Monday, June 30, 2014

Two weeks

I won't do "three weeks" next week, promise. Last night of freedom before work starts tomorrow - eek! Let me tell you, the past three weeks of unemployment have just flown by, as you can imagine when organising an international move. So it's the perfect time to bring you up to date with my doings while watching France beat Nigeria (note to self: edit for hubris as necessary) before I'm too tired from the new job!

Today I got up early for a "dry run" travelling to work. Yes, I'm that much of a lame-o. It was helpful though - I arrived five minutes "late" as the bus ran 15 minutes behind schedule - and it was really packed too, so I'll leave more time tomorrow and get on at the earlier stop rather than the later (my place is about halfway between the two). Maybe it's a bit silly, but that's one less thing to stress about tomorrow, so worth it I think. On the other hand, I'm not too sure what to wear. I was planning on a suit my first day, but I don't want to turn up closely resembling a flustered puddle of sweat if it's warm. Temperatures have been fluctuating quite a bit, although the only rain we've had so far was this weekend (obviously, always rains on the weekend).

The last time I blogged, we were back in Luxembourg for the weekend. Last Monday was the Luxembourg national holiday, and I thought I should go back for it because who knows if I'll ever be around Luxembourg in the future. We went into the city on Sunday night for the festivities, which consisted of a firework display and basically street parties. The atmosphere was pretty fun at first, but when we tried to go to the recommended spot to see the fireworks, I basically freaked the eff out. Too. Many. People. I swear to god, more than the entire population of Luxembourg was there that night (the population of Luxembourg is only 531,441, so it's completely possible that that's not an exaggeration). I didn't mind it so much when we were walking, but as we were funnelled down towards the bridge which was meant to be a good vantage point to see the fireworks, it was standing room only and people just kept coming down and I couldn't handle being there. So we moved a little bit out of the way and ended up seeing only about 20% of the fireworks over the top of a 5-storey building. Bah humbug.

Other than that, the week has been taken up with exciting, exciting stuff like unpacking boxes, doing about a million loads of laundry (I decided to wash all those things like cardigans that I have a habit of just shoving into my laundry hamper on the theory that "it was in my handbag most of the time" and then lose track of how long it's been since it was washed... is that gross?) and spending a solid three hours ironing, literally the first I've done since I moved to Europe. I didn't get home wifi hooked up until this Saturday, which was actually quite a good incentive for taking care of all these sorts of things instead of pissing about all day online, although it was a bit boring at times (hello hour-long baths and afternoon naps).

So the apartment is coming together, although there's a long way to go on the furnishing front (I have all the necessary stuff, more or less, but most could do with an upgrade). I'm especially proud of our DIY window frosting (mostly courtesy of Jules). Not only does it mean I can finally have a proper stand-up shower, it looks way better than I would have thought for a stick-on transfer!

I should point out that I took this photo halfway through, to show a "before/after" effect, as both my parents commented that people could just look in the other side. Duh!
Also dyed my hair and got it cut before having to take some new ID photos and start work. Unfortunately, since my straighteners broke, it currently looks a lot wilder than this, but at least I got the photos with a fresh 'do:

And I went to the supermarket, which was cavernous and confusing and appears to have no fresh food. Kind of hard to find stuff when the toilet paper is in the same aisle as the soft drinks:

Talking of supermarkets, one of the fun things about Belgium is the bilingualism you see on products, signs, etc. It means you can learn some fun Dutch words:

Go to your room, you slaaaag. (What's that from? Something British)
But quite often, surprisingly, they seem to default to English, even in contexts you wouldn't expect such as signs wishing the Belgian football team well (by the way, they are really amped about the World Cup so far!) I suppose it's easier just to write something in English rather than using Dutch and French or just one of those and alienating half your audience (it may even be illegal not to put both, I don't know). As a side note, when we visited Antwerp the week before last, everyone asked us "Nederlands or English?". French was not an option when communicating with the (friendly, perfectly fluent in English) salespeople we talked to. And people and companies here seem much more ready to speak English than in France. Granted, I never lived in Paris, so it might be a different situation here, but all the big companies seem to have English versions of their websites, which is not at all a given in France (if they even have a website!) and people seem to speak English to me more frequently. I never know how to respond in these situations, as I do like to speak French (except on the telephone), but I'm aware here that French may not even be their first language, so it's a bit silly to persist in those circumstances.

But even if people's English is better here, they still make some mistakes...

Hair horns, not to be confused with the hair horns of Moses. It is, by the way, an enduring mystery why Francophones drop the 'h' off every word that should have it, and then tack extra ones on where they don't belong.

Horny Moses
So fingers crossed there's not some loud dance party going on tonight like there was last night (on a SUNDAY!) and I manage to grab a few winks before the big day tomorrow! Nervous, but I am looking forward to the new job, which I think (I hope) is going to be a lot more interesting than the last one :)

Oh and here's a photo of me and Bob because why not :)


  1. Love the new hair!

    And I totally do the whole dry run thing! All the time! Even for interviews. I cannot stand to be late.

    Glad to read that you're settling into Belgium nicely!


    1. Thanks! Glad to know I'm not alone

  2. So, do you have a Slagroom then?

  3. Bob hiding his eyes, so he can't see the big 'outside world' I note! Always like your hair that length. xx

    1. Yep, tries his best to burrow into my arm to hide from the scary outside

  4. I don’t think it’s silly to have a dry run—I would do that, and my dad would too.

    Yes, it’s easy to let that happen with sweaters…

    Ha ha, that’s funny that you decided to start ironing after all this time!

    Mmm, afternoon naps. I hardly ever have those anymore, but this Sunday I had time and did. It’s really a luxury.

    Nice haircut! Sleek.

    Good luck with your new job!

    1. Thanks! Afternoon naps always make me feel worse unfortunately, and then I can't get to sleep. I should get better at resisting them.

  5. You look great! Love the cut and color..and may I ask, have you lost weight?

    Good thinking on the dry run to work, there's nothing worse than coming in a little late and flustered on your first day. It was a smart move. Whenever I start something new I always say I'm going to do that and never do (and come in late) I'll take a page out of the Gwan book the next time I have a super important place to be. : )

    I got that the window was a before and after, but I love that there were comments that the second window is still transparent. That's so something my mom would say. That made me laugh!

    And BOB!! Look how cozy he is!! Fur angel...

    1. Thanks, I doubt it though, doesn't sound like something I'd do.

      I know, it cracked me up that they both made the same comment. I thought it was really obvious, especially since they knew it was specifically done for privacy reasons!

      Oh-oh, don't say cosy, I'll have a tantrum!!


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