Monday, January 30, 2006


Last night I lay awake thinking of something that a friend of mine has written in another blog - something that has been on my mind for a long time, but dont really know how to express. He titled his blog Nationalism = Racism? - and I dont think he was too far from the truth. It has bothered me since living here that humans are being treated less and less like humans, and more like objects. I dont know why, (well, actually I do, but thats not the point) but since I am Australian, I may live in Belgium for 10 years, and still not have any rights. But if I came from Spain, moved to Belgium, didnt learn a word of French or Dutch, I would still have more rights. But then, if my eyes were darker, my skin a lovely tint of chocolate, my hair darker, and my father's name was Ahmed, then I would have absolutely no chance at life. Even if I was born here. Sound familiar? What really gets my goat is that I have also been brought up in a land which treats people similarly. Why are some lives more valuable than others? Why am I constantly having to prove who I am? I pay taxes, I go to language school, I intergrate with the society here (and I am probably one of the lazier ones), and still constantly am regarded as foreign and stupid. And then I tell myself 'Im Australian, and happy to be', but am I really? I know that when we go to Australia, Tom will endure exactly the same routine. JUST BECAUSE he was born in another corner of the planet. The thing is - there appears to be nothing anyone can do, but sit back and watch as it all becomes worse. Reassuring hey?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Australia Day

PS - forgot to mention - no Australia day celebrations here - I see pictures from friends and on the internet and am well and truly homesick. We couldnt listen to the hottest 100 - but have discovered that number one is a Brisbane boy, so I am a bit proud! Here, it was work as normal, and I will celebrate Australia Day when the rest of the country celebrates Belgium day in July! (at least it's a little warmer then!)

So she said, have I got a little story for you...

Well, actually, no story today - not much has happened in the world of chocolate this week. Have been trying to follow the Australian open, but have decided that waking up at 4am tomorrow morning is not going to be a good idea - even if there is a Belgian in the final. There could have been 2, but our Kym hurt her foot (as I hear) - we cant watch TV at work (why ever not, I dont know why?!!) - so we have to keep refreshing an internet site (which is just as work efficient I think). Nobody here has any interest in the mens singles or the doubles. Im sure they dont even exist here!

Family weekend this weekend... might have some more stories after that!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

And if I could get closer, could you feel the presence of my thoughts?

Well, the weekend is almost over, and there is not much to say this time. I am trying to keep myself busy to get over the holiday dip which is always so inevitable and yet one can never be prepared for it mentally. After reading other peoples blogs and speaking to other Aussies (some of which I have only just met), I realise that so many other people experience the same senses of loneliness, even when surrounded by people. Its funny... I dont know if it's just the way Aussies are, or if it's just me, or if it's in fact everybody, but it is so difficult to make friends outside your culture (well, great friends anyway). After spending just one week with a group of people (half of which I knew before the trip), everybody was themselves, no crappy small talk about the weather, arrangements were made to see eachother again (and I truly believe these are genuine), and a general 'friendly' feeling was felt towards everyone else (yes, it's corny). I have been here 18 months now, and sure, I have made friends with work, uni, through toms friends, but I have just realised how closed up I have been through this entire period when I came into contact with other Aussies. The only refuge and sanity release I have had is through the constant contact with Tim and Tash. Thank god for you guys - if you werent over here as well, I think things would be very different! Tom understands exactly how it is, but he doesnt feel it as much, because he has his old friends here too. Lucky for us, he can relate to the Aussie way, and has broken through our invisible, not-so-easily-penetratable barrier.

I hope the summer comes soon, because the heat seems to blow away these bizarre feelings. I honestly cant wait to just fill the backpacks, take our euros, and just go where the aeroplane takes us and not worry about life in general. There is so much that people are meant to achieve before they are at a certain age, and I hope that I haven't achieved the norm!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Holidays are wonderfull..if you're the one that's leaving on an airplane, sitting on a train, just watching by while the clouds take shape

Well back from a holiday and I can speak for both of us if I say we're having trouble adapting to the working life again. But then again, I read some other people have as well. We just made up a balance of everything to come in 2006.

Music-wise: Personally I'd love to be any good on the guitar. I am still in the beginners month (also known as the "I wished I 'd never bought this f**??! thing"-month). But am passionate about it and eager to learn. Also off course am looking forward to Rock Werchter this year, maybe Tim and Tash will come over. We are going to see the Arctic Monkeys and dEUS. Furthermore lots of exciting and new bands and cd's coming up: Arctic Monkeys, Editors, Red Hot Chili Peppers, maybe Sophia,...

Work-wise: I am also delighted that I am quitting work and going back to uni. Don't know how this will turn out, fiasco or heaven. But at least I'm trying and being scared of my decision but am sure that I am making the right one!

What holidays are concerned: the next one will be to Rome in March, and hopefully watching a socer game as well. We also want to go backpacking in Portugal this summer and maybe we can squeeze some weekends in between. We'll be busy enough!

Sporting wise: I am running the 20km of Brussels again plus this year, the 10 miles from Antwerp. Ingrid is goign to take a shot at the 5 miles. So now she can't back down anymore because it's on here!

Well that's about it for me this year. I think studying will be change enough but the beauty at the moment is that our lives could be totally different in a few months so who knows: we might end up in South America oir come home Australia before 2007, you never know,...


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Tash's Ski Photos

Well here are some of the preliminary ski-vacation photos - from Tash's camera. There were a few of some lovely bruises and bums but I thought to respect the beauty of these people, they wouldnt go on my site (maybe someone elses tho...)!

