Here and There and Everywhere is going to be taking a series of naps over the next month!
30 Dec 2010
With over 20h of air travel time between Paris and Auckland, you can bet I made the most of the fabulous in-flight entertainment system to catch up on movies I missed on the Big Screen and discovering others that weren't even on my radar!
Leaving Paris I decided to start with something light-hearted to help keep me awake while waiting for dinner (we took off at 1 a.m. instead of 11 p.m. because of snow issues). And what a pleasant surprise this was! A more adult rom-com than usual, both characters feel very real, and it's been a long time since I enjoyed a movie w/ Drew Barrymore so much! She makes me understand her pain and frustration at living in a long-distance relationship (she's in San Francisco, boyfriend in NY) and desperately trying to establish her career while finding a way to move closer to him.
After a night of desperately trying to sleep (and failing miserably most of the time), I realised I'd waited too long to start my 2nd choicem so had to flip through the options for something shorter. I landed on Winter's Bone (which as far as I know hasn't hit a screen near me) that I keep glimpsing very good info about across the Atlantic.
WOW! Talk about intense! The young lead Jennifer Lawrence is amazing as she desperately tries to locate her father (who skipped on his trial hearing) so she and her younger siblings don't lose their house (which he had the brilliant idea to put up as a bond), all the while taking care of the young ones and teaching them how to survive. She carries the whole movie solidly on her shoulders and does it brilliantly.
I didn't want to risk missing out on this one again (previous flight), so I started out the flight between Hong Kong and Auckland with Julia Robert's latest (and thought how fitting to watch a travel movie while on a trip!). She's wonderful as usual and the movie presents some interesting ideas as to life, love and God which made me take pause, and I had a great laugh at the Italians' view of Americans and they feel they have to earn life's pleasures! (completely agree with their assessment, and am glad to be more European than American in that aspect) Oh, and I'm now curious about reading the book...
After a decently long nap I went for comedy again to accompany brunch, and couldn't resist the lure of one that takes place during a Renaissance Fair and stars the delightful Christina Ricci! What a blast! I loved the mix of faux Shakespearean / medieval English and thought it was a really cute story! (plus I love those dresses, lol!)
So, have you seen these? Any thoughts? I just realised (looking it up on imdb) that All's Faire was from 2009! Some movies just never make it across the pond... grrrr!!!!
29 Dec 2010
Yikes! What happened with my monthly movies posts??? I love writing these! I just wasn't really inspired this summer... not much worth writing about other than Inception which deserved its own "Movie Madness" post but was too busy to write (I thought I had, just realised while looking for it for a link that I hadn't!). And the fact that I didn't see a single movie in October (shocking!) is proof that having a lot of work to do and needing a bus to go to the movies... well it ain't easy! :p
I could just drop it for now and start up again in 2011 (Feb, since I doubt I'll see anything in January), and you've probably seen most of them by now, but still... My movie obsession won't let me drop it and I'm interested in hearing what you thought of those of these films that you've seen. So this post is just a combo of the Fall, not as complete as usual because some of them I only jotted down a few notes after seeing them and that was a while ago... but I don't want to leave them out 'cause there were some little (French) gems I want you to keep your eyes open for if you happen upon them!
25 Dec 2010
21 Dec 2010
The sun rises on my final morning here, on the shortest day of the year. It’s colourful and magical, but I’m glad to be going. I’ve had fun in the snow –as you have probably noticed from my snowbsession these past few weeks-, but I’m glad to be heading south for the summer!
HA! Gotcha! I hope he enjoyed his early breakfast, cheeky blackbird! :p
Strategic retreat, although at some point he’ll head back down to finish off the other eye. I should have used coal…
Tonight I’m moving out to a friend’s apartment to be closer into town. Tomorrow morning I need to get up early to take a suitcase to the Post Office to have it mailed back to Spain (all my winter stuff, plus some chocolate and other goodies), head over to the bank to get some kiwi dollars, print my e-tickets and boarding cards and then catch a 13h45 train to Lille in France from where I get a TGV to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and then… I’m off! Up, up and away!!! New Zealand and a summer Christmas, here I come!!! :o)
20 Dec 2010
So yesterday I finally got to make my snowman! I braved the snowstorm and enjoyed the last few rays of sunlight to play in the snow for a fun and exhausting hour (I forgot how tiring making a snowman is! lol!)
The garden before:
and after (seen from my bedroom window):
What's that? The tree branches are in the way? Oh well, I guess I'd better bring you outside and introduce you in person...
