Believe it or not (I actually found it hard to believe myself), I did have a life in Louvain-la-Neuve.
The trip to Geneva last weekend had to be cancelled last minute. While it was slightly disappointing, the timing wasn’t too bad as I did end up needing the weekend to pack for my return to Bordeaux. And rest. Catching up on some sweet sweet sleep felt so guiltily amazing.
(I’m putting Geneva back on my travel list though. It didn’t work out this time, but next time it will. And it’s an easy destination from either Bordeaux or Brussels, so plenty of time to make it happen!)
As the “Louvain-la-Neuve” section of the blog has been feeling lonely due to my constant absence from the little city during weekends, I will dedicate this entry and perhaps the next to my home for the past three months. I had been hesitant to call LLN “home” at any time; when there is so much mobility and movement from place to place, your expectation of “home” changes from time to time. To blatantly admit that I really disliked a place – well, LLN is the first.
Or well, I supposed I disliked it at the beginning, when the contrast between LLN and Bordeaux was so strikingly clear. Though, after awhile of living in one place, no matter how lurid the place smelled or how aesthetically unpleasing it appeared, you always find something to miss when you leave. Most of the time, for me, it’s the people.
It’s no different this time around. I really did have a great time in Belgium, thanks to the wonderful colleagues that I met at the lab. One thing that sucks about moving around is that just as you’re starting to feel like you are fitting in at your workplace, it’s time to leave. It was the case every single time during co-op in university, since each work term was so short (4 months) that there was barely enough time to be truly integrated in one lab community. Here it’s the same, only difference being it’s a continuous cycle of heading back and forth. That, I am glad, because the next time I go to Belgium, I won’t feel like a newbie anymore, and I can dive directly back into the work environment that I so thoroughly enjoyed the first time around.
Well, if you were wondering what I had been doing and where I had been for the past three months aside from weekend trips all over the place, this might give you a general idea.
This is a chalkboard on the -1th floor of our building. First of all, yes I did say -1th, or -1st, if you prefer. The entrance to the building leads to the -1st floor, then you go up to the 0th floor, the 1st, and the 2nd floor where the lab is. Don’t ask me why the buildings here are laid out in such a manner; I had my own share of confusion already with 0th floors in France.
So, I found it amusing to see Chinese characters on the chalkboard, and funnier still is that some of the characters were written incorrectly. Let’s take a look at the two lines of orange writing. It says “I have a cat; I dislike cats” in bizarre grammar, and the character for “cat”, among some others, was wrongly written in both cases. I was told that this was a French colleague attempting to learn Chinese from a Chinese colleague. Chouette!