And what an election!! But we'll get to that shortly.
We moved into our new apartment in St Gilles on Monday. The apartment is great - larger and nicer than anything we could afford in New York. J and I are excited to unpack and break down the mountain of boxes that now litter the space, and to settle in.
Unfortunately, moving has also led me to find out that getting cable television/internet connectivity in Brussels is, somehow, a lengthier and more arduous process than in New York - a concept unimaginable to me until now. (Once, I "worked with" Verizon for about a month until they told me they could not get the DSL line they had installed in my apartment to actually work. Time Warner Cable, on the other hand, likes to provide time windows that span an entire workday - "our technician will be there anytime between 12 and 5.")
I have spent a good amount of time the last few weeks talking to various cable/internet providers (Belgacom, Codetel, to name a couple) only to be told "Madame, ce n'est pas possible," "Je ne peux pas vous aider," or some similarly fatalistic combination thereof. (Sometimes I think that, if I had to pick one universal gesture to best describe Belgians, it would probably be throwing one's arms up in the air - paired with a quizzical facial expression.) Right now, we're in the process of waiting for VOO/Brutélé to find out if it will be possible to provide us cable services - which apparently can take up to 15 working days.
None of this would be even close to catastrophic, if it weren't for the fact that the most historic election in several generations was taking place last night. J and I ended up going to an election party at the Renaissance Hotel. Surprisingly, most of the crowd was non-English speaking - which either goes to show the amount of excitement in the rest of the world about our election, or the fact that Brussels doesn't have much of a nightlife. Unfortunately, the party was packed and not too well-organized. The only way to get drinks and "typical American food" (hamburgers, hot dogs, and Doritos with melted Velveeta) was to purchase fake dollars with euros, and then to exchange the fake dollars for food and drink. (The Belgians love a token system, I've learned.)
Anyway, by the end of the night some lovely new friends of ours were kind enough to invite us over to their apartment, where I'm sure we overstayed our welcome. We finally went to bed around 3AM here, feeling fairly confident that Obama had taken Pennsylvania. I ended up sleeping with J's Blackberry next to me the entire night, and wept when I read the transcript of his speech early this morning.
I seldom say (or feel) this, but I'm very proud to be an American today. New York, America, we miss you so much.
1 year ago