Last week, Amy wrote about a typical day for her. I thought that it would be interesting to try and capture a typically work day for us here in Belgium.
In the spring, we wake up with the sun, and let the kittens in for some breakfast in bed treats.
We check our email, and then Adrian makes us cereal with fresh fruit (currently pineapple and strawberry), which we eat while watching something like The Daily Show. We finish getting ready, and then if we’re leaving at the same time, I will walk Adrian to the train station while counting puppies.
Adrian then boards the train to Leuven, and I hop on the metro to my work. Luckily both of us commute outwards from the centre of Brussels, so it’s easy to get a seat. I then have half an hour to read a book, listen to a podcast, or chat with a colleague if they happen to be in the same carriage.
From the metro stop I have a five minute walk to my work, situated in a business park on the outskirts of Brussels. I get some water for myself and my pot plant, sit down in my cubicle, switch on my laptop and look at my calendar for the day. As an epidemiologist, I use large patient databases to look at patterns of chronic diseases. I am responsible for the study design and implementation, as well as interpreting the results and communicating the conclusions at congresses and via manuscripts if the data look interesting. Generally my mornings are spent replying to emails while writing and reviewing documents. We have a great subsidised cafeteria on site, so I spend my lunch hour sitting outside with my colleagues discussing food, travel, and world news. My afternoons are typically filled with meetings, often teleconferences with the UK or the USA. Nine hours later, it is time to hop back on the metro and head home again.
If I stay in Brussels, I might meet up for coffee with a friend, go to my monthly book group or release unwanted books at the book swappers meet. Perhaps Adrian and I might go to a public lecture or to the movies, or I’ll pop into the supermarket next-door to our apartment to pick up a few ingredients for dinner. About once a fortnight I’ll hop on the train and meet Adrian and our Leuven friends for dinner and drinks.
After working through a PhD in Canberra, and then a full-time post-doc and part-time Masters program in Seattle, working only 40 hours a week here in Belgium leaves me with a lot of spare time on my hands and I often feel a bit lost. We are both hoping for a big change in our lives in August that gets us busier and gives us some unique challenges and adventures.