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March 12

Well, here I am. Logged on. And at high speed, thanks to a cute technician who climbed five flights of stairs to visit me this afternoon.

I'm so happy.

It's raining but not cold. Fruit trees are starting to flower. Pretty soon I'll have to put in some potted plants on the terrace.

I'm having a little trouble with a case of jetlag. Oddly, I didn't feel it at all for the first few days in Brussels.

My neighborhood is divine, full of galleries and antique stores. But my favorite of all is Monoprix, the French Wal-Mart. That's where I got my new bathmat.

I've taken two French classes thus far and like them. The school is in the southern suburbs, so I get to see a different, more working-class part of the city. The students are all youngsters, from everywhere.

There's Boras from Spain; a guy with a buzz cut from Slovakia; Ning Ning from China (whose efforts to speak French are painful); and two girls, one from Argentina, the other from Brazil.

And, get this, today's lesson had a lecture on the subject of the faults of the French.

Really, most cliches fall apart quickly when you're here.

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