Anna's Year Abroad blog: Flatmates and travelling

Anna's Year Abroad blog: Flatmates and travelling Mons by broken thoughts

This article was written by Anna, published on 24th October 2011 and has been read 8517 times.

My God, time goes by way too quickly for me. I can’t believe it has been coming up to 2 months of me being here now. Things that were stressing me out in the beginning have definitely improved, such as having adapted to the working hours of a full time job and now being able to stay out late without having to pay for it immediately upon waking up the next day.

I don’t notice a difference, but my French seems to be improving. Instead of the usual “Are you from England?” when I say something in my apparently very British-accented French, I am now asked “Where are you from?”. I guess that means I’m on the way up.

I am also getting strangely proficient at leaving passive aggressive notes in the kitchen for my flatmates who seem to be highly incompetent when it comes putting things away, taking down the bins or even washing things up. I know. The things I ask from them. Horrible.

In the last couple of weeks, I have even managed to squeeze in some time for travelling and have been to Brussels and Bruges. I went to the Belgian Comic Strip Center in Brussels, which I highly recommend if you are at all interested in comics and cartoons. The exhibition is great and they have a few additional changing exhibits that all sound very interesting. I might have to go again.

I only spent a few hours in Bruges (and obviously didn’t get far with my newly acquired not so English-anymore-French), but my God, it is beautiful. I am already eyeing up another weekend to go again, for longer.

The good thing about Belgium being so small is that you can go pretty much anywhere in the country even for just a day trip. The SNCB, the Belgian train company, has some fantastic offers as well, such as the GO-Billet, a train ticket that will cost you €50, but allows you to take 10 journeys anywhere in Belgium. So one train journey will effectively cost you €5, which isn’t too bad at all. You can even share the ticket with other people, if you don’t think you will travel enough times to get your money’s worth.

I haven’t tried this, but as far as I can tell, you can also cheat your way to a little less expensive international travel with these, take your €5 ticket to the Belgian border, then buy a ticket to wherever it you want to go in France, Germany or Holland from there.

Something I didn’t know when I came here is that Mons has a great party scene. There are a number of universities here (one of them specialising in translation and interpretation) so there are a LOT of Erasmus students on offer. The main going out area is the Marché aux Herbes, with café next to café with unbelievable low prices and crazy offers, such as 4 beers for €5. And should you one night get too stressed with all the French speaking, you could always go to Mons’ very own Erasmus Café, La Paile d’Or on Rue d’Havré. Unsurprisingly it draws an international crowd, the bar staff speak all sorts of languages and the prices are low as always.

That’s it from me for now, I will now go back to telling my flatmate that he cannot put pizza boxes with leftover pizza in the same bin that we use to collect glass and that I am getting fed up of there not being any clean plates at all.

Such fun!

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