Monday, December 18, 2006
For the first time this year, I had to scrape ice off the car this morning. It's funny - I went to work, and commented that it must have frozen last night (hence the reason for ice) and I was surprised at the amount of people who told me that it didn't. So somewhere along the line, water decided to start freezing at temperatures above zero. Funny - all that learning in school didn't teach me that the rules change depending on who you talk to (ooooh - sarcastic bitch, aren't I?). But, after around 5 minutes of scraping, Gust managed to put-put all the way to work withough hassle. He only coughed a little before starting, so I am proud of him.
Have also received some photos from my family this week - Emme just graduated, so I am so proud (not to mention wildly jealous) of her. Plus, my mum has trimmed down a bit, going to the gym regularly, and somehow managed to un-age! Good going family. Oh, and there's dad too! Still managing to look great! So, since I am in a silly mood - here's a dedication to my wonderful family, who have to put up with so much from me! xxx
Sunday, December 17, 2006
It was one of the nicest concerts I have seen. In my favourite hall in Belgium (Ancienne Belgique) which holds around 2000 people (unlike when we saw Robbie Williams - that one holds a good 20,000 or more...) so it was nice and cozy. He is such an inspirational peace-maker and his music oozes positivity. You can't help but smile and dance along - even to the numbers which haven't been released yet. And he played non-stop for 2,5 hours, and I didnt realise it until it was over.
So, we went with Maarten (Tom's travelling-to-Australia partner) and Maarten's brother Jurgen (another Flemish name I have troubles pronouncing). After the concert, we decided to take a little stroll to the Grande Plaza of Brussels, considering the effort they put into everything at chrismas time, and it was quite lovely (despite being packed with people at midnight...)
Later, Maarten was due to pick up Bie (his girlfriend) from her work christmas party, so we drove off to one of the classiest hotels in Brussels (in our jeans and warm coats) and arrived at her party, which just happened to have a glamour hollywood theme. So, we kinda stood out a little, but lucky for us, it was already way past midnight, and most of her colleagues (and herself included) were past the proverbial point of no return, and welcomed us with open arms! It was a little odd at first, but after we noticed the free wine, we were quickly in spirit. I also managed to stumble across a relatively still full dessert bar, so after 2 chocolate mousse's, and 3 wines, we were also quickly in the spirit. Pity the DJ was someone who clearly went to Yeppoon High in the early 90s. I swear that was the last time I heard 'Cotton Eyed Joe' and a dancing function. And he spat out all of the wrong numbers, and I clearly wasn't drunk enough to appreciate the humour. But, we boogied our bums off for an hour or so, before heading home.
So it was overall a night which we had not expected, but definitely enjoyed!!
Tom, Jurgen, Bie and Maarten
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
But, the highlight of my week would have be have been this weekend. After sooooo many years, I finally caught up with Kelly Chan again. For those of you who dont know, we grew up, playing the violin together in Yeppoon (our teacher was a lovely nun), and then she moved to brisbane, and not long after I moved to Brisbane, we teamed up again with 2 other girls and played in a string quartet (she actually lived 3 houses away from where I lived...) Now, she lives in Nijmegen (border of Holland and Germany - 1,5 - 2 hours away from Antwerp) and we have re-found eachother again! Such a refreshing surprise! So, she had a girly night (with 8 girls) for her birthday, and we ate some delicious Thai food, watched a really cheesy girly movie, gave ourselves face masks, cleared our pores with those sticky things that look like we had nose jobs and did our nails in french manicures while stuffing ourselves stupid on cake. mmmmm. And then when we went to bed, Kelly and I chatted from 1am until 4am! I truly felt like I was in highschool again! I can't remember the last time I lay in bed chatting (to a girl) for 3hours! So, I am now on a bit of a high, because we could compare our notes on living in the 'benelux' for the past few years, and also compare our dutch accents!
Saturday, December 02, 2006
BAAAAAAD move. First it was a little irritated, then shortly later, the pain was incredible! I thought, okay you idiot, just get some ice out of the freezer and put it on the area. Well the ice melted in about 10 seconds (yes, it is winter here as well...) so that plan didn't work. I then washed my hands for about 2 minutes, to make sure there was no residual pain causing chilly hidden in an invisible crevass or in the grooves of my fingerprints. By this stage, the pain was almost unbearable, and I started crying. Next resort - call mum. So, at 11pm, hoping my old rocking parents would be still partying, I decided to give them a bell. Seems that Saturday nights, are now for the bed only, because I woke poor mum up (dad must have had enough red to keep him snoring through), and she didnt know what to do. Next... try Emme. No answer either. BUGGER! What the hell do you do?? So, as my absolute last resort, I googled 'hot chilly burn pain' and was given a remedy!
So for any of you who are as clever as me, if you ever burn yourself on hot chilly, wash the region thoroughly with soapy water, then rub vegetable oil into the 'wound'. But, if like me you don't have vegetable oil, olive oil (extra virgin) also seems to work quite well. Now, I have lovely red Angelina Jolie lips (and they are shiny too...)
Saturday, November 25, 2006
I know it's easy for me to say that in Belgian ALL kids learn French from grade 4, English and German from Grade 8 compulsorily - but they border on these countries/regions: Australia doesn't. And yes, Australia does require kids to learn a 2nd language for a couple of years. But why isnt it encouraged to be bilingual, or at least taught that when you are travelling, to try to speak another language? Why is there such a fear instilled in people when another language is involved? Even French?
The reason for this entry is that I don't look forward to going home to seeing the news on Aussie TV in such a conservative manner. I don't look forward to seeing the war in Israel/Palastine/Lebanon and seeing on the view according to the Americans. I don't want to see why the ex-KGB guy in England was killed according to the Australian media who have been payed by Poutin. I am afraid (and maybe due to my own ignorance) that I will become simple - not because information isn't available in Australia - but because the most important information at home revolves more around people putting out the ANZAC flame and how much a disgrace that is (rather than seeing the comedy...), and how much more difficult it is to access more informative, world news. Sorry if this is insulting to anybody, but need to get the bee out of my bonnet sometimes...
Please mum, and other teachers (who didnt get into uni with an OP of 20) - encourage the kids to be a little more aware. I am afraid of what the culture of Australia will become.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Have managed to get through another week at work (as most people do...), with one slightly embarassing moment: The laboratory building has been undergoing an enormous face-lift for the past 12 months, including a little surgery to the stair-cases requiring use of the lifts for only 1 level (which drives me absolutely crazy). And, to keep us all active, my boss has decided to have rooms on 4 levels (of the 6) of the building. Not always handy, especially when the stair wells are shut. So, on Wednesday, I had remnants of the flu, a shocking period pain, and just wanted to go home, when I boarded the cargo lift for a ride down a whole level when the lift got stuck. Yippee - first time ever. I didnt really know what to do. I tried to force the door with my superpowers, but that didnt quite work, so then I yelled help. Not incredibly helpful (as a tip for you who thought it might be). So, as last option, i pressed the alarm button in the lift - thank god it wasnt a loud fire-alarm sound - but a connection to a telephone to somebody I couldnt understand one single bit. So, just at the moment someone picks up the phone, another guy is on the other side of the lift asking me questions, so I was trying to figure out who was talking to me, and how to answer them both... Then alll the workmen discovered the situation, and I am receiving all sorts of lovely comments through the door in a Limbergse dialect (the farmers and slow-talkers of Belgium (including Kym clijsters) - a bit like the FNQs...). After around a half hour, I felt the lift moving up to the 4th floor (i needed to be on 0) and the doors opened to a group of work-men - thankfully the guy who fixed it was my favourite (a big black guy which a gorgeous smile, and always up for a chat) but when I finally made it back to level 0, all the Limbergers were waiting for me and cheering. Didnt help the period pain or the snot which my head was full of...
