Saturday, April 29, 2006

My 2 cents for the week

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 quicky post to congratulate my friends Shanelle and Pete on their engagement... Sounded so romantic and I hope to see you both sometime before you head back to Australia.

I run as fast as I can, but still I end up not moving

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.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Let's Break the Night with Colour, It's time for me to move ahead

Well good morning all - have had a few days off blogging mostly due to laziness, but we have also been a little busy. Last weekend was the 10 miles of Antwerp (don't ask me why a country which has been metric since the dawn of time has a race for 10 miles - just wanting to be unique if you ask me - typically Antwerp!), and yes ladies and gentlemen, I was a proud supporter! It started on Linkeroever (left-bank) which is the 'other-side' of the river, so we rode our bikes under the river (there are 3 tunnels) to the starting line and Tom prepped himself. 15 minutes before the race started, I quickly raced my bike back over to the Grote Markt (big market place - scenic spot of Antwerp) and found a fantastic table on a terrace to watch the runners go by. Poised with my camera waiting to take a happy snap of my proud runner, I watched all 10,000 of the others jog by until the walkers started and realised that I had missed Tom. Quick note - if you are going to watch people run by (and look at all of their faces) for 45 minutes, be careful. As soon as you look at anything else eg a table, it also starts to move to the right... wierd head-spin! So, then with Toms other supporters, we quickly raced ourselves through the tunnel to the finish line (also on linkeroever) with the camera yet again poised. 2 minutes later there was a tap on my shoulder, and yet again, I had missed him! But it doesnt matter. He had been hoping for a time of 1hr 40mins, but it turned out he did it in less than an hour and a half, (still dont know the official time), so I think that's fantastic!. I did have a moment of laziness while I wolfed down an ice-cream and a glass of wine - but it was only a moment :)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Happy Christiansen Easter

Well, this is what I am missing here in Europe. It's funny, you dont realise how lovely it is until you see pictures! Alas, winter is almost over, and the sun is definitely shining until well into the night... now for the warmth...!

For those of you who dont know this babe, her name is Emmelena Christiansen, she is 160 centimetres tall, has blue eyes and sandy blonde hair and sports a B-cup. She enjoys long strolls on the beach and romantic dinners and orange fishing rods. Other interests of hers probably include killing her sister after reading this on the internet.

Hope you all enjoyed your easter


All I need is a peace of this mind, then I can celebrate

So this weekend we went to Maastricht, which is in Holland. Maastricht is actually attached to Germany and Belgium so they have got kind of a weird dialect. What we did there? Nothing. We arrived on Saturday, had a really good hotel. Kind of classy if not that there was a easter international youth football tournament. So our hotel was invaded by Brits. I said to Ingrid it serves them well. It used to be the Dutch who used to invade every holiday spot in Europe, it nice to see them getting it back.

Anyway the rest of the day we shopped till we dropped. Bought tons of new stuff: which we actually needed after 2 years of no-shopping. Yes people, I have found the perfect non-shopping girlfriend. But we enjoyed ourselves. On Sunday we did...nothing. We spent all day judst walking around in Maastricht and lazing in the hotel bed. After a season filled with soccer it nice NOT to do anything on Sundays.

So now we're back to work and as you can telll, not really working. I promise to tell you something work-wise some other time which is great, you will not believe it but have to be carefull for now. I am again waiting for Barcelona to play. Tonight is semi-final against AC Milan. Am a bit scared though. AC Milan I rate higher than any other team till now. But I am hoping for a Spanish final, we'll see hey. And off course on Sunday my first test: the 10 miles of antwerp. I am hoping for a time of 1 hour 40 min. That's what I am aiming at but didn't have the perfect preparation. I consider this race as a practice for the 20km of Brussels, so I do not need to do that good. I am just telling this myself because I didn't train enough. Did another 10km on Monday and didn't feel bad but I am nervous hwo I am going to do on Sunday. Anyway, will let you know what happened.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Happy Good Friday

Well, all of you lucky buggers in Aus land didnt need to work today, but here in Belgium (a very Catholic country mind you), Good Friday doesnt mean anything. Doesnt matter that Jesus was pinned to the cross on this day - the most important day here is Monday which makes a little bit of sense I s'pose - sort of a celebration that Jesus rose again. (Forgive me if my Sunday-school tuition is not paying off right now!). Nevertheless, we still only have Monday off, so this weekend, we are hopping on a train (not for the whole journey - I hope to sit for most of it! - Bad joke, I know) to Maastricht (in Holland). We are just veging in a 4 star hotel on the river and shopping. Hoping to spend a minimum for €500 (perhaps each...) on as many clothes as possible! Yippee!!

Have attached a typical photo of Tash and myself... just to show that nothing has changed. While we were trying to pose for a photo, we somehow tripped over ourselves and ended up branding our bums! Klutzes 'til the end!

