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And just like that another December has nearly passed. It is time for Christmas vacation and soon a new year will be upon us. Time really flies these days since I've started working, despite me having every evening to myself since Carina is studying in Brussels. Of course I'm usually having lots of stuff on my evening schedule, and when I don't there is always more than enough interesting things on the Internet to keep me busy and keep that time flying. Not to mention that the time before Christmas as always have been filled with Christmas-parties, gingerbread cookies and lots and lots of work of course. The best part of this December however has been not having to study for any exams, something that I had hoped would free up a great deal of time, but business projects apparently keep their deadlines close to major holidays too, so there has been plenty of work available to fill all my hours.
It's closing in on Christmas, and I have just been on my my final weekend trip to Brussels this year. This highlight of this trip was the opening of the annual Christmas Market in downtown Brussels, as is the annual tradition on this first weekend of December. As usual I got on a flight there right after work on Friday, and being tired from a week at work I headed straight to Carina's apartment in Ixelles when I arrived in the evening, leaving the fun of exploring the markets for the next day.
After leading the busy life of a globetrotter for a good while now, the past month has been comparatively quiet. It has also been my first taste of mostly everyday life with a job every morning and nothing but dinner on my regular schedule every night.
Thats not to say I haven't been doing anything of course, there's been plenty of stuff to fill my nights, just nothing very out of the ordinary. Most notably my girlfriend Carina has been visiting for more than a week, so we've had several dinners with her family at our place, their place and most notably at the Pakistani restaurant Haveli at Skøyen. A real treat for the tastebuds :-)
Also I've spent a weekend visiting Carina in Brussels, but I wasn't feeling well, so other than a little shopping downtown we spent most of the weekend hanging out in her studio apartment, with me reading Joseph Hellers "Catch-22". Oh the irony... but a good book nonetheless.
For my next trip to Brussels I were taking Friday off and staying until Monday, making it a long weekend, as we were getting a rental-car and driving south to visit the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and to eat more waffles of course!
As usual I left with the airport express train directly from work, this time on Thursday afternoon, and as usual the SAS-flight were delayed so it got quite late before I finally arrived. Also as usual I spent the waiting time reading a classic novel, this time having selected the dystopian "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card, a very gripping story about war, ethics and human nature.
After getting home from Brussels there were at least one good thing waiting for me at home, a delivery slip saying that my DSL-modem had arrived! Finally I could start really using the net again, as opposed to just doing the most basic things over my 3G cellphone-connection. And then on Tuesday some guys showed up to install a wall-mounted oven in my bathroom as the floor-heating was broken when I moved in. About time I say, as winter is just around the corner and a ground-level apartment without gets really chilly along the floors, so now I've gotten everything in the apartment in order, just in time for the Wednesday arrival of Øystein and Carina from Gründerskolen, who will be staying at my place over the weekend during the Gründerskolen Fall Seminar, the completion of my days as a student!
This weekend was the annual company fall-excursion, but I was instead going to back to Belgium to visit my girlfriend Carina. Most of the others left the office for the excursion just after lunch on Friday, so there were only a few people besides me there for the rest of the day. However we still managed to gather a small group to have a game of CX Darts, a weekly dart-competition with bottles of wine for the winners, and with so few contestants it was 50/50 odds, so I managed to take home a bottle before having to catch my flight to Brussels.
After enjoying the past two weeks in Brussels it was time for me to go back to Norway and start my own new life there. The morning flight brought me 'home' and after shopping and making a microwave-dinner it was time to start scrubbing down my new apartment, during which I even managed to squirt Jif into my eye, which hurt like hell. Just like Carina's apartment this one was quite dirty, especially in hard to reach places, so I kept cleaning and unpacking most of weekend, only pausing to go downtown and get a BIT-baguette for dinner and a bus-pass for getting to Computas for my first day at work on Monday.
Saturday 16th: Sis visiting and nightlife at Havana club
This semester my sister is studying in Rotterdam, Holland, and as had already been there for a month she wanted to come and visit as soon as we had gotten Carina's apartment in order, so around noon we went down to meet her at Brussels Central station. To show her the sights we did another tour of Grand Place and the surrounding area, but we also checked out Place de St.Catherine and Place de St.Gery where none of us had been before. Also we tried taking the bus back to Carina's place, which due to all the cobblestones was a horribly bumpy ride. We were meeting the Americans and some more BSIS students out a bit later, so after a trip to SuperGB where I stocked up on beer that I would bring back to Norway we readied ourselves to go out and tried a couple of the new beers that I had bought. When ready we got ourselves a cab and went to pick up Keisha (from Bahamas) and then straight to Havana Club where we met up with Mari (from Japan) and a bunch of Americans and had a blast! However the place was too packed so after a while we walked over to see some more bars in the area around Grand Place. There were lots actually, but most were the really awful tourist-trap kinds of places so it was a bad call to go there.
And then we headed out on another journey. Early Sunday morning Carina's mom drove us to the airport express train, and not long thereafter we were in the air on our way to Brussels, capital of Europe.
After getting off the plane we started following the exit signs at the airport, and after a while we started wondering how far away it actually was. It turns out that from the most distant gates where the planes from Norway are located, it is nearly a 3 kilometer long walk along rollers to the exit, and along the way you must take escalators up and down a total of 8 floors, so it can easily take half an hour or more just to get out of the airport, not counting the time you have to wait for your luggage! But eventually we did get out, and as the walk had worn us out and we had lots of luggage, we just hailed a cab to take us to the B&B where we would be staying the next couple of days.