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|
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!|
|Group shot at Cap Formentor|
|At the amazing lunch location in Port Soller|