Tom has been to the hairdresser today to prepare for his interview on Monday - his friend, Ben and himself passed the first round of the Pappenheimers (a quiz), and now need to have a screen test to see if they're pretty enough for TV on Monday. We are pretty excited!
Anyway, apart from that, sometime this weekend, we are celebrating our 4 years of bliss (cough!) - and the reason I say sometime this weekend, is that most of you probably know, but we dont actually know when we first became an 'item'. We even had to read through his diary from trip around oz, and there was an entry on the 19th of November which mentioned me, but no date as to actually when we hooked up. Oh well! So instead of writing a sappy post for our 4 years, thought I should just do a naked dance instead (more our style).
By the way, hi mum and dad
Monday, November 06, 2006
Although an uneasy name to pronounce in English, here is our new little man. I have given him his first drink today - so he has been cruising around now for 500km quite happily! But that is my extent on knowledge of cars. Fortunately, Tom's bike broke completely the same week we bought Gust, and considering Tom is the sportier of us 2, he has chivalrously opted to take my bike, and I get to play with Gust!!
Thought I might mention, had a great chat to an old buddy (no, she isnt 95 years old, just 26) from school this weekend, and it was dare-I-say-it a little wierd at first. We hadn't talked for at least 5 years, and lots has changed, but it is still nice to chat to someone who has known you for a little longer than a year! Maybe all of my school friends have drifted in totally unparallel directions, and with some, there will be nothing to talk about when I see them again, but with others, it is nice to know that you can always chat! (am I sounding to sappy?!!)
Saturday, November 04, 2006
This song was really appropriate for yesterday evening. For the first time we actually went on an away game from my favourite club, Germinal Beerschot. Even Ingrid came! We drove to the far Genk (in Belgian terms). It is actually just more than an hours drive. But it was a mixed game. We were locked up in a bird cage far away in the corner of the stadium. It is sad but immediately there's the feeling of being a group. The pride for your club takes over and you stand there not willing to back down and show these people something. There's an unwritten binding and you have the feeling that this is what soccer is all about. You make yourself out to be more because you are no longer just a supporter. You've progressed to the heavy club of people who stand behind their club in good or bad. You would travel to the end of the world to take part with this small group of nutters who spend all their money on their club. You are what makes the team. On away games you sing louder because your group is more compact but you all stick up for each other. You are not wanted and just that fact makes you want to be their more.
Well that wonderful, exciting, glorious feeling lasted just minutes and then the game was over. We lost with a convincing 4-0 and were slaughtered the first half. (The real supporter uses "we" even in times of great defeat, not just when victorious times approach our history). At the end of the first half the atmosphere became a bit grimy and potentially dangerous. Half time came just in time for a beer and a toilet visit.
You might want to notice that toilet visits are crucial for a football fan. If you do not go to the toilet you will not be updated. Go to any other toilet in the world (as a man) and your only concern is to avoid eye contact and avoid conversation. You just want to step in, flop it out and stare at a blank wall, in the meanwhile keeping up appearances that they should not try to mess with you because you're tough. Not so at the soccer. In the toilet that's where the action is! The full line-up is being analyzed. The coach is being critized, players are being giving ratings. The angry hooligan that has been mocking his team the whole game all of a sudden comes up with the cleanest and most clever analysis of the game. People throw all their anger out in this little room. It is unwritten that you leave insults at the door and listen to other people's opinions because we all have an opinion and we are all equally important. After this refreshing (both mind and body) moment you do NOT wash your hands!!! This classifies you as somebody who feels better than the common football fan (this is the only rule I do not obey, sorry to the real fans). And to top it of, you step out of the room in your most manly position and yell the first Neanderthal thought you can come up with to get the blood running again. Common you wankers!!!! And we're off again.
Lucky for us the second half the mood changed and we started laughing with our own club, yelling slogans like "it is just a practice game", "we're going for champions league" and my favorite " we're playing them nuts". Of course we couldn't escape the monty python brigade and their all-time classic. We left the stadium in good spirits.
It's been a while since I've written. But I am well thanks for asking. I made the best decision of my life going back to uni doing psych. I also do my best not to bother anybody with it because people tend to feel intimidated and investigated by me when I talk about psych. For everybody: I've had psych for 2 months, at this point I couldn't even analyze a turtle if I wanted to. But meeting new people everyday. And yes there are some cute girls but they are all 18 years old and when I look at them, I see somebody even younger than my sister so thinking of them as anything else but classmates seems like something you can be thrown in jail for. My only concern at this moment is getting through my January exams. Ingrid and I had to find our new way of living together a bit but I think we finally found the right balance between doing things together and working for school. Even if this wouldn't work out, I already learned heaps and will never look back on this as a bad decision.
We finally have got easy weekends coming without obligations: winter is on its way so life in Belgium stops. Already wearing gloves, scarf and hat at nights. But we finally can relax a bit and do stuff with the two of us.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Thought it was time to write a week in review - although may not be interesting to anyone except us, maybe we will read this again in a few years!
Big news of the week - we have bought our own car - although it is number 3 for me (after bambi and the meteor) it is Tom's first. Keeping in typical Ingrid tradition, we have purchased a car only a little younger than ourselves for as little money as possible! It is a Nissan Micra, and we have named him (yes, this one is a boy) Gust (not an easily pronouncable name in English - the 'u' has a oo sound rather than an 'a' sound) due to his former owner having the name of Augustinus. Will post some photos when I feel the need!
Have started language school again - am in my final semester at uni - so after this, I should have it down-pat (or fluke my way through, which is likelier...). Have been racking my brain what to do after this finishes, and am choosing to to French and Portuguese - neither of which will be of any use in my future, but would still love to be able to converse with the Portuguese or the South Americans (when we eventually get there).
Other news - hmmmm... Plans are in place to head back to oz in July-August next year for 5 weeks. Thank god for Belgian holidays (only a few unlucky people have only 20 days - most of the rest have 30 or more. I have 31) and my Dad. He has generously offered to 'help' us visit and it is a much needed visit at that. In the 2 and a bit years that I have lived here, I have finally made some friends outside of Tom's circle (apart from the odd Aussie that I meet). It may sound strange, but when you think about it, most people have their best friends from when they were either in high school or early uni. It is easy to make friends along the way, but nobody who really knows you. I have been lucky enough to make 2 here - unfortunately one of them is a colleague who is about to go on maternity leave, so I won't see her much anymore (she lives a long way away in Belgian standards) and the other one just fell pregnant! Hope it's not in the water!
Anyway - I appear to be babbling, and I need to get myself ready - Tom has gone to the football tonight, and I am off to have dinner with some friends I made at language school - Germans!! (+ another Aussie, thankfully!)
