Sunday, June 28, 2009

I was wrong-ish.

I didn't lie, but it just didn't turn out the way I thought it would. I suppose the job stuff momentum was rolling along and just kept rolling. I ended up finishing my CV stuff, and now both my English one and my French one look the same, and are all harmonized and wickedly translated mirror-versions of each other. They look good, and represent me as best as I think they could while respecting the parameters of job-market-document-stuff in Belgium. No more editing them or worrying over them required. Yeeeeaaah. :)

And we are going to Milan in August. The travel-gods completely smiled on us... like conspiratorially smiled on us, ridiculously so much so that if I told you how much it's costing you'd hate me. Just think of it as a dinner out at a nice restaurant... except it's not because it's a trip to Milan including both of our flights and our room in a non-crappy hotel(!!!) Travel is sometimes illogically and ridiculously cheap in Europe, and that absolutely rocks when deals work out for you like this one. SCORE! Ok, enough gloating.

It's been a wicked weekend, and I can only hope that fate keeps smiling on us for a few days more. *crosses fingers*

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I realized I'm feeling torn between the pause in the TEFL stuff and the gathering momentum on the job-hunt preparations. I don't want to lose the momentum I had on the TEFL stuff and forget all my freshly sharpened grammar-structure identification skills, and I'd rather attack my job-applications and interviews undistracted by my TEFL studies.

There's a little guilt about neglecting one important thing for the other important thing, no matter which I try to work on, and this guilt has been adding up to a lack of focus and productivity.   So, though the research and preparations for the job stuff will continue, I've decided to prioritize finishing my last modules for TEFL. If anything else should be positive pressure to blast through the remaining TEFL work, it should be my diminishing financial resources, combined with the increased prospects at finding a paying job that having the TEFL certificate will (hopefully) provide. Who knows though, after it's all said and done... maybe I'll still end up being a technician des surfaces (cleaner) or something.  Beggars can't be choosers in the end, and a first work experience in a country is still the experience other employers in that country are hoping to see you've had so they don't feel like they're taking such a big chance on you.   It still gets you out the door, practicing that other language, and seeing yet another side of the place you're in. When it's all said and done, even if the first job sucks, no job sucks worse.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bank on it.

We're going to Bristol! July 18-21st - We managed to score some wicked deals for flights and accomodation, and we'll even have the option to do the Bristol Museum on a Monday, so hopefully it will be a little quieter and less full should it seem ram-packed on the Sunday. At 150 Euro each, it's certainly not a cheap city-trip, but I would kick myself forever if I didn't see this exhibition, sooo... now I just need to find a job!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Banksy vs. Bristol Museum

People who know me well know that I have a real 'thing' for street art. Banksy is one of my faves because he's cheeky, political, and childish all at once. He is also amazingly technically proficient for someone who has to work quickly. So, imagine if a Museum gave an artist like this a budget, a venue, and access to media he can't normally use to get his ideas out to people.  The Bristol Museum did just that, and it's free to the public until the end of August.

The exhibition looks WICKED.

I'm looking up flight tickets and hostels now, and it looks like it's entirely possible for us to escape to Bristol for a weekend on the cheap. :D

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

microwaved legs and other random bits

I couldn't figure it out for awhile.. there was this funny place on my left thigh where I had a bruise. At first I thought I'd bumped into a table corner or something clutzy like this, but it stayed and it was more like a 'faint, deep tissue' bruise. This morning in the shower it all came together when I noticed the bruise was still there. I've had this almost invisible bruise for 2 months... and I've had my laptop on my lap for several several several hours a day for the past 2 months. And the battery in my laptop gets hotter on the left side. I've been nuking my leg, ladies and gentlemen. EMF radiation, in daily doses. They just *shouldn't* call these things LAPtops.

So, now I'm hunched over a non-ergonomic coffee table on the non-ergonomic couch, but at least I can sort of alternate between these problems; find multiple different non-ergonomic places to hunch or carpal tunnel in, you know...vary the damage. Crosstraining, really.

