Friday, December 06, 2013

One month down, 2 to go...

Last weekend marked 1 month in Brussels. I think oddly it also marked my 10 year anniversary in California. Do I still get to count that?

We spent 26 hours in Paris last weekend. I have been to Europe only once before this rotation, and it was to Paris when I was 16—16 years ago. Paris. Poor Brussels, Paris makes it look like a dysfunctional village. I felt so much more comfortable in Paris, despite (or because of?) having to tell some ticket tout asshole to fuck off in the Metro station. Felt like New York. Felt great! We had great food, delicious drinks, beautiful architecture, and went for a ridiculous sightseeing run. Observe.

Sixteen Years Later

I'm on my own this weekend. I went out and bought Le Creuset so I can make some pork stew. I also managed to have wine and cheese alone, and checked out the Flagey Christmas market. I wasn't sure what to expect from the Christmas market, but I did not expect it to feel like a Pennsylvania craft fair. €1,80 cup of vin chaud didn't help.

I'm ashamed to admit that I really miss TV. We get three channels in English, plus one weird channel that sometimes has American shows with Dutch subtitles (I've seen CSI and Columbo). I'm currently watching a show about orphaned kangaroos on BBC 1 while I enjoy some of the random wine I bought at Delhaize.

There are two major supermarket chains in Brussels: Delhaize (Dutch) and Carrefour (French). My first experience in the nearby Delhaize was on the Saturday I arrived. It was horrible. It seemed like the trashiest grocery store on earth. I started going to the Carrefour around the corner because it was brighter and seemed cleaner. But the wine selection at Delhaize is better, and I wanted wine the other night, so I decided to give Delhaize Proxy another shot. I totally change my position: I'm a Delhaize girl. They have way better stuff in general, and Delhaize Wine World is pretty sweet. They also have self-checkout machines, and I made the mistake of pressing the on-screen button to have instructions spoken in English. It is like they had the English lady cranked up 10dB higher than any other language. So unbelievably embarrassing. Tonight I went back and realized I didn't need to have it talk to me at all, I could go through the motions without a narrator. Except what I didn't realize is that I needed to scan my receipt to get out, and when the woman told me to do that in French, I was all "HUH??????????" and then she had to explain in English and everyone again looked at me. I just want one fucking seamless transaction at the supermarket, is that too much to ask?

Tomorrow it's supposed to rain again. I may not leave the house. I have rations for the day. I am tempted to try a pilates class around the corner but I don't want to pay their ridiculous €35 studio registration fee in addition to the class fee. I'm wondering if there's a way to work around that...