Monday, October 23, 2006
Just finished a relatively relaxed weekend, with 2 memorable moments. Firstly, on Saturday night, we ate in the most classy restaurant I have ever eten, feasting on Goose Liver with poached pear (my favourite - I told myself that the Goose had a wonderful long life and they only took the liver out after it died of natural causes), something with salmon, something with calf, and something with chocolate, plus a full range of wines (no Tim, not complaining about the weather and football results). It was in aid of Tom's mum's birthday, so I dont think we will ever be able to pay for a dinner there again...
Second eventful activity was at the soccer - Tom and I went to see his team play another team in the Rivierenhof (remember last year mum?) - the other team is notoriously competitive (mind you, the people in this division are mostly office workers sporting a beer belly and smokers cough...) and the coaches (yes, more than one) were comedically vocal - to the point of running on the field and screaming in the ref's face. It became so bad at one point that one of 'our' supporters told one of the other supporters to pipe down and relax a little, which proved to be the wrong thing, as soonly after, fists were being thrown around! I couldnt believe it! I ended up trying to hold our guy back and before I knew it, the entire team was also joining us! How excitement - I have finally been in my first sport thug fight! Ultimately, nobody was hurt, but the entire team later asked me why I was in the fight (not realising that I was a peace worker!). Toms team eventually just won and there were no injuries so we were all happy!
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Mag ik u eens door de mond kussen?
See my dilemma. For those of you who dont know what it means, go to www.freetranslation.com (my internet bible...) and don't forget the question mark! It translates quite literally, but you will get the meaning. However, the problem here is that nobody (except newsreaders, and not all of them at that) speak the clean language, so I am constantly learning from the Antwerp language. Have managed to put my finger in it a few times though when I introduced myself to Tom's step-grandmother (we will call her Rosa for comfort sake) as Tom zijn wijf (in antwerp language, this is Tom, his woman - in east flanders language, it is Tom's Bitch) - had a little uncomfortable laughter in front of a group of old people.
Apart from language learning, have been relatively settled the past few weeks: election results, Socialists are once again in control in antwerp, although the celebrating was ruined when both tom and I decided to throw up everything we had eaten and paint the walls in the meanwhile. Not our finest moments..., Leaves are beginning to fall off trees, and the winter-depression is setting in. It is a condition which has only come so prominently to my attention since living here, and for the first time, am beginning to feel it. Apparently, autumn has a high rate of suicides, and deaths in general (along with an overall feeling of melancholy). Quite a horrible feeling actually - but just another minor obstacle I guess!
Have decided to play with my side-bar a little today - found a funny little clip of Borat from the European MTV awards last year (one of the funniest presentations I have ever seen - consequently he has been banned from hosting anything again, I say bring on more Borat!). Hope it is enjoyed....
Friday, October 06, 2006
Last weekend was the first of October which meant a couple of things in this baby little country: 1) One week exactly before provincial and local elections (quite a different system to oz, but am absolutely loving learning about the politics - a bit different to a few years ago when I couldnt stand the subject...) and 2) a fantastic reason to put on a free anti-racism concert to support the greens and socialists (instead of the increasingly popular fascist party... one which actually has a policy which requires women to stay at home while men work... and I thought Belgians were smart...).
So being the socialites we think we are, we took a trip into Antwerp, (along with many a thousand - all the big names of Belgian groups were there - those of you who know a little underground music may have heard of dEUS, Hooverphonic, Axelle Red, but hopefully not Clouseau). It was set-up in how I imagine the G8 concerts were last year, with one slightly painful setback. Unbelievable stormy weather. BUT for the first time in my entire life, I was prepared. We had 2 brollies, a rain jacket, and I even had rain pants (a new addition to the wardrobe - necessary for the bike), but non-waterproof shoes. Oh well. But, it then started hailing - first time I have seen it so large in Belgium! And to make it funnier, the hail was shaped like mini-spears, so it actually hurt a little more!
Concert was great, ending in a song as meaningful to the Belgians as Waltzing Matilda is to us (hense the lyrics in the title) - appropriately named België. My momento for the evening is two hideous bruises under my bum from when I tried to jump a fence which was a little too high for my disproportionally short legs - so I was stuck on the top (which unfortunately was not flat).
Elections this weekend, and am so pissed that I can't vote, but have plans to go board-gaming with friends after the voting is over, so am looking forward to some Catan Adventures!
Monday, September 25, 2006
The day began with Tom's mother being mad at us because it was her birthday and we hadn't arranged anything, so he was in a fouly when he borrowed the car, but then after an hour of driving (and being lost in the Limberg) we found our way to Wellen, and stepped out of the car into peace (something lacking in Belgium!).
It began with us changing into our swimsuits (which didnt remain on for long) and big long bathrobes. Luckily (at the risk of sounding yucky) I had prepared my body the day before hand to be seen again in public in a bikini...! So, then we were taken into the 'pakking' room, where we were covered in some sort of clay mud (nude) and wrapped up in a plastic bag for half an hour. At first, I had a shocking feeling of claustrophia, desperately looking for the panic button while trying to calm myself listening to italian relaxation music. But by the time the girl came back, I was off with the sandman, with a nice trail of dribble pushing its way through the mud!
After we were washed off, we had full body massages - this time it was toms turn to take a nap! He didnt have the chance during the mud-pack as his bladder was pulsing too hard.
Then we proceded to the aqua-palace - 10 different types of saunas/steam baths - a real experience for me. Im not one who was really into saunas, but they had saunas for beginners, and gradually I progressed on to the Turkish steam bath (my personal favourate) and the Finish Sauna (90-100°C. Shockingly warm and a little hard to breathe at first, but managed well in the end.
The only bad part about the day was the traffic jam on the way back. This country has so many freeways, and they are always chockas full of cars, even on a Sunday. We were hoping to see a nasty looking accident, but it just ended up being a couple of cars with light damage, and their owners arguing over the 4 closed lanes.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
By the way, am drinking wine from the bottle, so that must be saying something about the evening (or that all our glasses are in the dishwasher...)
Have done absolutely nothing unusual in the last week, and starting to feel a bit sad/lazy. I know it will be this way, probably a lot for the rest of my life, but am not used to it yet. However, had a nice evening tonight. Invited an aussie mate around (someone I met at language school from Geelong) for dinner, him and his Belgian fiancée ended up staying until 1pm, and we had a nice time chatting about the cultural differences. Pity they leave in February... seems to be the story of my life. Oh well, will get used to it, Im sure! Time to take anonther swig at the bottle... Tom has been working like a dog (dunno where that saying comes from - must apply to border collies on a farm, cos I dont really believe the average household labrador works 60+ hours a week and is too buggered to do anything when he comes home...) but he is really keen to begin uni... me too actually...
Apart from the working, nothing much else has happened! We are off to spend a day in a massage/therapy centre tomorrow (to prepare the boy for school, and to pamper the old maid he lives with) so am hoping to feel a bit refreshed afterwards. Now, I am going to brush my teeth and go to bed.
