So what did happen in the months that I didn’t come around to blog about?
I will now attempt to take a sprint flashback to record the key highlights of my first year, hence will start from the 5th month onwards till my anniversary. At least that would encapsulate all the things that I want to be reminded of, later on this life.
5th Month (July’13)
• Had my first birthday in Belgium – received a nice bunch of flowers from a colleague (and boss, few months later)
• Over here, you are expected to buy a cake and bring to office for all during your birthday, for people to celebrate with you. This is the total opposite – as back home, you are feted like a Princess, and you don’t have to pay anything at all during your golden day
• The frenzy of summer’s sales! There are only 2 sales period/months in Belgium, and people here really take advantage of that, and keep their money till then!
• Went to Antwerp with friends on first of many `shopping’/`girls only’ outings
• My first taste of Summer aperos ! – which is basically : do nothing but gather after work to have a drink and enjoy the sun
6th Month (Aug’13)
• had my first taste of the European summer holidays in the office – nearly everyone is gone! Office is always half empty. Our Italian office officially close down for 1 month. How’s that for Asia?
• Booked my last minute holiday too – to Montpellier for a weeklong French study cum holiday. People thought I was crazy to be studying during summer….
• Montpellier – stayed with a host family for an immersion experience. Verdict : I think I am too old for this kind of stuff…plus my French at that time was very atrociously limited, and they don’t speak any other language at all except French…so…. It gets rather challenging sometimes. While it was a memorable experience, I would definitely not do it again. Next time I’d just book a hotel.
• Intensive French class in Montpellier – helped to kick start my study of the difficult language called French again.
7th Month (Sept’13)
• Started my lessons in CCLM for French – and my week is no longer the same. Every Tues and Thurs, from this point onwards, I spend them in class
• Saying good bye to a dear sweet friend – who left after her rotation in Belgium ended.
• Hosting my bestie from primary school, L and D, her other half!! We had a fun time going on beer tours, and checking out some of the attractions in town
• Collected my new car- yippee – a Mercedes beauty
8th Month (Oct’13)
• Brussels marathon! Ok, so it was only 4km, but it was a fun activity to be doing. I went with a friend, and the joke of it all is that our anonymous `pacer’ is that of an old lady (who looks 80ish), and we were so slow that we were on a mission to always stay ahead of her. But sometimes when she catches up, which made we having to sprint again. Her consistency and persistence is very admirable!! Way to go girl!
• Went back home for my brother Rich’s wedding – all the galore, jazz and the descend of all relatives near and far! Had a fabulous time! Of course, waist expanding as well – who could helped it with all the good feast around.
9th Month (Nov’13)
• Rushed back in time to fly over to Florence, Italy for a conference
• Had the opportunity to experience a long long Italian dinner – and pasta is only a starters! Too much meat for my liking though, and surprisingly they don’t eat tiramisu for dessert, I wonder why ?
• Crazy month at work as we rushed to prepare a campaign
• Trying time at work as well with changes to the team, and the new boss, and pressures to conform
• Sent my car to change to winter tires – yeah, winter, I am now ready for you, bring it on!
10th Month (Dec’13)
• Things are winding down at work generally but for the campaign, it was the most critical time, hence it was not such a relaxing time for me
• People are leaving on holidays! Leaving me working alone in the office !
• Lesson learnt – next year, I want to leave early too, so I shall plan my leave early
• I was hoping for an invite to spend a white Christmas somewhere, which would be my dream, but alas, in the end, this didn’t happen. No invites came, and there was also no snow – so with disappointment, I headed home for the holidays
11th Month (Jan’13)
• Sales time again! Woohoo….
• Temperatures dipped and it was getting colder, but…there was still no snow…
• Started the year by revisiting my bucket list – I have managed to scratch off some in the last year (yeah!! Sense of accomplishment ), but there are still many more to go. Some, I am coming to realize, would probably never happen in this life, and wonder should I still keep them, or just delete? Oh well… let’s see…
• Celebrated Chinese new year on the 1st day, with sushi for lunch. Delicious! Happy to have found a sushi place in town, that serves sushis which are fresh and yet with an affordable price. Arigato gozaimasu!
• Also used the occasion to introduce friends to steamboat
1 year anniversary (18th Feb’14)
• Again…no snow during winter? is it even possible?
• Celebrating my 1 year anniversary in Belgium – I made it!
• However it was a double whammy month – after a few weeks of uncertainty, I finally confirm that I will be moving on to another team, and also, the month ended with the heartbreak of realizing that what I thought to be, just wasn’t going to be.