Thursday, January 8, 2009


This morning I sent an email to the Belgian consulate in Montreal asking what would be considered an acceptable copy of a passport, and asking if a letter of invitation from Belgium might speed along or assist my visa application.

I hadn't heard anything after about half a day and so I decided to call the consulate to see if I could find the answers to these last questions prior to mailing out my application today.

Belgium is a small place.  The consulate is even smaller.  I know this because the woman who first answered the phone happened to be the VISA OFFICER.  I'm so used to getting a secretary or something, I didn't even think as I asked to be referred to the visa officer that I was already speaking with her.  The woman on the other end sounded a tad annoyed: "yes, I responded to your email this morning... Jessica, yes?"  I said "yes" and apologized saying I hadn't yet received the mail and explained I'd thought to call in case my email was being slow to deliver.  The woman reiterated she'd sent it at 11-something this morning, and then proceeded to tell me "as I said in the email..." explaining to me that sending my real passport would help to speed things up because a copy is only sufficient to start the process, but in the end they'd need my real passport to put the visa sticker in if my request is approved.
I thanked her, trying to sound as grateful as possible for taking the trouble to answer me, (twice,) and upon hanging up the phone realized that I may have annoyed, or seemed like a complete tool to the person who will be processing my visa request.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Upping the pace on Destuffination

Since the airline will only let me take 2 suitcases, a laptop and a carry-on, I'm getting my luggage plopped out, and figuring out what would go with me, and what would just "go."

I do have a place to store my stuff, but honestly I'd rather just not worry about it while gone, sooo...

I'll be trying to rid myself of much of my worldly belongings at this site (link now disabled), along with a few other places.  My approach to destuffination at this point is kicking into a more aggressive mode as I have 88 days to pretty much compress my entire physical existence into a few bags.

If you want something, or you're just curious to see what I feel I can live without, check it out.  It'll change as I go through each room with a finer and finer toothed comb, making the 'stay-or-go' decisions.  (How it works is explained there.)

I just want to find things good homes if I can... maybe I can help you while you help me?

If I haven't spoken with you yet, but you'd be happy to 'babysit' an item for me (meaning you hold onto it and agree that if you use it, you'll do so with care,) please let me know too.

Wow, :)  Who knew cleaning out your life could be so ... neat?

*EDIT: (March 7th) = DONE!  What's gone is gone.

Friday, January 2, 2009


If you see a picture of me at the top-ish-right-ish area of this page, then you've arrived!

You may be here because I told you I was here, but if you're here by random chance, feel free to keep reading if you like.

I've never been fabulous about keeping in touch, and that's part of why I created this blog: The goal here is to be communicative with friends, family, and whoever else has something to say!

Right now, my plan is to spend a year in Belgium on a working holiday visa.  In an ideal world, I'd have the chance to work for a great pâtissier or chocolatier while there, and my French would improve markedly.  But this is not an ideal world, is it?  The truth is I have no idea what I'm heading into, but I have the chance to do this now and I know I'd always be wondering "what if" if I didn't try for it.  So here I am, waiting to hear back about my visa request, and wondering occasionally if I haven't lost my mind.