Hope everyone at home (and the friends of mine who aren't...) is happy and well
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Depending on how well you know me (or even if you dont know me well at all), you may or may not be surprised by the following... Some of you may know, that a few years ago, I had a pterygium scraped off my right eye (dont ask - sun inflicted bonus of coming from CQ), leaving my right eye with slightly less clarity of vision than my left. Over time, I have compensated, adjusting the microscope lenses accordingly, reading with a book close to me etc.
Well, today, just to make my life a little more interesting, I was eating my lunch in the cafeteria (as, funnily enough, I manage every day without a hitch...), and while wiping my mouth with a seemingly innocent serviette, the corner of it decided to infiltrate my open left eye. Considering this is not the first time this has occurred (c'mon, everyone has had a foreign object in their eye at one time or another), I let it go. After lunch, I decided to wash my eye out a few times with physiological water, just to be sure it was cleanish, and proceded to work with 2 blurry eyes. 4 hours later, the irritating sand-paper like 'pain' (for want of a better, less harsh-sounding word) I decided to take a trip to spoed (accident and emergencies - the benefit of working right next to a hospital), and after half an hour of waiting in the 'emergency' (ha!), the optho looked at it, and discovered that I managed to tear my cornea, directly over the pupil, causing slight pain and also blurry vision. Another kook is that a colleague of mine was required to escort me, and she even had the benefit of seeing my tear with the remark 'it looks like a sperm cell'. So, either, a) I am artistic at tearing my cornea, or b) the serviettes in the cafeteria are of the multi-purpose variety...
Ultimately, I have crappy vision in both eyes now, but thankfully the eye is one of those organs which manages to heal itself in 24 hours. Have antibiotics just in case of any other beasts have decided to fly in without my knowing...
Sunday, September 03, 2006
We'll do it all
On our own
We don't need
If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
I don't quite know
How to say
How I feel
Those three words
Are said too much
They're not enough
If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life
Let's waste time
Around our heads
I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own
If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life
All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they're all I can see
I don't know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things will never change for us at all
If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
Just thought it may be worth it to mention, Snow Patrol played at Pukkelpop this year (2 weeks ago) and were of the many who suffered the Heathrow luggage crisis. So, while both guys managed to make it to belgium, they arrived with no clothes, and most importantly, no instruments. Now while I'm not the hugest fan of Snow Patrol, I just have to appreciate what the guys did. Instead of going back home, they were leant a couple of guitars, and played their entire set accousticly with nothing but their voices. Have seen it on the TV since and am so amazed. In front of so many people, and in a country where even the smallest groups have great light and sound shows, the two guys looked so tiny on such a big stage in front of 80000 people. Really wished I could have witnessed it. I only wish that they werent always advertised as the 'Favourite Group of Bono'. That doesnt sell it for me...
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Sunday, August 27, 2006
At long last, I decided to post some images of the new apartment. Take notice, no photos of dining room, or either bedrooms. As you can probably imagine, all of the above are not quite ready for photos (due to laziness on our behalf)!.
This is our first lazy weekend since we can remember (we actually did go out on friday night, but that doesnt count this time) and it is starting to show... we are attempting to detox, but are still buzzing somehow, and need to learn to take it easy! Next weekend is another housewarming (our landlords!) so this time we can trash somebody elses place! We still have the slight smell of beer in the corridor (I think the door accidently had a bit too much to drink...) but apart from that, we have mostly recovered.
Received a 'weekend-desk' voucher from work (basically allowing you to go to specific places in Belgium/Holland/France or Germany and do 'things' like cooking with chefs, or bungee jumping or relaxing spa - anything you can think of. So my mind is now in overdrive planning our next adventure. Was considering hanggliding, until I remembered that there arent many hills (in fact, any) in this part of the world, so will try to think of something else...
Monday, August 21, 2006
The night itself went as expected. Ingrid's work colleagues came and behaved, Tash spilled and blessed the new place, my mates showed up fashionably late and left un-fashionably drunk. After cleaning up and watching soccer till 4 in the morning we got to bed. Being the happy little campers that we were on Sunday morning we managed to go to Antwerp for about an hour and the rest of the day we spent playing boardgames with Tim and Tash while we got rid of excessive wine bottle. So I think we all ended up a little tipsy when we got to bed.
So now we have got the prospect of going home to an apartment we have got to clean while we both are buggered and just want to relax. We were going to have a quiet weekend this weekend but that fails again because of my going-away party at work. But I think we are going to spent the rest of the weekend doing nothing except for getting the new salon. And we can now call all of you people in Australia through skype because we ended our Flintstones era and joined in on the international communication highway. Details of skype you have to ask Ingrid.
Friday, August 11, 2006
So I boarded my fiets (oops, bike) at around 7:45 (a daily ritual, associated with arriving at work on time) and it was 'spitting', but with still a little sun. So I put on my rain jacked, placed my lunch in the carrybags (which hang onto the bike) and headed off. I was 5 minutes into my journey when out of nowhere (actually, probably the sky...) it started really pouring down. For Belgium, this is very rare, so I tried to make the most of it, while my jeans and shoes happily drank up all they could carry in a matter of seconds. Now I could sit here and whinge all day (shiverring due to the stupid airconditioner), but instead, I decided to find all of the good points to starting a day off this way.
1. My rain jacked worked superbly - my hair and upper body is completely dry.
2. My canvas carry sacks work also well - I have dry lunch (pity my lunch couldnt ride the bike while I sat in the carry sacks...
3. My jeans had a nice rinse through (it is the 3rd day running that I am wearing them)
4. My shoes had a nice rinse through
5. My socks are no longer 'boring' white, but white with interesting red flecks throughout (to add character) - (red shoes).
6. My eyes have had a nice rinse through (can't remember the last time I bathed my eyes).
7. No cars hit my on the way
8. Relatively few riders today, so almost the entire path to myself
9. Heaps of empty bike parks here at work.
10. I am fitter for riding
Since I started the list, I shed my shoes and socks and am considering losing the jeans as well (I do have a lab coat) - one problem - black undies. Not too keen on the entire working staff seeing my undies through my coat on this lovely day!
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Things occurring in our lives in the past few weeks... bought a brand new computer - now we just need to do something with the old one - probably find a nice home for it amongst other old computers at the 'container-park' (fancy belgian words for 'dump'). Our new one is an imac with all sorts of little cute 'girly' things - very cool looking, space efficient machine. If I knew any more than the fact that it has 180GB and 1GB ram (??) I would say it, but am not that smart. As long as I can hook up to internet and emailing... I am happy. Am yet to name her, but will keep you all posted.
Have hung wall paper (the kind which for painting on) and that was a mini-ordeal - but we are finally ready for painting our bedroom (one wall...) and the rest of the kitchen. Our light in our dining room remains happily perched on the dressoir (gathering dust) because we are both too afraid (and impatient with ourselves) to try. So we will have to find a handy friend to do it for us, I think!
Am starting to think about next holiday plans. Am really keen on the idea of Tuscany in November (havent actually talked it over with Tom yet, but home he is happy with that!).
Other than that, I have found an old friend 'via our mums' from Australia who is actually living in Holland... We used to play in a string quartet together (while pretending to study in Brisbane) and when I left, I didnt really keep in good contact with the girls - turns out Kelly is married to a 'Hollander' and has been living there for 4 years! Was so happy to hear it. What makes things even better is that she called, and we chatted for a good half hour - experiencing the exact same culture/life differences.
