Saturday, October 28, 2006

Get out of my dreams...

Yay for Billie Ocean for inspiring me with my new title...

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

You know the Devil's Water it ain't so sweet

Having trouble getting onto blogger at home, so this will have to be a rushed work-post...

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!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ma kik aa is deur den bek sleuren?

What a load of gibberish 'right?! Just a simple line to demonstrate the hassles one goes through in this land! A country of 10 million (of which not all are Flemish speaking...) and a gazillion dialects to go along with this! The sentence I have used as a title is written how it is said (for example, an aussie saying that they are 'strayan') and should be said

Mag ik u eens door de mond kussen?

See my dilemma. For those of you who dont know what it means, go to (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

Is er leven op Pluto? Kun je dansen op de maan

Been a while between posts - would love to brag about being busy, but in actual fact, have fallen into the rhythm of the autumn. I have mixed feelings about the weather at the moment - while I ride to work, I cant help humming along to the old favourite Simon and Garfunkel song looking around, seeing that the leaves are becoming brown, and noticing that it is becoming a hazy shade of winter, however, when I come home, am completely buggered! The entire week has had gusts up to 70kph (not much if you're from the coast, but awfully strong when you are used to 5kph winds!) Today I actually looked down while riding, and had the impression that if I walked with my bike in hand, I would probably be going faster! Somehow I managed to miss riding with the wind behind me all week! Must have done something bad to deserve this sort of karma!

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 Belgiƫ. 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!