Epic Belgian Email #29

Oooh! Fast approaching the Epic 30s! Just think, if I’d kept up
the once-weekly theme, I’d already be there! This is unmarked
Epic territory…

So hello from the land of Slavery. I am officially slave to the
whims of my Temperamental Computer and my Vile Thesis.

Okay okay, it’s not all THAT bad. But it is Monday, so I’m
allowed to be a little snozly. (I just invented that word. It
can mean whatever you want it to mean.)

My thesis is due on June 20th. My promoter returns on the 15th,
so I’d better have it ready for him by then. That means I have
24 days. Panic may now set in. At last count, I had written
about twelve pages. I could keep writing until I have the
minimum required 50 with no problem. The problem is that I’m
still not at all sure what it is I think I’m saying. As of last
Saturday, the topic has taken yet another minor turn.

IF I should ever be so crazy as to decided to do FURTHER
education, I will not even APPLY to the institution in question
until I already know what I plan to WRITE ABOUT once I get
there. This is decidedly too late to still not know what’s going

Worse case scenario? I turn my paper in to my promoter on the
15th and he gives it back without even looking at it because the
topic I ended up with is too dumb to be believed. Then I have
until August 20th to try again!

Let’s talk about something other than my thesis! I don’t want to
be Bad Attitude Girl all the way through this email. Maybe in
that case I’ll also skip the street party we had last week
(suffice it to say there were a lot of people, more beer, even
more noise, and I didn’t have a very good time) and talk about
the weather instead…

There’s some nice fluffy white clouds in the sky just now… The
weather has been a little bit respectable, but you still don’t
dare leave the house without a coat and an umbrella. I’m
currently wearing two sweaters.

I know! I’ll take you on a tour of my walk to “work.” 🙂 That’s
my favorite part of the day.

For the last couple weeks, I’ve been working in the Faculty of
Theology, which is the only library that won’t let you check out
books. So me, my giant stack of books I’ve checked out from
other libraries, and my computer bundle up every morning and go
for a walk.

I walk down my street, which is a very nice street. It’s an
unusual street in that it’s almost for pedestrians only (which
is to say, cars park here but don’t really drive through). It’s
covered with cobblestones as well, and is full of trees and
squashed shrubberies and bicycles (which are mostly responsible
for the shrubbery squashing). My bicycle is out there somewhere,
locked to a tree…

Then I walk down Marie-Theresa-straat, past my favorite bakery,
green-grocer, butchery, french fry shop, and my un-favorite
laundromat. It’s a very nice neighborhood. Especially when there
are no street parties in town. I turn off at the Faculty of
Letters, which is where I had most of my classes last semester,
and take a short cut through their gardens. These are mostly
bamboo (go figure!) and some kind of tree with gigantic gobs of
pink flowers. It’s really nice.

I come out behind the Central Library, then I walk around to the
front so I can admire the Scarab On A Stick as I pass. I cross
the street into another little park-like square and then cross
into the main city park.

It is a very nice park. When you go through the gates, you’re on
a gravel path lined with trees on either side that goes down to
the grassy area. I prefer to take a side path which goes up a
hill along side this path, following the old Medieval wall that
used to surround the town. (You’re much less likely to get run
down by a bicycle if you go this way!) I can also stare through
the trees down a the people on the path. It’s very nice.

Once I come off this path, I’m in the grassy area of the park
where there is a pond and a lot of frisbee players. When the sun
is out, the grass is covered with people (at least half of whom
are usually making out with no mind for onlookers). I take the
north exit and walk a half a block to the Faculty of Theology.

I’ve staked out a spot in the library that allows me to look out
the window at the park. That’s the only good part of working at
that library. One day last week, some GUY was sitting at my
spot, and I hardly knew what to do with myself. I didn’t get
nearly as much done at my second-choice desk. Oh well, so it

And that’s the story of my day! Since Jeroen (my lunch buddy)
has wandered off to Cambridge, I’ve gotten into the habit of
packing a lunch to eat in the park. If I can work again until
I’m hungry for dinner, I’ve done well. Today I got ticked off at
my new friend Atargatis (who refused to present herself on any
of the coins that supposedly have her image on them) so I
decided to come home early. That just means I’ve committed
myself to an evening of surfing electronic journal databases for
more pictures…

Maybe I’ll just give up on this goddess business and write my
paper about my chickens. I could talk about the social
conditioning which has caused them to become MEAN over the last
nine months. They’re not afraid of me anymore, so when I go to
collect their eggs, Germaine has no problem chasing me around
and pecking at my legs. Vile chicken. I can now understand why
people don’t seem to mind eating their pet chickens for dinner.

I guess it’s still better than paying for eggs…?

Okay. I also guess I’d better get back to being productive. If I
write five pages every day, I can be done with this in less than
two weeks. Then I’ll have a few days left to think about how I
can possibly pass off the results as a thesis.

I hope spring is being kinder to everyone on that side of the
world! If you ever feel glum, just think: “I could be stuck
researching the disappearance of obscure Iron Age goddesses!”
How can that NOT make you feel better?

(I’m sure I’ll be very proud of myself once I’m done.)

By all means, feel free to write back a note! I’ll do my bestest
to reply with something more personal than a mass email. It’s
been awhile since I’ve heard from a lot of you. Believe me – any
and all warm fuzzies are appreciated, even through email!

So take care, and until the urge to write strikes again, I’m
sending love and hugs to all of you!!


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