October 29, 2012
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Last year I discovered the beauty of autumn in Louvain-la-Neuve, and I am glad to have spent most of October here this year as well, to see the beginning of the end of fall. What a mesmerizing season filled with grace, vibrance, and dynamics.
There is a forest nearby my campus called “Bois de Lauzelle”, a great place for a nice afternoon hike. From the centre of Louvain-la-Neuve, it’s about a 15-minute walk. Not too far, huh. One would think I would have gone there already during my previous stays in Louvain-la-Neuve. Nope. Due to my laziness, I’ve never visited the woods, even though I knew of its existence since the beginning of the year. It’s like Antwerp and Maastricht. I didn’t make the effort to visit until this time around, when my departure from Belgium at the end of the month may be for a good 6 months.
So, on a cloudy Sunday morning after a rainy day (the day I went to Antwerp), I ventured into the woods for my first autumn hike. Laziness had to be conquered, yes, but I was not going to let this opportunity escape me again. After Tobermory and Kawartha Lakes, I was determined to discover Bois de Lauzelle, on my own.
As I started my hike from the centre of Louvain-la-Neuve to the outer parts of the city, I passed by the Parc de la Source where this gorgeous bird was chilling among the branches. I think it was a swallow…I could never be sure of bird names. The leaves were still very much green, but traces of yellow and orange have begun to appear everywhere.
September 19, 2012
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Five days before my friend Florence’s wedding, the two of us went on a trip to Lindsay, Ontario, a small region in the city of Kawartha Lakes. Aside from being actual lakes themselves, Kawartha Lakes is an agglomeration of quiet communities approximately an hour and a half east of Toronto by driving. Florence and I had planned this trip a few months ago, where we figured we’d go somewhere to relax and calm any last-minute wedding panics. So no, I was not kidnapping the bride, if you were wondering.
In Lindsay we stayed at a local motel for two nights, and it became our mini bachlorette party. For our hike, we headed to the nearby Ken Reid Conservation Area, where we ventured deep into the woods on a hiking trail on a nice Tuesday afternoon.
Why Kawartha Lakes? Well, after last year’s trip to Tobermory, Florence and I wanted to find somewhere similar, something close to nature where we could enjoy a nice hike near the waters. A little bit of research led us to Kawartha Lakes. Of course, none of our friends had been there before, but we figured, let’s give it a try. Nothing can be so bad with each other’s company, right?
RAWR! Get away from mah territory! This little chipmunk was the first thing we saw after we parked the car. It was making itself comfortable in the pile of wild fruits, munching some here and there and scurrying around. Chipmunks are really the cutest things ever, and look at this one! The fierce look in its eyes, the fiery grasp of its claws, and the flaming flick of its tail…the BADASSERY!
June 8, 2011
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Back to Bordeaux for a week, and already I feel like I’ve left all of Louvain-la-Neuve behind. It wasn’t like this the other way around. When I went to Louvain-la-Neuve, I wasn’t able to let go of Bordeaux for a good two weeks or so. That’s the power of a city with streets you love and people you miss.
Sinking back into the French lifestyle was easy. All you have to do is…do nothing. Nah, I kid. I do have to work, but I have to admit that the pace in France is significantly slower than Belgium. In Louvain-la-Neuve, there were times during my stay that I felt like I was running out of time, that I wouldn’t be able to get any results with my experiments. Back here, yeah I again have limited time, but the mentality somehow just completely changed. I am way more relaxed and I convince myself that I’ll get everything done on time. I can take it slow and easy.
Blah. Is this my lame excuse for my own laziness? Perhaps, but I’ve learned enough time management to know better than leaving things until the last minute now. I think I can proudly say that I am slowly getting rid of my nemesis in university, named procrastination. It has improved a lot since then, and I am no longer pulling my hair minutes before a deadline. Thank goodness.
In terms of stuff to do outside the lab, it was almost non-existent in Louvain-la-Neuve. Upon my return to Bordeaux, I realized how lively Bordeaux is during the summer, with events and festivals all over the place! I am going to a Beethoven/Wagner concert next week, then Saturday and Sunday is Fête le Fleuve! Dance shows, outdoor concerts, and of course fireworks…I can’t wait to see what the quais have to offer this time!
Here’s some more on life in Louvain-la-Neuve, the last for awhile. The next time I go back will probably be October of this year, if all works out well.
Random sculptures found along the road during a walk through the woods near the city center. I found a lot of interesting sculptures like these scattered around the campus, each unique in its own sense.