Tuesday, March 20, 2012

City envy, relearning math

I have a little crush on Namur.  I've been there a few times now, and I was there again last week for a course.  I found myself (a few times) thinking wistfully "if only that were my apartment balcony" as I walked from the train station over into Jambes.

It's true it's superficial.  I like the way Namur looks.  I like the way all the parts I've walked in have smelled, and I like the variety of shops, bakeries and architecture I see there.  I like the fact that it's centrally located in Wallonia, but these things aside do I really know what it's like on a day to day basis?  No.  Not at all.  I don't know the real Namur, but I think I want to.  I'm back there next week, and I plan on stopping into the patisserie I had my eye on yesterday to see if what they make tastes as good as it looks.  The Boy has already agreed to spend more time visiting Namur... it seems he may finally be tiring of the Liègois soot, the heroin addicts that hang around the Place St. Lambert, and of the areas of the city that smell perpetually of urine or decaying cement, or both.  Does Namur have places and problems like these?  I don't know.  I'm very curious to know, actually.  Anyone?


I discovered the other day that I had completely forgotten how to do "long multiplication."  Upon the shocking realization that I could no longer multiply larger numbers or decimals without the assistance of a machine, I went about relearning, all while feeling a little embarrassed to have let such a basic thing slip.  I've been practicing various math skills as I have a math test coming up.  I'm not sure what sort of questions will be asked and I'm not sure if calculators will be allowed or not.  I'm a little nervous about it given that it will be the first French math test I've ever written, and the first math test I've had to write in... 15 years.  I'm pretty sure I'll have to relearn long division too.  La honte.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Don't even scratch your nose

I forgot to mention the other exciting thing!  This weekend, within walking distance from my home there will be a craaaaazy auction featuring works by Magritte, Picasso, Lichtenstein, Miro, Delvaux, Renoir, Christo, Giacometti, Modigliani, and Rodin, among other things like 1000 bottles of expensive wine, furniture, and so on.

My Grandma and I have enjoyed an auction or two together, but I have never been to anything like this.  As an art school kid (and a lover of old funky objects they don't make like they used to,) this tickles me so very much.  I think I may have started sweating after reading only half the list of artists.

We are hoping to go, view the items pre-auction, and then sit completely motionless and amazed as people with far more money than we have engage in bidding wars.  And in the unlikely event that nobody wants the Modigliani or one of the Magrittes, I happen to have a space above the mantlepiece here that could use a little something should they care to donate it to a good home.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A breath of fresh air

Good things have been happening here lately, and it feels as though I'm arriving at the more spacious and well lit end of the proverbial tunnel.  I can breathe.  *happy sigh*

What's good?

1) The great Belgian paper-chase has come to an almost-resolution.  I finally have the papers I need from my ex-employer and I finally have a "status".  It is nice to know I'm not facing starvation just yet.

2) Some super-duper educational opportunities I'd been going after have been offering themselves up via my mailbox and email inbox.  To get into the one of them, I'll have to pass a French test, a Math test, and shine in a personal interview.  It's a great opportunity, so today I went and got study materials because I just need to make sure I'm not stupid, or at least to give myself a little time to try and correct the stupid if it turns out I am.

3) We found a decent sushi place on the outskirts of Liège!  Hello maki, my old friend, I've come to omnomnom you again.

4) The Boy and Hobbes have tuned into each other and bonded, and there is very little tension in the house now that The Boy believes he has "the most beautiful kitty ever".

(To be fair, I don't think Hobbes is the most beautiful kitty ever, or the most intelligent, but the little freak makes me laugh when he's not driving me mad with his ridiculous doings, so he can stay.)

(...For the record, my kitty in Toronto is the most beautiful, sweet-tempered and intelligent kitty ever.  And the softest.)

5)  We are going to Rotterdam!  I've wanted to see Rotterdam for awhile now, so I'm pretty hyped about that.

6) My imagination has been firing more regularly and this pleases me immensely.  Good things are coming of this, I have been a busy bee, and though I'm too shy to share more about this for the moment, it'll come in time.

7) Rhubarb showed up in the grocery store!  There are baby bunnies in the park!  The air smells nicer!  Spring is springing!