- My 28th birthday!
- A trip to IKEA
- My baby nephew
- Books, reading, words
- A little citrus potted plant for my office
- Being a mentor(!) at work
- Maltese people visiting Luxembourg
- My loving and supportive boyfriend
- A how-well-do-you-know-Claire quiz
- Birthday dinners
- Birthday food
- Birthday CAKE
- Excellent, excellent birthday pressies
- Fort St Angelo (incredible)
This week’s TILT is a guest edition, penned by the lovely Rachel. Rachel has been my friend since I was a teenager, and I’m so happy we’re still friends and see each other at least once or twice a year. She lives in Brussels and is always up to something or other, and she’s Top Geographer in my eyes. Her blunt words and infectious laugh are some of my favourite things about her, as well as her love for my blog <3
Enjoy her lovely TILT:
- drowning myself in sunshine at the park
- the mint and basil plants I’m managing to keep alive
- making pretty maps which are also useful
- writing scripts that work
- the way my boyfriend’s eyes light up when there’s food
- Frederic Blondeel for pralines AND yummy hot chocolate
- online shopping
- spending the day at a geography conference
- reading non-academic literature, currently The Decamerone
- scrolling through DIY ideas
- expanding my French vocabulary (current favourite word: boucle)
- expanding my Dutch vocabulary (favourite phrase ever: Aan tafel!)
- contributing to this amazing blog with my TILT
- A lovely lunch with a dear friend
- Starting French lessons again and getting a great teacher
- Going to Malta because, to me, Malta > Luxembourg, always
- Spending time with my beautiful, wonderful best friends
- A fun wedding
- Indian food
- Meeting this beautiful cat and her sister (equally gorgeous)
- Spending time with friends and their children (who ever thought I would write those words)
- Lenten decisions
- Getting up at 2.30am and staying up till 6.30am on Monday to watch the Oscars (while messaging throughout with my bestie)
- That final Oscars disaster – SO GOOD
- Watching Nocturnal Animals on rabb.it with a friend (even though it was a bit of a scarring experience, haha)
- Surviving a particularly stressful week at work
- Finally watching La La Land and Manchester By the Sea
- Booking accommodation for a long holiday in Ireland with my besties (and the accompanying Skype call)
- New books
- Wine wine wine wine wine wine (I miss you already, my love)
Lent 2017 starts today, and I’ve always paid reverence to this annual period. A time for reflection, and a time for trying to better yourself (you flawed, sinful human, you). This year, I’m particularly re-evaluating my relationship with food and alcohol.
I love my high-fat, high-carb, (almost) all-sugar diet, but I realise that it is very unhealthy for me. We don’t want heart disease, yo. I’ve increased my vegetable and fruit intake a lot over the past months, but I should still definitely try and limit my intake of “bad” fats and “bad” carbs and piles of sugar (not really, but almost). We’ll see how that goes. I foresee horrid cravings for cheesy pasta.
The main “going without” mission for Lent 2017, however, is alcohol. I have somehow settled into a lifestyle where I drink often, and almost always seek a glass of wine at the end of the day. I don’t have an issue with binge drinking, because I’m perfectly happy with a drink or two, but I am noticing a slight urge sometimes to actually have a drink, whereas before it used to be more of a conscious decision. I hope I’m explaining myself properly. I need to rediscover that that happy “buzz” does not only come from a drink at the end of the day, even if it’s nice to have a good glass of port (mmm).
So Lent 2017 is going to include some better food choices and no alcohol (apart from Sundays and my birthday). Wish me luck.
- True lovely friends
- Cute baby pictures
- Using my rubber stamp
- Being helpful and solving problems
- My awesome boyfriend who’s an excellent partner-person
- Good food
- Fine dining with all the bells and whistles
- The Eurovision
- White wine
- Red wine
- The baby nephew who was perfect when he was born but is now inexplicably a million times more beautiful. Ma nifhimx.
- Venus the cat (pictured)
It’s my birthday in about a month, and I have quite a wishlist this year:
- HP Sprocket printer
- A conical hair wand
- Dresses (always)
- Feminist T-shirts (always)
- This incredible planet necklace
- The Confessions Game
- A subscription to The Happy Reader (I’m getting this for myself if nobody else is) (UPDATE: someone special just bought me this) :)
- Jo Malone perfume (UPDATE: I bought myself a Jo Malone perfume and it’s heaven.)
