Jesus’ good luck nose.

Adam is away this week on his big yearly snowboarding holiday and I’m home trying to catch up on some writing.  I am desperately behind.  Yikes.  I still have THREE papers to write from the counseling course I took last year (don’t tell Adam or I’ll get in trouble), I have two journal articles from my thesis sketched out that need beefing up, I’m writing the funding proposal for the next OperaDans projects (Arabic show in July, Snow Queen revival in November, recordings, and educational outreach proposals *whew*).  And I need to get back into regular blog-writing, because I’m falling out of the habit.  It feels like a lot, but I’m ready to get cracking.  I have officially declared this Headfirst-Back-Into-The-Abyss-Of-Writing month.  And you thought it was merely January… silly.

I begin this morning, Monday, January 25, with a blog post.  Hoorah!  Here we go:

I spent last weekend in Belgium.  That may sound exotic, but Brussels is only 2.5 hours from my door.  For all you Haligonians, that’s closer than Moncton, New Brunswick, but not nearly as foreign.  I was with my friend Kismet.  Yes, her name is Kismet.  Yes, that’s really her name.  We met at some party ages ago in The Hague via the expat social net, but we only really started hanging out just before she moved back to Brussels, which is her hometown.  Kismet’s a very cool lady: deeply artistic and expressive- with the intellect to back it up.  She’s half Afghan, half English (along with Summer, I’ve added Kismet to my highly prized collection of British-Arabic friends. I’m still taking resumes).  Kismet paints, writes, dances.  She’s a trained lawyer.  And her parents are Arctic explorers.  I’m not kidding.  Who ARE these people?!

Here is a pic of me and Kismet standing in…

Me and Kismet

…the Brussels town square:

Brussels square

Brussels town square again

Here are photos of us rubbing the Jesus in the town square and making a wish.  People are  encouraged to do this.  I think it’s a brilliant way to save valuable Belgian tax dollars by getting tourists to polish the city’s brass.

Rubbing the wishing Jesus

Jesus' good luck nose

I wish Holland would spread a similar rumor that picking up your dog’s crap from the sidewalk was good luck.  Honestly.  This city is like a giant game of fetid hopscotch.  But I digress…

When we’re together, Kismet and I spend most of our time sipping hot drinks, munching chocolate, and talking about relationships.  The whos, whats, the whys… and after several bladder-busting hours, we normally conclude that people are bonkers, men are a pain in the butt (but we’re addicted), and neither of us knows how to deal with relationships – male or female – because of our daddy issues.  And we feel better.

I had a great time.  It was very relaxing and so much fun digging through Kismet’s house, which is full of history books, fossils, animal skins, and maps.  My dream house.  And after this trip, I’ve decided that I want to really get a grip on French.  I’m a Canadian who speaks more Dutch than French.  The 10 years of French I took in school were enough to teach me the theory, but I can’t seem to use it in practice.  I can sing in French, but I can’t have a conversation.  And that’s not good.  I had the strangest sensation when Kismet and I were schlepping around Brussels, because there was French being spoken all around me.  I was able to understand a good majority of it, but when I opened my mouth to speak all that would come out was a confused squeak (I didn’t say “croak”, but I thought it. I’m a bad person. I blame society).

I plan to go back to Belgium in February to brush up on my French.  I’m looking for a French immersion course to take for a week.  The courses are easy to find, but by god they are expensive.  WHY are they so expensive?  WHY do I have to pay so much to have a Frenchman teach me how to swear?  Pour quoi?  Surely I could learn that in a bar over a few verres de vin rouge?  I’d do better to go to the Brussels red light district and hire a lovely lady to teach me for a few hours a day.  Teach me FRENCH, of course, you dirty thing.  It would be cheaper.  And sexier.

Camped out at Campo

National Book Critics Circle Awards – fiction finalists