I arrived on November 17th in the morning to Brussels. My immediate impression is that this city seems small and large at the same time. The train from the airport gets me clear into and across the city in around 15 or 20 minutes. The sun shines like it is morning/evening the whole day (refreshing, yet depressing). The metro/tram/bus system called STIB-MIVB is complicated, but I eventually figure out what line I need to take. The apartment I'm staying is quite convenient (I was happy to see a boulangerie and boucherie right across the street!). However, my neighborhood is strangely quiet; it's not far from the city centre, but seems like a suburb. Technically, where I'm staying is in the outskirts of the city. I arranged to meet up with my friend Marie-Lise on the evening of my arrival. She was a French exchange student at Sarah Lawrence College my first year as a graduate student there. Having little dance experience, she performed in one of my pieces, An Official Picture History. I still show the piece and I have taken over her role. The role was so special to her, that I always think of her when I perform it.
Marie-Lise has become a European diplomat extraordinaire. She interned at NATO and now works for the French in the EU. Due to my ignorance and relative newness to the EU, I'm not sure what she exactly does (she says she'll give me a lesson at some point). To my surprise she now speaks with a heavy British accent, due to her British boyfriend. She is a chameleon. Supposedly when she got back from the States she couldn't speak French. She was in Paris speaking English and Parisians thought she was an American tourist.
We met in the city center and had a great dinner at a place called The Coffee Shop, which is nothing like a coffee shop. Instead, it is a nice café with a hearty menu. I had a typically Belgian tarte (or quiche) with goat cheese & spinach and drank a brun Chimay – yum! We then head over to the Kaaitheater to see a dance performance.