Tuesday, September 29, 2009

If I see that lady again...

So the last entry I was getting better...

The very next day as I was headed to work appreciating almost feeling normal, I had the pleasure of sitting across from... her.  The woman who wouldn't stop coughing, and thought that somehow making a little futile fist four inches in front of her mouth was a good way of not propelling her ugly bad-woman germs all over the rest of us on the bus.  She didn't even turn her head away from people, which meant since I was sitting facing her, she was pretty much coughing ON ME!  Each time she did it, I wanted to throatpunch her, but I didn't, and now I have her stupid disease, which is some other variation of feeling crappy and having sinuses that feel full, but are dry.

While I'm able to breathe this time around, my head feels like a brick and I had 3, count'em, 3 nosebleeds last night.  The last one was at 3:20am, just an hour and a half after the second one, and was bad enough that I basically just walked downstairs and hung my head over the kitchen sink to bleed until my nose decided to stop playing this cruel game.  Boyfriend had asked me if I wanted to go with him to give blood this weekend, and this morning I told him I made a large enough donation to the city's sewer systems last night.  Ah yeah, and after working 3 days in a row, today is my only day off this week because tomorrow I'm back for another 3.

But, work seems to be going ok, getting better bit by bit, and hopefully it seems like I'm settling into the job nicely to the powers that be, since my contract is now about half-finished.  Though my job is physically tiring, I do enjoy it and I like what it is bringing into my life other than of course money.  I have nice co-workers, I enjoy being able to practice my French and I have to say I feel better and better there.  It seems some of the clients think I'm doing a good job too, because I've been tipped!  It was definitely a surprise since I didn't think that my job was one people tipped.  I told the tippers that it really wasn't necessary, but they actually really wanted to give me the tip which was, I guess flattering?  I'm hoping my boss thinks it's good too, because he'll be thinking about and deciding whether or not to re-sign my contract soon enough, and I'd be happy to keep working there.


The other night we went out for dinner and I realized that though I was never really INTO them in the first place, I am officially SO over frites.  Bleh.


Look who I met in the woods the other day... isn't he peculiar?

Now I'm off to sleep.  My body has been begging since 11am, and I think I'll die at work tomorrow if I can't give my immune system a bit of an edge.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I can breathe!

I'm getting better from super-cold, which absolutely rocks.  Breathing is so nice.  I might actually be able to read and study today without my mind melting and my eyes crossing.  Super-cold really did have me in full-sicky-mode: Tea-sipping, medication-taking, red-nosed, housecoat and slipper wearing, full out-of-commission misery.  I'm very happy to feel myself returning to normal.  I'm not there yet (still a lot of sinus pressure) but hopefully tomorrow?

The other day I ate this:
It's like a Kit-Kat, but less chocolate flavour since I believe the stuff in between the wafers is supposed to have a praline taste.  (?)  However... also like Kit-Kat, this bar comes in little 5-stick versions (The original "Leo") or the big one here (the "Leo Go").  Knowing that a Kit-Kat Chunky is different tasting (less good,) than a regular Kit-Kat, I'll have to try the original at some point too.

I'm trying to figure out how to grow lettuce indoors during the winter.  There is a skylight in the kitchen, and I'm convinced it can be done.  I'm also trying to figure out a way to bring my other little roof-friends like my oregano, chive, and cherry tomato plants inside for the winter in smaller, house-sized versions of their large roofy-selves.  Fall is definitely here, so I've got to figure this out soon.

And nowwww, to start my day.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Last night was the inauguration of the new train station here in Liège.  It's actually a new station built on the same site as the old, but it's been a pretty massive undertaking, and I've had the chance to see it in progress the times I'd visited Boyfriend here before actually living here myself, not to mention the turbo-progress it underwent over the weeks leading up to last night (I work pretty much across the street from it.)  Some people love it, some hate it, but honestly after being inside it as a result of taking the train to Tournai, I gotta say it's pretty cool; a little like being inside a whale skeleton.  Because the station was set up for a spectacular opening show including opera, fireworks, horses, sound and lights, dancers, and cirque-du-soleil-style wire-suspended people, I'll wait until the screens and lighting rigs are down to take the next set of pictures, but this is Guillemins, pretty close to being finished.  (Shot on my way back from Tournai.)

Friday, September 18, 2009

As promised...

I'm hella-sick right now.  Super-cold has me all not able to breathe and stuff, so I'm spending some quality couch-time tonight, watching a little boob-tube and drinking fluids.  I figured I had time to sit and wait for these pics to upload.

Tournai:  The boring place.

This is what everyone says you should see in Tournai.  A Cathedral and a Belfry.  Tadaaa.

Above: Sunrise from our hotel window

Above: Sunrise in progress, outside the train station

Bye bye Tournai.  See you never.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Breakfast today...

Caught the 8:03am train back from Tournai this morning.  I'll tell you about it and post photos later, but I'll just say for now that Tournai is boo-RING.  What I'm about to talk about is more interesting than the experience of visiting the city of Tournai.

Aside from the coffee I had at the hotel, the pictures below show my breakfast this morning.  Yes, there were more nutritious choices available to me in the train station, like croissants, waffles, fruit juice and so on, but I had my eye on the snack machines to see if there was opportunity, and lo and behold, there was.  I was aiming for a particular bar which seems quite popular here, but my first try at the machine in my half-awake state resulted in me getting the one next to it, so I ate them both as breakfast. :)

My accidental purchase: Balisto Muesli-Mix.
Yes, I accidentally bought this.  Fortunately the gods decided to soften the blow of buying the wrong thing, by messing with the machine so it gave me two packages for the price of one.  I wouldn't really have originally classified these as "candy bars" judging by the supposed ingredients... but after tasting them and looking at the nutritional info, well let's just say these things don't really seem muesli-like, and are no better for you than a kit-kat bar.  They reminded me a little of Twix, but with a sweeter cookie, no caramel, and a few plump little currants hiding in there.  The currants are what make this bar better than you'd think.