Stuff on tap for today: French chocolate vocabulary. Last night we made a mission to the FNAC (a book/music store,) after Boyfriend got home because I was hoping to find at least one decent book on chocolate in order to quickly scoop up all the French vocab. for the tools and tricks and tastes I already can speak about for days in English. I don't want to stammer like an idiot should I score an interview for a position working in chocolate, so il faut que j'apprendre. (I gotta get my learn on.) Not. one. book. They were all books on making chocolate MUFFINS or things very very beginner. No talk of tempering, beta-crystals, infusions... (!) There was ONE book which was Pierre Hermé's #10, 130€, and a book like that's not, ahem, in my budget for the moment.  So, it was a bust. We'll try again maybe tonight at another bookstore, but in the meantime today I'll scope out the interwebz a bit to see if there is a decent source for this info online. I'm pretty tired of sitting in front of my leg-irradiator so often though, which is why I'd thought a book would be nice.

When I met Boyfriend's Uncle and Grandma the other night, his Uncle told me that French should be easy because it was definitely the most logical language, ever. Because Descartes practically invented it, and everyone knows Descartes was the most logical man to walk this Earth. He invented logic. Oh my. Biting my tongue on that one was a challenge. Oh yes, and he said that teaching English should be easy because after all, English only has 3 tenses. After having just finished studying this, both Boyfriend and I had to call bullshit on that one, and we explained that English in fact, has about the same number of tenses as French, and that we even use some of the ones the French have let go by the wayside, such as past simple (which the French now only use in literature, but rarely use when speaking.)

Other than that, the meeting went well, and my French brain was working well so supposedly my conversational ability was impressive.   I've now met boyfriend's Sister, both Grandmas, his Uncles, Dad, Mom, along with his Dad's 2nd Wife, associated Step and Half-Brothers and Sisters, his Mom's Boyfriend, and a Cousine (female cousin.) I think there is one Aunt to go and that'll pretty much cover all the immediates.

I also remembered in the shower this morning that when the guy came to do maintenance on the heating system here the other day he showed me what was up with our furnace and explained he'd have to come back to finish the maintenance after getting a needed part (we had some broken and badly corroded electrical connections, saw 'em myself,) and that until then we'd be without heat. It's been ok because we've been in the 20's outside this week, but I haven't heard yet about when he's coming back and this weekend it's only going to be 15 during the day.  I'm going to die.  Or make myself a blanket-fort to study in until the heat is fixed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"What's my motivation?"

This is the second time I've tried to write an entry today.  I'm just not feeling it, but I figure an update is needed, so I'm giving it another go.

Stuff I'm up to: Since I received my ID card I've taken a pause from the TEFL stuff in order to get my job-hunt materials significantly more in order. Today I'm working on the skeleton for my letter(s) of motivation and after making sure with Boyfriend tonight that the skeleton is both correct and suitable, I'll be able to tweak the structure to tailor it to the jobs I'll be applying for.

My CV has been translated, edited, and reformatted. I'll make one more change to the format for greater clarity, and then tadaaa, my general CV will be done. After the general one is done I'll be able to use it to create spin-off CVs which I'll use to apply for work in the language and food-industries, both of which will emphasize my skills in those sectors.

It's been both interesting and frustrating to learn how the process of applying for a job and the expectations of employers can be so different structurally between two occidental countries. My CV always served me very well in Canada, but here it was like a serious renovation, to get it ready for the Belgian market. Like everything else, making the changes needed to these documents has taken longer than I'd have liked, but I know I'm also very good at putting pressure on myself... I always seem to want to run before I've even figured out how to walk.


About running... I haven't been for the last week. I sprained my ankle, AGAIN...this time walking home from the grocery store. After the last sprain and about two and a half weeks of recovery with yoga during the last week, I was back to running 10k once a week on the nice *flat* track at the University of Liège while Boyfriend played his squash match. I think I had three good weeks, and then a crooked cobblestone got me. A friend of mine who spent some time in the UK calls them hobblestones.  Now that I've got a little personal experience with them, I think that's a pretty good name for them!  It's been about a week of rest (again) at this point, and today will be my first go at yoga (again) to see how the ankle is doing. It sucks because the sprain wasn't so bad this time, but since the last sprain happened so recently the soft tissue in my ankle decided to be extra reactionary about it so I've had to baby it. : /

*Sigh,* that's as far as it goes today folks. There's other stuff to tell you about like our daytrips in Brussels and Oostende this past weekend, and photos to post, but I'm outta steam for now and ought to get back to finishing that letter of motivation.   À la prochaine.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Total time: 2 months, 8 days.

Look what I got today. :)

ID card goodness.