Hugues came and picked me up from the house at 7h45. The 1520 Rotary district conference did not take place far from home. I was one of the first of the exchange students to arrive in Lille besides Jess (US) and Kathryn (Australia). When everyone started arriving, we discovered that we didn't actually have to attend the conference. Instead, we all went out in the courtyard to catch up on everything and sunbathe a little. Some of my favorite Rotary moments happen when we're all just sitting in a circle and chatting together. I don't know why we even had to arrive so early, because when we sang Gregoire's "On a Tous Le Meme Soileil", it was after 11h00. Cari gave the most wonderful speech, though, beforehand, about how this was the best year of all of our lives, and we all probably would have cried had there not been two hundred adult Rotarians staring at us. The best part of the conference, besides the people, of course, was that we got Rotary satchels! I love free stuff!
I sat next to Kevin (India) and Suzanna (US) at lunch. Afterwords, Suzanna and I ended up being late for getting on the bus because we went on a wild goose chase for filled water bottles to drink after lunch. When we finally found two, we couldn't find any bottle openers. Thank goodness buses have toilets.
After spending the entire bus ride singing, we arrived in Dinant, a small town in Belgium, around 18h00. We put our affairs on twin bunk-beds in rooms of ten and almost immediately re-departed to go visit the town. Unfortunately for us, at 18h05, we discovered that all of the shops and pretty much the entire town closed down five minutes before our arrival. Tant pis!
Except for the beautiful buildings in the typical Belge style along the river, the landscape reminded me a little bit of the Vermont. The big bummer for me was that even though I had charged my camera the previous night, it died within ten minutes. Suzanna and I walked around the town, sitting next to the statue of Adolf Sax, the inventor of the saxaphone, crossing the bridge with tens of giant saxaphones, and participating in swan staring along the river.
At dinner time, I sat down next to Michael (US), Chris (US), and Kevin who were having a delightful conversation about fecal matter which developped into stories about bidets. After eating, I joined some girls outside until it started when we went inside to continue our girl time. Pretty soon, Michael joined our girl time, and not long afterwords, we had a giant group of people playing a card game called PIG in a circle around us. When the whole PIG group formed, I had gone to the bathroom, and when I came back, I was too late to join. So instead, I played good watch-bad watch, umbrella, and concentration with Rafael (US). By the time we got to concentration, though, I was so rattled by the other two games, that I couldn't focus. We ended up playing it with continents. However, I still had to ask for a specification: whether there were five, six, or seven continents. The big group of people finally got tired with PIG and let me join in to play a different kind of reflex card game, and, no surprise, I lost. We played one more round, and that was the end of the card games for the night.
Suddenly, we remembered that Kevin had promised to let us get rid of his moustache! I ran upstairs to get my facial wax because no one had remembered razors. We only got half of his 'stache with the wax (I don't think they removed it properly). Those who waxed his moustache kept trying to reapply the strip and rip it off; it didn't work. In the end Kevin got fed up from getting hurt so much and went to shave it off himself with a razor that we discovered someone actually had brought. All of the other guys were incredulous that I actually put myself through a similar torture with wax on a regular basis. When Kevin returned, he looked like a completely different person!