After a happy, prolonged period of stabilization and life-altering romance, I finally bid farewell to Belgium in the summer of 2009. Uninspired by life in gray, uneventful Brussels, my girl and I headed off to China for an unforgettable year of teaching and travelling.
“This is pretty kooky,” I laughed, admiring the large black and white canvas of Audrey Hepburn at reception. “I wonder if they have Oscar-winning rooms too”. Approaching the grinning mannequin of a receptionist, I asked her if we could see a double, before making a self-satisfying joke about Gregory Peck. But of course she didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. “Hotel name is movie?” she asked during my messy explanation, her furrowed brow dislodging a few flakes of her ridiculously thick makeup.