OUT and ABOUT in Liege

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I stayed close to home today,  strolling just a few blocks up and back. The first thing I noticed was that some of the houses and shops are sporting Halloween decorations. I suppose so. It’s the 19th of October, after all.  This witch caught my eye, and I went back to get a shot of her. It seemed odd that she was facing the brick wall above the door. Like she had miscalculated and aimed too high. Sigh. 

Right next door was the acupuncturist. Maybe that’s where she was headed. 

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NEW START with ART~ CHU in Liege♥

The hospital CHU in Liege at first glance might not impress. After all, it’s not a beautiful place, looking from most angles more like a war-time garrison, abandonned after the troops went home~ a lot of concrete and not much else. 

But the camera has a keen eye~ especially adept at routing out the less visibly apparent but most beautiful parts of things. 

Bathers, by Picasso

Bathers, by Picasso

The paintings on the walls of the reception area, for example. There are two large frames behind each of the many receptionist’s desks, largely ignored but there. That was a surprise, and if you happen to be waiting in line like most everyone else, you would have plenty of time to notice them, even to walk around and take some pictures so you could look them up when you got home. A lot of Gauguin and Matisse…a few of Picasso and Van Gogh…all absolutely joyous with their riotous colors. How could those secretaries not notice?

Interieur, by Matisse

Interieur, by Matisse



The Plain at Auvers, Vincent Van Gogh, c1890

The Plain at Auvers, Vincent Van Gogh, c1890

The Siesta, Paul Gauguin

The Siesta, Paul Gauguin

Then there are the color coded signs to help patients navigate the maze of corridors~ creative and picture-worthy, at least to this camera’s eye. Inside the huge entrance way, the vaulted glass roof and natural lighting filtering down from high above changes the atmosphere entirely and makes for an airy, light-hearted and fresh feeling as you enter….there is hope for healing after all! 

CHU~ the inner courtyard

CHU~ the inner courtyard



Then there are the people….the most amazing art-works of all.
At the reimbursement office...

At the reimbursement office…

At the Registration desk...

At the Registration desk…

In the lobby waiting for her mom....

In the lobby waiting for her mom….

ART~ It’s a part of our life. We can find it Anywhere. Even inside a hospital where many are struggling to remember that life goes on at all. ART~ it’s a reminder that there is more than just the physical body that needs attention. 

Our spirits and our aesthetic senses need attention as well. Beauty in the environment impacts the way we handle illness, or any other challenge of life, reminding us of something deep within that keeps on glowing long after the secretaries have gone home for the night.

 
 
Art This Way!

Art This Way!

THRIFT STORES of Liege

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I can’t really remember when I wasn’t a thrift store shopper (junkie?). There’s something about sorting through other people’s cast-offs…or maybe it’s the excitement of a bargain. 

In any case, I’m definitely into thrifting, and Liege is FULL of ‘brocante’ shops.

This is the window display of my new favorite second-hand store downtown. Every week they highlight a different color. Everything was gray when I first passed by. The pointed gray shoes made me stop and turn around. Hey, wait! Aren’t those your size? 

They are now in my closet, and I am CRAZY about them.

 
 

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My favorite downtown thrift store.

My favorite downtown thrift store.


Today's Finds

Today’s Finds

Today I found a couple of books, one in French for Jean and one in English for my students, and a couple of Mickey Mouse badges that were just too cute to pass up. The books I know we’ll read and enjoy, but who knows what will become of those little Disney patches. Maybe I’ll sew them onto a scarf. Or maybe they will end up in a bag on it’s way to a thrift store. That happens too 🙂

UNFOLD YOUR RIDE~ the Folding Bikes of Liege

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NOT a folding bike :)

NOT a folding bike 🙂

My husband’s had a folding bike for years now. He bought one when we were in Seoul, and when we got here he bought himself another one. He likes the convenience of being able to fold it up to fit in our small Asian vehicles. 

For me, I was never impressed, and have actually never even gotten on the thing, either of them. Call me old school. I just like the size factor of a 26″ rim. 

But when my New York friends visited us in Liege recently, they commented on all the folding bikes everywhere.
“You mean, they don’t use them in the US?” I’ve been gone for 20 years, so I really wouldn’t know. “We’ve never seen ’em,” they assured me.

OK. That was it. I decided I have to expand my focus~ I’m now officially upgrading from SCARVES to Folding Bikes of Liege. Here is my first subject, fresh off the train from Brussels, to hit the road to work. I loved everything about her get-up, and she was wearing a little itty bitty scarf, too.

STREET MEETS in Liege

STREET MEETS (or going up to perfect strangers and asking them something meaningful)

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It was almost the end of the day. I was worried about what I would post here. I knew it had to be inspiring, or at least very nice as I had promised. 

I had my camera in hand (standard practice), and was waiting at the bus stop on my way home for dinner. Even though she wasn’t wearing a scarf (my new photographic focus) I decided to try out my new STREET MEET script:

“Hi. Do you speak English?”
“Yes. You’re lucky. I do!”

Half-done is well begun 🙂

“I’m doing a blog about people in Liege. Can I ask you a question, and take your picture?”
“OK!” 

I had to think fast at that point, because I hadn’t actually prepared a question. 

“Uhhh…. What’s the most inspiring thing going on in your life right now?’

“Well, I’ve been traveling by myself for 3 months, and I’ve been to 15 countries. I’m on my way to the U.K. and stopping by Liege to visit a friend I met in France.” 
“Wow! Do you like traveling alone? I mean, I’d feel nervous to go without my daughter or husband.”

“Oh! Traveling alone is so empowering. You feel like, I can do anything after this! Even when bad things happen, you figure out how to deal with them.”
“What was the worst thing that happened to you?”
“I got my stuff stolen in Milan. That was bad. But I met so many kind people who helped me, and I learned a lot. I’m so glad I’ve had this experience before settling down. I would recommend it to anyone. Don’t hesitate. Just go!”

LESSONS I’M LEARNING #5~ Paying back a debt feels good

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Last week I ran into the Media City to use the toilet. I was desperate. Here in Belgium, you usually have to pay to go. 
When I searched my wallet, I didn’t have enough change. The man at the counter looked at me without sympathy and repeated, “40 cents” while pointing to the sign.

I looked him in the eye, took my change back and said, “OK. But I’m still going!” and ran past him into the stalls. I knew he wasn’t happy, but I HAD to go 

Today, I was in the same situation once again, and remembered what Jean had said before. “That’s how they make their living. Of course he was mad.” So I counted out my change, and made sure I had enough to pay twice, once for today and once for last time. 

The man wasn’t there this time, but his wife was. I think she might even have remembered me. “Bon jour, madame! Ici pout l’autre temps, ca va?” “Oui. Ca va,” she smiled. 

I felt good. We Americans aren’t cheapskates. At least everybody in the toilet room today realized that clearly ~
I could tell by how all of them were smiling.