Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Xmas 2012 - NYE 2013

Unless you've been strictly living inside your flat for two and half months, without access to the radio, TV, or the Internet (which I doubt so) you probably noticed that Christmas was in town. This year in Brussels, there was no traditional christmas tree. With respect to the Muslim community (25,5% of the local population in 2008), they decided to try something new: a 24 meter-high electronic christmas tree made of steel, covered with wood and a screen. Its French designers (1024Architecture.net) called it the "Xmas3". During the day, visitors could climb up and enjoy a 360° view of the Grand Place for 4€. A music and light show sponsored by Electrabel (energy corporation) was taking place every-night in december, as part of the Winter Wonders (ending on January 6th).
- What about the 25.655 people who signed the online petition saying that forgoing the traditional tree is another example of the city making too many religious accommodations? (source)  
- What about the Nativity scene with the Baby Jesus in a manger that remains at the bottom of the structure, is it still allowed? (source) 
- What about the 8.130 € (benefits) donated to the Samusocial(source) 
- What about the 4% more hotel-rooms booked by tourists in Brussels, with a Xmas3 costing two-third less than a real tree? (source) 
That's how I left Brussels, before going home in Brittany, France to spend Christmas holidays in family. No luck with the weather. Clouds and rain almost everyday for 10 days. Lovely. At least I was used to it!

Sunrise in Île-Tudy (hometown).
Everyday was split between seeing friends and spending time with family. With lots of great food (oysters, foie-gras, chocolate, etc.), champagne and old red wines! It was rather intense. Finally I drove back to Brussels with friends, where we spent a few (crazy) days sightseeing around (Ghent & Brugge) and celebrating New Year's Eve 2013 (partly there).

However, everything has an end. Since before Christmas, the blocus (Belgium revision break) makes everything studious! All class-rooms, libraries, computer-rooms and others have been requisitioned as exam-rooms. No lectures/seminars anymore in January. It's time to pass my 6 exams (one per class) — plus orals. Quite some work to do then!

PS: I already passed my Dutch-for-exchange-students class at UCT (with 13/20), awarding me 4 ECTS credits!

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