Gonna head of to FISH. Until next time...
Friday, July 28, 2006
Have been feeling a little homesick lately - so I decided to invide a couple of my colleagues (literally a couple - just 2!) out for a strong drink of sangria or 2 and now I am quite happily intoxicated and writing on the internet - quite a lethal combination!
Now everyone is talking about downloading (in dutch) and i cant be bothered following so i am communicating to my best friends in the world. I decide d to call my sister tonight, but my credit ran out within a couple of minutes an I regret that entirely. Sorry Emme.
Tom has about 4 weeks left to work and I am starting to worry a little (about the luxury items we have been living with) but apart from that I am actually excited; plus the factt that my great aussie mates tim and tash are on their way to visit me and give me a bit of aussiness within 3 weeks, and kym and benj are joining us for christmas gives me a lot of relief.
anyway - apart from several weeks with absolutely no sleep (actually, i am exaggerating here - but it is summer here and we do go out every night), things are going ok except for when I think about home. dad, we are considering coming home this time next year... especially me - just need more aussieisms at this time.
Better go and be social. Hope everyone is behaving and I love you all (yes, the wine and sangria are talking!). Shanelle and Pete, best of luck with Mount fuji (or Fujiyama if I remember correctly). I bet it will be breathtaking and definitely worth all pain that it will put you through.
Goeie avond iedereen, tot de volgende keer
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Nothing like a bad birthday joke to greet you on your birthday...
A wife decides to take her husband to a strip club for his birthday. They arrive at the club and the doorman says, "Hey, Dave! How ya doin'?"His wife is puzzled and asks if he's been to this club before. "Oh, no," says Dave. "He's on my bowling team. "When they are seated, a waitress asks Dave if he'd like his usual and brings over a Budweiser. His wife is becoming increasingly uncomfortable and says,"How did she know that you drink Budweiser?""She's in the Ladies' Bowling League, honey. We share lanes with them. "A stripper then comes over to their table, throws her arms around Dave, and says "Hi Davey. Want your usual table dance, big boy?"Dave's wife, now furious, grabs her purse and storms out of the club. Dave follows and spots her getting into a cab. Before she can slam the door, he jumps in beside her. He tries desperately to explain how the stripper must have mistaken him for someone else, but his wife is having none of it. She is screaming at him at the top of her lungs, calling him every name in the book. The cabby turns his head and says, "Looks like you picked up a real bitch tonight, Dave."
Hope you have a lovely day, and am looking forward to your surprise tonight... (for all you dirty people out there, it doesnt involve any nudity, and if it did, it is merely for comfort reasons... it has been 35°+ the past few days, so you can imagine how sexy everybody feels...
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Called Katchia for her birthday on Monday, but stupid me ran out of credit after about 20 seconds - I really thought €2.50 would have lasted a little longer - but alas not. So, sorry I couldnt stay chatting Katch - I imagine you had a lovely day, and I wish I could have been there celebrating it with you all!
Tomorrow is Toms 25th (yes, I managed to snatch him out of the cradle) - and I dont know what he is expecting, but I cant write much on here, because I am sure he will read it! Needless to say, no matter how nice-a present I have bought him, he will be happiest if he has the chance to bite me whenever he wants to tomorrow (apparently, thats the best birthday present ever...- probably because I hate it so much!)
Looks like the house-warming is going ahead on the 19th of August - despite hearing that our backyard is being dug-up to replace sewage pipes from 1 August (for god know how long...) - doesnt matter - at least we have a front yard too! - AND we are very much looking forward to Tim and Tash coming over especially for this occasion. Plus, have heard from Kym and Benj - who will be heading over for Christmas in Belgium. Will be sure to leave quite a sour taste in their mouths - I can think of more beautiful places... Will have to introduce them to genevas and Glüh Wine...
Monday, July 03, 2006
Groups I have seen included: Eels (long story behind this); Starsailor (always lovely, and festive); Robert Plant (ex led zepplin); Ben Harper (completely beautiful, lovely and relatively unknown here so had a good spot to see him!); Hooverphonic (Belgian, wierd and awesome!) and last but definitely not least, Depeche Mode - what entertainment!
Had a little heat stroke incident, but am not in the mood to talk about it right now! Needless to say, a stretcher was involved, I managed to have all the power in the festival for just one moment (its not always easy to part a crowd unless you have a stretcher) and I was blacked out for all of it! Wearing a short skirt was also not a good idea - just thank god I was wearing a plain black full brief target style undy an not some lacy thong!
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Back on terra firma inBelgium and straight into moving already. We signed a contract today and will be moving mostly over the weekend (although tom is at werchter on Saturday and I am there on Sunday... - you only live once!)
Have posted a few pictures from our holiday - but hope to put the rest on ringo on the weekend or sometime next week.
1. In the middle of the many steps at Bom Jésus - a bit cathedral just outside of Braga (in the north of portugal) with a fantastic view of the city.
2. Tom in a typical side streeet of Porto - NB: NO TOURISTS! I have found my paradise! (Such a bloody hypocrite tho...) So many of these teeny tiny, narrow streets have oodles of families living in them, but they all seemed to party very loudly and laugh a lot during the lunchtime hours: such a warm, feel-good sound.
3. Something a bit out of the ordinary - nothing scenic, but quite bizarre. If you can see well enough, there are 2 ladies here completely dressed in black. All over Nazaré (on the coast), the fisermans' widows all wore black and wandered the length of the beach (many with walking stick in hand) selling dried fruit/nuts/clams.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
I cant fit the entire length of the page in my site, so you will have to copy and paste the address in 2 halves.
This is what has happened in Antwerp since we have been on vacation. Sadly, once again, we will be dealing with racist pricks when we go home. Yes, when someone implies that the only reason something occurred is due to the background of the person, I call that a racist remark from a racist prick.
We ended up spending 2 nights in Nazaré (in favour of going to huge, far too touristy Lisbon) and went to the lovely little pub we found from the night before and downed a few ports while watching the Portugal vs Holland match. As you can imagine, the streets were ablaze after that victory and we made a few friends out of it! Oh forgot to mention, we did head down to Sintra (via Coimbra and Obidós - the latter having a specialty cherry liqueur which is served in chocolate cups - mmmmmm yummy!)
We drove to Guarda the next day (highest settlement in Portugal) - close to the Spanish border, and enjoyed some more local cuisine. This time I had Bakalhou com ..... (something) which was like a potato bake but including cod. but before the meal, we were given some of the local specialty - a very unique type of sheep cheese. The fat content is somewhere between 50-65% (so you could feel the layer thickening on the roof of your mouth!) but I thought it was pretty yummy.
We decided to head to spain today (currently we are in Salamanca) for the match between Spain and France - then tomorrow we will head the final 100km north to Valladolid before we head home :(
Have totally fallen in love with the lifestyle here - everything is about making the most of life in Portugal. They have such a strong sense of national identity and are so proud to be who they are. Every house is old, rundown and tiny (yet charming, cozy and bursting with life) yet everyone has a plasma flat screen huge TV. We have not been hungry here for one minute - food and drink are a very important aspect of life also - not how little you weigh, or how your hair is cut. Although coming from 'friendly' Australia, these people are far more genuine, and am so glad I have had the opportunity to have met them. Definitely have to come back...
