Thursday, July 12, 2012

Still jumpin'

It's hard to believe that this will be my second-to-last post. I am scheduled to depart Brussels in just under one month's time. 

The teens I am minding are now on their summer holidays as well, so I have switched to full-time working hours.  They don't really require 'babysitting' so I have poured my efforts into baking. Theirs is a household after my own heart: they LOVE desserts. Yesterday's Pavlova didn't even survive for 24 hours! This week alone (in addition to the Pavlova) I've cranked out a carrot cake, a peach crumble, an apple crumble and Portuguese egg tarts. So clearly, I am working hard ; ) 

Due to the increase in work hours, I've had to fit in researching for my internship project on evenings and weekends. Sometimes it feels as though I am still in school. Why do I do this to myself? I met with my supervisor this week and after submitting four subsequent versions to her, my work is inching ever so much closer to final draft status.  If all goes well, by the end of July the fruit of my efforts should be published online for all to see. So that is exciting.

On the exercise front, I had to let touch-rugby go. The game was just so boring and ridiculous that no amount of fresh air, exercise or new people could keep me going back. On a whim, I decided to register for a full marathon taking place on September 21st in Montreal. I toyed with the idea of doing another half but that seemed boring. I already know I can run 21km but 42? That sounds tough. I've been contacting marathon-running friends of mine for some advice and upon reading their responses, I am trying to remain calm. They reiterated that running a half is do-able if you're a relatively fit person with a half hazard training program (i.e. me) but that completing a full marathon is a different story. Uh oh. I figure, tons of people out there successfully run marathons all the time so it must be possible. I guess I'll find out soon enough...

In line with my summer objectives, I've also been having a lot of fun. 

Most recently there were Canada Day celebrations - I planned to have a barbecue with some Canadian friends but this being Brussels, we had to move it inside and grill my veggie kebabs in the oven. At one point, our festivities got somewhat out of hand and our Canadian flag went flying onto a neighbour's balcony several floors below. I was designated the 'flag-retriever' since I was the only one who spoke French out of the group. In 10 minutes, I had met more of my friend's neighbours than he had in 2 years! After knocking on 3 doors, I finally found the flag clinging to the balcony of a much-amused Congolese lady.

Canada-Day-inspired caprese salad

Happy Canada Day!

Then of course were my birthday celebrations! I was absolutely spoiled. I organized a birthday menu of my favourites which I enjoyed with my housemates and some friends: grilled veggie and goat cheese pizza, salad and citrus cheesecake, chocolate cake and cherry cake for dessert. I was given flowers, a plant, wine, a book to practice my Spanish and LOTS of chocolate :) I feel very fortunate to have lived such a stimulating and enjoyable 26 years and hope the adventures have only just begun!

Birthday dinner with my roomies
Yum cake

I haven't been feeling very touristy while living in Brussels. Bruges and Ghent are less than 2 hours  away and yet I prefer to spend my time going to the market and meeting up with friends and family. On that note, I made a trip to England recently to reconnect with some members of the Busbridge family who were unknown to me until now. I took the train to the most typical English countryside I have ever seen: farms as far as the eye can see and strawberries and cream for dessert. I literally slept in a barn and the main house was built some time back in the 1600s. During my stay, I met my grandfather's twin sister, Daphne, two of her sons and their families. Spending time with Daphne made me feel like I'd really missed out on having grandparents. While mine were alive, I never had the opportunity to ask them the questions I would now. I asked Daphne about her childhood and what the most amazing thing was that she had witnessed in her 94 years. She came out with a story about Polish paratroopers during the war. I was in awe. I don't think I have ever conversed with someone of sound mind who has seen how our society has developed (and regressed) over that span of time. She showed me pictures of my grandfather when he was young and her Doll's House. The items contained within it, she began collecting as a child. She gave me a small picture of Frank Percival Busbridge, my great-grandfather, to put on the wall of my own Doll's House. Cool! That visit was so special and I really hope I get to see Daphne again before she dies.

Dinner with Daphne (center), her sons and their wives

Daphne and me looking at her Doll's House
My grandfather and his sisters posing with their father, Frank Percival Busbridge. Check out their hats!

My grandfather as a young chap

For my remaining time in Brussels, I plan on wrapping up my project for the Center for International Law, working, of course, relaxing and having fun! (and I should probably start training for the marathon at some point - only 10 weeks to go. Eek)

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