End of the year cleaning

Some tidbits from the last week or so I want to file away…

On Monday of last week my Dutch teacher started class by asking us if we knew what year WWII ended.  Instantly sobered by the idea of a lesson on the devastation in Belgium during the war, I was relieved and disappointed when the pertinent detail was that in 1945 they set the record for the most snowy days in December.  (Brutal timing, no?)  They had 16 days of snow that year.  That Monday was the 20th, Winter had technically not even begun yet, and we had had 18 days of snow.  Since then it has kept snowing more often than not.  I am looking forward to hearing our total, and getting bragging rights that I was there in the winter of ’10 when it snowed all month.  Unless climate change makes that the new norm.  Gawd, climate change is such a killjoy.
A couple weeks ago we went up to Antwerp for the day (the picture above is downstairs in the train station and the last one is upstairs).  Katrien and her cousin went shopping, while I walked around from holiday music band to band, people watching, and occasionally taking (disappointing) pictures.  It was a tad below zero, and I went to heat up in my default favorite option for this, a massive bookstore…to find that it was a travel agency.  Turns out just the bottom level is a giant travel agency, packed with people buying package tours at desk after desk, while upstairs is the bookstore, which focuses on, surprise, travel books.
Fine by me, so I had just lowered a massive tome about South America when my phone rang, Katrien calling to say she was ready to meet up and head home.  I replaced the giant book and was hustling down the stairs, answering the call as I went.
On the other end Katrien heard me say hello, then I assume a moment of silence or maybe rushing wind, then a massive banging sound, silence for a second, and me saying “s’alright.”  Yeah, I had fallen down the stairs.  In front of the entire flat of travel agency.  The stairway, slick with melting slushy snow, was of course metal, so the acoustics on this thing as you can imagine were mighty.  The ratio of concern to hidden smiles was just about right, maybe 1:473.
Good thing that didn’t happen when I was younger and easily embarrassed, hey?
And today I applied for a job with Procter & Gamble, and in addition to sending a resume they have you answer an ethical and hypothetical questionnaire, then take a “reasoning test”.  That thing was hard!  I had to take one before they’d let me take the Dutch class (oddly enough), and the questions were along the lines of
What comes next in this sequence?  One dot, two dots, three dots, _____.
A: Four dots.  B: A triangle.  C: Turmeric  D: A circus monkey.
But not P&G!  Theirs were way more interesting.  Abstract shapes with surprising shading and indecipherable 3 dimensionality.  And you only have 2 and a half minutes to figure them out.  So if anyone here has access to those tests, send me a copy, I want to figure them all out!  Maybe on the plane to Edinburgh tomorrow…which reminds me, I should pack.
Festive Hogmanay and Happy New Year to all!