May I present, Mr Snowctopus!
19 Dec 2010
So after a snowy Friday, I woke up yesterday morning to see a beautiful blue sky out of my window, with sunlight shining down on the snow!
I needed to go into town to finish up my Christmas shopping, and as I was heading out I decided to walk into town along the river to enjoy the sun and snow and take a few pictures of something I'd never seen before this year: snowy riverbanks along the Meuse!
This one's coming up on the Pont de Fragnée:
I walked along the bank until I reached this point and realised I could go no further! I was at the meeting point of the Ourthe and the Meuse!
18 Dec 2010
So yesterday morning I quickly posted a couple of pics of the view from my bedroom window and said I was wondering what would be waiting for me 150m higher up on the university campus... well, here's the answer:
That's the view from within the bus, was a bit thicker down below and the bus was having so much trouble making it up the hill for a moment I thought he'd pull over and say "time to walk guys!". It was snowing hard, and from my stop to class I got covered in snow!
But when I got out of my first class at noon, no more clouds, gorgeous sunshine, and everything looked lovely!!!
17 Dec 2010
Here's the view out my window at 8h30 this morning:
Did someone drop a bucket of snow on us during the night??? There wasn't nearly that much when I went to bed! The campus is 150m higher up, so is probably going to look like a ski resort! :p
Maybe I will get to make my snowman after all... :D
16 Dec 2010
File this under the category "Be careful what you wish for"...
When I got up to Campus on Monday for my first class of the week, I was complaining how ugly everything looked with the snow all gone (melted with the *slightly* warmer weekend temperatures and rain) and how it was no fun dealing with below freezing temperatures if you couldn't at least have pretty snow!
Yeah well... several hours later it started snowing! Not much, just a few centimetres to make the place all white and shiny the next morning. But then Tuesday evening... aye! aye! aye!!! When I got up Wednesday morning: snow in town, so even more snow up on the hill! Plus it started snowing again during my first class, and I had to cross the whole bloody campus while it was snowing! (if it had been raining I would say pouring!)
Not that I minded all that much as you can tell from the grin on my face:
8 Dec 2010
This is utter madness! This is my 10th Fall in Liège and I've NEVER seen anything like this, never before Christmas, and never even this much or this long during "real" winter (although I missed the 2 worst ones of the past ten years).
What am I going on about? You remember me complaining about the "slushy snow" that was raining down on the city all day Sunday? The stuff that melted all the snow in town and has stopped me from making a snowman in my back yard? Well it never occurred to me that up on campus the situation would be any different. Silly me, I forgot that the Sart Tilman - our "hill" - is about 150m above the city (Liège is only 68m above sea level). And what was rain down here was probably snow up there! So basically it snowed all day Sunday, stayed freezing Monday, snowed again a bit yesterday... and here's the result:
You think that's white? Take a look at this!
6 Dec 2010
A cool thing about this cold snap and all this snow, is that there have been a lot more birds hanging out in the gardens on the other side of my window! They're so cute hopping about and eating the last berries on the bushes, they make everything come alive! :o)
Allow me to introduce them to you (clicking on French names takes you to a bird website in French with distribution diet and more photos; Latin names takes you to Wikipedia in French, but I think you can change the language), and remember to click on photos for a larger view:
- Tourterelle turque or Streptopelia decaocto (Eurasian collared dove) some kind of dove that go released in the city "years" ago and has adapted quite nicely, in part probably thanks to friendly neighbours providing food during winter. These are the most abundant I've seen out of the window:
They particularly like the big fir tree:
who had quite a feast on berries like these!
- And finally, surprise one morning, a Mésange charbonnière or Parus major (great tit) lovely little thing!
Apparently they're all a lot more visible now with the snow because they come closer to the houses seeking refuge from the cold, and looking for those fatty seed balls some people put out to feed them. Lucky me! But they'd better be careful, they're not the only critters hanging around in the backyards...
I've been trying to get a shot of the large crows up on campus... but unlike these guys, they seem to have disappeared! :s
5 Dec 2010
It's been crrrazy here in Liège this past week! Snowing almost every day, snow up on the hill (on campus) and snow downtown (which almost never happens! or at least it doesn't "stick"). And temperatures below freezing for 10 days straight. This is my 10th Fall in Belgium, and I've NEVER seen this much cold and snow this soon!!!
I cancelled my evening sports activities due to being worried about being stuck up on campus at night if the snowing increased and the buses stopped running (they do that some times, nightmare!), but I enjoyed myself like a 6-year-old kid all week long goofing around in the snow and taking pictures! So here go some snowy shots and the tale of last week. ;o)
This what I woke up to on Tues Nov 30th:
Snow and the cars and the street:
made some things irresistible!
