19 June 2011

Bowling in Belgium

When Kermesse was finished, my day was far from over! Françoise La Blonde is one of the cleaning ladies at our school and has done a great job taking me in. (There's  also Françoise La Brune, who's another of the cleaning ladies!) Her nephew Fred's 31st birthday is next weekend but she wanted to surprise him with a night out before hand. Though I'd never met him she invited me along to celebrate with her family. Before Fred came over, Françoise, Nadia, Marine and I headed to a retirement home to visit with Marine's ailing mamie, where I was introduced to more of her family as "mon amie américaine". Once back at Françoise's place, Fred picked us up and we headed out to Belgium for the night! 

We went to Thémis Friterie in Mouscron for fries and sandwiches/burgers, where they're regulars. Being so close to Belgium, there are some Frenchies over here who won't order fries unless they're in Belgium. I really don't like french fries but I decided that I was in Belgium and was starving, so I ordered them alongside my chicken burger. I will admit that they're maybe the best I've ever had (and are delicious with sauce Andalouse). Dominique, another co-worker was supposed to meet us at 8:00pm... but didn't show up until after 9:30 when we had just been served our food. Until he arrived, Fred had no clue that we were there to celebrate his birthday. The second Dominique strolled in, he ruined the surprise! Fred was touched that Françoise had arranged it for him.  

Nadia, Marine, and myself  
Françoise and Fred, the birthday boy!
As much as I don't like fries, I did order them in Belgium since they're rumored to be the best. Some rumors are true! With sauce Andalouse, yum! 
Dominique thinks he's pretty suave... except he showed up an hour and a half late and ruined the birthday surprise! And then he left before we started bowling...
Then he wanted a picture with everyone...
We had our lane reserved for 10:30 but had to wait a little while for it to free up. When it came time to bowl, I was a little embarrassed that I had no idea what my shoe size was. Four pairs later, I'm a size 37. And if you're wondering, in French it's called bowling, a strike is un strike, a spare is un spare... des quilles and une boule are pretty important, too. I was first up in the game... well, Kaci was. I normally am terrible at bowling, as shown by my first frame score of 3 pins. But then somehow the American pulled it together and only lost by one. Fred joked that it wasn't fair to beat the birthday boy so he changed the rules for me. According to new regulations, I was only to roll the ball down the gutters and not down the lane. I sucked at following this rule. We joked that it was my scarf giving me the luck, so I shared it with him since I was breaking all the rules. My luck rubbed off. When I  got hot and took my scarf off, my talent slipped down the gutter. 

I'm going to miss Françoise! She's such a great presence at school and always wants to know that I'm doing well.  
Right before my first strike of the night! 
What's it gonna be? 
Françoise, Fred, and I
Fred's score needed a little boost and since I wasn't following the new rules he set for me, I gave him my scarf for added luck (it worked). 
I was first in the line up... and I lost by one point in the last frame! 
The only non-smokers in the group, Fred and I had fun trying to take a decent picture together while we held down the lane during the between game smoke break. We had a ton of fun together; it would have been fun to meet him earlier on. His cousin Margot (Marine's younger sister) kept mentioning that he's célibataire. My luck continued to rub off on him in the second game, which he won. I topped out at 80 points but didn't mind. Didn't want him to get beat twice by the American girl! 
Take 1
Take 2 - not any better but I think it's a cute picture!
Take 3 - put your glasses back on, please!
Margot was an animated bowler!
At the end of the night, Françoise and Fred drove me home even though Marine lives a few blocks from me. When I walked in the door after 1:30am, I was beat! It was an insanely long day but it was great. I had so much fun with Françoise and her family. I'm really glad that she got to see a fun side of me, too. At work, I'm pretty collect and am usually reading if I'm not in the classroom. I was dancing around and totally felt myself last night. It feels good to be me! I've got just a handful of days left before I leave and this will definitely be a memory that sticks. 


Une mamie - a grammie
Mon amie américaine - my American friend
Une quille - a bowling pin
Une boule - a bowling ball
Célibataire - single (not celibate)  

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