Monday, February 21, 2011

Belgian Tour 2011

I'm back in Belgium, for the tour I make every two years. I arrived on Saturday. Today I was at Collège Saint-Louis in Liège. I left Louvain-la-Neuve this morning at 7:30 by train. Around 9 the train pulled in to the new Liège-Guillemins train station. Last time I was in this city, some years ago, this didn't exist! It was designed by Santiago Calatrava and is quite impressive.

I walked from the train station about 25 minutes to the school, crossing the Meuse river:
In Belgian cities, it's common to see a mixture of very old and very new architecture.

Quite near the school is the brand new Médiacité. It's a confusing name, because in fact it's a large shopping mall and entertainment center, not just for media. You can see a little bit of it between these buildings, the red and white structure that looks a bit like a bouncy house. This is where I went for lunch in between shows.
On to the school. I really enjoyed myself, both with the students and with the teachers, who welcomed me warmly.

Collège Saint-Louis has an English immersion program, in which students study for part of each day in English. I had two performances, one with the immersion students in 2nd year and one with the students in 3rd year. I think, though I'm not certain, that these are the equivalent of 7th and 8th grades in the US (12-14 year-olds). Because some English immersion schools are for younger children and because I forgot to ask who the audience would be (note to self: ask all the pertinent questions!), I took my puppets. I did what I normally do: I asked these adolescents if they'd like to meet the puppets I have for the younger kids. As usual, they said yes.

The students today were excellent listeners. With adolescents I often start with a creepy story, so the listeners understand that this is not for babies. Today I told the old English story Mr Fox (not an actual fox, but a sly man), a version of Bluebeard. Then on to other stories. I had more time with the first group, so we had a longer Q & A period at the end.

I took a couple of pictures out the window just outside the small auditorium at the school. Despite the typical gray winter weather, it's a pretty view:

Fun day. I will say, though, that I came close to falling asleep on the train on the way home, from the combination of travel and satisfying work.


Faith said...

It's so green there! Enjoy the chocolate!


MADeWH said...

How great to see pictures of Liege! The architecture of the Mediacite looks JUST LIKE a great deal of the once-trendy-but-now-kitschy buildings I recall. (I wonder what the train station will look like in 20 years.) I think the College St-Louis is in the part of the city that's outre Outremeuse, n'est-ce pas?