Epic Belgian Email #27

Hullo from the Land of Waffles!

Apologies for being lax in Epicness last week. Although I
imagine the Mega Epic the week before might be enough Epic for a
whole lifetime… :

It’s been a very normal (read, unexiting) couple of weeks. I’ve
taken up residence in the Central Library. Most days, I attempt
to be there by 9 (my average actual time of arrival usually
being about 9:30) and stay until 4 or 5 with a nice long lunch
break. It’s productive time (well, about 3/4ths of it is…)
which means I can relax in the evenings without feeling too
guilty.

I had thought my thesis was proceeding more or less apace. On
Friday, we had our “colloquium,” which is just a fancy way of
saying all your professors and fellow students listen to you
talk about your thesis then they pick on you. I was unreasonably
nervous going into this. My presentation was well prepared and
so was I. But after they finished picking on me, I realized why
I was nervous. The final verdict? My thesis is “unoriginal and
unfocused.”

*sigh* Would have been nice to know that a couple months ago…

Okay, to be fair, I’ve given up on my promoter at least as much
as he’s given up on me. He was so fantastically unhelpful in the
beginning, I just stopped asking advice. He wants me to be
independent? Fine! He’d just better be prepared to defend my
unguided, unoriginal thesis…

Urgh. And I must admit, I rather agree with them. It seemed like
a very good idea starting out, but the topic is too big to do
what I want to do WELL in only ~50 pages. (Which is, briefly, to
show how women – as the heads of the household – were able to
change the course of relgion in the Iron Age.)

So I spent Friday evening coming up with some plans to “fix” it.
I have a meeting with my promoter on Monday morning. Hopefully
if I go in with three distinct options, I can get him to give me
some idea which one has the most potential. I won’t be holding
my breath.

Add to that the fact that he leaves the country on Wednesday,
not to return until after my thesis is due, and you have the sum
of the situation.

*takes a moment to mourn the absence of liberal arts and
professors who are actually helpful and encouraging*

Other than THAT, it’s been a lovely couple of weeks! The weather
is perking up (which is to say it rains less than 50% of the day
and the sun usually makes an appearance every couple of days).
The cafes all have tables out on the terraces, and there aren’t
many joys nicer than sitting outside and watching people while
you unwind.

Last week, I went to a Bach concert. It was supposedly “free,”
so I went with Marianne and Piraye. By “free,” what they really
meant was no fee at the door. You do, however, have to sit and
listen to Old Belgian Guys yammer on and on and on and on about
the new pipe organ they want to buy. Fifty minutes of yammering!
In a very very cold church. Then about 40 minutes of music. Oh
well. The music (when it finally came) was very nice.

There’s my Culture Quotient for the month, then.

Other than that, not much is news. The chickens are getting
feistier. They lay more eggs now that the weather is nice.
Sadly, they’re not afraid of me anymore. I won’t be snatching
their eggs wearing shorts any time soon, that’s for sure.
Germaine doesn’t mind pecking at my legs while I collect.
Distracting them with food isn’t useful either. Who says
chickens aren’t smart? (Now if we could just convince them that
those eggs aren’t gonna hatch anyway…)

My roommates aren’t nearly so irritable, thankfully.

And speaking of chickens (hehe)- news on Turkey: I will NOT be
going to Turkey this summer. I can claim this was my decision,
since I made other plans before they told me they didn’t want
me. Instead, I will be going back to Nijmegen, in the
Netherlands, to work with the archaeologists up there before I
come home in September.

That means that if anyone wants to come visit, I’m available as
a tour guide! Mes parents get first dibs, but otherwise, if
you can manage not to get robbed by the airlines, I’d be
delighted to have any or all visitors! Original vacation plans
guaranteed!

Until then, however, I have a thesis that needs its butt kicked.
I’ll go work on that, you all have a wonderful week, and I’ll
write more later! Love and great big hugs to all!

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