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July 17, 2008

Once again, sorry for the slackage. Work most ungraciously gobbled up 90 hours of my time since the last post. (note: that includes coming into work on saturday and sunday, not 20 hour days this week)

Between work, the ocassional sleep session (what do you call getting home at 12:30am, falling asleep around 2am and getting back up at 6am? Is that really sleep or is that more of a nap? A brief reverie?), eating and the exhausted/frustrated mumbling that I try to pass off as conversation with Boyfriend, there hasn’t been much time for posting.

After finishing up with work last night around 10:30, I momentarily considered writing up some of the fun non-work stuff I’ve been up to the past few months. But when I sat down to type, I realized that I couldn’t remember the word ‘elevator.’ Yes, elevator. It was similar to that feeling when someone asks you a band’s name and the answer is on the tip of your tongue but you just can’t remember it now that you’ve been put on the spot. Well, WordPress put me on the spot and I couldn’t remember the word for elevator. As much as I wanted to regale you all with stories of my latest exploits, this was a sign that I needed to walk to that metal contraption that carries people up and down, go home and get some sleep.

So I did.

And it was good.

And now I am almost refreshed enough for a proper retelling of the hi jinks that have ensued the past few weeks. Sadly, it’s already 5:40pm. If I want to get out of here before 11:30pm, I need to hurry up with this work stuff.

In lieu of original stories from yours truly, I will leave you with links to some stories about Belgium that have been in the Int’l press recently…

1. “A Lost World Made by Women”

In this article, NYT Travel writer Richard Woodward, talks about his tour of the Beguinages in Belgium. Giving a brief history of Beguinages and descriptions of the ones he visited in Ghent, Antwerp and Bruges, it’s a fine article. I only have one comment – he forgot to visit my favorite Beguinage… the one right in Leuven!

I’ve been meaning to write up a review of my first trip to the Leuven Beguinage but I didn’t want to do it without accompanying pictures. As I never seem to have a camera with me on days when it’s not raining, I’ve refrained. Besides,  this AP article from February does it far better than I ever could:

The cobblestone path dips below street level to a small haven of mottled red brick buildings and arched doorways. The occasional bicycle is propped up against a wall. A trilingual sign forbids sunbathing, picking fruit or loud talking.

This place, these buildings, are different from the clapboard student houses of most American university towns. It looks like a place where people live a peaceful, simple life.

Once upon a time, it was.

It now houses students and professors. But centuries ago, this hamlet in Leuven — a university town, 20 miles east of Brussels — was a beguinage, a sort of commune for unmarried, religiously-inclined women known as beguines (pronounced Bay-Gueens).

Perhaps that’s why the NYT writer didn’t go by the Leuven Beguinage – he couldn’t write up a better description either?

Either way, when you visit me, we will make a quick stop.

2. “Another step in a low country’s slow unravelling”

The low country referred to in the Economist article? Yup, you guessed it, Belgium. Have you heard about this?? While the everyone in my office (not just the Americans but the Belgians, Romanians, Bulgarians, Turkish, Koreans, Indonesians…) discusses who will be the next President, no one says a word about the Belgian Prime Minister submitting his resignation to the King of Belgium. I asked one of my Belgian coworkers for their take on this and she just shrugged her shoulders in resignation, replying “Ale (pronounced ‘a-Lay,’ meaning ‘meh’), it’s happened before, it will happen again.”

Umm, ok.

3. Bud bought by Inbev.

I know the buyout of Uncle Sam’s last major beer by Belgian-based Inbev raises all sorts of issues. But. I don’t really feel like talking about them. All I’m going to say is that I hope it means that in 2.5 years, Giant Eagle carries Leffe at Leuven prices when I come back…

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