Sunday, April 09, 2006


May I just say that I am in agony today. We went squashing(do you like my direct translation from dutch to english?) for an hour and half yesterday (although, much of that was spent sitting down, drinking water for me), and I gave it my all, absolutely not considering the consequences for today. Now my butt aches like never before, and I am having problems walking up stairs. I am having vivid images of grade 7 all over again when Mr Emery made our entire class duck-waddle the oval (400m) every Friday morning, with us all having agonising pain in our little 12 year old thighs all weekend. Strenuous exercise I feel, may make you feel good for a day, but bugger the day after! Back to swimming next week...

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Rebecca Loos...

Well, by my title, you either know who I am writing about, or you don't...With Australia being a country which totally thrives on tabloid journalism, you will have had to have lived under a rock for the past few years if you hadn't heard this name. The reason I felt compelled to write something about her, is that she has recently popped up again here in Belgium.

Not being so worldly, I didn't actually realise that she was from Holland (I had just assumed she was English, and didn't click that her surname was pronounced the way Dutch people pronounce 'oo'). The reason she has just popped up again, is that she is one of the temptresses on the newest season of Holland/Belgium Temptation Island. Newly double D cupped, and upset that nobody takes her seriously anymore (??!!)she is proving quite the kitten on the island. But, this isn't what I found amusing.

I have also recently discovered (actually, today), that loos translates to 'something not quite right'. For example - a 'loos alarm' is an alarm which is caused when something is not quite right. So the fact that her name is Rebecca 'something not quite right' amuses me just a little! Yes, I am probably 3 years behind everyone who actually speaks Dutch, but I thought I would mention it that I actually understood my first little pun at Dutch humour!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Well eurovision is gradually approaching... all of you in Australia who dare to brave it, it will be on SBS probably sometime late in the year. If you want to see Belgians proud entry (although I use proud in the loosest of ways), it is called je't'adore by Kate Ryan, and it definitely fills the eurovision criteria. There will be more on the subject closer to 20th May...

Monday, April 03, 2006

Fun at Football

Just an update on our weekend...

Have started exercising again (for spring) - did 22 laps of the pool on Friday (after i bludgingly took a day off on Friday and proclaimed to my colleagues that it was 'Ingrid-Day'). Felt refreshed and like an athlete! Ha!

Yesterday was Miel's birthday (51 for any of you who wanted to know), so for a present, Tom's mum decided we should all go for bowling and dinner on Saturday evening. The six of us (parents, sister and boyfriend, tom and I) went to Wilrijk WIMA to bowl our bums off. Pity I never seem to improve. If it is at all possible, I think I am the only person on the planet who seems to un-improve at any sort of sport. Sad hey - especially for someone who is so bitterly unsportsmanly (some would say it is karma - I would just say that everyone knows something that I am missing out on). But, after 2 wines and bowling left handed, I somehow managed to improve. Shortly after, we had an all-you-can eat feast of all sorts, so I managed to have my share of 17 courses (15 of those dessert).

Sunday I woke up about 20kg heavier, and cleaned the house before heading off to the next party - Tom's football end of season party in the Greek restaurant of Kontich. Being a Sunday night, we agreed to take it a little easy, but it seemed quite unlikely once we arrived and had 2 rakis or oozos (or however you spell them) for apperatief. It went simply downhill from then on. I spent the night dancing and breaking plates (quite a lot of fun for those of you who havent tried it. Otherwise, just buy a cheap dinner set from IKEA and do it at home with zorba the greek playing in the background - you may achieve the same effect). Then as I became suitable sloshed, I put my 2 cents in when it wasnt needed (being an aussie female, I have an outspoken opinion). I was sitting across the table from a couple, and on the other side of the girl was a guy (who is normally quite nice SOBER), and he was chatting her up and petting her (mind you, she didnt seem to mind), but her boyfriend was just sitting there watching. Everyone was making whispering comments about them, but tactful me just told them to cut it out - it was a little inappropriate. Needless to say, I had water thrown on me and I was quickly shitty. 5 minutes later we were all friends again, but I dont know what else happened. Black patch...

Then we went back to Toms parents, and decided that it would be an excellent idea to watch a video at 1am (when we had to be up at 7am). So we did. The meeting at work this morning proved interesting. The pidgeons flirting outside provided entertainment for my hungover - I just dont think it was wise to tell my boss while he asked me my progress in one of my projects...

Oh well - another 4 days of work until the next round of parties - some of my colleagues have invited my to a club on friday where dirty old men buy your drinks. What could go wrong?! Then squash on Saturday (yet another one of those things where I will inevitably throw a racquet out of the court) and another BBQ. I hope it wont turn out like mini-golf a year ago - I got so frustrated with not getting the ball in one stupid hole that I threw the club and it landed on an umbrella at a nearby pub. I think I need to follow a course for anger management...