A letter home

Oh, the old 9to5 grind…

Well, I’ve never actually done the “old 9to5 grind” before, unless I count a stint at the Vancouver Aquarium, but that place with the fish and the sloths and the otters et. al little resembles an office. Now I work in an honest to goodness office complete with lunchroom, coffee machine, colleagues, carpet and all of the other trappings of officedom.

I work, believe it, at the European Committee for Standardization.

Not really my cup of tea, standardization, though I do appreciate how it’s important in a big diverse place like Europe to have some way (we call it a ‘standard’) to ensure that trains can cross borders, credit cards can be swiped anywhere you go and so forth. Plus they create standards for toy safety and other such wonderful things. I could go on.

…In fact I need to go on. My job is Communications Assistant. The person who I’ve been hired to ‘assist’ is named Ruth and she’s very very pregnant. Her last workday before her 8 month maternity leave (welcome to Europe!) is today. From then on I will take over the external communications functions of this somewhat big organization. That means writing press releases, a newsletter and a whole bunch of other stuff to boot. Here goes nothing.

I like it. I get an office. I don’t have to dress too serious, and I get to write stuff. I will bring home some bacon.

That’s the big news right now. Other stuff going on here in Brussels:

Still taking French. Although now work is going to pay for it. Nice! Slow and steady is the pace.

I’ve discovered an abundance of English language theatre. I took a workshop in Commedia dell’Arte last Sunday, and on Tuesday evening I auditioned for a short play that will travel to a theatre festival called FEATS, this year in The Hague. If that doesn’t pan out, there’s plenty more productions lined up in the coming months. I’m also actively seeking (English speaking) improvisers to work with. I’ve even got a brand new art gallery space downtown with a gallery owner who’s super keen to get some “Stand-up comedy nights” as he calls them, going.

I’ve had the chance to go to France, to Roubaix, a small derelict town in the northwest and wear a white suit with tails and a green bag on my head for an interactive film/art project. I also went to middle England to hang with my mom while she was over and some relatives. A short but sweet sojourn. Such is the beauty of Brussels.

Most people (me included) often hype up Brussels because it’s easy to get from Brussels, to somewhere cool, like Amsterdam, London or Paris. But in fact, Brussels itself is a pretty awesome city that loves to pack its civic calendar full of events. Usually involving lots of art and music, plus this summer there will be drive-in movies at the Parc du Cinquantenaire (!) And, of course, a beer weekend. Belgian Beer is the best. Seriously.

Other than that it’s important to point out that the Vancouver Canucks are an incredible hockey team. Recognise. And that AS Roma, while only a respectable distant second in Italian domestic league Serie A, are on their way to play Manchester United in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, the best thing in football since the World Cup. They are, of course underdogs. But they are also, and don’t discount the importance of this, super fucking awesome.

I’ll cut this mail now so we can all get back to work, but I’ll leave you with a couple things:

1.I’ve attached Ottawa’s own Al “Kitchenette” Connors’ See Spot Rhyme Peter Piper Remix that was a smash hit a few years ago at improv camp. Heat.

2. You should write. Or failing that, visit.

3. I send hugs and loves.


Ryan de Millar