The Belgians, our dearest exchange partners, were again with us … Hooray!!!!
Oh, yes …. our good old friends have already been here again this school year and I sincerely hope that it will happen for many years to come. They came on the 5th November, Wednesday, and they left us on the 12th … we miss them a lot already ….we are all eager to meet them and we will, of course, but only in April, I’ll tell you all about it as usual.
This time besides my writing I’ll share with you our and the Belgian students’ opinions about this new experience, I believe it will be also fun. Well, you’ll tell me, right?
Let’s start the chronicle …enough of introductions …you know me by now, when I start talking I lose track of time ….women teachers!!!!!
On Wednesday, they arrived about noon and we, the teachers, picked them up at the airport and brought them to school to meet their partners. It was really pleasant to see them get together, a bit shy but they started chatting and ‘went home’ for the afternoon. In the evening we all got together at teacher Ligia’s and we had a superb traditional dinner cooked by our students’ sweet parents, we danced, we laughed, they mingled, played the guitar and sang along ….it was awesome!
On Thursday we left school early morning and we headed for Setúbal to watch the dolphins in river Sado ….oh, poor us …. The dolphins chose not to show themselves ….it was a disappointment indeed …. The captain told us that the new bright-green ugly ferries made a lot of noise and the dolphins don’t like that ….bahhh! Well, the trip was nice but something was missing. In the afternoon we went donkey riding and that was fun; most of us had never ridden a donkey and to ride a donkey is an adventure, do you know why? Because the donkey goes where he pleases, so if you can keep them on the right track you are a hero or a heroine …. And we did it or at least we got back to the stable avoiding some of the bushes (not all…donkeys can be very stubborn and they fancy the bushes …)
On Friday morning we met at Almada and we started walking through the old town, we visited a museum that had some very curious maps of Europe (I cannot tell anymore, sorry pals, it’s a private joke … I hope!) and we went up to Cristo Rei …we took some photos and off we went to Costa da Caparica. It was our surf lesson time and it was superb! It was sooo cold (not for our Belgian friends ….it was nice weather for them ….they didn’t want to get out of the ocean, brrrrr) but it was worth it. When we finished this great activity we were freezing cold (well, I think the Belgian were a bit cold now but we’ll never know for sure …) but we were happy as hell!!!!
On Saturday, we were free in the morning but in the afternoon we headed to Belém; we ate some (well, some of us ‘a lot of’) delicious and unique ‘Pasteis de Belém’, we visited Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and Torre de Belém and we got back home. The teachers, the Portuguese and the Belgian, had to hurry downtown to join the demonstration … the Belgian teachers had never seen so many teachers together fighting for their rights, they were impressed and at the end of the evening they were absolutely sure that if you are a teacher in Portugal you have to have nerves of steel! How right they are! We finished our evening at a Fado House and we shared with Johan and Bavo (I hadn’t told you their names, yet….unforgivable….they are such good pals!) a bit of our culture. We all enjoyed ourselves and that is what’s important!
On Sunday it was family day and we all had a typical Portuguese Sunday, which means, resting and eating!!!
On Monday we were all at school. Some of the students went to classes and took their partners with them, then we all got together in the Library and the Belgian students wrote their impressions about Portugal and the Portuguese students about how they lived through this experience …you’ll read about it in a minute … it was alright but we were all a bit sad because of a devastating piece of news that came from Kappele …but they were brave kids and so in the afternoon we all made our best in a dancing class – we are all excellent dancers (I don’t know if the dancing teacher agrees with me but we got the steps right after a few hundred times)!!!!
On Tuesday it was Lisbon all day long. It was tiring but we saw a lot … old Lisbon, modern Lisbon, we travelled by tram, we shopped and we became ‘stars’ – we recorded an ad for TV!!!! We were so proud of ourselves, because this time we got the lines right after a few minutes, we are Pros!!! George Clooney better watch out … In the evening we had our traditional farewell dinner and then a farewell drink and we wanted to go on with a farewell whatever because we didn’t want to say goodbye …uuuppps I said it … I’ll rephrase it – we only said ‘ta-ta for now!’ next morning. The kids hugged and kissed and they hugged and kissed and they cried and cried …. It’s not easy to let the dear ones go, right?
The reporter, teacher Ligia Luis