Our last night in Brussels

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

By the time our last night in Brussels rolled around, Joe and I were too tired to do anything that involved actual physical movement.  Thus, we decided to stay in and enjoy a home-cooked dinner on the patio with Christie and Mathieu.

This meal was Mathieu's idea; he planned and cooked it himself, with Christie's assistance, and he insisted that Joe and I remain completely sedentary on the living room couch in the process, lifting a finger only to occasionally raise a glass of rosé to our lips (maybe the sedentary part was our idea, but he did suggest and provide the rosé).  Even that act proved too labor-intensive for me, though, so instead of drinking the wine, I resorted to simply staring at it on the coffee table from my horizontal couch-position, thinking how nice it would be if  I actually had the energy to reach for the glass.

I'm not even being hyperbolic; in the past 48 hours, Joe and I had walked 2-dozen miles and our bodies were weary and sore, to the point where I honestly considered skipping dinner and just going to bed at 8:30.  

But we were in Brussels!  And we couldn't waste the time sleeping!

So I fought the exhaustion and eventually won; I eventually mustered the willpower to transfer from the couch to the patio and it was well worth the effort.  The meal over which Mathieu and Christie so tirelessly toiled was very good, but truth be told, the highlight for me was..... the frozen Dr. Oetker's pizza Christie made for me as an "appetizer" (per my request).  Dr. Oetker's is a pizza brand available in most European countries and it's -- well, it's a pretty, shall we say, economical dinner option.  In other words, it's comparable to Totino's or Jeno's pizza in the States, except (!) the ingredients in Dr. Oetker pizzas are not proven to cause cancer, which distinguishes them from the aforementioned brands in no uncertain terms.  Although I did recently discover that they sell Dr. Oetkers in select US states, and wouldn't you know, the US ingredients are of the cancer-causing variety, illegal in non-US countries.  Coooooooooool.

Anyway, the fact that I was so delighted by the Dr. Oetker pizza amused Christie to no end -- seeing as she had paid, maybe, like, 3 euro for it.  But I had missed Dr. Oetker so much!  Last time I was living in Europe, I ate it all the time because it was one of the only meals I could afford.  Sometimes it would be the only thing I could afford all day, so I'd starve until dinner and then eat it as slowly as possible so as to savor the floury crust.... 

Those were the days.

Aside from Dr. Oetker, the other highlight of the night occurred just after dinner when I excused myself from the table to hang all of Joe's and my laundry out to dry on the patio.  Christie, Mathieu and Joe were still eating, but I wanted to make sure that our clothes got dry before we left in the morning (we'd done several loads of laundry at Christie's to save money since it costs to launder our clothes at Oxford -- thanks for the free laundry, Christie!).  So I stood beside the dinner table on the patio and carefully hung each article of clothing on the clothes line, adding my two cents to the group's conversation as necessary.  Fifteen minutes later, just as I'd hung the last piece, I resumed my place at the dinner table with a loud, satisfied sigh.  In that moment, Joe pushed his chair back from the dinner table and announced, "Well, I'm gonna go get all our clothes from the washer and hang them out to dry."  Christie and Mathieu stared at him, blankly, as I nudged him.  "Uh, Joe?"  He turned in his chair, visibly stunned to see that the work had been done inches away from the dinner table, unbeknownst to him.  It reminded me of one of my mom's favorite stories that involves me, as a two-year-old, obliviously playing on the floor as she and my sisters assembled and decorated our Christmas tree from top to bottom, only to look up upon their completion and gasp in complete shock and awe.  Not that I'm comparing Joe to a two-year-old or anything.

After dinner, Christie and I sat down to watch TV and I made it approximately 4 whole minutes before unapologetically passing out on the couch.

Speaking of which, I can no longer keep my eyes open as I type this.  So I'll tell you about how we got home from Brussels tomorrow.  Teaser: it involves me almost shoving a group of adolescent Italian boys off of a ferry.

Stay tuned!

Jan said...

Ha ha I was just thinking about the Xmas tree story when you said that about Joe and the laundry!!!!

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