- A weekend in Malta with my friends and family (I’m getting this! YAY.)
Today we have a special TILT, from the one and only John. He’s been a lovely friend to me over the past few years, and some of you probably know him from TV (ooooh – a celebrity on my blog!). He’s also been a very sweet supporter of my blog and my TILTs, so it’s my absolute pleasure to have let him compile his own list of things he loves and appreciates this week.
- Okami! My little Shiba boy!
- Sparta, Athena and Leila! My 3 cats.
- My nephews and niece
- Peep Show (series addiction galore)
- Manchester United
- Joe Abercrombie
- Football Forum
- My colleagues
- The Pub
- Adventures with Phil!
- The Brimmers
- Last but not least, the people that helped pick me back up after these two years, the people I consider my family and my everything: my friends and the ones I love. Thank you so much for being there, you are awesome and amazing people.
- A delicious brunch with some lovely women
- A great evening of pizza and wine and conversation (and a baby falling asleep on me)
- Celebrating a friend’s birthday
- Bowling, air hockey, and table soccer
- Watching a bunch of the Oscar-nominated films (I’m trying to watch as many as possible, like last year)
- An evening out with two lovely ladies, including the wonderful carrot cake from Konrad’s, and going to Beet for the first time (had an absolutely heavenly tart, but it barely kept me full for two minutes)
- Contacting old friends
- Reading a few great/amusing books: The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, Fucking Apostrophes, Let Them Eat Chaos.
- Dreaming about adopting a perfect puppy
- Feeling good mentally even though I’m a bit sick this week physically
- Skype sessions with my parents
- A Skype call with one bestie and then a rabb.it call to watch Grey’s with my other bestie (heaven)
Can you even believe it? I’ve been in Luxembourg for over 2 years now. It’s been a bit of a wild ride, but the main thing is that THINGS HAVE GOTTEN BETTER. I’m less lonely, more active, and I’m much happier. Here are a few of the main things I’d like to discuss:
HAVING A CAR
We got a car in May 2016, and it’s been one of the best things of the year. Waiting in the freezing cold for a bus happens less now, and grocery shopping is much easier. And, surprisingly, hikes are easier too, because we can just drive into the countryside and go for long walks, instead of always having to start from the city.
Driving to places in the region has also been amazing – we’ve gone to places like Maastricht and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Wesel and Cologne in Germany, and Liège (for a Kate Tempest concert) and Brussels (for our Christmas flights back home) in Belgium. And we can always drive to a city in France in the evening for comfort food at the place which makes the best chocolate fondant.
GETTING A JOB
In 2016, I did a traineeship at the European Commission, and then got a job at the European Commission which started in November 2016. It’s been life-changing and very good. I like having a job to go to every day.
I still don’t have too many close friends in Luxembourg, but I love the ones I do have, and I am certainly becoming more involved in things (for example, I joined a book club this week, whee!).
It’s beautiful, sometimes, but when it rains every day in June (like it did last year), I’m over it. This country doesn’t have very good weather. And no sea. Ugh.
A PET CAT
We still don’t have a pet cat. I want one so badly. It still doesn’t make sense to get one (we’re away most of the day and sometimes for days at a time when we travel), but STILL. WANT ONE.
I’m still so far away from being fluent in French. BUT I am always inching towards that goal of mine. In a few weeks I’ll be starting more formal lessons, for several hours a week. Let’s hope that that will give me the confidence and knowledge I need to become better at this French-speaking malarkey.
This is not out of the question, for a few years, whereas a year ago I would have said that I can’t wait to go back to Malta (or move somewhere else) ASAP. Now, I could see myself staying here for a few years, if things pan out well on the job-front. There’s also the question of finding a more sustainable place to live (instead of throwing money down the drain in rent every month).
I still miss Malta, a lot, every day. It’s the place, the people, my family, our new little nephew, my cat, the food, my car, driving on the left, my friends, the Pub, the restaurants… I could go on. Luxembourg is my home, but only for now, and not really. Malta is my home.
Who knows what’s in store for this next year?