Our group of 12 was such a good size - enough so that everyone pretty much knew everyone after a few reds and classy white cheese, yet we still had enough stories to keep us going for the week! As you can see, the view was breathtaking, and it sounds so cliché, but the weather was spectacular, with no hiccups at all. I guess it's finally good karma after having to put up with Belgium and the UK for so long...!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Happy Birthday To You...

Just a small post to send a birthday wish to my most favourite friend for so long....
Happy birthday smelly Kelly :)
Sorry I havent called sweety - am still figuring out how to say yes and no in Hungarian, so I havent been great with the "Do You have an International Phonecard?" and "How do I use it?". But I will call as soon as I get home.

Hope you had a beautiful day

Monday, January 16, 2006

Let's Go Swimming in the Water

Well... still in lovely, freeeeeezing Budapest, but experienced something very different and lovely today... the world famous hot baths! The temperature here is at the momement hovering between -5 and -10 and there is no sun to be seen, so you can imaging how lovely that feels when you change into a pair of togs. That actually wasnt so bad, considering you do that indoors, but the big hot bath is outside, so you have a good 10-20 seconds of absolute torture in the quick sprint on the snow-covered pavement. But once in the bath, it is almost impossible to leave! So, after this, we decided to make a dash for the Sauna, so Tom picked up our towel, and we quickly scampered to the Sauna room. While the room was way too hot for me, Tom decided to stay in the Sauna for a little longer, and take a relaxing shower, only to be nicely interrupted by a crazy Hungarian girl who yelled at him for taking the wrong towel! Our towel was apparently whitER than hers (hers was a pink shade of white) and how dare he for taking it. Being colour blind (and human) it is easy for one to make a mistake, so he frantically apologised, but for no use. She continued and swiped back her white-pink towel while we have our white one back. Tom figured it must have been Karma for us stealing the towel from the Hotel we stayed at in Geneva!

After this, we both had a lovely massage, so are now both suitably relaxed and going back to the hostel for a read and lay down. Back to Belgium tomorrow. Oh - one more word of advice: Always calculate when using foreign currencies which require you to divide by a factor of more than 2; we withdrew 100 000 Forint today thinking it should be around 40 Euro, but later realised that it was actually 400 euro. Smart hey?!!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

A heart of stone, A smoking gun

Well, here we are, back into the land of indoor-ness - therefore, back on the internet and watching trash on telly! We have just arrived in not-so-sunny Budapest after a pretty full-on week of snowboarding. What a fantastic holiday! We shared a chalet with 10 other people, in the most glorious surroundings of Morzine. Apparently, it's the largest skiing destination in the world. But all seriousness aside, I think most of us spent more of the week laughing rather than skiing/snowboarding! Between the bruises (we all saw Damien Radfords bum covered in shades from light pink, to brown, to purple) to two of our single-campers 'sucking lollies' in the middle of the night, to our quietest camper having a little too much fun on the last night, (while 4 people were in bed), declaring himself as 'wake-up-man' and proudly waking up some not-so-happy people, including our landlords upstairs! But the snowboarding was fun too. I gave myself 2 purple tennisballs where my knees used to be on my first day, while Tom has no damage - bugger him!
Will post some photos when I have them on CD. Until then, I think I will take a long bath in one of the hot bath houses in Budapest. Have to buy some eastern-european togs first tho....

Friday, January 06, 2006

Everybody's gotto learn sometime

Well, today is our last day at work before we go on our ski vacation, so I thought I would post an old one of snowboarding last year. We have learnt to snowboard in Holland in a giant indoor slope thingy! As you can see, I probably have spent more time on my bum than on the board, but it is a lot of fun. We took Emme as well when she came to visit, and the little bugger was a pro within 4 hours!

Have heard some of the temperatures for next week in Switzerland... - somewhere around -30°C. So if you dont hear from me for a while, I am probably frozen somewhere and waiting for defrost...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Australia, in the middle of Belgium

Well here are a few oldies - but there is nothing new on our camera except all of the snow we had last week. But, I will post all my new photos after I have burnt them on CD.

Well, some of you may seen these already - these are a few shots from the teeny tiny township of Durbuy (pronounce dubwee - with the emphasis on bwee) - kinda a cute name! Apparently, it is the smallest city in the world, but I think that it's just another Belgianism. It was a lovely little village with only around 10 shops, but we couldnt believe that one of them was an Australian ice-creamery. You find these stores scattered all around Belgium, normally in Antwerp, Gent, Brussels, Brugge (the bigger places), and here we were in the middle of nowhere in the Ardennes, and there was another one. I just couldnt believe there was a market for it, considering Wallonia (south Belgium) has temperatures of lower than 10°C for more than half the year!

Two days until we go snowboarding, and thank god for that! Cant wait for aprés ski either...

Monday, January 02, 2006

Are you Ready?

Well here is something typically Belgian (and perhaps all over the rest of the non-english speaking world as well)... as we were walking to the movies yesterday afternoon at around 4pm, we were crossing the end of the Meir (the mall of Antwerp), and there is a mini-carnival there for new years (4-5 rides, lots of junk and loud music). I was looking at the biggest ride there, which was filled with kids (despite being so bloody cold), and all of a sudden, out of the loud speakers yelled a man..."Are you REEEAADDY mother f@#kers?!!!" and the kids all screamed yeeeeaahh!!!

I have been here 18 months, but still cant get used to the fact that this is normal! I actually think it's quite funny! Imagine this in Australia! So many people are so worried about what their children hear, but it doesnt really matter what they see! Here the kids are immune to words such as f@#ker and they see boobs on TV at such a young age, that I think that there is little that really is taboo here. Still cant get used to it, but am definitely not against it!