Guess who was at the European Parliament today?
Frederic Daerden the Belgian MEP (member of European Parliament) of course. Who'd you think?! JUST KIDDING I WAS!!
I mean, Frederic probably was too. But the point is that I was.
First off, the European Parliament complex is enormous! It's three huge glass buildings and there's two restaurants, a salon, and a sports complex! Plus meeting rooms and offices for each MEP (and there are like 750 of those). To reiterate, it's huge. And going in it is like going into an airport, they make you go through metal detectors etc. Marcela and I went with AGE's parliament correspondent Maude, to sit in on the crisis management meeting. Usually, for the big meetings, there are all kinds of translators in these glass boxes lining the room and if you can't understand the person speaking, you put on the headphones and then you can hear some english speaking ghost whispering what they're saying to you. But since this was a smaller meeting, there were no translators. It was supposed to be conducted in English and French (so whoever speaks can pick one of the two). However, since I am in Belgium... about 75% of the meeting was conducted in French. Crap. Though I've been here a month and a half and my comprehension has gotten a bit better, I am going to just come out and say it. I still don't understand it. If a person is speaking slowly and deliberately to me, possibly with hand gestures, I can pick it up fine. But, Miss Pervenche Beres, the chair of the Crisis committee, and her thirty words a second really do not cater to my inadequate ear. She'd ramble on for minutes and in my head I'd be like, "kay... I caught 'travailler' which means to work and 'peut etre' which means perhaps. Yep, I think I got the gist thanks." So, that was an interesting experience. After the meeting Maude, Marcela, and I went to one of the restaurants and ate and Maude explained about Belgian parties and politics. I find it pretty fascinating. Then after that, Marcela and I sat in on the huge Economic and Monetary Affairs meeting with all the MEPs and yes, all kinds of translators. So, I could accurately understand what they were saying but my knowledge of European economics is really just sub par. So it was just as tough to comprehend.
On a completely different note, I've had this stuck in my head all day : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLykoLuljWM&feature=related