In the following years, Haliburton hosted two Exchange students from Belgium in a row. In 1980-81, Jean Paul Triaille lived with both the Devolins and the Beachlis. In 1981-82, Laurie Gilson stay with the Langdons, and keeps in close touch with them. Over the years, I have visited Laurie and her family 5 times, and Jean Paul and his family 4 times. Both have been back a couple of times, and 3 of their (collective) 5 kids have been to Haliburton. As such, there is a well-worn path between Haliburton and the Namur/Mons area.
Interestingly enough, while most people who haven't travelled much usually don't know much about Belgium, those you have been around Europe tend to like it a lot - and what’s not to like! Great beer, chocolate, waffles, mussels and fries. Add to that culture, architecture and lots of history relevant to Canada, and you have a great place to spend a week or two, especially for a first time visitor to Europe.
Which brings me to my “opinion of the day”: most Canadians who visit Europe try to see too many places in a short period of time (1 or 2 weeks). This leads to a very superficial experience, usually dominated by historical sites and ignoring the way people live today. As an example, my kids find the Belgian supermarkets at least as interesting as Gothic cathedrals. I don’t suggest people skip the “big sites”, but a slower based agenda provides time for both, and gives a more fulsome impression of what daily life is really like.
Anyway, back to Belgium. I like it here. I feel welcome and comfortable. I don’t think this will be my last visit…