Okay, I admit the previous post was somewhat half-assed. I was way too tired to write detailed captions for my photos, and really, how much could you write about lab equipment?
So now, I am in Belgium, Louvain-la-Neuve, to be precise. That was fast, huh? After approximately 6 hours of travelling, I entered the mysterious land of the Belgians. The course of the journey was as follows: Bordeaux to Lyon by plane, Lyon to Brussels by plane, Brussels to Louvain-la-Neuve by train with one transfer. Lots of moving around, so I am sufficiently exhausted. I arrived at 19:30, so it was already dark and I hadn’t had the chance to explore yet. That will have to wait till tomorrow morning.
Well, first impression? Of Belgium in general (which only consists of Brussels and Louvain-la-Neuve at the moment), it’s more “modern” than Bordeaux. The reason I put the word in quotations is because it may very well be a false impression, either because I haven’t seen enough of Belgium yet, or modern Bordeaux eludes me.
The Brussels airport was pretty huge and I liked it. One thing I noticed was that while people in France dress as if they’re all in a fashion show, the people in Belgium – at least the ones at the airport – tend to dress on the professional side. I felt that I was in the midst of a gigantic conference where everyone was in suits or something formal. It makes sense, because Brussels is a location with quite big of an international influence, being the headquarters of EU and all, and I liked that.
One new thing I have to get used to is everything being in Dutch as well as French. In fact, announcements come in Dutch first, then French. I even got redirected to Dutch Google. Great. Still, I’m glad I’m in the French region of Belgium. I’m not sure if I’m ready to tackle a new language.
As for Louvain-la-Neuve, boy, is it lively! The students are quite the enthusiastic bunch and even if the place is small, it doesn’t seem like it lacks activity, being a student town. Exploring this place will be fun, and I’ll have to find all the nice places to eat and shop, though everything is so close together that I can probably see the whole city in an hour.
In terms of accommodation, I’m living “chez habitant”, which is something close to a host family. My room consists of an upper level with a bed and a desk, and a lower level with a dining table and a small kitchen. Very nice and well-equipped – I’m impressed! The best part is not having to pay for it…score 😀 Seems like this is gonna be a joyful little hut for the next few months. Let’s see what we have.
Top-down view of the “living room”. Where I’m standing, the desk is to my right, the bed is behind me, and the stairs are to my left. My luggage is a mess now so I’ll have to unpack, unless I want to rummage through my luggage every day for the next while.
Small kitchen and dining area. On the table is a map of Louvain-la-Neuve, which will be my best friend for at least a few days.
This is my favourite part of the room! So much kitchen stuff!! I’m quite thankful that the room comes with all of this so I don’t have to worry about cooking utensils, but it’s so much more than I had hoped for too! I was going to be greedy and say “if only I have all of this in Bordeaux”, but I realize what I have is already better than anything I could have expected, so no complaints 🙂
I’m not sure why there are so many towels, but I like.
I’d like to think that I’ll have time to curl up and read, because it seems like it’ll be the most comfortable way to spend a lazy evening. However, let’s just see how the workload goes…
This is the first time I’ve seen something like this – stove tops on top of an oven. Yes, it’s an oven, not a microwave, which came as a surprise for me. I’ll have to figure out how and what I’m going to cook, and that really depends on what I can get at the groceries. If I’m lucky enough to find someone like Andy here, then maybe these won’t be of any concern 😛
Desk upstairs. This place is going to get cluttered…very cluttered, very soon.
And finally, the bed. Back in a bigger bed for awhile…nice. Looking forward to some sweet dreams tonight.
And here you have it – first entry in Belgium, sooner than I had expected. It seems like this city/community/whatever you call it has much more than what I had in mind, and I’ll keep you posted on the latest findings in this new land!