Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Belgium Exchange-Journey There

Sunday April 24 4:40am

Radka, Petra (teachers from Pardobice)
and Ida and met (from Tabor)
Ida picked me up and we arrived at the bus station at 4:40 in the morning to meet all the waiting students.  The teachers and students from Pardobice were already there on the bus.  We all crammed onto the bus (60 students and 4 teachers) for a 15 hour bus ride from Tabor to Brussels, Belgium.  We stopped about every two hours to stretch our legs and use the bathroom. Since we got ahead of schedule, we actually stopped in Leige, Belgium for an hour.  The sun was bright so it was a nice afternoon to walk around and see the beautiful sights. Finally at 7:30 pm we pulled into the Beglium school, St. Pieter's College, in a suburb of Brussels, Jette.
St. Pieter's College (secondary
School..not a university)
Belgium and Czech teachers
     All 60 students met up with their Belgian partner and went home with their families.  After all the students were taken care of, all the teachers went to a cafe for dinner.  Calan had left for Amsterdam, but because all accommodations were completely booked for Sunday night, she took the train to Brussels to meet up with me for night.  It was great because she got to meet my Tabor colleagues and meet the Belgian teachers.  I have been sooooo lucky to meet such wonderful international teachers and I was happy that she had a chance to make some connections as well.  We stayed at a hostel called Don Brasco.  It is a religious order that is also a hostel.
    Monday we got up around 8am and since it was Easter Monday, the students were spending the day with their host families.  The Belgian teachers had a wonderful day planned for us Czech teachers.  They took us to an open air museum called Bokrijk.  The place is reserved as how it was in the 14th, 15th century.  It reminded me of a Gettysburg re-enactment.  The people at this place dress and "live" like they were back in time.  We even visited "the little school house."

 A man, who we had to address as, "Mr. Josef" played the part of teacher to the tee.  We were all sitting or standing as he rang the bell to start the day.  He said when he called on us, we had to say, "Yes Sir, Mr. Josef".  He had students stand and say their multiplication tables or recite the prayer.  He demonstrated how kids would be punished if they mis-behaved...and believe me, I wish we could introduce some of those techniques today.
    We had a great lunch with some authentic Belgian food and good friends.  The weather could not have been more perfect and the day was one of the best that I had in Belgium.

Me on an "old" bike...
luckily I have long legs

They would put dogs in the wheel and the dog would
run and run and by running, would make butter...

bike ride anyone?
Belgium's version of goulash and "Belgian French Fries"
One sculpture in the Random Forest, and yes that is the
actual name of the forest

Train tracks back to Brussels

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