My original target:  Lion
This guy is kind of like a Mr. Big, but a little less crunchy, and more chewy.  I think Mr. Big is better, because this thing isn't quite sure if it wants to be chewy or crunchy.  It kind of "pussies out" on the crispness-aspect that wafers and rice crisps should definitely deliver.  If the caramel were of thinner consistency, maybe the textural balance would be a little better, but you really lose out on what the wafers and crisps try to offer because of the caramel consistency.  Poor puss, you seem to be popular here, but I liked Balisto better than you.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Time out in Tournai

So it's another day of war between the desire to study and the tendency to procrastinate. This entry won't be long because it's really the last thing I thought of doing before buckling down to a solid several hours of actually STUDYING. I have to anyways, because tomorrow I'm grabbing a train to Tournai, where the wi-fi in the hotel costs 2 Euro per hour, isn't high-speed, and only works half the time. Boyfriend is there teaching for a few days, and so it's a win-win since I have the next few days off work and he's stuck there, and since neither of us has really bothered to do any 'touristing' in Tournai.

Very important news: Belgium does have "candy bars"! Boyfriend and I got into talking about this the other night when I was craving one of the heartier ones, an EatMore maybe? Anyways, after talking with him about what the difference is between a "candy bar" and a "chocolate bar" I found out there are a few "candy bars" here (these have things in 'em, like peanuts, nougat, caramel, toffee... you know... the chocolate content is actually low in relation to the other stuff in the bar,) and I'm determined now to find them all and try them.

The day after this talk we were on our way to an 11:30 brunch and were stopped at the gas station for a re-fuel, when I decided to use the time to pop inside and get my bus-cards for the month. Coming back outside I triumphantly showed Boyfriend the wrapper of my first find, declaring that I'd finally discovered a place with a hoard of "Belgian candy bars" and that I was happy to be able to try some. Just as he was finishing his next sentence, which was to tell me that since we were just going to eat, that the candy bar should be ok in the glove box what with the low temperature that day, I was finishing off the first half of it. The second half had a similarly long lifespan. Time of delicious death for mr. Nougatti, here: 11:07am. Not for people with serious dental work, however. :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Beachy Birthdays

So what's happened since Milan? Well, I've been working, and just today received my first paycheque (score!) only to realize that I don't think I'm being taxed correctly, or possibly even at all. You may think this is also worthy of another "score!" but when you come from one heavily taxed country into an even more heavily taxed country... not being taxed makes you worry. Boyfriend did remind me though that his first paycheque in Canada had nearly no tax deducted as well, so I suppose I'll have to wait to see the breakdown of everything on my paystub and also to see if I'll be taxed more heavily on my next paycheque before I worry for real. In the meantime I'll be taking my Dad's advice and will be setting aside a hefty percentage in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises come tax-time.

For Boyfriend's birthday (birthday number "negenentwintig") we went to Oostende, and spent the day lazing on the beach, and being in a movie. Yup. A movie. About the environment. They said there were 12000 people there for this, but Boyfriend and I both have been in crowds of 12000 before, and we put the crowd at about 7000 tops. Boyfriend knew about this before we went to Oostende, and essentially what was going on was a crowd-shot involving some coordinated dancing and other such things. We were way in the back of the crowd, so you'll never see us. We don't even know what the name of the movie is. Maybe it's "the big re-think?" I don't know... I don't remember very well since it was in Dutch. I had to ask myself though, as leaflets were handed out on the beach if they were made using vegetable inks on recycled paper? Was the stage setup and broadcast system, along with the filming equipment powered using green energy? Had the film also hired a cleanup crew to deal with the waste left by whoever might be irresponsible enough to leave waste behind on the beach? Hmmmmmmm.

As for pictures, my camera decided to die the very moment I turned it on to begin shooting pictures of this crowd and of Oostende on a SUNNY day. Not enough juice for even one lousy picture. So for visual interest (and because we learned all these dance-steps for the scene by a Flemish count,) I've included a video I took on the way home from the LAST time we were in Oostende, which was the day I learned how to count to 10 in Flemish. Now you can learn too!

In the ongoing saga of injuries Belgium has given me, after 5 months my shoulder still hurts, though it is definitely much stronger than it was when I got here. After work it hurts more, and after a few days of work in a row I'm dying for a strong anti-inflammatory. When I visit Canada, I'll probably be begging my doctor for a cortisone injection. The other day my wrist on my good arm (left) got messed up and has hurt ridiculously for the past two days. Typing this is killing me, which I find entirely retarded since it seems like I'm always injured here!  Fortunately my ankle has gotten a lot of rest lately and now that I've got a little cash I can hopefully find a nice pair of off-road runners and hit the trails in the forests again!

I'm supposed to be studying today, and typing this has made my wrist hurt like a mo-fo, so I should go. I am a champion procrastinator sometimes. Oh yeah, and I didn't post this before because I was feeling too self-conscious about the crazy-ass spit-spandrels that you can see in my mouth when I say "acht". But whatever, I'm over it.

Video temporarily unavailable (Someone who has privacy concerns has to be edited out.)