Life in Leuven

I was sick with the flu, on and off, for about a week in the middle of October. It was only bad for a few days, but I was lethargic and distracted for the rest of it. However, I ended up being pretty thankful. I have a somewhat weak constitution, and in particular am prone to very frequent allergic reactions to something that I haven’t figured out yet (it’s in the dust in Chicago). In my month and a half here I’ve had two allergic reactions total, both of which lasted less than a minute, whereas back home I’m used to being sick for several days due to allergies, to the point where it interferes with work and school.

It’s been a lot of fun getting to know Leuven. I’m on a very busy street with a large immigrant presence, so there are all kinds of interesting shops. In Milwaukee, I was in a bit of a food desert; the nearest grocery store was half an hour walking, and not really any better by bus. Here, I have several shops with fresh produce on my block. And exploring a few shady, unkempt grocery stores, some with with broken pots on the shelves and open bags of spices spilling on the floor- also known as my natural habitat- have yielded some good finds and saved me some money, and I haven’t been poisoned yet.

Classes are going well. The course load is much less than I expected, though come November I know I’ll be swamped with papers. The two most important things- preparing for my thesis and working on PhD applications- I’ve been slow to start, but are in progress. Technically I’m ahead on the thesis, but it’s a long road and I need to work harder. Pray for diligence. Fortunately I’m very excited about my topic. Perhaps I’ll share about it here sometime.

And finally- I accidentally used up all my bandwidth for the month downloading large amounts of podcasts so my internet ranges from slow to unusable until November. I will try to put up more pictures as I am able.

Happiness does not lie in amusement;
it would, indeed, be strange if the end were amusement,
and one were to take trouble and suffer hardship all one’s life
in order to amuse oneself…
Now to exert oneself and work for the sake of amusement seems silly and utterly childish.
But to amuse oneself in order that one may exert oneself, as Anacharsis puts it, seems right;
for amusement is a sort of relaxation,
and we need relaxation because we cannot work continuously.
Relaxation, then, is not an end; for it is taken for the sake of activity.

-Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics

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