The European tour is about to begin. I am standing on the bus stop and waiting. I did not write letters earlier today nor clean. I dropped the cat at my sister’s, checked all the relevant websites and spent an eternity packing. I’m only taking a smallish carry-on luggage with me and it’s naturally quite impossible to know what to take along without trying some clothes on. I was absolutely forced to model for myself a moment or two. I know I tend to bitch about people dressing up, but still it’s just so bloody nice to look a bit more ladylike now and then. Makes one feel almost beautiful.
I needed that – looking pretty. Yesterday, after writing that bit here, I couldn’t tear myself away from the net immediately. So what did I do? I ended up checking the web-sites of some of the forum-people and although some of them made me feel relieved not to be seventeen anymore, some of the others…well, quite an humbling experience, let me tell you that. How can some people have such a way with words, be so artistic, have such interesting lives. It made me troubled again for a moment: that familiar feeling of who do I really want to be. Could one possibly be wasting one’s life sitting on the couch doing puzzles? Not possible, right?
Not that far from the airport now. (I am skipping some stuff I wrote. Moaning that you do not need to see; I’m not actually that slow a writer nor is the ride from my house to the airport that short.) Yup, but it’ll be nice to see people again. Hardly anyone coming from Helsinki though – that, I must say, I find a little disappointing. Interesting how this trip will turn out. These days I try to not have too great expectations, because great expectations mean great disappointments. We’ll see how it goes. Alright, let’s go meet everyone.
On the plane now. Olli Rehn, the Finnish EU commissar, is onboard too. We are going to visit his cabinet on Tuesday, but I don’t know if we are going to meet him. Remains to be seen. He went and waited patiently on the line like everyone else, which was nice to see. No VIP-treatment here.
The food-carts are approaching. Great. I’m seriously getting hungry. Food. I want food...
I am a weird person and usually like airplane-food. This time Finnair doesn’t get full points however. Beef in honey-rosemary sauce sounds good, but wasn’t. The potatoes were wet; you know when you take fried potato-pieces from the freezer and then warm them up. Wet and raw. We were also served plain rye bread, the taste of which can be summed up in one word – dry. And for dessert: one piece of chocolate candy. Well, I am full, fed and feel better, so one can’t complain too much. And the tea was good in any case. I have developed a liking for tea – with milk. Don’t you think I would make a fine Brit?
No-one will ever read this entry. I’ve read some blogs and even if they are funny, one tends to get bored by long entries. Maybe I should just shut up now, since I have nothing exciting to report anyway and start reading my book. Yeah, will let you know more when we reach Brussels – the power capital of the Union.
(later entry) Well, we made it to Brussels and found our hotel. An oldish, smallish, nice one near the centre. We settled in and left to meet famous locals: mussels in Brussels. I’m afraid that I turned out to be a touch finicky and left others to have their mussels and went for something else instead. K let me taste one though, and I must admit that they weren’t half as bad as I thought. Mussels could be new good friends. Or at least acquaintances to be tolerated.
I also promised to take care of the seminar arrangements in the Helsinki end for next year’s Lammi seminar. I should try and keep that from P’s ears, since she rather threatened to hit me on the head, if I would do another seminar instead of concentrating on finishing my dissertation. But I’m really bad at saying no, and it won’t really take that much time. For the work on the first Lammi-seminar I spent weeks, but last year it was only about twenty hours. That’s nothing. Really.
Tonight I have also drunk my first glass of beer. Yes, I admit it; I’ve never done that before. Okay, lemon beer and blackberry beer and something like that, but only and exactly because they don’t taste like beer. I don’t like beer. But tonight I had a real beer – by accident, since the waiter was supposed to bring me a raspberry beer, which he didn’t and since I don’t really believe in complaining... New experiences are good for you anyway. And a blackberry beer afterwards in the bar ;-).
This was not a “wet” trip, for anyone I think. And I definitely belonged to the section which drank less than most, but everything is relative. I never drink much, since coming from an alcoholic family I have problems with drinking and drunks, who can’t behave. There was none in our group, but you never know with other people in the bars... Does that sound Victorian and prudish? Well, I don’t think I really care if it does. Personal history, personal experiences, personal responses. And don’t take me wrong, if you can behave when drinking, there is nothing wrong with it. But anyway, twice to bars this week, other times back to the hotel straight from the restaurants, in bed by midnight every night, if I remember correctly. So thank you, fellow roommate, that worked rather perfectly.