Epic Belgian Email #15

Welcome to your first Epic of 2005! (Looks a lot like all the
Epics from 2004, doesn’t it? 😉

Not much to report yet for the new year itself. In fact, I feel
a bit like a slug. I’ve gotten onto a terrible sleep schedule
and can’t seem to get out of bed before noon. Makes the days
over here very short. I suppose that’s partially due to having
nothing on my schedule, but fortunately (I guess…) I have some
study dates planned in the next couple of days, so maybe I can
start keeping normal human hours again.

The rest of the week was quite lovely. Turns out I was a little
confused about that Paris thing. Not sure where I got that idea.
Definitely didn’t go to Paris. :p Instead, we went to another
city in Flanders where a couple of Marianne’s friends – Mikeh
and Barte – live. We were also joined by Marianne’s sister Els,
Els’ husband Stef, their new baby Jarne, and Mikeh’s father
whose name I’ve forgotten.

It was a festive, four-course Italian evening. The “salad”
course was slices of fresh mozzarella and tomatoes covered with
olive oil and oregano. The first course was linguini in a smoked
bacon cream sauce (super yum!). The main course comprised of
three dishes: a somethingoni (with salmon and a white cream
sauce), a somethingotti (with big shells stuffed with spinach in
a rose sauce), and a somethingoni (a bit like lasagna, but with
ground mystery meat and carrots). In any case, it was very good.
It took a good three hours to eat, since each course was cooked
after the previous one was eaten. Plenty of digesting time! Some
time well after midnight we capped it off with very delicious
ice cream and Belgian chocolates.

The rest of the evening was devoted to conversation (mostly in
Dutch – increasingly so with the continuous consumption of wine)
and a vicious game of Uno. In the background the television was
playing the top 100 songs of 2004. The number one song was
Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody (yes, top songs of 2004…) and the
terrible thing has been stuck in my head ever since.

I also spent part of the evening making friends with Pino –
Mikeh and Barte’s pet bird. I think he might be a peach faced
love bird (right size, shape, and mostly the right colors). He
liked me. Or, rather, I suppose he liked my hair. And my
earrings. And my necklace… Okay, so I was being used by the
bird for my shiny things. But since he and I both spoke about
the same amount of Dutch, it was okay. 🙂

Sssh. Don’t tell the chickens. I bet they’d get jealous.

Barte brought me back to Leuven the next afternoon. My days
between then and now are mostly all the same: sleep too late,
wander around wishing someone else would feed me
breakfast/lunch, pull out some notes to type or an article to
read, eat some dinner, do some more studying, realize it’s
bedtime for most people in the US, give up and go to bed. All
these activities are liberally interspersed with goofing off on
the computer, taking a walk with Marianne, or whatever distracts
me at a given moment. I’m very easily distracted, you know.

And that’s been my week! My first exam isn’t until the 11th, so
I still have all this week left to do my studying. Marianne and
I are the only ones in the house (and the chickens, of course.
Well, they’re outside…) so it’s very quiet around here. It’s a
Belgian custom to not open a single book until after all the
classes are over, then stick your nose in those books and don’t
resurface until exams are over in February. You don’t see any
students out and about anymore. It’s very odd.

In any case, I’ll be checking in again before my exams start. So
wish me luck, I’ll wish you a fine week, and I’ll write again
soon! Love and hugs to all – Mmmmmmmwah!

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