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On Being Boring

I moved from London to Brussels with my husband nearly 10 years ago. When I told people we were moving, the news was greeted with bemusement: why did we want to move to a city that was possibly the most boring place on earth? Ten years later and I can honestly say that I've had more fun here than I ever did living in London. It might not be the most exciting city in the world but it is a fantastic place to live. It is full of hidden treasures that you probably never get to see as a tourist: wonderful shops, amazing food, great museums and galleries, beautiful architecture, a forest (yes, a whole forest), and so much more... And if that doesn't convince you, well, get on a train and you could be in Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne or, yes, London in no more than a couple of hours... Which other city can you say that about?

Day in the Life

Blog every day in May, day 3: Tell us about your typical day. Or maybe do a photo diary of what you are doing on the hour every hour for 12 hours. Or you could sum up what you did today.

My typical day must be a work day, since I have five of those for every two non-work days (which, by the way: booo!). So let’s tell you about a work day (hey, I said I was going to do this project, I never said anyone would find it even vaguely interesting).

I am nudged awake by Hanno just before 7 (or, if he’s gone for one of his crazy early morning runs, by the alarm going off. Again). I stumble out of bed and grab my iPod to see if I have become an overnight internet sensation (so far, the best I’ve managed is a few Instagram “likes” but I’m still young. Well, no, I’m not. But you never know). Then I jump into the shower. If I don’t have a shower in the morning, I feel sleepy all day. Then I go to wake Amélie up. This involves me getting into her bed and snuggling her until she shows signs of life (with the occasional bit of tickling or telling silly jokes if she’s being particularly reluctant). It’s one of my favorite moments of the entire day. Once Amélie is up, we pick out her clothes and then make our way back to my room to wake Hanno up (he claims not to go back to sleep once the alarm has gone off but he’s lying). Then Amélie climbs under the covers while I shout at her to get dressed/eat her breakfast/clean her teeth/brush her hair/put her shoes on. At some point between barked instructions, I manage to get dressed, put on some make-up (or not – I forgot yesterday) and pack my work bag.

At 8 o’clock we leave the house – sometimes, we’ll have been lucky enough to give Charlie a cuddle and a kiss but, most of the time, he’s still asleep. Lucky sod. I walk Amélie to school and then get the metro to the train station. I’m very lucky to be able to start work at any time before 9.30 so I very rarely stress about getting a particular train. In fact, I usually hope to get the stopping train so I have a little more time to read. I love reading on the train. Especially with the hot thermos of milky coffee that Han makes me every morning. It’s not 9 o’clock yet and I’ve already had two of my favorite moments of the day.

I get off the train and pick up my bike from the racks outside the station. There are thousands of bikes. This makes me happy too. I cycle to work every day, come rain (or snow) or shine. I used to cycle in Brussels too, instead of getting the metro, but wussed out of that bit after being knocked off my bike earlier this year. Cycling in Brussels sucks. Actually, the driving in Brussels sucks and that makes cycling dangerous but that’s a subject for a whole other post. I’m usually in the office by 9 but I still have to get changed. I’m like superman, see? Except I run into the ladies not a telephone box. And I go in wearing scruffy jeans not a suit. And I come out as a lawyer not superman. But you get the idea. I emerge looking sharp (ish) and ready for the day. Ready for conf calls and meetings, for emails and more emails, for patent drafting and office action responses. I break for an early lunch with my team at around 11.30. We nearly always eat together and we nearly always have a bit of a giggle. Then it’s back to the emails, the opinions, the calls and the staring at my screen in befuddlement  I always plan to leave early and I never ever do. It goes like this: today, I’m going to leave at 3… Damn! It’s 3.30. OK, I’m leaving at 4… Fine, 5 then. Really??! It’s already 6! How did that happen again?!

Every other day, I go for a run before going home. I look incredibly silly when I go running, with my spotty leggings, baggy t-shirt and bright pink trainers (yes, I spend a large proportion of my life in the ladies getting changed – they should dedicate a cubicle to me, like those benches with plaques on them to commemorate the sweet old couple that used to sit there to watch the ducks). But I look even sillier when I come back from running, with my bright red face covered in flies, my hair pointing every which way but loose, and big wet sweaty patches all over my t-shirt. I’m the embodiment of pure sophistication.

I get home around 7.30 or 8 o’clock. And that half hour is a big deal. At 7.30, I’ll get to eat with my family. At 8, I won’t. And even though I intensely dislike the almost daily challenge of getting both children to eat their food, the bargaining, the pleading, the threats, the blackmail, the hitting my head against the table in despair, I still love to be with them at mealtimes. Because once supper is done with, the real crazy starts: the run-up to bedtime. Bath, teeth, jimjams. Cuddles and stories. More cuddles. Goodnights, don’t let the bug bites. Kisses, tucking in, doors closed. Breath. And out they come again. Charlie because he wants some water and Amélie because “I just can’t close my eyes” (even though she’s only been in bed for about 30 seconds). So we administer hydration and raised eyebrows, a few more kisses, hold them tight, say night-night and close the doors again.

It’s 9 o’clock. I sit down at my computer to check if I have become an internet sensation during the day. I haven’t. So I start editing pictures. Maybe this one will be the one that goes viral.

And that’s it. That’s my day. How about you: what are your favorite moments of the day?

4 May 2013 - 8:59 PM Angie - I feel pretty exhausted after reading that! I'm soooo pleased you manage to squeeze in some time for blogging :)

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