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Day one (as mentioned earlier) was spent in Vila Real, where we ate at the local restaurant in the caravan park - and made friends with the owner (who took great pride in knowing German) so since Tom could understand him, he kept pouring us Port after port. Then to top the night off, we received a 50% schnapps. That definitely helped us sleep!
Stayed somewhere in between, but have forgotten the name already - Vila do Condo or something like that -just north of Porto on the sea. Fantastic food (always bucket loads of fish) and lovely people who spoke some English!
Next day, we headed up to Braga for a look around, then headed down to Porto and stayed on the other side of the river in a village known as Vila de Nova Gaia (actually, this is the home of Port Wine) in a seaside caravan park. I was lucky enough to talk the bar owner of the camping ground to turn the TV onto Australia Vs Croatia (despite the Portugese having an obvious preference to watching Brazil play...) Was so nervous, and was joined by a bunch of French pensioners on the caravan vacations and had a nice time with Tom aiding in every way with communication!~
Then- yesterday. I have found my favourite place in the world. Porto... the city is exubing with charm, character and kindness. Although it is built on an excrutiatingly painfully steep hill, it helped with the fitness! We booked ourselves into a lovely little hotel, then walked through the city, across the river (back to Vila de Nova Gaia) and decided to make the most of the Port! We paid for one tour, then made our way through about 8 other port houses, tanking ourselves up for free (all the tourists do it) and decided we are fans of the Tawny Port aged 10 years from Quintra de Nova. And now know all details as to how to make it! Then, we just sat on the river and waited for the festivities to begin: 23rd of June is Saint Johns festival and for some reason, everyone walks around hitting themselves on the head with toy hammers and there are festivals all over the street. It was bigger than any new years celebration I have seen in Australia! And so much more peaceful. At one stage, we were close to a big stage and surrounded by a young family, so tom picked up the 4 year old, and I picked up the 1 year old and we started dancing together! Incredibly fantastic atmosphere.
We are on our way to Nazare tonight via Coimbra (where we are now - the student city of Portugal) for a quiet night on the seq again. Have so much more to write but will update another time!
Will post pickies when we get home
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Have already encountered crazy Portugese drivers, and put our non-existent Portugese to the test, but am simply loving everything else.
Craziness in the town sqare qt the moment - Portugal Vs Mexico, and the entire city is watching it - all in appropriate attire! Quite a site!
But, we are off to another castley thing now, so will update more later. Just one word to elaborate on from last night... Port (and actually another word - hospitality!)
Friday, June 16, 2006
After another half hour break, Robbie finally entered after a display of fire-works and fire-balls being thrown into the sky. I have to admit, I dont really like any of his new music - but I just wanted to see the show, and hear some of the old music. He even did a tacky old Take That number, and I dagily sung along! Nice that he also mingled with the crowd, inviting any boobs to be shown. Mine stayed snug in my shirt, but, if i happened to be in the front row, Im not sure they would have stayed there (hi dad!!).
Anyway, show ended, we strolled back to the car - around 11pm. Expected a traffic jam for around an hour, so that was no surprise exiting the carpark. However, didnt expect the extra traffic jam around the Brussels ring, nor the road blockage between Brussels and Antwerp after midnight. So, all four tired, hungry and cranky of us had a lovely ride home hearing the midnight news, the 1am news, the 2am news, and Tom and I were even blessed enough to hear the 3am news after we dropped the other 2 off. So our trip home was approx 4 hours. Kinda enough to ruin a night! BUT, the show was great!
Gonna get home to pack - off on vacation soon, and we have to put our entire appartment in boxes asap!
Monday, June 12, 2006
Shortly later, (because I stupidly started drinking water due to the heat), I had my dip. Stupid, stupid woman!! So, then sneezed myself home (allergies were also rampant!) and decided that I needed to tell someone about the fun night I had just had. Lucky for Emme, she didnt pick up, but my poor mother did! Sorry mum!!
Saturday, we were to play Squash at 8.30am - I chose the path more suited to me, and sprawled myself out in bed - trying to ensure minimum sheet touchage to ensure minimum sweat, while Tom did the saintly thing and went to squash! Silly man!!
Then Sunday, sweatily rode to a barbecue - 10-15km away - now have a beautiful tan line across my front, from the handbag I was holding! I call it my stylish stripe.
So that was it - need to cram studying for the remaining few days before my exam on Thursday (and have Robbie williams to see tomorrow night....)
Sunday, June 04, 2006
But, the rest of the weekend is yet to come. Tom is busy playing Korfbal (dont even ask what this is - only Belgians and Dutchmen understand it!) all day while the mother in law and I go shopping for some furniture. This can only end up being a long, expensive exercise, but for some strange reason, I still get some sort of pleasure out of it!
Nothing else really to say at this point in time - just thought I would update and let you know that everything is fine.
One final thing for my little sister: am a little baffled about your decision, but hope everything is fine. xxx
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Without any intention to stereotype, I have seen/heard of more people dying here in the last 2 years than I had in the rest of my life in Australia. I am aware that as you grow older, these things become more evident, however, I really dont know if it is ever possible to get used to people dying young. Every single person I have met here, lost at least one friend PER YEAR while they were still in 'de middelbare' (age 13-18). I am still coming to terms with Sally Urquhart dying last year, but it appears that if I am to live here much longer, I must train myself that 'these things happen'...
Until next time (and hopefully a nicer blog...)
Monday, May 29, 2006
Big boo hoo :(
However, with that said, I would rather be at work when all it seems to do is rain!
Anyhoo - yesterday (the only remotely sunny day in the past 3 weeks), was the 20km Brussels. Now considering Tom couldnt run, we had no need in going, but thought we would cheer his father along! I was once again blown away though! We said goodbye to Miel at the starting line (not really a line, but starting mosh-pit is probably more appropriate), grabbed a €3 hamburger (consisting of a slab of deep-fried offle, squirt of curry ketchup, and sprinkling of onions on day old bun), followed by fries with mayonaise (for Tom), apple for me (free from the health stalls!!), then we sat at a café somewhere, sipped on a red wine, mosied over to the last 300m of the race, and were just in time to see the first guy finish! I couldnt believe it - 20km in 1hour and 2 minutes! He even had a nike symbol shaved into the back of his head (which kinda ruined it for me - after living with someone who quotes Naomi Klein, it begins to rub off!!). BUT what I was more in awe of, was another guy who was in the first 50 (when there are 25000, this is still relatively early!) - he was pushing some guy in a wheelchair, while running, and still managed the top 50! The handicapped guy he was pushing was so excited! I think he felt like he was king of the race! - Tear - !
Miel crossed in 2hours 15mins or therabouts, but then we waited for his walking friends - in the meanwhile, we saw the oldest runner - 84, some absolute freaks (always good for entertainment), and finally the last runner (it closes after 4 hours) - also an octogenerian - with a bus in his arse to make sure he finished the race! poor old guy!
As usual - a few collapses, and revivals, therefore, I was content to be sitting on the sideline!
