25 Sep 2010

The MAC is BACK! and we're both settled in Liège...

Yay! They fixed my computer in 4 days instead of 10! All Hail the MAC Gods!!! :o)

Unfortunately work and a social life kind of got in the way with me finishing this post sooner... (I started it a week ago!) :p

Here it is sitting happily in its new resting place, with a shiny new keyboard (one of the parts that needed changing):

As for the larger setting, well here's what a very decent student lodging (called a kot) looks like in Liège:

About 15m2 I believe, with tall ceilings typical of these old houses. The shower and sink in the room... well considering I'm sharing the place with a bunch of messy guys (judging from the state of the kitchen downstairs), for once I'm pleased the shower is just my own! :p

I didn't need to bring bedding and towels and blankets since a friend of mine here has inherited a lot of those things from "us foreigners" whenever we left and I knew he'd be kind enough to set me up... he even added a cushion so I'd have extra propping-up when reading! It's great when friends know you so well! :o)
A couple of details on the bed I did bring with me... take a guess which ones and why? ;o)

I can't show you the view out the window (into the back yards of various houses) clearly 'cause the blinds are broken (is on owner's "pending" list of things to do), but here's what the view looks like through the blinds:

And here's what the house looks like from the street:

A typical local (old) construction, with the entry grates for coal (for heating/cooking) from "back in the day"...

...which go straight down into the basement:

Let's climb out of the dark...

and head up into the street!

It's a calm residential neighbourhood. Technically no longer in the Liège city limits by a couple of blocks... but next to a bike path that rolls along the river straight towards the Aquarium and into town. A friend might be able to loan me his bike, yay! And more importantly (work-wise) only a few blocks from the University bus stop!

And see how well they welcomed me into the neighbourhood?

They set up a flee market just for me! (kidding)

Classes have started up at the University. I've met half my students and they're ok so far. Will meet the rest next week and get a better feel for the first ones. I hope to find time to write plenty of things about this city and Belgium on my new travel blog "Cris Crossing the Globe", and more personal stories and adventures (have joined the local hiking group, been out in the Walloon hills and forests twice already!) and reviews (yes! am going to start up Monthly Movies and Monthly Reading again!) and of course Fishy Fridays over here.

15 Sep 2010

Reporting from the life of no computers...

Still without my laptop... dropped it off at the MAC place as soon as I got off the train in Liège on Monday. They told me no problem it's still covered by Apple Care in spite of being 10 days past the deadline thanks to all those crazy phone calls I made the day before the deadline when I found out about the prob. I should get it back next Friday. In the meantime I try to lessen my internet withdrawal symptoms thanks to my cellphone's wifi capabilities which allows me to check my e-mail and facebook, but not many other websites (including this one) due to formatting issues. But that's better than nothing! For more I have to find available computers at the University.

Spent a lovely Sunday afternoon with friends in Paris on my way up here. Went cycling around the city... delightful! But my legs weren't that happy with the hills... 3 days later and they're still a bit sore! :p

I've got some neat little lodgings in a quiet part of the City I'd never visited, so that's new! And apparently they're having a street fair this Saturday, yay! I'll be sure to snap some pics and share with you once I'm back in computerland.

My classes don't start 'till next week, and then only half of them, so I'm sleeping in a lot and dawdling around town. Figures the one time I have plenty of available time to blog... no computer!!!

Going to see Inception with a friend this afternoon. Saw it with my dad last month but I relish the chance to see (hear) it in English!!! :o)

And I'm totally psyched that Rafa Nadal won the US OPEN on Monday (wish I could have seen it, snif)!!! He's completed a Career Grand Slam at the very young age of 24!!! That means he's won all four of the big tennis tournaments (Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, US Open) at various times in his career. Considering he's also got an Olympic gold medal, the only challenge remaining for him (in my eyes) is to win THE Grand Slam by winning all 4 the same year. Hasn't been done by a man in 40 years? (something like that, Jimmy Connors I think) And the only woman to have done it is Steffi Graff. So BRAVO Rafa and VAMOS RAFA!!! :o)

10 Sep 2010

Things you do when your computer falls ill or goes on strike...

  1. Péter un cable!!! i.e. get really pissed off...
  2. Go through a series of withdrawal symptons whose intensity is in direct correlation to the time spent without the aforementioned computer.
  3. Hang out a lot more at your parents' house to use their computers (and printers).
  4. Stress out because you have to wait a week until you can even turn it in to the techies (because you are about to leave the country for 4 months and the ones here didn't have time to get the parts before departure), while keeping all your fingers and toes crossed that they will be able to fix it because you just bought a non-refundable ticket to New Zealand to spend the holidays with your sister and therefore can't afford to buy a new computer.
  5. Be grateful all this happened the day before your Apple Care expired and that Apple is so wonderful that after several calls you managed to get a case file and exception number so that it will be repaired a week after the expiration date but still be covered by the Apple Care service.
  6. Think of all the blog posts you planned to be writing during this time (Hogueras wrap-ups, Mallorca on the new travel blog etc.) and in the upcoming weeks (arrival in Belgium, launching new blog...)... but probably wouldn't have anyway 'cause you're freaking out about how to pack a 20kg suitcase with clothes and gear for 4 months and covering 3 different seasons... :p
  7. Rediscover the use of pen and paper as you jot down ideas for this post.
  8. Wonder how you're going to prep the classes you're supposed to start teaching in a week at the Uni in Belgium and keep in touch with the other profs and students for meetings etc. once you're in the country (thank technology for cellphones!)
  9. Keep crossing your fingers that all will end well.
In other words: my computer is out of commission until the tech service in Belgium can replace the fan and keyboard. Rest assured I will be taking it in (to the same store I bought it at!) AS SOON AS I get off the train in Liège on Monday!

Regular blogging should resume sometime after I get it back... and I guess the travel blog will start with stories of Belgium instead of Mallorca... Fishy Fridays will be up and running as well (I'm looking forward to the occasional tour I'll be giving in the Aquarium again!)

And note to Shellbelle: all those figs haven't turned me into a Newton... I'm enjoying my fill since I'm going to miss out on my other favourite fruit with a short season: pomagranates!