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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Good-bye Already

Everything has somehow fit into the suitcases. Though the lead-up has been a bit stressful -- ebanking failure, mix-up with our Internet provider, two-week-late delivery of bound books, general strike in Belgium, blizzard forecast for the weekend -- we're all set. More or less. And today is publication day for Princess of the Wild Swans and for the paperback edition of A True Princess! We will celebrate the general auspiciousness with some really bad champagne when we're in the air. That's if we should get into the air. I've been forbidden to check in online; apparently there's a security problem. I'm ready for my cavity search, Mr. DeMille!


Is there any way to fit six months' worth of clothing for two people into four suitcases? You do the math. It wouldn't be so bad if Phil didn't insist on bringing books. I have borrowed a Nook, so I don't need any real books (thank you, Debra!). But Phil needs texts, and outside readings, and then there are all the travel guides. Yes, Phil is that guy with the travel guide and the map. No fanny pack, though. No big white sneakers.

We leave in six days and still don't definitely have an apartment, or at least not an apartment number. When I wrote to ask, I was told our place is "under renovation" and they "still need to divide the apartment." Maybe this has a different meaning in Flemish. It sounds to me as if walls are missing. But Gent seems to have acquired an Ikea, so we can always buy some walls if necessary. You can get anything at Ikea, right?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Food Farewells

We had a dinner last night partly to say good-bye to some local friends and partly to satisfy Phil's desperate need to make and consume cassoulet. You need a minyan for cassoulet, and it has something in it to offend almost everyone. We've had people turn both vegetarian (it contains nearly every possible meat) and kosher (pork in 3 forms) when faced with it. Our guests rose gallantly to the occasion, brave souls that they are, eating far more than I would have believed possible and chasing it with vast quantities of beer, champagne, and wine. As far as I know, nobody has ended up in the hospital as a result. Yet.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Starting Up

Here I am, doing what I always swore I'd never do -- blogging. But I'm off to Belgium January 31st to live in Gent (aka Ghent, for the Walloons among us) for six months, and I decided to share the experience with friends and family. And you.

So check in now and then to see what we're drinking and eating, where we're going (till the funds run out), and how we manage living in student housing, teaching at the University of Gent, and writing.