Friday, May 26, 2006
ok - since we are moving soon, we have put our apartment on the internet, and I thought, why not show some people at home our lovely old house (lovely according to us, anyway!). We are on the first floor, and although we have no garden, our vine provides us witgh some greenery!
Well back at work for one more day after another Catholic holiday. One thing religion is good for: holidays. Maybe I can use my religion to take these days off in Australia as well. Make the most of it since I was baptised once.
Nothing much happened this week. I am really disappointed that after 4 months of practice I injured myself one week before the race (20km of Brussels) but hey there are worse things in the world: Summer is coming up and it hasn’t stopped raining for 2 weeks now (going on to the 3rd)
We saw “Volver” yesterday. It is made by Pedro Almodovar. The movie is awesome . Almodovar is on of my favourite directors. For you who don’t know him, just go and see “la mala educacion”. Gorgeous movie. Not only did I love the movie but it also strengthened the feeling of going to live in Italy or Spain for one year just before we come back home to Australia. I just love the history and feeling when in Italy or Spain. The way of live, the passion. And I would also love to learn Spanish (although not much use in Italy). And another really important reason: football!
But first we need to get rid of our apartment. We are having trouble getting rid of it. In Belgium it works like this. We give notice (usually 3 to 6 months, with us 3). And then you just do your notice. If you want to get out before hand, which is our case, you need to find another tenant. There is the problem. All Belgians can afford something a bit better. Exactly the reason why we are moving. And we got heaps of foreigners calling but our landlord doesn’t want any foreigners in his apartment. I can understand him in the way that he already had some foreigners and they just left without saying or paying. But the problem is that we always have to lie for him. And we also have to find somebody else. So we are getting a bit tense. We don’t want to leave but if it comes down to paying when we already left or finding a foreigner I go for choice number 1. Because in that case we did find somebody and he can’t charge us any fines. Our obligation is to find another tenant but we don’t know if we have to pay fines if the landlord keeps rejecting them. I would rather pay the last 2 months without living there instead of moving. Or we can always try to find somebody of the friends who just lives there for 2 months. I rather pay than not move, it’s only money anyway. I rather be happy in the new place.
So except for the fact that we need to get rid of the apartment, which will surely happen, we are just tense; we are pretty happy. All we have is luxury-problems. We still adore one another. And yes Andrew and Lyn, she’s still as clumsy as ever. Ingi’s head is like the moon: full of bumps.
Well now it's Ingrid turn to talk about the weekend.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
This weekend looks like it's going to be a downer. Tom has been training like crazy since the beginning of the year, and now, in the last two weeks, his knee has started hurting - he's not sure whether or not to strap it, run, and hope for the best. It's hard to watch, because this is the one he has been training for. And, his old man is also running, so that's gotto hurt!
Nothing particularly funny or philosophical as far as this week is concerned. Am reading the Alchemist at the moment, and enjoying it. Oh, and one final thought: for uni tonight, we need to tell an urban legend which has happened to ourselves (basically, a story so unbelievable, or make up a story where people are unsure whether or not it's true). I was deciding out of 2 options: the ghost from Rockeby terrace (which turned out to be an immensely overweight mouse behind our fridge), or the snake which came through the wall in Emu Park while Emme, mum and I jumped on the table... (Tim, the mouse in the microwave vent would be a good one for you!!)
Friday, May 19, 2006
Well spijtig genoeg - Kate Ryan is out of Eurovision. Her dream was over before it began! So the eurovision party we are attenting on Saturday night seems almost a waste now!
For any of you who are interested... apprarently now, since USSR keeps exponentially dividing into more and more countries, there are now far too many countries in the European Broadcasting Corporation for all countries to compete in Eurovision. Only 4 countries are given immediate entry every year (Spain, and 3 others - not that interested!!), then the 10 best place getters from the previous year are also given immediate entry. Since Belgium didnt fall into these categories, they had to participate in a semi final against the rest of europe and millions of little eastern european countries. Since Kate Ryan's song has reached number one in about 10 countries here already, she was a top favourite (according to Belgian press!) Even Tom believed this! But now apparently there is a conspiracy (yes folks, in Eurovision...) because all of the eastern european countries vote for eachther. And that's not fair.! There were even images on the news this morning from Kate's home town, with a big screen in the town sqare - live from Athens - with people crying when she didnt go through. I just wish to stress my point: This is eurovision!
Will make one other comment - I really hope Holland didnt go through either - their song was just utter tripe (as opposed to the creatively written, other unique numbers that were heard on the night.... hmmmmm....)
Monday, May 15, 2006
It was Inge's 22nd birthday on the weekend, so, another fancy lunch with lots of wine and champagne in the presence of Pepe and Rosa. So, towards the end of the lunch, Tom and I decided that we wanted to go to IKEA to buy some new things for the new appartment - in an inebriated state. So now we finally have a CD tower (which is already full), and a TV cabinet thingy. So currently, our tiny appartment is so full of furniture, and we are in the process of fobbing it off to vinnies. We even cleaned out our wardrobes yesterday, and the pile of clothes to give away is around 60kg (possibly more) and lots more to do...
Went to the Australian Bar also on Saturday night to have goodbye drinks with some friends we have made since I arrived - an Aussie (/croatian/italian) guy and his american wife - top couple, and moving away. So my friend count has just decreased by 2!
Nothing much else - this weekend is my work party (5 years in service), another Aussie mate's birthday party, and EUROVISION!! But first this week is the champions league final. Tom will no doubt update the blog on that!
Friday, May 12, 2006
Well, another wonderful Friday (becoming my favourite day of the week - over Saturday and Sunday...) and another time of mixed feelings. Since May began, it has hardly rained. If you know anything about this side of the globe, there seems to be a constant grey cloud just hanging over Belgium (and possibly extending to England) for most of the year. A nice day is one where it is overcast and doesnt rain. So, I am currently in heaven considering it has averaged 20-25°C everyday for 2 weeks, and we even had a mini tropical storm in the middle of it - with lightning, thunder and all! Reminded me of home! So now I am averaging 100km cycling a week (not that much, but more than before!), Tom is running maybe 50km plus riding 100km a week, and it doesnt even hurt so much when you have the summer surrounding you :). If only the rest of the year were this beautiful, I would definitely not want to leave.
