It has been an interesting week for us - financially... I will apologise in advance for playing the poor victim growing up in a luxurious society, so all my whining is really meaningless - however sometimes we all just need a vent!
Poor Gust needed a new choke this week - so I managed to drive him to the Garage (while stalling at every set of lights, then starting him up with huge revving to keep the motor running... had many interesting looks from the BMW, Audi and Mercedes drivers around me!) so after a few days, he received a new thingy in his choke and was completely better.... until he caught the flu again 2 days later. So he is back at the Garage (after getting sick in the middle of Antwerp - poor Tom's nerves!) and we dont know if we will ever see him again. So time to take the trusy bike everywhere again, now that the temperatures are already hovering around 10°C. It's going to be a long cold winter for this little whiner!
On top of this, I am having huge issues with the student entitlements in this country. Fair enough, Belgium boasts such a great education system - HOWEVER - you are only entitled to any sort of student benefits until the age of 25.
I have been more than happy to forgoe one income, eating out and changing our lifestyle in general, but when the national public transport organisations force a full time students to pay €300 / 3 months for a train ticket (as opposed to €60 for under 25 years and under) I start to get a little shirty. Especially in the inexistance of an 'AUSTUDY' equivalent. Ironically - Tom would be entitled to a 'scholarship' with his school fees and books paid for IF we didn't have a de-facto relationship - However, I would not be allowed to stay in the country if we didn't have a de-facto contract. Go figure.
So, yes, once again, my problems are luxury problems - but sometimes, just sometimes, I would like to breathe comfortably and not count EVERY cent we spend.
By the way - it wasnt all drab this week - I managed to get onto the radio last weekend. Thought that I would request a song, and didnt realise they would call me back for a chat. It turns out that being Australian does have some 'fame' benefits here. So the lucky people of Belgium listened to my damaged Flemish for a whole minute, followed by the lovely voice of Mike Patton and Faith No More with Midlife Crisis (my second choice actually, but they didnt have any James in their library. Scandalous!)
PS - our street is looking very bald...