. It hasn’t snowed, but it’s definitely feeling a bit more
wintery than all the rain we’ve had before.

In case anyone was waiting for this Epic with impatience, I
apologize for it being a day late. I just got home this morning
from spending the weekend with a family from England (Marilyn
and Paul Evans and their son James). They live half an hour or
so from here in Namur, in the
French-speaking half of the country. My friends from Ethiopia
(Nardos, Bethlehem and Facile, in case I haven’t mentioned their
names yet) were also invited. I meant to take some pictures so I
could show you all these people I keep talking about, but I ran
off and left my camera. I’ll try again later.

It was lovely to be able to spend the time with a family,
although (and I hope I made this very clear on the phone,) I
really wish it would have been my own family instead.

And Saturday’s dinner was big and scrumptious, even if it wasn’t
turkey and beans with frecks: baked chicken with a cream and
peppercorn sauce that was divine, roasted potatoes, homemade
fries (“chips,” if you’re English), peas and carrots (who in
England decided that was the only way to eat vegetables?), fresh
green beans, “brochettes” of mystery meat (I think it was pork),
steak and kidney pie…  On and on and on! It really was a
feast. About halfway through the meals, Nardos fell apart in
tears – she just couldn’t believe the Evanses were being so
wonderful to us. To them, especially. They’re living in rather
difficult circumstances, so having someone be so kind to them is
really unbelievable. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

For the rest of the weekend, we watched movies (James Bond –
From Russia With Love, and High Society with Bing Crosby and
Frank Sinatra), went for a walk through their itty bitty village
to visit the various livestock living in people’s yards (one
family was keeping white-tailed dear as pets! Amazing…) and
watched the BBC between being fed over and over and over again.
You’d think the lot of us were starving to death, the way they
kept feeding us!

So it was a really nice weekend. In a way, though, being with a
family (who have slightly strange customs and menus) makes me
miss everyone at home even more than being alone in my house
with the chickens.

The chickens, by the way, are doing fine.  They’ve stopped
producing eggs since it’s gotten so cold, but so far (and a bit
to everyone’s amazement since they refuse to sleep in their
house) they haven’t turned into Chicken Popsicles.

Next weekend I’m taking a trip with Marianne to Paris. I really
don’t know exactly what we’ll be up to there, but she invited me
along, so I figure it will be a nice little trip before I plunge
into my first exams. As long as I do a decent amount of studying
before I go, it should be wonderful. I’ll keep you updated, but
if my epic is late again next weekend, you’ll know that’s why.

And that, I think, is the scoop. My first exam is on the 11th,
on the topic of Advanced Civilizations of the Aegean Bronze Age,
so I’d better get cracking on that. Lots of reading to do, notes
to review.

My love to everyone, thank you for all the good wishes you’ve
sent, and my best to you for the upcoming new year! Mmmmmmmwah!


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