Now that this has all been said, the reason for me enclosing the mini-plan of Antwerp, is because of the news of yesterday. A Martin Bryant inverse wannabe decided to shoot a few foreigners/tourists in the middle of the city sometime yesterday - including a child. Ironically, it was in the zwartzustersstraat (translation = black sisters street) and this brought one of those horrible black clouds back (which we waited so long for to disappear). Once again, as I understand (and I am not to be quoted here...) I think the bullets were directed at members of a 'brown' society. It drives me crazy how the Vlaams Belang (the one-nation party of Flanders) brainwash a normally clever Flemish society into becoming so one-minded and stereotypically marginal - as though it's 'cool' to hate foreigners (even though the most of the Belgians like to practise English/French/Spanish/Italian........). I just really love the city of Antwerp and until now, have enjoyed it's diversity in such small proximity. I have only known it for 2 years, but I hope it doesnt change from it's green/socialistic history to the extreme right-wing, capitalist model which could destroy it.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
And have realised that I have not mentioned our news on the blog yet! No, not getting married, no, not pregnant, but.... we are moving! (not such great news, but we are excited!). Our appartment is in Edegem, which is the same distance from my work (on the other side) - about 5km from the city, 5km from the in-laws, 2 bedrooms (we intend to convert one into a study/spare bedroom) and a gigantic back yard. Everything is completely renovated (not that its important, but it looks nice :)) so we are keen to move around the 1st of July. We are sad that we are leaving the centre of Antwerp, but what is 5km really? Plus, I love the style of our old appartment - especially the wooden floors, but, alas it doesnt have enough room for a student (acually - 2!). We also plan on seeing Tim and Tash in a few months (no pressure guys!) and Kym and Benj later this year/early next year so now we have private place for them to sleep! And any other visitors are always welcome :)
Monday, May 08, 2006
Anyway - Friday night, went on a girls night with some of the colleagues - and once again, drank too much but had an alright time learning how to jive with a plumber from the hospital (he taught all the girls how to jive!), but something came back to haunt me that night... We ordered garlic prawns for dinner (which were unbelievably delicious), however, once we entered the nightclub, the kept coming up for a visit in the form of a little toxic cloud. So anyone in the vicinity of Nathalie, Inge or myself were quickly fumigated! Even at 4:30am when I crawled into bed, the first thing Tom said was 'oh my god, what have you been eating?!' Oh well, a nice night all in all.
Saturday morning (midday still counts as morning on a Saturday), Tom wanted to run from Antwerp to Kontich, and I was to ride beside him, but first I had to retrieve my bike from another suburb. So in 27°C sunshine (normally beautiful, but incredibly hot if you have had a big night), I was completely lost in Borgerhout and finally found the bike, took a few wrong turns, then just as I left Antwerp, Tom had already arrived in Kontich. How embarrassing! Then to a BBQ at Tom and Nita's, followed by a Quiz held by Toms parents. I am proud (ha!) to say that our team came 10th (out of a total of 13!), but it was fun anyway. I was in trouble for saying Dostoyevski wrote War and Peace, and apparently it was Tolstoj, but then I had some others correct so that made up for it!.
Then Sunday, we went to family fun day in Koning Boudewijn Roi/King stadium in Brussels, where you are able to try all sorts of activities. So we went riding crazy bikes, and gave Archery a go - when it came to my turn with the bow and arrow, there was a bloody great big camera in my face, so with the pressure placed upon me, I shot my arrow into the bush, and let out a loud 'Shit!' - so any of you watching VT4 (Flemish Telelvion - 4) on Tuesday evening, you will be able to see a strange Australian shooting an invisible rabbit in the bushes!
Friday, May 05, 2006
Gisteren, heb ik 20km met mijn fiets gereden - en zonder pijn! Dus, vanavond ook. Direct na werk, rijd ik naar Kontich (naar de ouders van Tom) en daarna naar de zwembad met Tommeke en Nita voor een uur. Daarna, terug naar Antwerpen. Het voelt goed om gezond te zijn!
Das genoeg Vlooms voor ien blog... Kelly - dit blog is voor jou, schat. Hopelijk verstand je alles (omdat ik niet beter dan een 5 jaar kindje kan schrijven).
Terug naar werk....
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Just a little note on the Pelgrim restaurant... we have walked past it a million times - in the centre of Antwerp, and it just appears to be a bar where you have to sit under the street, but in fact, it is a dungeon which has one entrance, which has been converted into a bar + restaurant. The entire dungeon spans the whole street and it is completely dark (except for a couple of candles lighting the way) - it made me feel like I was visiting Baldrick from a scene of Blackadder! We also had to eat our entire meals (entrée, main and dessert) with the same wooden spoon (and nothing else!). Nothing like a bit of rice pudding with remnants of chicken skin! I felt sorry for those who ordered T-Bone steak! Food was pretty mediocre (someone suggested that the chefs bought all the no-frills brand foods and said that this is how the food was in the 1500s!) but the atmosphere was amazing!
Better go and do some last minute revising before uni... I have a very good feeling us native English speakers will be re-doing level 3... j- stupid prepositions!
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Ok - so I am in a mood again! This time my bite is over people and image (or at least that is how I see it!). I live in a country with possibly the best public transport system in the world. In fact, there is not a single person in Belgium who lives more than 800m away from either a tram/train/bus which leaves at least once an hour. Living in the city, we have no probs, so a car is very unnecessary unless we wish to go to concerts late at night in Brussels, but there are always ways around this. The country is also quite socialist (and in a lot of places, green) so a great deal of encouragement is given towards people riding their bikes or taking public transport. So, it gets my goat when I am taking a tram home and there is a traffic jam. I end up stepping off, and walking faster than the tram (due to the cars sharing the same road). This is in the middle of the city, where people arent allowed to park anyway, and they just sit in a single file tooting their horns (like that is going to make a difference). And, as far as I can see it, (and I have only a very narrow mind...!) people only drive to the city, and pay €20 per day to park, just to show that they have a car, and to have something to complain about for the rest of the day. It also makes me wonder why people want 2 cars - but its the same story. I dont know why it bothers me so much, Im not particularly a good advocate for the environment, nor am I well read politically, I just really hate how everyone needs to keep up with the 'Jones'' and cannot survive without sitting in grid-lock for 2 hours a day (to travel 50km). Yes Im rambling, but venting is quite easy on this website!.
Another issue I have had this week... just over a week ago, a child was stabbed 5 times (to death) in Brussels Central Train station (in broad tube-light) over an mp3 player worth about €20 and the whole country was up in arms because apparently a Moroccan (or North African...) did it (for those of you who dont know, Moroccans are viewed upon as Aborigines are in Oz). So all of the right wing parties and people wanted to get involved to get rid of all North Africans etc. Now it turns out that it was actually a Polish person (not that it makes a difference where the person came from). But, no apology is being made. The poor child is not allowed to rest in peace until the nation blames an entire race of people. I just dont like it because some people talk to me about this as though Im a 'Belgian' and I tell them that I too am 'foreign' but apparently Im not 'one of them' whatever this all means. How am I a more 'equal' human being because I have green eyes? I know this is an often talked over topic, but yet, I dont think its talked about enough.
Am about to head out with Toms mates and hope to drink a lot (its a long weekend) due to a heavy squash work-out this morning! We have bought Maarten a sky-diving ticket for his birthday, so are keen to see what he thinks!
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Just a quick one. I was absolutely thrilled with my result. Hoping for 1 hour 40 min and I did 1 hour 25 min. So next year am aiming for 1 hour 20 min. No pictures however because Ingrid could keep up. Although she's going to say otherwise. Next challenge is the 20 km of Brussels which last year I did in 1 hour 51 min without any training whatsoever. So am aiming for 1 hour and 40 min. The fact that I have already got 6 hours of running in my legs from the last weeks would help me reach my goal.
And of course there is also soccer tonight. Barcelona is playing for a spot in the final against Milan. 1-0 ahead and playing at home so it should be possible although you never know with Milan. The fact that Barcelona haven't lost a single game in this year's champions league campaign just relaxes me a little bit. So it is going to be tense at Tom and Ingi's tonight! And you know, if barcelona isn't through I am not going to be a happy camper.