Socializing in Cincinnati

Week 6 and I wanted to get to know some people in Cincinnati... Result: a very very busy week, with not a lot of gym classes but a packed social agenda...

Tuesday: Spanish lunch + French meetup

I have recently started to count in English, which really is the last step to the total domination of that language for me... I want to make sure I don't lose my French and Spanish, so Tuesday was "foreign language day" :) I went for lunch with 2 other Spanish speaking colleagues, one of them a native speaker and after a few minutes we were all happily chatting away in Spanish. Such a good feeling!

In the evening, I went to my first French meetup with a French colleague of mine, in the Barnes and Noble in Newport on the Levee. It's a monthly "conversation class" organized by the "Alliance française de Cincinnati". The first 10 minutes it became clear that my colleague was the only native speaker and that the level of most attendees was below the standard Belgian 18 year old just out of school level, which is saying something... Luckily a few latecomers turned out to be real francophiles who spoke French very well.

Wednesday: Yelp bookclub

I don't know if Yelp is very known in Belgium and the UK. It's a website for reviews from normal people and in Cincinnati Yelp is big, in terms of number of reviews and events they organize. I decided to join their book club and the first book I read was "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern. I recommend it to everybody, it really was a very good read! The book club was held in the York Street Café in Newport and 12 people showed up - it was a very interesting discussion led by one of the Yelp members, with well thought questions for us to answer. I just love getting other people's view of a book I loved (btw, everybody adored this book :)). And of course, it was a good way to start getting to know a few more people. Since, I have started to write some Yelp reviews myself, because it is a nice way to document my experiences in Cincinnati and it may help some other people who are new to Cincinnati too! Check it out here: http://www.yelp.com/user_details?userid=dgLWRL88AB37-EAn0mBwvQ. You can also click on the Yelp picture on the right hand side of my blog now!

Thursday: EACC Happy Hour

The European American Chamber of Commerce organizes monthly happy hours for young professionals who are interested (or from) Europe. So although I started to get a bit tired after such a busy start of the week, I decided to check it out. Thanks to twitter, I found another dunnhumbian who was going too and we took off around 5h30 to Japp's, a very cool cocktail bar in Over the Rhine. It was a young (20 and 30'ers) mingling crowd that we found there, very open to talk to. In the meantime, Maarten had arrived as well, so we moved around different groups of people and handed out our business cards to future contacts (friends?). At the end of the evening, we even met a guy from Holland. So even when our search for other Belgians in Cincinnati continues (we've found 1 so far, the owner of Taste of Belgium), we were pretty close!

Friday: Lang Lang plays Liszt

On Friday we went back to the Music Hall to see Cincinnati's Symphonic Orchestra perform with Lang Lang. I love the Music Hall and have been impressed by the symphonic orchestra. Lang Lang is a very popular pianist and he even played an encore, but if truth be told, we preferred the Brahms piece at the end of the evening, without the piano in it...

Saturday: Findlay market

A really nice couple we met at the EACC event invited us to come to Findlay market with them on Saturday morning. It was really worth it, from the nice little coloured houses around it to the fresh meat, vegetables, bread, I loved every second of it. I'm sure we'll be back once we have our bikes, or a car!

Oh and I did go to one gym class on Tuesday before the French meetup and went running for 42 minutes yesterday so I would say it was a good social and less sporty (but still a bit) week!


A random post

It's almost 10pm, I'm tired, my first meeting tomorrow is at 7h30am...

I've got a new company picture, what do you think?

Today at work we were asked to film our day so I did - I'll see what I can upload here later.

I finished an amazing book this weekend, "The Night Circus", I recommend it to everybody. AND it was the first one I read on my Sony e-reader (THANKS again French colleagues for the leaving gift) --> it was perfect, like reading a real book.

So on this,
with sleepy eyes,
and a head longing for deep dreams,
I say good night to you all:
"Good night"


Our American Adventure - episode 5

Episode 5 - Cincinnati Symphonic Orchestra in the Music Hall


4 weeks in

4 weeks. That's how long we've been in Cincinnati so far.

After 4 weeks, we live in our apartment, with the furniture we chose and assembled (see here for Maarten's first IKEA experience). We managed to open a bank account, I got my identity verified by a notary so I could transfer the electricity account to my name, we got internet set up and our socials sent. It's mostly boring admin stuff and I just wanted to mention that moving is not ALL fun, mainly because of that. But all in all, I'd say we've made good progress. Our apartment really starts to feel like home!

I also wanted to share a few 'first times' from the past week:

*first time in a Kentucky bar*
No one told me before we moved to Kentucky that you are still allowed to smoke here in bars - at least, in Covington, which is where we live... I was shocked. The second observation is that everybody, everybody drinks beer, yes, also the women. So being Belgian that put me in a weird position, asking for a glass of wine and being thé exception. Third thing is that it was a leaving drink for an English colleague. In the UK, those drinks would last at least until 11pm whereas here most people had left by 9pm. We managed to stay on until almost 10pm with another colleague :) But still - it's different

*first Helping Hands activity*
dunnhumby is proud to give back to the community they work in. After the set up of Helping Hands in France and the amazing work we've been doing there, I was keen to get involved into Helping Hands US. Last week, I participated in my first activity, which was serving food to the people in the Drop Inn center. 4 of us served dinner. I got complimented by one young woman on my accent :). It felt good to make a (small but) tangible impact.

Still, I was told not to walk around the building because it would be dangerous. And that is something I'm definitely not used to yet - how one block in Cincinnati can be 'dangerous' and the next one 'ok', I need to get to grips with that...

*First night out*
I got invited to a girls' night out on Friday night: first Mexican food and cocktails, then to a bar called the Righteous Room in downtown Cincinnati. It reminded me that girls across the world have more in common than that they are different and I had a great time!

Interestingly I also learned a bit more about the South of the States and the old traditions there of using the parents or grandparents' surnames as the middle name or even first name for the kids.

*And do I miss France?*
For all my frustrated comments about Paris in my blog, I do admit that I miss some things - apart from mes copines, there is the Notre Dame seen from the back at sunset, the baguettes, my vélib and also, the nostalgy for the French language starts cropping up. Luckily there is an "Alliance française de Cincinnati" so in 2 weeks I'm going to a French conversation group :)

So long, farewell!


Our American adventure - episodes 3 & 4

Episode 3 - an all American Christmas party

Episode 4 - our new home