The Countdown begins, with…Crepe Day?

Happy February 2! And no, not because it’s Crepe Day(although celebrating the “purification” of the Virgin Mary via crepes is reason enough for a party…but how do Catholics “purify” a virgin? In my religion it would be when she, ahem, “liberates” herself, but that’s another topic.) Nope. We start our trip one month from today. We are T minus four weeks and counting.
We’ve packed up a lot of the assorted materiel that accumulates when humans live in one place for awhile (especially if one of them has a well-developed sense of style, by which I clearly don’t mean myself). Packed in boxes are the candle holders, dessert cups, and neo-feminist/style magazines. The flower pots are already at her parents’ house and the bookshelf holds only the little gifts we brought back from Nepal for my family.
I moved in via backpack, and having added little to my collection since (I averaged 2 items of new clothing in each of the last 3 years) I am largely exempted from the packing process.
So I have been contributing in the kitchen, where we’re working our way through the various and sundry food items that do not factor into frequent meal plans. My lunches lately have included an influx of sesame seeds, quinoa, and lentils. The risotto, falafel, and polenta stand exposed at the back of a newly naked cupboard. They look like I interrupted them plotting something.
We both love tea, but usually only drink green, so I’ve been struggling and steeping my way through the Others. I am particularly proud of finishing the German sampler box, where I never quite knew what I was drinking, but all of them made me feel like invading Poland. (Too soon?)
I am also working through my impressive collection of mini soaps and shampoos, though I anticipate refreshing my stash in a month…a word of advice to housekeeping at the Condor Hotel in New York: don’t leave the cart in the hallway.
It’s odd how things are conspiring to make leaving feel right. In December I had half of my regular students finish their courses, adding to my sense of the end of a time period. This month I have a few more doing the same and it’s starting to feel like graduation. (When do we sign yearbooks?)
And driving. I regularly have “charter out” classes at a student’s house/work (note: car-sharing programs are frickin awesome) and it’s been the first time I’ve regularly driven in…can it be 3 years? It was fun to be back behind the wheel, and I enjoyed learning Antwerpand surrounding environs, but the novelty of navigation has given way to normalcy, leaving me vulnerable to the repercussions of vehicular familiarity, namely: insanity and stupidity at unnatural velocities.
Just today I saw two examples of incomprehensible driving: a mac-truck on the freeway drifting over to fully straddle the lane divider while he dialed his cell phone, and three luxury sedans driving full speed into a busy intersection with a dead traffic light, coming incredibly close to plastering the other three luxury cars that were only-slightly-less-incautiously insisting on their right-of-way.
(Have you ever left a cup of coffee/wallet/cell phone on top of your car and driven off? Too many people seem to leave their brains on top of the car. I assume they are normally intelligent and logical creatures, but behind the wheel, not so much. Sorry, I’ve gone off on this particular tangent too many times before, I know, but I can’t help it… Humans are clearly not ready for the automobile.)
When traveling I have something of a talent for getting lost, and have enjoyed a departure from that tendency, but…I’ll just have to try and enjoy it when I find myself lost again.
And speaking of enjoyment, it’s been below freezing for the past week or so. I enjoy the fortifying/shocking chill…for a while. But riding home from the train station tonight, one chapped hand clasping the hood of my sweatshirt closed over my face, I kept thinking “I bet it’s not this cold in Nicaragua right now…”

I love you Belgium, but I think we should see other people. It’s not you, it’s me.