Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pre-move round-up!

Hello all, yesterday was my last day at my old work, meaning today is the first day of not getting up and not going to work until the 1st of July, hurrah! In true SNCF form, there was a strike last night (and today, and who knows when else) - I managed to get one of the last trains before it started at 7 pm, so we were "only" 25 minutes late. There have been at least half a dozen delays, some hours long, since around Easter, which considering how many days I've NOT been at work is pretty impressive. 5.45 am starts and 1.5 hour commute, how I will not miss you!

Lots to catch you up on before the move on Friday. Figuring out internet access in Brussels is currently one of the missing pieces in the puzzle. I called a company on the weekend who claimed that I would have to register with the "commune" (council, less dodgy than it sounds) as a foreigner and then wait THREE months to get internet? That can't be right, surely? I managed to sign a lease and open a bank account (more on that later) without being registered, why would internet suddenly be a big deal?

Going back to last Thursday, which was Ascension or Assumption or something like that, I finally ticked off one of the must-sees in Metz (maybe the only must-see in Metz) by heading along to the Pompidou Centre. The Pompidou Metz is an exhibition space without its own permanent collection (although there is a long-term exhibit of key pieces that will run for several years - installed, I believe, because of disappointed visitors stumbling in to a near-empty gallery between major exhibitions). The exhibition we went to see was all about the paparazzi. It was actually better-executed, bigger and more interesting than I would have thought. As well as classic paparazzi shots of a selection of key figures such as Brigitte Bardot, Princess Di and Britney Spears, it featured "behind the scenes" shots of paparazzi work and artistic "interrogations" of the role of the paparazzo. I think I did leave with more understanding of just what a circus it is - and we got to see Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis naked (let's just say you can tell it's the 70s!) and Britney's cooch (not the 70s any more). (Bonus?)



I should have noted who/what this work was, because I really liked it. It's a floating plastic disc that looks like a sphere, lit so as to project the circles on the wall behind. Photo doesn't really do it justice

Me with a couple of monumental panels by Robert Delaunay

Really want to hear more about that baboon!

Blatantly flouting the "no bending" rule
The following day, I got the train to Tours, where I was later joined by Jules, who drove over after work. I don't think I took many photos, but I'll whack some up later if I get around to getting them off my camera. It was really great catching up with my friends and introducing them to Jules (and vice versa). The wine festival was great, I bought SO much wine! Went a little bit crazy to the tune of around 250€, to be honest, but I'm looking at it as my wine budget for quite some time to come. At an average of maybe around 5-6€ a bottle, you get a lot of bang for your buck, and Loire wines are really hard to find outside the region! I don't know about Brussels, but here in Metz you see maybe Cabernet d'Anjou or Rosé du Loire (bleh) in the supermarkets, Sancerre sometimes on menus, but my favourite Chinons, or small appellations like St Nicolas de Borgueil or Montlouis are nowhere to be found. So it would have been silly not to stock up, really!

I had three days back at work, and then headed to Brussels on Thursday evening to pick up the keys to my new place, eeeeee! Friday was a busy day, meeting with the agent, opening my bank account and arranging insurance. In Belgium, it's apparently standard procedure to open a frozen bank account for your security deposit, which can only be accessed by either side at the end of the contract, if both parties sign off on it. I had mistakenly thought this meant I would open it together with the agent, so I didn't actually have an appointment at the bank until the late afternoon (to open my own personal accounts). Luckily, the bank across the road managed to squeeze me in, and after a lot of boring to-ing and fro-ing, a mere 4 hours or so later, I was good to go! Oh, AND the agent brought along all the necessary forms to sign me up to gas, electricity and water. SO much easier than in Metz (and everything's turned on already, woohoo).

It was pretty exciting walking in to my new apartment, which I was a bit fuzzy on, having only seen for about 10 minutes way back in April. I still love it, and was so excited to see sunshine on the front balcony and test out the bath (fully clothed, and I couldn't hop all the way in because I stupidly tested the taps first, but seems comfortable enough). I'm already plotting in my mind where to put existing furniture and what additional/upgraded furniture I should get. Goodbye horrible damp bathless and balconyless apartment, hello airy new Brussels pad :)

(Sunny) kitchen. OMG, cupboards and counter space, I'm in heaven! Just need to figure out obtaining and placing a larger fridge

Living room, nibbled by poor panorama-taking

And the Lord said, "Let there be light. And there was light." On my balcony.

Bedroom, facing on to the back (shady) balcony. Gonna need some curtains!
That's it for now. This (long) weekend was super hot, in the 30s, so we spent it lazily lounging around in the park and splish-splashing in Jules's pool. Next weekend I hope to be sipping rosé on my sunny balcony (Brussels weather permitting)! I'll leave you with a few extra snaps from Majorca, stolen off one of the party on Facebook (who I can now unfriend? Or too soon?).

Group shot at Cap Formentor



At the amazing lunch location in Port Soller

18 comments:

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    1. Scummy couch with your name on it!

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  2. I presume there's a wine cellar in the new apartment as well, or just an enormous wine rack?

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    1. Sadly not, I think for starters I'll have to use some of those many kitchen cupboards!

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  3. Lovely apartment and no 1.5 hr commute! Oh Happy Days! xxx

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    1. Yay! We'll see if it's still lovely when filled with my tired furniture.

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  4. The apartment looks amazing!

    And stocking up on wine was a great idea if you ask me! Especially now that you're moving to beer central!

    -Shannon

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    1. Thanks! Yeah, totally, everyone at work kept on going on about drinking lots of beer. No thanks... I'll stick to chocolate, fries and waffles :D

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    2. But there are some really good beers! I'll have to come to Brussels and introduce you to some :-)

      -Shannon

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  5. Dang, that looks like a nice apartment! And you have a balcony! Awesome. :) Enjoy settling in.

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    1. Thanks! Still getting things organised, but love it so far!

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  6. Have fun settling in, it's always way more fun moving in the summer when there's lots of stuff going on and the weather is nice. And Brussels will definitely have more going on than Metz!

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    1. Thanks, yep definitely fun exploring Brussels so far

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  7. The flat looks amazing, so much light and space.

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    1. It's not massive, but a step up from the old place for sure :)

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  8. Your new apartment looks like it's going to be fantastic, all of that light and kitchen counter space, so good! Plus, I love the floors :)

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    1. I must say I didn't really notice the floors, but real wood :o

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  9. Your new place is gorgeous! Makes me a wee bit jealous because I miss having a bachelorette pad.

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