Tuesday, August 18, 2009


We are back from Milan! Well, I'm back here and as of 5am Boyfriend was off to Luxembourg again for the week. Thankfully he's cool about not being too absent, and though his work does pay for him to stay in Luxo. if he wants all week, he drives his butt home and then back again the next morning at the midpoint of the week so we can feel like we aren't still living in other countries all far apart and stuff. Because you know, for the last three weeks, we kind of *have* been living in other countries, and we are wayyy too familiar with how fun that is.  Thankfully this is the "last week" of the Luxembourg project. The original plans for the job were for the installations of all the new automation to take place over these three weeks, however there have been problems on-site, namely that the site itself is running behind in terms of being ready for the installations they asked for. As of today they still aren't ready. This means that for most of the past two weeks, there was no real need for Boyfriend to be working there, and it also means that at some point in the future whenever these dinks are finally ready, he'll likely be sent back there. *shakes fist* (Dinks.)

And now a few photos of Milan. By the way, if you ever want to see Milan without all the Milanese, go for August 15th-ish. This is the time when pretty much everyone in Milan takes off for a little vacation time, and almost everything is closed. Very peaceful, if not a little boring at times. But we had a good little city trip, and definitely enjoyed the 30-something degree heat.

The Duomo.

La Scala.
I was seriously underwhelmed by this well known Opera House.

Me in Il Castello

Story of the weekend: Boyfriend bought sunglasses. They are the first pair of sunglasses he's ever really put a slightly larger amount of money down on, but finding frames and lenses that look good on his long narrow face is a challenge. When we saw these I told him they were the nicest looking pair I'd seen on him out of all the pairs he'd tried on in front of me over the past more than 1.5 years that he's been looking. The price was seriously decent too, which made these a must-buy in my opinion since it might have taken him another 1.5 years to find a similarly ok looking pair. After buying them, he spent an oddly large amount of time obsessing over them and experiencing bouts of doubt and indignation as a result of his purchase... He was convinced they were not sitting straight on his face (which he knows is not the most symmetrical face in the universe.) The amount of concern and time he spent on this (and on repeatedly trying to talk to me about it) was downright bizarre.  All day, right up to the point where we were about to go to bed, (he bought them in the morning,) he wanted to talk about this.  During the course of the day he must have tried to discuss the glasses at *least* 5 times (I'm being nice because it was probably more like TEN times.) Each time nothing new came of the talk either... it was an entirely circular conversation. So. WEIRD.

In his defense, Boyfriend did not smoke at all this weekend, and I'm seriously proud and happy that he managed to do it. I'm going to chalk the very bizarre merry-go-round of conversations we had about his glasses up to him feeling a little out of sorts from the nicotine withdrawal.

Now bedtime for me. First day of work is tomorrow!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Numb, Nom Nom.

Today I've started working my way back through my 8 completed units of the TEFL course as a review to polish off the final bits before the end of October, my deadline for finishing it all. I've watched all the video reviews and am now making my way through the audio books while reading my notes and looking over my finished assignments and feedback. I can do this now that I don't have to worry and be stupidly distracted and stressed about finding a job anymore. (Woo!)

I'm good at finding things to complain about sometimes though, and I'll complain only about this with the TEFL: it involves a lot of sitting.  It isn't brain-numbing, but it certainly is a killer on the posterior. My bum is hella-numb each time I get up to drink water, or to attempt to distract myself. Luckily it's raining today, and quite correctly, which works pretty well to keep me here, planted with little distraction and refilling my brain full of teaching theory and grammar.

In other news, when Boyfriend is out of town for work as he is now, it is the *perfect* time to indulge my curiosity in the strange foods I have no experience with at the grocery store (the ones that when I have asked him about them while we've shopped together have resulted in a disgusted face at the idea that I might want to put THAT in my MOUTH.)

Last time he was away for work, I tried canned cassoulet, thinking this might be kind of like Heinz baked beans, which my father used to cut wieners into. It is pretty much this, with a few other chunks of mystery meat in there as well, but sadly I haven't met a weiner here with the correct firm consistency (ed: this just sounds wrong, doesn't it?), and Heinz does the beans better. So it's a no, as was the velouté fish-soup, which was very, very bad.

This time while Boyfriend's been away, I've tried a canned version of Flemish Carbonnade, and tinned filets of mackerel in tomato sauce. I'll remind you that learning about the foods and general eating habits of other nations doesn't just mean going to fancy restaurants and eating waterzooi or steak de cheval.  While these are delicious, I must admit that I'm always curious about the 'convenience' foods of other nations.

So, given a few of the foods (that I am hesitant to admit to my boyfriend) that I have tried here, have I found enjoyment in any of these odd ventures yet? No, not really. I haven't yet found the kind of 'crap food' here that hits the spot in ways like the occasional can of Zoodles, or the odd Diet Dr. Pepper would do for me back home. Still haven't found "it" here. Thought I was in for a treat last night, when after fighting a seriously ridiculous sweet-craving for two days, I walked to the grocery store at 7pm to locate a fix. I settled on these "dentelles de Brugges", which are a super-thin cookie made of pretty much just sugar, butter, a bit of flour and ground cashew.  Sounds good right, like a cross between a brittle and a cookie? Well, I did eat the entire 75g box on the way back from the grocery store, but I didn't enjoy them. What...? It still had sugar in it... I'd just hoped for a little more satisfaction to go with it, you know? I am still mystified as to why there are no super-killer-amazing-nom-nom-chocolate-bars here. Like, CANDY-BARS, you know? Why is the UK kicking your ass on this one, BELGIUM????

Moving along: Have I ever mentioned that we live in an old-lady-house?  We do.  Boyfriend's Grandmother is currently in a home, dealing with dementia, and we are caring for her home while she is undergoing treatment.  This means there are a LOT of porcelain cherubs and decorative plates, crucifixes and the like about the place.  Today I discovered Boyfriend's Grandmother's stash of cds (which wasn't really much of a discovery, since they were sitting just next to our television.) Hello, mother-load-stash of opera and French singers I've never heard of! (There are a lot of French singers I haven't heard of.) My iTunes has had a fun day of sucking the data off those discs. :) Why, I'll be serenading my shower with songs like, uh, *checks cd case* "L'etranger au paradis" in no time!

Finally: this blog entry has managed to keep me seated but NOT studying for a good while. My bum is numb AGAIN. I'm getting up now.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Pics from Banksy in Bristol and very cool news

It seems I have a job :) It's a good one too! Can't say much yet since I won't sign the contract for about a week, but the man in charge gave me the word today. Happiness!