(and yes I know I'm early... 3 weeks to go!)
30 Nov 2010
29 Nov 2010
When I wrote about the snow up on Campus last week, I mentioned I was wondering if the weekend's hike would be snowy or not, and if my gear would do for the current weather conditions... Well the weekend was GORGEOUS! Beautiful blue skies we hadn't seen in weeks... which sadly here in winter are always accompanied by freezing cold weather, this time literally! The temperature hasn't been above freezing for a few days, and probably won't for the rest of the week! A light snowfall on Saturday added to the upcoming holiday feeling, but fortunately it wasn't enough to complicate things around here.
I'm running really behind on my Walloon Hiking Posts (which I'm doing as much for myself -to remember these hikes- as for anyone who might be interested in hiking or seeing the Belgian hills and woods), but I did want to sneak ahead and share a photo from yesterday! The latest in wintry (3º below freezing!!!) hiking fashions, voilà!
Quite a clash of colours, eh? I'm trying out my new garters (is that the right word for those red things?) which I got 'cause I was fed up of the mud around here. Have warm Columbia pants (part of my old Antarctic gear) on under my outer shell, and am wearing two icebreaker shirts long+short-sleeve) under a polar fleece and my jacket. Hat, gloves, scarf... those came and went depending on sunshine and whether climbing uphill or down... ;o)
There was just enough snow on the ground (and trees and bushes, more or less depending on sun or shade) to make everything look magical and all "Winter Wonderland", but not enough to make hiking a problem (I've been told it's more tiring to hike through the snow). Added bonus: the mud was all frozen!!! So for once I didn't come home with my pants all muddy up to my knees! (which kind of defeated the point of inaugurating my garters) Instead it was fun to walk on its crunchy surface, lol!
The snow was falling quite heavily when I left the University this evening... it's a pity I don't have classes tomorrow until the afternoon, I'm sure the pristine morning snow would make for lovely photos! :p
26 Nov 2010
I mentioned in my post yesterday that it had started snowing while I was in class... and I was wondering whether there would be any left when I got up there this morning. Well, here's the answer (taken w/ my cellphone, so not perfect):
Not much for those of you who have already gotten a decent snowfall this year, but it made me feel all giddy and goofy (plus I've had Christmas carols stuck in my since yesterday's snow)! It was actually snowing again (lightly) when I got off the bus! The snow's not sticking to the road, but it sure looks pretty on the leaves and branches of the trees and other plants! :o)
This weekend the temperatures are supposed to be mostly around or below freezing, and I'm wondering what my Sunday hike is going to be like... at a higher altitude and further inland. Will I get snow? What's it like hiking in snow? I hope my regular hiking boots will do the trick! Although I'm afraid the hat I brought with me isn't warm enough, and I didn't bring any snow gloves... winter is coming in much earlier (and colder!) than last year here in Belgium!
25 Nov 2010
We got our first snow here today...
The snowfall made me feel all goofy and giggly at the bus stop waiting to head back downtown from the university, and I just let my inner child out again and had fun catching huge snowflakes on my tongue! :p
|(you can barely make them out, bad cellphone pic!)|
When I left it wasn't sticking to the ground yet, but I'm taking my camera up with me tomorrow morning just in case the campus is all white (nothing in town). ;o)
I hadn't been planning on doing anything for Thanksgiving, too much work to do! But by the time I had finished my errands downtown (including grocery shopping) I figured I wasn't going to get much work (correcting essays, ugh!) done anyways so... I called up a friend and asked if he wanted to join me for an impromptu (and highly improvised) Thanksgiving dinner!
On the menu, homemade Mac&Cheese and grilled turkey breast fillets (I had to at least have some turkey!!!)
followed by these little lovelies:
delicious and nutritious!
Just to say, you don't need an elaborate feast to give Thanks, just some good will, good spirits and good friends!
I hope you all had a Happy Turkey Day!!! :o)
22 Nov 2010
I think they actually did it just right! (for once!) That beginning before the title sequence is so poignant, with so many unsaid goodbyes (I had forgotten about those!), so many heartbreaking looks (snif!!!).
How can I review this without spoiling it for anyone? Tough one... let's see if I can figure out how to speak in code so that I can express my opinion on certain points so that those who have seen the movie (or are very familiar with the book) will understand me, but so that I don't give anything away for the rest...